|Blackfriars northern junction. How a normal |
city might design this space to give 'equality' to
pedestrians, cycles and motor vehicles.
And in that order
This is very similar wording to TfL's new head of surface transport who justifies how TfL can't make conditions better for cycling or walking because it has a 'duty' to give equal priority to all users:
As the responsible highway authority Transport for London (TfL) has a ‘Network Management Duty’, as defined by the Traffic Management Act 2004, to ensure all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, bus passengers and general traffic, have equal priority in using the road network.
My understanding is that TfL's obligation under the Traffic Management Act 2004 is to: Ensure the expeditious movement of traffic on its own road network; and Facilitate the expeditious movement of traffic on the networks of others
What I am beginning to feel is that TfL and the London Conservative Assembly Members may be re-intepreting the Traffic Act and talking about 'traffic' as exclusively motorised traffic. Which is odd, really. Because as Mr Daniels states, the Traffic Management Act is very clear that TfL's obligation is to create an efficient network for everyone, including pedestrians. In fact, the Act states very clearly that “traffic” includes pedestrians.
Furthermore, TfL's own guidance on its obligations under the Act states that:
"Where the volume of cyclists exceeds approximately 20% of the traffic volume on any one approach they may have a disproportional effect on modelling results and their influence may need further attention. For this reason it is encouraged to ensure classified traffic surveys explicitly include cyclists."
In the morning and afternoon peaks, 37% of vehicles on the Blackfriars junction are people on cycles. So, let's see if TfL has ensured that it has taken those cyclist flows into account, as its own obligations insist it must:
First attempt to see if TfL has included cycling in its modelling for Blackfriars junction was a Freedom of Information request in March:
"TfL is not obliged to supply this information to you.......TfL recognises the need for openness and transparency but considers that the public interest favours maintaining this exception as disclosure of incomplete modeling work could give a false impression of the impacts of the scheme. TfL considers that the public interest is better served by allowing TfL to complete and audit the modelling in line with changes made to the scheme."
Only yesterday a TfL information officer told one of my colleagues that "the safety audit should be fully signed off by the end of the week. Discussions are ongoing with Signals regarding the modelling". In other words, it seems the modelling for cycling and pedestrians still hasn't been done. If that's the case, then claims by London's Conservative Assembly Members about the potential down-sides of retaining 20mph on Blackfriars are based on complete and utter fiction.
But let's just be sure about this:
Second, third and fourth attemps to see if TfL has included cycling or walking in its models for Blackfriars junction were questions posed to the Mayor by Assembly Members that relate to cycling and Blackfriars Bridge at Mayor's Question Time sessions and which were not answered at the time:
Question by Valerie Shawcross
‘The number of bicycle casualties occurring on the Thames Crossings has continued to rise under this administration. Can the Mayor please provide an update on its work with the DfT on performance led innovation at traffic signals? Does the Mayor feel that an advanced green phase for cyclists on the Thames Bridges would provide a safer environment for those crossing the river, for example by giving cyclists the time needed to cross several lanes of traffic?’
Answer by Boris Johnson
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.