Thursday, 19 May 2011

London Cycle Campaign finally gets angry: Proposes Blackfriars flash-ride Friday morning

Update:

Review of Friday morning's FLASH-RIDE over Blackfriars Bridge here

From Yesterday:
Evening Standard - Ross Lydall blog highlights LCC action
Crap Walthamstow - I think a world-first. Crap Walthamstow flags the LCC response.
WF Cycling - Why Blackfriars matters to us here in Waltham Forest

I think this is the first time ALL people who cycle and walk in London agree that the way Transport for London plans our streets has to change. The London Cycling Campaign has come out fighting and plans to leaflet people tomorrow morning at Blackfriars Bridge about how TfL simply ignores Londoners if they don't want to drive everywhere all the time. More details here and my thoughts below. Details about tomorrow morning at the bottom of this article.

---


Yesterday, I profiled the amendments that Transport for London will be implementing on Blackfriars Bridge. The fact that the combined efforts of hundreds of people and the input of politicians and associations has made TfL listen and modify its earlier plans. Plans which, at the time, TfL told us could not be changed have now been changed.

But in one crucial respect, nothing's changed.

Back in February I profiled TfL's initial response to criticism of the earlier scheme. That criticism was fairly mild at the time but TfL took a dogmatic line and stated:

"Reducing the number of lanes on the bridge would greatly restrict traffic movement and lead to significant queuing, potentially over a wide area."

At the time, I wrote:

No-one's asking them to reduce the number of lanes on the bridge. People are asking them not to install an additional lane that doesn't currently exist through each direction of the gyratory.

And the fact is, that issue is still live even with the new plans. If you live south of the river and you work in the City or in Hackney or in Islington, chances are, you cross the bridge and need to turn right into Queen Victoria Street.

And from late this year, that manoeuvre will mean traversing three lanes of motor traffic to get into the right hand filter where there's not even the puny concession of an advanced stop line. Try wobbling through that on a cycle hire bike with a string of taxis and an HGV behind you.

Almost uniquely in my memory, the London Cycling Campaign has come out fighting on this point with the rather apt comment "The choice for cyclists shouldn’t be to navigate through a dangerous junction or take a boat.”

And what's intrigued me (and this is the first time I can recall that the London Cycling Campaign has really stood up to be counted), is the LCC's call on all cyclists in London to meet for a 'flash-ride' outside the Doggetts pub on the south side of the bridge at 8.30 tomorrow morning to highlight the changes TfL is proposing to people who walk and cycle here. Especially here, where the vast majority of people are cycling or walking and where they're prepared to stick up for themselves. More details here and on the LCC twitter page.

A timeline of Blackfriars is here. How this all came about and some of the steps that have led up to today.