Friday, 16 November 2012

Five killed in less than three years at Elephant & Castle . This is why you should sign the petition calling on the Mayor to make the roads in this area safer.

Hichame Bouadimi - the latest person to be killed on the road
at Elephant & Castle. He was only five. Source, Evening Standard
Around about now, a group of people will be standing around Elephant & Castle roundabout collecting signatures.

Before we look at why they're doing this, let's look first at who they are. It's an impressive list:

Members of Southwark Living Streets; parents of Friars School; members of the Walworth Society; Friends of Borough Music School; members of Southwark Cyclists; parents and children of the Borough Babies group; Jacobs Island Residents Association; British School of Osteopathy Student Union; parents of Toad Hall Nursery; residents of Octavia Hill Residents Association; parents and teachers of Charles Dickens PTA; the congregation of Southwark Salvation Army Community Church. The list goes on. 

What's noticeable is that this is a list of parents, teachers, communities and residents. All of whom have to endure living and going to school at Elephant & Castle. 

Map of collisions with people on bikes at Elephant & Castle.
Source Levenes solicitors
And when I say "endure", what I mean is this: In the past two and a half years, almost 300 people have been  injured on the roads in and around the Elephant & Castle. Since Christmas 2011, four pedestrians have died including most recently five year-old Hichame Bouadimi

According to Southwark Living Streets: "The danger to all but most clearly to pedestrians and cyclists is endemic and long standing owing to the domination of the area by motor vehicles which move too fast and have too much space."

It seems that local people have had enough. 

The figures tell a different story. The table below is prepared by Southwark Living Streets and shows all casualties between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2012. What this data doesn't show is the number of people killed cycling here, because those incidents pre-dated January 2010. For example, Meryem Ozekman, 37, a fitness instructor from Southwark, crushed by a lorry in 2009 on the Elephant and Castle roundabout.

Fatalities and injuries at Elephant & Castle (30 months from 1 January 2010)

% all Casualties
Pedal Cycle

Powered 2 Wheeler

Bus/Coach/ Goods Vehicle


And if that's not enough to convince you, how about the comment by Nicole Cooke, Olympic cycling champion: "I certainly wouldn’t fancy riding across Vauxhall Cross or Elephant and Castle in rush hour"

Five people killed in 30 months, 38 serious injuries. 33% of all casualties here are cyclists. 80% of the deaths since 2010 have been pedestrians. 

The petition is simple. You should sign it:


We call on Transport for London to make the main roads in and around the Elephant & Castle safer and, 

1) introduce enforced 20mph speed limits on all of these roads, 

2) improve cycle safety on the Northern Roundabout, 

3) create more pedestrian crossings and 

4) narrow carriageways on St George’s Road and Newington Causeway.


  1. Saw a presentation about the Southern junction yesterday. The consultant made a big play about the cycle provision, but I was left thinking that there is a massive open space and it has been left as a crappy wasteland. The architect had a really elegant vision to start, but traffic capacity won. And I'm an engineer!

  2. St. George's Road is preposterously wide, there is more than enough space there for a two-way protected cycle path (or two one-ways, or even two two-ways). London Road and Newington Causeway are also very wide, with plenty of space.

    It's a crime that the authorities have driven de-facto motorways through the heart of our communities.

  3. There are 2 major construction projects poised to start at Elephant & Castle likely to generate between 100 and 300 HGV movements per day with the most damaging (to the road infrastructure) and dangerous (to pedestrians and cyclists) type of vehicle using the roads in London. They will typically be hauling waste material (demolition and site clearance) off the sites and bringing in fresh steel, aggregates and ready mixed concrete (a particularly 'dangerous load' due to the time sensitivity of it setting, if delayed, and the demands of a continuous pour process used for much modern construction).

    To that traffic you may well need to add the 300 truck movements per day to service 3 sites on the South Bank also planned for the imminent future. Those trucks may well also be heading down Blackfriars Road and through the Elephant to get out to processing/tipping sites Both locations have relatively direct access to the River Thames, and additionally there are disused trackbeds on some of the railway viaducts which could be used for loading trains (which would be moved using the railway capacity available outside the peak hours)

    Currently there is an under-used facility for loading containerised material on Lower Thames Street which sees 500T barges sitting to be loaded with general waste, but loads of up to 2000T can be carried on the river at least as far up as Battersea (and used to travel up as far as Brentford Docks and the old gasworks).

    To put this in perspective, the Francis Crick site was ferrying 5000 Tons per day with 40-50 32T trucks making 150 trips between St Pancras and Pitsea, when a railway siding (for aggregate deliveries) exists less than 0.5 Km away and could have shipped out trains carrying 1000-1500T per trip, with a disused 2 track railway less than 1 Km away which would have had even greater capacity. Doing this would have dramatically reduced carbon emissions for London, reduced serious damage to the roads, and removed the potential dangers of thousands of HGV movements through the City.

    Why wasn't this done? Well on the scale of an individual project it is just quicker and simpler to pay the £12,000-£15,000/day to ship it in 32T trucks (which cost around £300/day to keep on the road - so need to do at least 3 trips at £100/load to pay for themselves).

    TfL had closed the Freight Unit, but following from its resurrection for the Olympics, Leon Daniels (Director of Surface Transport) has noted that the work will be continued. The delivery of consolidation points to move the massive tonnages associated with London-scale construction projects has to be a TfL/GLA delivery but linked to strategically important areas where the work is taking place. Elephant & Castle is just such an area with the Heyman Estate abutting the railway in a location where it may be possible to build an additional rail line to load and deliver materials, and a concrete batching plant to remove the need for truckloads of wet (ie heavy & perishable) concrete to travel through the city. When not required for freight the constructed additional track offers a way to deliver additional capacity and improvements for the main station - noting here that trials of using Euston as a delivery point for freight services coming in at night have already been taking place.

    The river also could see supermarkets sending container-loads in to London, in the same way that Paris is already seeing the Seine used for retail deliveries.

    Please do press for major mitigation of the HGV movements that could be generated by the Leisure Centre and other projects around the Elephant, by getting those loads on river or rail through TfL delivering for freight as well as passenger traffic.