Taxis turn their fire on Bank Junction

Photo: Matt Brown

Taxi drivers, including representatives of the LTDA, are once again trying to scupper cycling schemes. And in this case, not just cycling, but walking and bus schemes too. The City of London is currently moving forward with a scheme to remove all motor vehicle traffic bar buses between 7am-7pm from the arms of Bank junction from April 2017. This "interim" scheme will then run for a year or more and at the tail end, the City will decide on how to move forward. At least one of the options will be the total removal of motor vehicle traffic including buses (enabled by the rise of Crossrail in the area).

London Cycling Campaign supports both the interim scheme and the proposal to remove all traffic from Bank by the end of 2020. Frankly, we'd support the City hurrying up and moving a lot quicker! But taxi drivers hate the scheme - despite City of London analysis that shows that taxis don't pick up or set down around the junction often and that journeys through the area for them would be quicker than doing nothing or even including them in the scheme alongside buses.

Steve McNamara of the LTDA spoke today at the City's Transport & Planning Committee. The LTDA "totally accepts something needs to be done at Bank and many other junctions," said McNamara, before suggesting that that something might be banning a turn or two. McNamara also went on to use his increasingly tired soundbite that "it's the wrong scheme at the wrong time in the wrong place." We're waiting for McNamara to illustrate what the right scheme for cycling and pedestrian safety might be. McNamara did admit, however that Bank is "not a good place to be - it's pretty congested" currently.

Speaking on behalf of the LCC, Simon Munk said: "It should come as no surprise to you that a cycle campaigner would mention Ying Tao, the 26 year old woman who tragically lost her life last year at Bank. But I don’t want to just mention her. Or the other cyclists seriously injured in the last few years. Because your decision to close Bank to motor vehicle traffic should not be solely about people who cycle through this junction and the risks they face. Nor should it be just about pedestrians either. Even though pedestrians suffer as much as cyclists. As do their families, loved ones, co-workers. Bank is a dangerous junction... but [this scheme] is far bigger than just a safety issue."

Munk went on to speak about the need to create places and spaces, and to celebrate Bank's iconic buildings. "From CEOs who can have a coffee meeting in Bank square, to workers who can get home in one piece, your decision is not about cars versus bicycles, or pedestrians versus taxis – but what’s best for people. So, which City do you want? The one that kills young women heading home to their fiancés? The one that is so choked with traffic it barely serves the few, because they’re stuck in a jam, let alone the many? Or do you want the City that celebrates its iconic and historic buildings and spaces? That attracts people to it because it’s a great place to work in?"
 
The ability for our campaigners and experts to be able to speak at committee meetings, to mentor groups under attack and stand up for schemes is vital. That's why we've launched our Fighting Fund.
 
Mountain View

Cycle friendly schemes under threat

Opposition is coming from taxi drivers, anti-cycling councils, and groups of organised and well-resourced NIMBY residents. We urgently need to increase campaigning capacity to fight off these very real threats.

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