TfL's tasks its Better Junctions review with improving Blackfriars after damning Safety Audit

Transport for London has agreed to address the serious safety problems at Blackfriars junction after its Safety Audit team highlighted numerous dangers to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

Download the Safety Audit (PDF)

In 2011, thousands of Londoners from all walks of life joined LCC-organised protests on Blackfriars Bridge calling for TfL to reject its flawed plans for the junction at the north end of the bridge, which were criticised as dangerous for cycling and walking.

At the time, we produced an alternative design for Blackfriars (see above), which addressed all of the problems that have now been highlighted by the report, but our design was rejected by TfL in favour of its flawed proposal (see below).

At peak times around 1300 people on bikes use Blackfriars Bridge every hour, more than private cars and taxis combined.

LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said:

“We and other campaigners feel entirely vindicated by this Safety Audit, which confirms the problems we highlighted to the Mayor 18 months ago.

“It’s deeply regrettable a multi-million pound project like the development around Blackfriars Station could be done so badly, and that stakeholders such as ourselves were largely ignored.”

LCC has learned today that TfL is planning to bring improvement proposals to the Better Junctions review.

It's hoped this might solve some of the problems that thousands of cyclists who travel through this location face every day.

After much criticism of the Safety Audit process, which in the past has consistently failed to highlight problems specific to cycling, we’ve strongly welcomed this Blackfriars audit, which successfully addresses the concerns that we and others have raised about cycling and walking through the junction.

Problems highlighted include:

  1. A specific problem we highlighted in 2011 was the right turn northbound into Queen Victoria Street. About this, the Safety Audit says:
    “The potential for conflict between cyclists and other traffic is perceived to ebe significant due to the various manoeuvres that general traffic perform at this location and the short length in which cyclists cross these three busy lanes."
  2. The Safety Audit confirms a similar problem exists for southbound cyclists on Blackfriars Bridge who want to turn right on to Victoria Embankment. The safety audit recommends:
    “additional facilities to enable cyclists to access Queen Vi St and Victoria Embankment safely"
  3. The Safety Audit also found serious problems for pedestrainas crossing New Bridge Street and other locations around the Blackfriars Station. Our double-T junction proposal included separate traffic light phases for motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, removing conflict and freeing up space for public realm.
  4. Auditors also saw evidence of dangerous behaviour from motorists because of the new road layout, including potential for head-on collisions.

We'll be reporting on any new Blackfriars proposals put to the Better Junctions review, for which we're one of the key stakeholders.

Replies

I am one of those who try to negotiate the passage from Queen Victoria St to the Embankment each day. The current arrangement is very poor. The LCC proposals are better, but not perfect especially getting from Queen Victoria Street to the Embankment as I am not convinced about the right hand filter system being proposed.

I have taken to dropping onto the Embankment earlier by going down White Lion Hill which is altogether preferable to the Blackfriars junction but it would be so much better if there was a cycle lane at the bottom where it joins the underpass.

Your excellent proposal solves a problem for drivers as well. At present you drive north across Blackfriars Bridge on the off side lane avoiding the bus lane. Unless you know, and are able, to switch to the nearside lane approaching the junction, you find yourself in a lane forcing you to proceed into Queen Victoria Street rather than New Bridge Street. It's not directlyt to do with cycling but might be worth mentioning.

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