Buses to leave Gower Street as it becomes two-way road
Say Goodbye to the bus stop just outside UCL
The Camden Council has announced a £35 million transformation of Tottenham Court Road. The plan is to ban cars, lorries and taxis from the street. They will now be diverted to Gower Street, which will become two-way.
Bus routes will be diverted from Gower Street to Tottenham Court Road, where buses and bikes will be allowed between 8am and 7pm Monday to Saturday.
These changes will take effect on March 2020, and drivers who break the restrictions could face fines of up to £130.
Camden Council has told the Evening Standard that the changes will "improve road safety and air quality." They hope that the banning of cars will promote the appreciation for these street in the eyes of the public.
The diversion of bus routes will mean that six of them will use Tottenham Court Road during the day; around 114 buses an hour at peak times.
This project is part of a two-year plan that will also widen the pavements of Tottenham Court Road and create a small square between the tube station and Center Point. Alfred Place will be closed to create a “linear” park.
The Council's plan is also to include a diagonal pedestrian crossing at the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, like the one in Oxford Circus.
Adam Harrison, cabinet member and responsible for Camden’s environment told the Evening Standard: “Not having taxis in the daytime will lead to 25 per cent less traffic, with all the benefits for air quality and congestion that go along with it.”
The taxi industry seems to disagree. Back in 2015 they went to the high Court to try to stop the draft of this plan, but lost their challenge. They have argued that this project will worse congestion and increase pollution in the surrounding streets.
The general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers's Association, Steve McNamara, said that the plan for Tottenham Court Road is an “ill thought-out scheme”. This association has appealed to TfL commissioner Mike Brown to intervene.
“The major arteries of London are just that — they are the main method of London’s lifeblood moving around" stated McNamara.
We will have to wait and see if the changes improve traffic in the local area or cause chaos.