Mayor’s timeline on junctions doesn’t add up

Following our hand-in of nearly 3,000 signatures to our "Fix the Junctions" petitionLondon Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon pressed Mayor Sadiq Khan on his progess on the most dangerous junctions.

The Mayor had pledged during our Sign for Cycling campaign, prior to his election, to not just triple the mileage of protected space on main roads but also fix our worst junctions. Following Pidgeon's grilling, he has produced a timetable of the junction improvements he and TfL plan to carry out. And the timetable is deeply worrying.

Liberal Democrat, Pidgeon, asked what progress had been made on London’s most dangerous junctions – in both the 77 Safer Junctions programme that the Mayor created and the 33 Better Junctions his predecessor, Boris Johnson instigated.

Our page on the junctions programmes (https://lcc.org.uk/pages/tfls-better-junctions-scheme) carries all the details. But this week, Khan’s responses on the Better Junctions programme highlighted some very worrying issues:

  1. Many of the remaining junctions on the “Better Junctions” list feature worryingly long delays before anything is proposed to be done.
    Some of these junctions are known to be lethal or very dangerous. For instance, the Woolwich Road/A1020 junction, which is known locally as the “crossing of death” has claimed two people cycling in the last ten years: Adrianna Skrzypiec in 2009 and Edgaras Cepura this year. Yet the junction isn’t even due to get construction begun until late 2021 (although that is “indicative”).
  2. Many of these junctions also won’t even be started until after this Mayoral term.
    King’s Cross, that has already been consulted on once, won’t start until 2021. Both ends of Lambeth Bridge, which are deemed some of the most dangerous bits of road in London, aren’t due until the start of 2020. Vauxhall Cross, again long past consultation stage, won’t start until May 2020. Wandsworth Town Centre, also long past consultation, won’t start until July 2021.
  3. Westminster City Council are clearly having a massive, negative effect on safe cycling inside their borough.
    As well as delaying Lambeth Bridge North, they have caused schemes at Marble Arch and Great Portland Street to get kicked into the long grass. Compare this to work in boroughs such as Camden, Newham and Waltham Forest, where major junction redesigns are being worked through rapidly, to make things far better for walking and cycling, and Westminster’s inaction and attitude is intolerable, and could well prove fatal.
  4. While the Safer Junctions programme is moving far faster than the Better Junctions programme thus far, again there are big worries that what is being done is nowhere near good enough.
    For instance, while the Fleet Street/Farringdon Street junction is now brilliant and very safe for those cycling north-south on Cycle Superhighway CS6, there’s virtually nothing to help those on Fleet Street itself or Ludgate Circus, or moving east or west from there. Worse, Manor Road/Stamford Hill in Hackney is listed as featuring “significant improvement” but that’s Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) and little else – on a fast, dangerous multi-lane junction. The Bath Road/The Parkway roundabout in Hounslow also remains a nasty roundabout, with only minor tweaks. These junctions and more on the ticked list will not achieve the Mayor’s aim of “Vision Zero”, reducing serious and fatal road collisions to zero by 2041. They are nowhere near good enough. 
  5. The list remains far too short of junctions.
    Dr Peter Fisher was killed in the Holborn gyratory tangle – none of the Holborn junctions appear on either list, yet he was the fourth cyclist killed in five years in this gyratory.
  6. We are still seeing too weak schemes come forward at dangerous junctions off the list.
    Croydon Fiveways and Vauxhall Nine Elms schemes both featured far too weak junction treatments to achieve the Mayor’s aims.
  7. Too many of these junctions are taking far too long, with delays really not appropriate for the issue.
    Why were works at Tooley Street/London Bridge not ready for the moment Network Rail handed the roads back to TfL, following the redevelopments around the station? The junction has been on the Better Junctions list for years, the timetable for Network Rail works has been known for years, and so TfL have had years to come up with an “interim” design (not currently due in until early spring next year) and a “more transformational redesign”. Why weren’t one of these options ready to go the moment the junction was? Why is design work for Vauxhall Cross, Waterloo, Wandsworth, King’s Cross still in progress, when these schemes were all past consultation ages ago? And why is it when there are high-profile collisions or fatalities do we suddenly find that these timetables can be shortened?

It should not take another death to hurry up the Mayor and TfL. They should recognise, without extensive campaigning by us, the Vision Zero action plan as one of the most pressing for road safety in London.

But until that happens, we will keep pushing the TfL and the Mayor to fix these junctions as fast as possible. That’s why it is so important nearly 3,000 of our members and supporters signed our petition on junctions. Please help us keep the pressure on the Mayor to do better on Better Junctions, to make Safer Junctions truly safer, to hurry up making London’s roads safe enough for most people to cycle on. 

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