Reducing speed, collisions and rat-running are all at the heart of plans to make one of London’s most popular Royal Parks even safer.
The proposals, included in a consultation launched today by Transport for London (TfL), have the backing of The Royal Parks and are intended to help all users of The Regent’s Park feel safer, by reducing the amount of traffic in the park and introducing measures to encourage road users to moderate their behaviour at several key junctions.
The proposals, which feature plans for Cycle Superhighway 11 through the park, include improving four of the park’s busiest road junctions, discouraging motorists from using the park as a rat run and helping to reduce traffic speed.
The key elements of The Regent’s Park proposals include:
- stopping vehicles from accessing the park at North Gate (Macclesfield Bridge), York Gate, Park Square West and Park Square East except between 11am and 3pm. The latest study, using automatic number plate recognition cameras, showed that during peak hours up to 80 per cent of motorists use the park as a rat run, leaving within 15 minutes of entering the Outer Circle. The Royal Parks wants to ensure vehicles are using park roads to visit the park or its facilities such as the zoo. The park will remain accessible for residents at all times.
- introducing raised tables at Hanover Gate, Gloucester Gate, Clarence Gate and St Andrews Place (near Park Square East), all on the Outer Circle. Figures from an Ipsos MORI survey show these four areas annually attract among the highest number of pedestrians (about 2.4million) and cyclists (about 47,000). The study monitored 16 of the busiest pedestrian and road gates in the park. It is intended that introducing these new features will make it safer and easier for all pedestrians, particularly those less mobile, to cross, and will also make motorists and cyclists more alert to and considerate of other park users.
- redesigning junctions and improving pedestrian crossing points at all major entrances to the park as well as the entrance to London Zoo.
- considering other ways to manage vehicle speeds including installing signage and speed cameras. A study undertaken in 2014 showed that the majority of speeds were above the 30mph limit, with speeds as high as 91mph recorded on the Outer Circle.
It is hoped the proposals will also help reduce the number of collisions in the park with TfL statistics showing that collision rates on roads in The Regent’s Park are about 60 per cent higher than other local roads.
The Royal Parks’ Ruth Holmes, who is working closely with TfL to lead this project, said: “The overall plan for The Regent’s Park seeks to tackle four key issues; speed, collisions, through traffic and the safety and comfort of park visitors. All the measures being proposed will complement each other and make the park a much better place for all users.
“We want to make sure the Outer Circle is seen as an important part of the park and not just like any other road in London, and as such we believe this should be used to access park facilities and the zoo, not as a short-cut.
“We have worked closely with TfL to ensure this plan encompasses a wide range of issues to improve visitor experience of the park.”
Nick Biddle, The Regent’s Park Manager, said: “We cater for such a wide range of users that any plans we put forward aren’t going to please everyone. We try as hard as possible to introduce measures which we hope will make users considerate of each other, but we have to be clear that the safety of everyone in the park is at the centre of what we’re trying to do here.
“We have already spoken to lots of park users and many of those views have helped shape these proposals. Our ultimate aim is simply to make sure the park is a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone.
“I know there have already been a lot of views shared on plans for The Regent’s Park and we’re pleased that so many are taking a keen interest in what’s happening. It’s now your chance to tell TfL what you think about the plans by sharing your thoughts through the consultation.”
These proposals are part of a wider project linked to the latest phase of TfL’s Cycle Superhighway 11 plans to provide a specific cycle route between Swiss Cottage and the West End.
More information about the proposals can be found on the TfL website where you can also submit your views: www.tfl.gov.uk/cs11. Closing date for submissions is March 20.