Kings Cross junction: tell Transport for London its plans for cycling are not good enough

Consultation closes soon on Transport for London's 'interim' plans for making the notorious junction outside Kings Cross Station a little less scary.

We have until Monday 24 March 2014 to make our views known, and we urge you to do so by using the following link:

  • The key point to make to TfL is their plans lack connected and continuous protected cycle lanes or safe passage through the junction in every direction. There are considerable risks of potentially fatal left or right 'hooks' by lorries and other motor vehicles turning across the path of cyclists going ahead. 
  • Elsewhere in the junction, there are lesser risks of conflict with busy pedestrians areas.

There is a long-term study involving TfL, Islington and Camden on removing the mishmash of one-way streets making up the gyratory system that runs all traffic on a series of loops between Pentonville road and Euston Road.

The interim plans are driven by the realisation that changes made in 2012 to give more space to the Olympic Games crowds did nothing useful to make cycling safer. 

Kings Cross is where the proposed North-South Cycle Superhighway will cross London's busy inner ring-road.

Many more cyclists are already trying to find their way through here as the new developments north of the station open up.

Yet it was in this location, in October 2011, that Min Joo Lee (pictured below) was killed by a tipper lorry as she tried to get to the new site of University of the Arts London. She was beginning her final year at on the fashion course.

There are many small improvements with more and wider mandatory cycle lanes and little bits of protected space. However, it will not possible to go through the junction in any direction without being exposed to unacceptable levels of danger. Some sections do not even meet the old cycle design standards set out a decade ago.

Northbound from Grays Inn Road to York Way is where most of the changes are. This is the route for the new Superhighway. There is still the bus lane plus four lanes of merging motor traffic on the approach. After the bus stops, a cycle lane appears with a short protective barrier for those turning left towards Euston. Cyclists going straight on must go left on to the pavement, just where the pedestrian traffic is heaviest then wait for a signal change or two to get across towards the station.

Those wanting to avoid delay and stay on the road, and those unable to squeeze through the merging traffic still have to battle as two lanes of motor traffic squeeze into one lane on York Way. This is where Min Joo Lee died. At her inquest in December the lorry driver, Terry Gibbs, exclaimed that the Mayor should take out one of the traffic lanes and put in a proper bike lane. We agree with him, so did the coroner.

On York Way cyclists are again directed on to a pavement route, just where thousands of rail passenger exit the station. This is a very poor design and should have been sorted out when the station was redesigned in 2013.

Coming south, there are only minor changes: the one-way system from Caledonian Road to Kings Cross Road involves major risks from large vehicles turning left and right across the path of cyclists. This is simply not good enough for a scheme supposed to reduce the danger to cyclists. We can't see how this will encourage any more people to get on their bikes to get around this area.

Please send your comments to the consultation team by Monday 24 March 2014.