Monday, 31 October 2011

New junction at Stamford Street - Pedestrian & cycle crossings only if it doesn't impact motor traffic

Blackfriars / Stamford St junction. New crossings
subject to motor vehicle requirements
Here's the scene at the south side of Blackfriars Bridge. Six lanes of motor traffic in total.

If you are one of the thousands of people who cycle over this bridge to Waterloo, you have to get into the fourth lane to turn right. Not pleasant.

There's a cycle track in the middle of the road. No one uses it because it doesn't really go anywhere you'd want to go.

Plenty of people do cycle across the shared crossing to turn into Upper Ground and head west along the river, though. That means crossing the road twice, waiting in a caged traffic island, along with dozens of pedestrians, also rammed on to the narrow island. It's narrow, inconvenient and thoroughly awkward for everyone who uses it.  You often see people cycle over the bridge, get off their bikes in the middle of the road and walk over the other side just to avoid the ridiculous pedestrian crossing.

Try walking from the bridge further south? You have to cross four lanes of motor traffic on Stamford Street without a pedestrian crossing and traffic is ALWAYS on green from one direction going across that junction.

There's a massive amount of space here. But cyclists and pedestrians are crammed into tiny, inconvenient crossings (where they exist at all) so that as many motor vehicles as possible can get through the junction without being inconvenienced.

Everything about this junction screams priority for the motorist. Even though the motorist is in the minority here and is outnumbered by pedestrians and cyclists.

One Blackfriars - TfL won't build pedestrian crossings until private
developer pays. How wrong is that?
So, here's some news that is the usual Transport for London rubbish. TfL is going to sort out the junction. Hooray.

But only when someone builds One Blackfriars -the shiny tower block pictured left. Because TfL can't spend money on pedestrians and cyclists, can it? No, it has to wait for private developers to give it some cash instead. The problem is that the development is going through various legal dingdongs at the moment. So, no pedestrian or cycle crossings for some time to come.

Here's what TfL has to say about the junction and what it's proposing, part of a letter to Labour Assembly Member John Biggs.

"Unfortunately TfL is not able to provide a formal pedestrian crossing at the Stamford Street/Blackfriars Road junction without significant re-working of the junction layout.  Whilst it is understood that there is support for improvements at the Stamford St junction the costs are significant.  The number and severity of collisions at this junctions are below the Borough average and TfL’s limited funding is directed to the highest priority locations.  Once the developer S106 money becomes available  (subject to a traffic impact assessment) a new pedestrian facility at the Stamford Street junction arm with Blackfriars Road, the provision of a straight across crossing to replace the staggered facility and also the removal of the barriered cycle track in the middle of the carriageway south of Blackfriars Bridge will take place.  "

Notice the words: "subject to a traffic impact assessment".

So, here you have it. Yet again. Under Boris Johnson at the moment, Transport for London's policy means that pedestrians and cyclists come second to motor vehicles, only get safe pedestrian crossings when a private developer pays and this happens even when they are in the majority. Hardly encouraging Londoners to walk and cycle and to reduce road congestion is it?