Another day, another junction, another delay, another collision

The depressing cycle of inaction on the most dangerous junctions in London continues. Join us in demanding that ends now in our petition: sign here.

In the last week, there have been three bits of bad news and one bit of good on the progress on making London’s worst junctions far safer.

Bad news: collision at Old Street

Last Wednesday (25 July) a young woman cycling was hit by a cement mixer at the notorious Old Street roundabout. The woman has been left fighting for her life, with severe injuries, and we are waiting for further updates on her condition.

This is a roundabout that Boris Johnson said would be transformed, making it safer for cycling, with work starting in 2016 and being completed in 2018. Since then, however, nothing has been done. Despite huge public support at the 2015 consultation, work has been pushed back, and the junction is now not due to be finished until the end of 2019.

TfL, the Mayor, Islington and Hackney councils must urgently answer why this vital, life-saving work has been delayed for years. It would appear that one reason overdue work would be down to finding an architect to transform the central roundabout area itself. But drawings of shiny seating areas don’t save lives – so why haven’t the road layout changes been done in advance of the public realm improvements?

Bad news: Westminster delays Swiss Cottage

Another lethal junction – the infamous Swiss Cottage gyratory – was due to be vastly improved under plans for Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11). Work, in fact, was due to start this Monday (30th July). However, Westminster Council won an injunction at the last minute to delay work on the gyratory until after a Judicial Review in September.

Westminster Council are joining with local “Stop CS11” campaigners to fight the entire scheme from the gyratory all the way to the west end – because residents are worried about traffic displacing from the route.

If Westminster council successfully does win the Judicial Review, then the scheme at Swiss Cottage will likely be delayed for years – risking many more lives in the meantime. There have been three fatalities in the last 15 years to pedestrians, five serious collisions with cyclists, and overall there’s at least ten injuries a year, with one serious.

Westminster officers sat in meetings with the “Stop CS11” campaigners, TfL and LCC where we all heard how changes to the plans would address the issues Westminster was concerned about. As far as LCC is aware, Westminster has waited until just after the recent local elections to articulated its opposition to the scheme. On top of that, any finding against TfL would open up the potential for boroughs to veto schemes outside their boundaries – no part of the Swiss Cottage gyratory falls inside Westminster.

Meanwhile, inside Westminster’s patch, it remains to be seen how long they will drag their feet on improving Oxford Street, exposing those using it to horrific pollution levels and the dangerous junctions along it.

Good news: the Mayor publishes “Vision Zero” action plan

The Mayor has published new action plans giving interim targets and more details for his plans to transform London’s transport system by 2041. The “Vision Zero” plans to cut deaths and serious injuries to nothing on London roads by then is clear in its approach and how it aligns with our work, such as the Stay Wider of the Rider campaign. It also is clear on the need for an accelerated junctions programme, committing £54 million over the next five years. But is that enough? And what will it be spent on?

Bad news: Walking action plan timeline

The Walking Action plan, that arrived alongside the Vision Zero action plan, worryingly includes a construction timeline that implies key junctions such as Lambeth Bridge North and South, consulted on in 2017, and Vauxhall Cross, consulted on in 2016, won’t complete until 2023. Waterloo South, consulted on in 2017, may not be completed until 2022 and other schemes will similarly not finish (or even start) until after the end of the Mayor’s current term. We’re still unclear about why there is potentially a six year delay between consultation and competition in TfL’s plans.

Years more delays on dangerous junctions, more people in hospital fighting for their life, more families devastated. This simply isn’t good enough, fast enough. Sign our petition now if you want a Mayor who boldly tackles the worst junctions fast.