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."