All-party support for London Assembly motion calling for rethink of Blackfriars junction

PHOTO: We presented our petition and petition photo collage to London Assembly members to encourage them to support our Blackfriars demands

Conservative members joined all other parties in the London Assembly to call for a review of plans to scrap the 20mph speed limit at the Blackfriars junction and to re-examine existing Transport for London designs for the road layout.

LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said, “We thank all our members and every other cyclist who signed our petition supporting the Blackfriars motion.

"This is far from being a final victory but at least the Mayor now knows the strength of feeling among both cyclists and all parties in the London Assembly: the proposed Blackfriars plans are inadequate.

"We also thank all the Assembly Members who supported the motion.”

Conservative member James Cleverly said that it would now be “very difficult” for the motion “to be ignored or thrown out by TfL or the chair of TfL (the Mayor).”

Conservative members agreed with Labour that “speed kills” and said they supported 20mph on Blackfriars.

When a motion in favour of 20mph at Blackfriars was introduced a month ago, by Green Party assembly member Jenny Jones, Conservative members walked out before it could be debated.

Pressure was applied by nearly 2000 cyclists added emails addresses and photos to a London Cycling Campaign petition supporting the original 20mph motion, while others were encouraged to write to their assembly members directly.

Our petition was formally presented to the assembly on Wednesday 20 July 2011 before the debate.

New motion was less critical of Mayor directly

The motion was, in the words of Labour assembly members, "watered down" from that submitted previously, being less critical of the Mayor’s actions.

It does, however, spell out a clear recommendation that the TfL 2008 report, which advised adoption of 20mph speed limits on many central London bridges, be considered in the review process.

The Mayor recently made efforts to dissociate himself from this report during a recent mayoral Question Time.

The motion also highlights the lack of provision for cyclists turning right at either end of the bridge, and Conservative mayoral advisor on cycling Andrew Boff said, “I consider it dangerous at the moment and it desperately needs attention.”

Last week the Mayor himself said that more work needed to be done on the designs for Blackfriars based on his knowledge from riding across the bridge regularly.

A Mayoral answer from last week, however, rejects the call for retaining the 20mph speed limit, and the Mayor has repeated the misleading point that at peak times average speeds are below 20 mph.

We and other campaigners have pointed out that it’s the higher speeds at other times that increase risk to pedestrians and cyclists, and even at 20mph the current design isn't safe

All-parties voted in favour of the following motion:

This Assembly notes the decision to revert to a 30mph 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.”

You can follow the assembly meeting on the London Assembly webcast. The motion is in section 8 of the agenda and comes up 1hour and 55 minutes from the start.