Thursday, 14 April 2011

Blackfriars - Now a fourth political party condemns the scheme. Surely TfL has to consider its approach to 'traffic flow' now?

I wrote a few weeks ago about how Val Shawcross and John Biggs of London Assembly Labour Party together with Jenny Jones of the Green Party had been instrumental in forcing Transport for London to re-open its consultation on Blackfriars Bridge.
I also wrote at the time that I felt uncomfortable wading into politics on this blog.

But I'm delighted to discover today that Andrew Boff, Conservative Assembly Member has also joined in the criticism of TfL. Andrew has commented to the TfL consultation also broadly in support of amending this scheme to make this bridge more cycle-friendly. I've copied his comments below.

This is great news. Caroline Pidgeon of the LibDems has also expressed support although I haven't seen her written comments.

That means all three major political parties plus the Greens are lined up against TfL's policy of forcing as much traffic through this junction as quickly as possible. Because it is exactly that policy of ensuring that maximum flow of motor vehicles as quickly as possible that is the issue here. And it's the same issue all across London.

That is why boroughs like Kensington & Chelsea can get away with stating in their official transport plans that "it is not practical to allocate road space specifically to cyclists". It is also why the City of London can spend tens of millions on plant pots and fancy paving and get away with 'improving the public realm' rather than making the roads safer, easier, less stressful for both cyclists and pedestrians.

I know these objections so far are all about Blackfriars. But it's very encouraging to see that London Assembly Labour, Green, LibDem and now Conservative party Assembly Members are all standing up and asking TfL to change their tune.

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From: Andrew Boff
Sent: Thu 4/14/2011 3:25 PM
To: STEngagement@tfl.gov.uk
Cc: Kulveer Ranger
Subject: Blackfriars Bridge

It strikes me that the revised plans are inadequate for the purposes of safe cycling. I accept that this is a complicated junction and that due weight needs to be given to the requirements of motor vehicles and the need to avoid too much queueing. An equal, if not greater, weight needs to be given to the cycle users.
A summary of my concerns is as follows:
There are too many gaps where cycle lanes are undelineated;
The complexity of the arrangement makes it a hazard for cyclist not familiar with the junction;
The number of cyclists using the bridge is likely to increase over the next few years and there should, therefore, be flexibility built into the scheme to cope with future modifications;
There is an opportunity for a continuous cycle lane from Queen Victoria Street round to the bridge which has been sacrificed for the purposes of creating a bulge in the footpath whcih seems to make little sense - the footfall is moving;
The provision of advanced stop lines is welcome but doesn't take into account that most drivers don't seem to know what they are;
There is an inadequate explantion for the size of the traffic island in the middle of the scheme.
All in all, the scheme does not seem to be a net improvement for cyclists. I think this needs to be revisited.

Andrew Boff
Londonwide Assembly Member
LONDON ASSEMBLY
City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA
GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY