TfL limits buses to 10mph on Tottenham Court Road after ‘a number of collisions’ with pedestrians

More than five months after Tottenham Court Road changed from one-way to two-way traffic a woman has become the fourth person to be struck by a southbound bus on the same pedestrian crossing.

Bus at night.

Police investigate the latest collision which happened on Thursday evening. Four pedestrians have been hospitalised after being hit by southbound buses on the new pedestrian crossing.

The woman, who has not been named, was hit by a route 29 bus operated by Arriva driven southbound on the central London street.

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson told Fitzrovia News: “We were called at 9:55pm on Thursday 26 September to reports of a road traffic collision involving a pedestrian on Tottenham Court Road, Fitzrovia.”

An ambulance crew treated a woman at the scene for a facial injury and took her to hospital.

Three previous collisions appear to have happened in near identical circumstances.

On the morning of Tuesday 11 June a man in his 30s and a southbound number 24 bus operated by Metroline collided; a week later on Tuesday 18 June a pedestrian and a southbound bus operated by Arriva collided; and then on Monday 2 September a female student from SOAS University of London was knocked unconscious by a southbound bus also operated by Arriva.

All the collisions occurred on the pedestrian crossing on the southbound carriageway just south of the junction with Torrington Place. The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association has called on Camden Council and Transport for London to review the layout of the new junction which it says has become a collision hot spot.

Following the latest incident TfL instructed all bus drivers not to exceed 10 miles per hour day or night on Tottenham Court Road until further notice.

Tom Cunnington, TfL’s Head of bus business development, told Fitzrovia News: “We are sorry that a woman was injured after a collision involving a route 29 bus, operated by Arriva, on Tottenham Court Road last Thursday evening.

“Following the changes that have been made to Tottenham Court Road there have been a number of collisions between buses and pedestrians.

“While speed has not been a common factor, we are introducing this temporary measure as a precaution prior to Camden Council completing the project and pedestrians becoming used to the new layout,” he said.

Significantly, nowhere in Cunnington’s statement is there any doubt about the design of the road junction and pedestrian crossing — it is just that people need to get used to it. But how long will that take?

Tottenham Court Road switched to two-way traffic on 20 April 2019 as part of Camden’s West End Project, which is part-funded by TfL. Only cycles and buses can currently travel southbound on Tottenham Court Road.

When the project is completed in spring 2020 cars, lorries and taxis will be restricted from parts of Tottenham Court Road at certain times under the £35 million transformation of the street.

By March 2020, Gower Street will also switch to two-way traffic, with protected cycle lanes along its length.

Camden Council has said: “The project will provide safer, greener and more attractive streets for residents and visitors helping to attract, sustain and boost local businesses. This includes wider pavements with new high quality materials, the removal of street clutter and new pedestrian crossings.”

But the latest incident suggests that Camden and TfL are failing to deliver on their promises. With all those changes planned on two very busy central London streets, there are a lot of new road layouts for pedestrians to get used to.

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