Traffic Chaos in Bloomsbury

Leigh Street, Thanet Street, Sandwich Street and Hastings Street are now an exclusive superhighway for taxis and vans heading towards Kings Cross (KX). These streets provide almost the only route to KX, or they are the satnav guided rat run for vehicles escaping the gridlock of Bloomsbury and Judd Street in particular. In 2011, a ban was imposed on eastbound traffic turning left from Tavistock Place into Marchmont Street, preventing traffic from taking a direct route to Euston Road and KX. At the time, the London Taxi Drivers Association raised objections, but to no avail. That traffic is now diverted onto Judd Street. Then in 2015, the ‘experimental’ closure of Tavistock Place to westbound traffic was sprung on most residents, and traffic approaching the Judd Street/ Tavistock Place junction from the east or south was also diverted onto Judd Street towards Euston Road. But this localised blight is only a snapshot of a much wider problem, the essence of which is the piecemeal fiddling with and removal of key traffic routes from the broader network by the policy driven dedication to cycles. The result is overloading of the remaining network, causing problematic congestion, junction conflicts, reduced static and dynamic capacity, increased noise and increased atmospheric pollution throughout the wider area. With the availability of sophisticated traffic modelling software, the impacts of any potential turn restriction can be analysed in its broader context, and are predictable, measurable and avoidable. That they were not prior to the current chaos is down to professional incompetence, or wilful disregard for residents' discomfort and inconvenience, and for the environmental consequences of policy imposition. Tony Harrison Architect Planner Thanet Street

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