The switch to two-way traffic on Gower Street/Bloomsbury Street in London due on 31 January and the subsequent introduction of restrictions on Tottenham Court Road have been postponed due to administrative issues, Camden Council have confirmed.
The changes are now intended to take place in the next few weeks, with dates currently being finalised. The council have said they will be in touch with residents and stakeholders with the new date once confirmed.
As the largest transformational scheme in the borough, the West End Project is changing not just how people travel in the Tottenham Court Road area, but how it looks and feels.
Issues which have affected the area for some time are being addressed, including traffic congestion, a lack of public open space and poor air quality. Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden, said: “The transformation to Gower Street and Bloomsbury Street is another important step as the West End Project comes closer to completion.
“As well as the work to turn the street two way for vehicles, new segregated cycle lanes will also open on Gower Street and Bloomsbury Street making it safer for cyclists to travel around the area. “This work connects with improvements on Tottenham Court Road, which from Monday 1 February has sections which can be used by cyclists and buses only at key times. This will further improve the area for pedestrians and cyclists, reducing congestion and making the area safer. “I would also like to remind pedestrians of the important need to look both ways when crossing Gower and Bloomsbury Street. Please use the new crossings that have been installed, or if crossing at another part of the road, being aware of cyclists using the new cycle lanes.
“We will have stewards in the area to remind people of the changes for the first few days as well as TfL staff to assist drivers.”
Tottenham Court Road traffic restrictions related to the West End Project will also be implemented at this time. Between 8am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, sections of Tottenham Court Road will be for the use of buses and cyclists only.
Councillor Harrison continued: “We ask that drivers take their time when moving around the area while they get used to the changes, paying attention to and following all road signs. To help we have created travel maps which are available online.
“As well as the changes to the road layout, all the Gower and Bloomsbury Street improvements will also be finished at this time, so pedestrians can enjoy the new pavements, paved in high quality York stone, whilst a new diagonal crossing at Tottenham Court Road tube station will be added this year.
“The next stage of work is to complete the new green and public spaces including the transformation of a road into a park on Alfred Place and the new public space at Princes Circus.”
Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: "We know just how important it is to make sure streets in Camden and beyond are safer, less congested and more welcoming to people walking and cycling.
“These latest changes as part of the TfL funded West End Project, including the new segregated cycle lanes on Gower Street and Bloomsbury Street, will make a real difference to people moving around the area.
“Walking and cycling have been absolutely vital to enabling Londoners to get around safely during the coronavirus pandemic and we'll continue to work closely with Camden Council on further measures to create much needed extra space across the borough."
Tony Dougal, Eurovia Contracting Project Lead, said: “We have worked as delivery partners with London Borough of Camden and Norman Rourke Prime since the start of the West End Project.
“This is exactly the sort of local, community-led scheme we love to deliver. The changes implemented here will shape how local people and visitors to the West End use this space, which is a really exciting project to be part of.
“Working as one team, we have adapted the delivery plans to keep local people and our workforce safe during the current pandemic. My thanks go to everyone involved in this project who have made it such a success.”