Share Your Bridgeman Road Ideas
21st October 2020
What would you suggest to make the route between West Library and Thornhill Square greener? What do you think of a play street? Or would cycle parking be great? Can you send us a picture of streets you’ve seen that look peaceful and pleasant to sit in? Tell us more below and become part of the conversation. We want every local to get involved in the project.
I would love to see this street pedestrianised with trees, herbs, flowers and benches. The square as a whole has wide streets and there is always parking elsewhere. The large tree does appear to be almost falling over, which concerning in high winds.
Thanks for your comment, Yeshen. We’ll have your suggestions and concerns in mind for the future Bridgeman Road. In the meantime, have you tried our design tool to project your own Freeling Street? If not, give it a go as this is the first phase of Cultivating Cally. Tell us what flowers, trees and planters you’d like to see on Freeling Street and help us to create a beautiful green space for everyone to enjoy 🙂
Can we Have It All: trees, garden, play space, seats……?
That’s the aim, yes, unfortunately, we do have a limited budget which means we need to choose based on what local residents mention the most. This is why we are collecting information via our design tool here or social media. The more suggestions the better. 🙂
Selfishly speaking, as a resident myself in Thornhill Crescent, it would be great if the short stretch of street was made prettier with trees, herbs flowers and benches as suggested BUT I don’t think this is a time to be selfish. Instead, the whole street should be converted into free short-term parking to support the shops and businesses on the Caledonian Road, many of which are apparently on their last legs. There is a substantial minority of people who need or prefer to use their cars for shopping.
For the next few years at least, supporting local small enterprises should generally be a priority, I suggest. And preventing Caledonian Road from becoming a string of boarded-up empty premises when instead it could become a useful local high street for me should be the priority.
Of course, the best solution for those shops, pubs, cafés and restaurants would be a wholesale rethinking of the Caledonian Road, with free short-term parking in several places and pavement extensions to allow outdoor eating and drinking in others. But since that’s not going to happen, this at least is one small opportunity to do something to prevent the desertification of what could and should be a soulful friendly and semi-traditional “high street”.
Thanks for your input, Stephen. We understand your point of view and free short-term parking is necessary. We couldn’t agree more with you that local businesses indeed need everyone’s help at this point in time. It would be interesting to have a broader conversation on what can be done to help them in a way that will result in long-term solutions. Maybe you can be the one who starts this conversation with them? 🙂 However, the focus of our project is to green the area so that we’re working towards a future with better air quality, less pollution, and a more balanced lifestyle. It is proven that green spaces and the contact with nature/plants improve people’s mental health, which has been extremely affected by consecutive lockdowns, and which consequences will be felt in years to come. Ultimately, we hope that with little changes in the surrounding environment, we can inspire local communities to be healthier, use the car less, bikes and public transportation more, and… be happier. It’s a tough task, but we do need to start somewhere, and somehow.🙂
I am very supportive of these ideas and think that the stub end of Bridgeman Road and Freeling Street are both very promising locations for creating new small urban parks. I also support the idea of creating a green route linking Thornhill Square and Bingfield Park. I would suggest that this should be seen as part of a wider strategy to improve east-west access to the King’s Cross development, so that the route from Bingfield Park to York Way should form part of the planning. Both the wider strategy and the detailed planning for Bridgeman Road and Freeling Street should incorporate cycle as well as pedestrian access. Cyclists frequently use Bridgeman Road to access Caledonian Road at present, but the lack of even a dropped kerb is notable. Encouraging cycle use through new pocket parks could help to deter anti-social behaviour which is an important consideration given the location. I am reluctant to suggest a specific design for the new pocket parks as this needs expert input. However in general I would favour the
permanent removal of asphalt, planting some new medium-sized trees on Bridgeman Road, and planters both there and on Freeling Street. The design obviously has to be sympathetic to the setting in detail. That may suggest a more formal feel to the Bridgeman Road/Caledonian Road junction, as it transitions to the remarkable buildings beyond, with softer planting further back, and a more informal feel to Freeling Street. There are lots of examples around, but all need to be site specific. Worth a glance at what Hackney did on Ufton Road and Hertford Road (north end) to close the roads. Both create some greenery. The former is a missed opportunity in my view, at the latter however I have seen kids happily playing.
Hi Philip. Glad you could join this conversation. Very helpful suggestions and examples you’ve given us. Many thanks from the Cultivating Cally team.
I would absolutely love to see this as a play street. It’s the least the children deserve after enduring lockdown and being isolated from their friends. They should be free to play in the streets without the danger of cars, and being invited to play in a street not just a playground tells them that they are part of the community. The only other permanent play street I can think of is Murrain Road near Clissold Park, designed by MUF architecture/art.
I do think it’s possible to have it all, if you choose street furniture that doubles up as more than one thing, eg. benches that are shaped in a way that encourages play – sloped to act as a slide, with twists and turns, space to crawl underneath, or shaped like steps. (Perhaps like the orange ones by Jeppe Hein on the Southbank) Trees which add greenery and which children can climb or attach a rope swing. Colourful playful patterned pathways and space to scoot. Swing seats or hammocks which can be used by adults and children alike.
I would also love to see this area become pedestrianised with large planters, seating, tables / picnic benches, and some sort of sense of protection / intimacy by either creating cozy corners or pergolas covered with greenery. It would be great to also have murals be integrated and a welcoming sense of coziness could also be achieved by including year round fairy lights on the taller greenery.
The biggest issue I find with this area is that it is a very important crossing for bicycles going East/West as there is already filtering at Hemingford Rd. and it is much flatter and safer than Copenhagen street which does not have enough space for cyclists (cars drive VERY close), the road surface is very poor with many holes and it is a very steep hill.
This could be solved by dropping the curbs of both Tilloch and Bridgeman rd with the zebra crossing moved to be situated directly at the end of Bridgeman Rd with some indication of bicycles crossing next to the crossing (much like the crossing from Granary Sq across Goods Way in KX). A bike lane through Bridgeman rd would take very little space and could be behind planters to allow protection for pedestrians.
I have included a link to a zip file filled with pix that incorporate many of the above ideas.
It is very exciting to hear that there will finally be public spaces in the Cally. I am very much looking forward to seeing what is created!