Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Mayor's report: Everything's rosy in the garden. Blackfriars is all sorted. Cyclists' report: No it absolutely is not


The Mayor sends a monthly report to the London Assembly. The latest edition (from this morning's meeting) gives an interesting description of the Blackfriars situation. Click here to view the document on the Mayor's website and scroll to page 10 if you want to see more detail. 

In summary, the Mayor is claiming "Cyclists’ concerns accounted for in revised plans for Blackfriars junction"

The full text is below. In short, the Mayor is stating that the junction is now safe for every user. 

There is a constant drip drip of utterly false good news coming from the Mayor's office and from Transport for London about Blackfriars. 

I've created a link here to the timeline of 'everything Blackfriars'. Reading the headlines on that page alone should give you a potted summary of what's happened and what's wrong with this scheme. The latest position is that LibDems, Labour, Green and now Conservative party members of the London Assembly all think the Mayor's assertion that 'cyclists' concerns have been accounted for' are complete balderdash. Not only that, even the President of the Automobile Association is asserting that "cyclists need safer conditions on Blackfriars".

I would say to Transport for London, yes, some concerns have been addressed. But the scheme still increases motor vehicle lanes by 30%, making a lot of manoeuvres on this junction far more dangerous. It increases the speed limit from 20mph to 30mph. TfL asserts insanities such as this one here where it claims that it's fine if motor vehicles speed across this bridge and the junction because there aren't that many cyclists outside of rush hour. They utterly fail to comprehend the reason that there aren't that many cyclists outside of rush hour (as pointed out brilliantly here) is precisely because too many motor vehicles speed over the bridge and through this junction, rendering it useless for anyone on a cycle who can't keep up with a volley of 30-40mph motor vehicles behind them.  

At this sorry stage, I can suggest two immediate courses of action:

1) Keep writing to your Assembly Members and copy in the Mayor. You can find the link of Assembly Members and a form to use to contact them here


Quotation from the Mayor's report this morning:

"Cyclists’ concerns about proposed changes to the junction outside Blackfriars station have been addressed in revised plans released by Transport for London on 18 May.

Changes need to be made to the junction to take into account an increase in people using the area later this year when improvements being made by Network Rail are complete and the station reopens. The views of cyclists who were concerned by the original plans have been taken into account in a new design that will allow every road user to navigate the junction safely.

Transport for London reconsidered the plans on behalf of Network Rail’s consultants and concluded that changes could be made to the layout that would safely allow the northbound cycle lane outside Blackfriars station to be widened to 2 metres and retain the 1.5 metre southbound cycle lane outside Blackfriars station.

I am very pleased that Transport for London has taken the feedback from cyclists who use this junction into account and used their comments to deliver the best scheme possible. The changes they have made support my desire to improve the facilities for cyclists right across the Capital.

The junction at the north end of Blackfriars Bridge is extremely complex and a lot of work has gone in to try and balance the needs of all road users to ensure they can pass through the junction safely.

Transport for London, working on behalf of Network Rail, will begin work on the changes in June 2011 ahead of the reopening of Blackfriars station at the end of the year."

10 comments:

  1. Is it just me, or does "I am very pleased that Transport for London has taken the feedback from cyclists who use this junction into account and used their comments to deliver the best scheme possible" smack of "you cyclists should be glad for what you get?" to anyone else too?!

    The whole point about Blackfriars, as you've so eloquently plugged away at here, is that it is creating crappy compromised conditions which are unsafe for cycling (the growing road user on the bridge) in order not to create civilizing conditions for all by restraining, just a little, motorised traffic (the declining road user group on the Bridge)

    It's just utter b*llocks!

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  2. i think the mayor will ignore petitions.

    time for a sit-down on the bridge. he likes an easy life. this makes his life difficult.

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  3. and we need to keep plugging that it's not just about 20mph. even at 20mph, the junction is dangerous. it needs a thorough redesign, nothing less.

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  4. I've edited this for accuracy:

    "Cyclists’ concerns about proposed changes to the junction outside Blackfriars station have not been addressed in revised plans released by Transport for London on 18 May.

    Changes need to be made to the junction to take into account an increase in pedestrians using the area later this year when improvements being made by Network Rail are complete and the station reopens, but not the significant increase in cyclists using this bridge in recent years. The views of cyclists who were concerned by the original plans were unwanted, but they complained loudly so have been taken into account in a new design we hope is the minimum that we need do to get them to shut up.

    Transport for London was forced to reconsider the plans on behalf of Network Rail’s consultants after an outcry by campaigners and pressure from the London Assembly. They realised that changes could be made to the layout that would safely allow the northbound cycle lane outside Blackfriars station to be widened to 2 metres and retain the 1.5 metre southbound cycle lane outside Blackfriars station, as they hadn't given it any thought on the first version.

    I am very pleased that Transport for London has taken the hit for me. The changes they have made support my desire to appear to improve the facilities for cyclists right across the Capital, whilst ensuring that motorists are not delayed on their important journeys.

    The junction at the north end of Blackfriars Bridge is needlessly complex and a lot of work has gone in to try and increase the speed of all motorised users to ensure they can pass through the junction without delay.

    Transport for London, working on behalf of Network Rail, will begin work on the changes in June 2011 ahead of the reopening of Blackfriars station at the end of the year. Whether you like it or not"

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  5. And seriously, I can't help but think that taking the protest to the Mayor is the next step - pissing off motorists and bus passengers on the Bridge is a dangerous game, I'd far rather we bothered Boris himself.

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  6. i disagree. cycling campaigning has been blighted by years of politeness, meekness, and fear of pissing people off - and cyclists end up dying (on crap infrastructure and urban motorways) because of it. the cabbies have no qualms about threatening to block the roads just because they can't use the vip routes at the olympics. safety has way more moral weight. boris won't care if he'spersonally bothered - but if the roads get blocked, everyone's going to be on his back to get things sorted out.

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  7. Cabbies work on the roads, majority of us don't, so unless we block them on a Saturday, which won't be much use, then I don't see how you keep a large enough group together to make it work.

    Cabbies also don't have the same issues with public opinion, people hate 'us' for our better-than-you attitude, RLJing, pavement cycling and general sandlewearingness.

    We need to be loud, but not rude. Our action should be fun, engaging, participatory and wherever possible not about bikes - we should be with the young and old, pedestrians, the imobile, local residents - the case isn't about cycling facilities, it's about good streets and ending the primacy of the motorist. What we want is good for *everybody*.

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  8. cabbies have plenty of issues with public opinion, they just don't care. nor should we. it is not about being popular, it is about being safe.

    but yes, celebratory protest is good. if it is not at least a little confrontational, though, it will be ignored.

    we need to ask for concrete, measurable things, (whether facilities, road space, crossings, or speed limits) not just 'good streets'

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  9. Yes,I too think that simply asking for better conditions isn't going to cut it. There has to be a vision for cycling in London and I haven't yet seen it anywhere. I guess some people might think that Superhighways are a godsend for people riding bikes, while for those using it, most of them are pretty pointless if not useless.
    As to making ourselves seen and heard might I suggest starting as we already have, and upping the volume every time we are not heard instead of wreaking havoc on day one? Yet one mustn't forget that the impetus will one day dis
    appear so something needs to be done quickly...

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  10. cab drivers actually take up more space than any other commuter, because when driving around looking for custom, they count as a zero occupancy vehicle. That makes them less efficient than anything else.

    Their willingness to protest about their issues legitimises anyone on bicycles protesting, and yes, the london assembly and Boris look like the next steps for change.

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