The name Euston Circus might not be overly familiar amongst residents of K-Town but I bet most of you have experienced this unpleasant, somewhat perilous, crossing whilst walking or cycling into central London. It’s certainly a depressingly regular experience for me.
Euston Circus is a real no-man’s land, where Euston Road meets Hampstead Road to the north and Tottenham Court Road to the south. The junction has long been a nightmare for any time-pressed pedestrian or safety-conscious cyclist; navigating a multitude of crossings (13 in total), relentless traffic dominating from every angle – and don’t get me started on the noise and fumes. So I think it really does matter that Transport for London has come up with a solution which they assure us will make Euston Circus ‘greener, safer and more user friendly’.
The Euston Circus proposal offers a simplified traffic layout that will reduce the number of crossings. Also proposed is the creation of a new public space with wider pavements, seating, new trees and landscaping improvements. It sounds good – and it has to be better than the situation now, anyway. And whilst the scheme may be less sexy than the Japanese-inspired redesign of Oxford Circus – most notably absent is the famous diagonal crossing – the improved junction should provide a safer, welcoming place for pedestrians and cyclists.
The overhaul doesn’t stop at Euston Circus, either – the redesign will facilitate the introduction of a much-needed southbound bus lane along Tottenham Court Road. Currently everything gets sucked down traffic-clogged Gower Street, so this alone feels like good news too.
But will all this redesigning cause even more short-term misery? Apparently not. TfL promise that works will be contained at one corner of the junction at a time over the course of a year, starting in the north east. That remains to be seen, but for this weary pedestrian any temporary disruption will be surely worth it, as Euston Circus promises to go from being one of my least favourite places in the borough to something, well, a little more slick. Here’s hoping, anyway.
Words & Main Pic: Clare Healy
Why It Matters is published in association with Discount Insurance, whose boss bloke is a proper Kentishtowner. All editorial is our own.