Camden Council announces immediate road changes to improve cyclist safety

Immediate changes are being implemented to a junction in Holborn after death of doctor cycling to work

Camden Council announces road safety
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Camden Council is planning to make road layout changes at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road, with a focus on immediate road safety improvements for cyclists.

These changes come after Dr. Marta Krawiec, who worked at Evelina London children’s hospital, became the fourth person to be killed at the junction since 2008, and the eighth near Holborn station. Her death led to protests at the junction by campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists and London Cycling Campaign, to which Camden Council has responded with these immediate improvements. 

The immediate improvements are hoped to work towards 'Vision Zero', which helps all manner of road users stay safe, whether they're cycling, walking, or running - and also achieves a vision of zero fatal and serious road causalities. 

Camden Council has also stated it will work with Transport for London to transform roads in the area, ensuring that all road users are safe and confident. The immediate changes at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road will make more space for cyclists as they approach the junction.

Also included in the immediate changes are: 

  • Adding cycle boxes at the traffic lights so cyclists can wait in a safe space in front of queueing traffic
  • Amending the nearside left-turn lane so that general traffic can turn left, while cyclists and buses can safely travel straight ahead
  • Turning the Southampton Row approach into two lanes to reduce the risk to cyclists turning left from the current centre ahead-only lane
  • A temporary island will replace the current central ahead-only traffic lane, separating vehicles turning left and those going straight on

While these changes will be immediately introduced to improve cyclist safety in the area, Camden Council has said that it is also working on longer-term changes that will be implemented in December and January. 

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden, welcomed these immediate changes, though he recognises the work doesn't stop there.

"These immediate measures are the beginning of changes planned for this junction," said Harrison. 

"In the last decade, too many cyclists have died on roads in Holborn. Our thoughts remain with their families, friends and former colleagues. We are absolutely determined to do all we can to make Camden as safe as possible for cyclists.

"We will work together with the local community and ward councillors, cycling groups, TfL and the Mayor of London in the coming months to agree further significant and permanent changes to this junction. Camden Council is committed to working with TfL and the Mayor to reach ‘Vision Zero’ of no deaths or serious injuries on our roads."

Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner also echoed this sentiment, saying he's confident that the changes will help improve safety for all road users.

"My thoughts remain with the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Marta Krawiec," said Norman.

"We're determined to make roads across London safer as part of our Vision Zero commitment to eliminating death and serious injury from the capital's roads and these immediate changes will reduce danger to people cycling in Holborn, and enable more people to cycle confidently. We'll continue to work closely with Camden Council to make these changes and to deliver longer term proposals to improve road safety in the area."