Improving Euston Road will form a “key part” of making the connection between High Speed 2 (HS2) and HS1 a success, a Camden Council boss has said.
HS1, the line which takes Eurostar trains to France, currently terminates at St Pancras in London and HS2’s southern terminal will be at Euston Station, currently around a 10 minute walk away.
Camden Council director of regeneration and planning David Joyce said: “We want for people to get out and use the walking routes. It only takes a few minutes talk to walk from HS2 to HS1, and it is actually a very pleasant walk, so we really endorse that.
“The one key part of that is that we really do need to sort Euston Road out.”
A 10 minute, 750m walking route is currently the favoured option to connect the two stations. However, the main route of the two proposed walking routes would be along the major six lane road running through north London.
In 2016, action group ClientEarth published a report in which it named Euston Road as being one of the top 20 blackspots for toxic air in London.
In HS2’s 2015 report into link options, it said the Euston Road option was the more “prominent” of the two walking routes, however “the high levels of vehicle and pedestrian traffic would limit the achievable environmental quality”.
An alternative “enhanced” walking route to the north using Phoenix Road was priced at a preliminary £2.25M to build (using 2010 prices) due to the required landscaping, signage and wayfinding needed along the route.
Joyce said the council was not in favour of some of the other schemes which had been presented. These include an elevated automated people mover (APM or monorail solution) priced at around £226M to build or a direct rail link between the two which was taken out of the hybrid bill at an early stage.
“There was a plan to have a link to go to through the heart of Camden Town, but it would have killed Camden Town which is one of our historic town centres,” he said. “We were not in favour of that and I’m very pleased when that link was taken out.
“We also weren’t in favour of putting in things like a monorail through Somers Town.”
HS2 commercial director Tom Venner said he was “personally delighted” that the two stations were not physically connected as he said making people walk between the two would “enliven” the area.
Referring to £248M sub-surface APM which was also proposed, he said there would be a “missed opportunity” if people remained underground between the two stations.
“If we look at an underground tunnel people don’t emerge and they don’t get to enjoy and experience that part of London and I think we will lose something from that,” said Venner. “I think if you had a strong arm, you could throw a tennis ball between the two and if you get people out, they will stop, experience and dwell.”
A similar situation currently exists in Paris with passengers arriving on the Eurostar at Gare du Nord having to make a 10 minute walk to connect to trains to the south of France from Gare de l’Est.
Euston Station is the most complex of the four HS2 stations on the phase 1 route. To try to dampen concerns over the whether the station will allow east west connectivity, it was announced last week that the new HS2 station will have entrances on all four sides.
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