Camden has just completed a public consultation on its plans to reorganise the traffic flows at South End Green and open up the slip road from Pond Street from South End Road for pedestrian use. The Forum commented to Camden that it favoured the plans as they fitted with the vision for the area that was contained in the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan.
Below is the text of the response sent to Camden.
The Forum strongly supports the proposals. They are in keeping with the ‘Vision for South End Green’, which is included in the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan 2018-2033 (pages 64-65). The Neighbourhood Plan was supported by 91% of voters in a referendum held in June 2018.
The Vision notes at paragraph 6.57 that the road system poses problems for pedestrians. It says: ‘The Green itself is an isolated traffic island, with traffic and bus stands all around it, substantially diminishing the pedestrian experience and destroying visual sightlines of what could otherwise be a pleasant and vibrant neighbourhood centre.’ It calls at 6.58 for substantial public realm investment to enable the area to cope with the large pedestrian movements, ‘to ensure that spaces are permeable and to remove the barriers that make the pedestrian experience an unhealthy and frustrating one.’ The Neighbourhood Plan notes at 6.61 that ‘community engagement confirms that a shared use scheme and the reconfiguration of the bus stands would be welcomed.’
It is the Forum’s view that the new proposals will go a long way towards solving the above problems and meeting the community’s long-standing desire for a reorganisation of traffic flows.
Firstly, the scheme will open up a considerable area of open public space — the existing slip road — and integrate this with the Green itself, which has been isolated and under-used. This will be a substantial improvement, opening up the space to possibilities such as a ‘streatery’ and making the experience of pedestrians both safer and more pleasant.
Secondly, it will solve the long-standing issue of bus stands, especially for the 168 bus. (The 168 route is due to numbered 1 under TfL plans. TfL also proposes to re-designate the 24 bus as the 88). Thanks to the ingenious switch of the direction of the bus stand area in South End Close, the 168 bus will no longer need its present stand in the slip road.
Thirdly, the removal of the traffic island will smooth traffic flows and allow buses on both routes to make easier entries into the bus stand area. The switching of the positions of the zebra crossings does not appear to make them less safe for pedestrians.
We have two questions. Firstly, the new scheme does not appear to alleviate the existing problem that pedestrians on the western side of South End Road and Fleet Road may cross Pond Street across the traffic without using the pedestrian crossing further up Pond Street. Can this be addressed? Secondly, how will cycle access to the slip road be routed so as to ensure safety and avoid conflict?
Alexander Nicoll, Chair
Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum