Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Amazing result: Conservatives join the Green party and force TfL re-think about Blackfriars Bridge

The other Blackfriars Bridge. Just for a change. Because it seems
the London Assembly is making changes happen.
Earlier today, in a motion tabled by Green party Jenny Jones and then re-written by Andrew Boff from the Conservatives, the London Assembly voted for a motion calling for a full review of Blackfriars. According to Jones, the vote was unanimous. Andrew Boff brought the entire Conservative party with him. As Jones commented on her twitter feed: "He brought the Tories with him, which was fairly amazing & means much harder for Mayor to ignore".

As I understand, Boff was instrumental in beefing up an earlier motion by Jenny Jones that was then supported by Labour and LibDem. The original motion pushed solely for a 20mph limit. Reports on the SE1 website here suggest he amended the text about 20mph, pushing instead for a "review" of the speed limit and also this: "We also urge the Mayor to revisit the plans for the bridge with particular attention to cyclists making right turns when exiting the bridge at either end."

A few people have complained this is a watering-down of the original motion, which you can see here. Frankly, my own view is that a motion with cross party support, voted for by the entire London Assembly, that demands a speed limit review AND a review of the junction design, is a considerably more powerful statement than a motion for 20mph supported only by three of the four main parties. As Jenny Jones says, it's fairly amazing and much much harder for the Mayor to ignore.

I have to say, some Assembly Members have really stood out on this. Jenny Jones, Green, Val Shawcross and John Biggs, Labour, Caroline Pidgeon, LibDems and now Andrew Boff and James Cleverly, Conservative.

Thank you all. I couldn't have said it better myself.
 
The London Assembly press release issued later this afternoon is here

The full text of the motion below:

“This Assembly notes the decision to revert to a 30 mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge. We also note the recent decision of the Corporation of London to consider plans for the whole of the City of London to become a 20mph zone, and understand that if they take this decision they would be likely to ask Transport for London to agree to make TfL roads 20mph. This Assembly asks that the Mayor instructs TfL to implement a full review investigating the practicalities, advantages and disadvantages of a 20mph limit on Blackfriars Bridge . The review should include previous TfL reports, such as that on 20mph speed limit on London's Thames bridges and also the effect of such a change on all road users (including pedestrians) north, south or on the bridge itself. Meanwhile, TfL should keep under review the decision to revert to a 30 mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge. We also urge the Mayor to revisit the plans for the bridge with particular attention to cyclists making right turns when exiting the bridge at either end.”

(with thanks to Jack Thurston and for more background see this page here from the London Cycling Campaign)