Big win: Bank junction safety scheme made permanent

The City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council has voted to make the Bank on Safety scheme permanent. This trial has proved that with political will councils can gain major safety, pollution-abatement, and quality of life benefits from reducing motor traffic and encouraging walking and cycling. LCC has long campaigned for action at Bank and congratulates the City for this major step forward.

The experimental 18 month scheme had banned all through motor traffic from the previously notoriously dangerous and complex seven-armed junction 7 am – 7pm Monday to Friday, bar buses. The scheme has reduced collisions at and around the junction, improved bus journey times and has dramatically improved the junction for all users.

It was, introduced in May 2017, followed concerted campaigning over many years from London Cycling Campaign, including a protest following the death of Ying Tao at the junction in 2015. The City have acted to make the scheme permanent despite intensive lobbying against it.

“London Cycling Campaign has long campaigned for action to make Bank junction safer, and gave our support to the Bank on Safety trial from the start,” said Fran Graham, Campaigns Coordinator, LCC. “We are delighted that the City of London Corporation has now made the scheme permanent. This bold scheme has proved its worth, changing a hostile and dangerous junction into a space people can enjoy, while walking and cycling far more safely. We look forward to plans to improve the iconic space further, and to see many more such schemes to liberate the City’s streets for everyone.”

In the City’s press release, Planning and Transportation Chairman, Chris Hayward also said: “It is a dream come true to see the Bank junction monitoring area become a safer place for members of the public to enjoy. Compliance to the scheme is currently at 96%. Additional measures will be explored to further improve the scheme’s performance and reach that end goal of 100% compliance at the junction. This would inspire City workers, visitors and residents to truly enjoy the iconic surroundings such as the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange. I look forward to applying our learnings from this project and continuing to spearhead positive changes across the Square Mile after the City Corporation unveils its 25-year Transport Strategy next year.”

Now that Bank on Safety has been made permanent, the City will likely move forward with its “All Change at Bank” vision for the area. LCC hopes that this will include further radical changes to Bank, potentially including removing the buses and improving conditions further, claiming back road space, improving the crossings and more.

While Bank may finally be on track to being a place for people, not traffic, too many other junctions in London remain lethal to those walking or cycling. The changes at Bank have taken all of the campaigning clout and resources of London Cycling Campaign and the positive and progressive attitudes of City officers and politicians. But too often this is not the case elsewhere. Action to fix the worst junctions in London have seen delays, derailment and or no action at all. At best, these junctions are huge barriers to more people walking and cycling, at worst, they can prove lethal.

That’s why we are pushing the Mayor to meet his Sign for Cycling commitment and fix the 33 most dangerous junctions much faster.