Mayor answers questions on dangerous junctions - updated article following junctions petition from 3,000

Update 19 Septermber 2018 - Full transcript of Mayor's answers at bottom of this article

Update September 13th 2018: Answering questions from London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised to provide a full list of the starting and completion dates for works on the 33 hazardous junctions identified under the previous Mayor. He blamed the complications of working with boroughs for delays in the pace of work. He also told the Assembly that of the 73 junctions identified for action under his Mayorality, works on 24 were complete, 41 at design stage and 8 at feasibility stage.

Pidgeon told the Mayor of the petition from 'thousands of cyclists' about dangerous junctions and noted LCC's concern that completed works on some junctions weren't adequate and that 7 junctions had not been addressed at all - she called them 'the missing junctions.' Khan cited examples of Newham gyratory, Old Street, Chigwell, Tooting and Peckham where he said works were being completed this year. He said he would send a list  of junctions and completion dates to Caroline Pidgeon.

Original article

The London Cycling Campaign has today handed-in a petition from nearly 3,000 Londoners to Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling on him to fix London’s most dangerous junctions faster. (This, and below from LCC's press release.)

Khan had pledged during LCC’s Sign for Cycling election campaign to complete the Better Junctions programme by the end of his first term in 2020. But LCC says progress on some of the most dangerous junctions in London has been far too slow for him to keep that promise.

Of the 33 Better Junctions in the programme started by the previous Mayor Boris Johnson, less than half have seen improvement. Of the remainder, 11 have seen plans consulted on, but remain in limbo, yet to begin constructed. And there are seven junctions, including the Woolwich Road roundabout where Edgaras Cepura died earlier this year, that have seen no progress at all. Many of these junctions are already proven to be lethal to cyclists and pedestrians; the lack of progress on the programme risks more cyclists and pedestrians being seriously injured and killed while London waits for action.

Since election, while progress on the Better Junctions programme has been at a near standstill, Khan has also announced a Safer Junctions programme including over 70 further dangerous junctions. Again, however, far too few of these schemes are moving forward, and those that have been completed (over 20 of the junctions were announced having already had “significant improvement… within the last three years”) are mostly still too unsafe for vulnerable road users.

The LCC petition calls on Mayor Sadiq Khan, and his new Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, to bring all junctions in the Safer and Better Junctions programmes up to international quality standards, publishing a timescale for doing so.

LCC’s petition has been signed by nearly 3,000 people, and over 500 people also joined an LCC protest on dangerous junctions at Holborn on 20th August following the fatal collision with Dr Peter Fisher there.

“We continue to welcome the Mayor’s commitment to making London a byword for cycling. But his specific promise to fix London’s most dangerous junctions is at serious risk of not being fulfilled. Lives are at stake. The 3,000 Londoners who have signed this petition want the Mayor to tell TfL that progress has been unacceptable and to prioritise delivery of this promise. ” said Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive, London Cycling Campaign.

The current status of most Better Junctions and Safer Junctions can be found here.

Full transcript of Mayor's answers and Caroline Pidgeon's questions

2018/2072 - Safer junctions in London for cyclists and pedestrians

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM

What progress has been made in improving London's most dangerous junctions for cyclists and pedestrians?

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Thank you for your question. Any death or life-changing injury on London’s roads is a tragedy. Our Vision Zero approach seeks to end these distressing incidents by 2041. As set out in the Vision Zero Action Plan, the Safer Junctions programme targets 73 junctions on the TfL road network where the greatest numbers of people have been killed or injured while walking, cycling or riding motorcycles. While TfL’s road network carries up to 30% of traffic, it makes up only 5% of the city’s roads.

There are a number of junctions on borough roads with high collision statistics and it is a key priority for TfL to continue working closely with boroughs to improve these junctions for all road users. Work on 24 junctions is now complete under the TfL Safer Junctions programme, with 41 at design or construction and eight at feasibility stage. This represents a significant acceleration from where things were previously.

Construction at the Highbury Corner Safer Junction started on 28 June [2018]. The improvements include removing the roundabout, creating a two-way traffic system and introducing segregated cycle lanes, making the area safer for walking and cycling. Works continue on-site to remove the Baker Street gyratory, including improvements at the Safer Junction of Baker Street and Marylebone Road. Construction has also started on the Safer Junction at Chigwell Road and Southend Road as part of the project to introduce pedestrian crossings on all arms of Charlie Brown’s Roundabout, with completion on target for 2019.

TfL is working on an ambitious Safer Junctions delivery programme for 2019/20 and I plan to announce further completion targets later this year. Our innovative Healthy Streets projects in Peckham and Tooting will go out to consultation in the coming months. Construction could start by the end of next year, subject to consultation. These proposals will greatly improve the safety of pedestrians at a number of busy town centres.

I have also requested that work to transform Old Street Roundabout takes place as a priority following the recent serious collision between a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and Sarah Doone [London citizen], who was cycling at the time. We will remove the high speed gyratory and introduce new safe cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings. Construction is being brought forward and will start later this year.

As I have said, working closely with the boroughs is also vital and I have contributed significant funding to the boroughs to reduce road danger on local roads. For example, TfL is also working with the London Borough of Newham to remove the Stratford gyratory and introduce segregated cycle lanes. The latest phase of these improvements at Stratford will be opened on 17 September [2018]. These are just a few examples demonstrating the progress made, the ambition and scale of my investment programme, and my determination to eliminate all death and serious injuries from London’s streets by 2041.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: Thank you. London has far too many unsafe junctions for both pedestrians and cyclists. An example is the Holborn gyratory, where Dr [Peter] Fisher was killed just last month. This junction has claimed the lives of four cyclists in the last five years. Now, your predecessor promised to fix 33 of the most dangerous junctions in London during his tenure and he failed. You pledged to complete these in the mayoral campaign. By what date will these junctions be safe under your watch?

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Do you mean the Better Junctions programme that the previous Mayor announced?

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: Yes.

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): I have a timeline for those. There is a list of all of them with the timelines. I can send them if that is easier.

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman): Yes, I would rather you did it that way.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: That would be helpful.

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Is that OK, Chairman? It is a long list.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: By roughly when will they all be complete?

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): On the Holborn one you referred to we are working with Camden Council. The answer is that Camden Council is working closely with TfL on measures to reduce danger at key locations, including Holborn. I understand the safety concerns extend to the whole operation of the gyratory and I have made it clear we see it as a key priority for TfL to work with Camden to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. It is in Camden’s hands.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: No date. Perhaps we could get the list of those. That would be helpful. At present my understanding is that only about 13 have been completed of that list, and of these the London Cycling Campaign would only describe one as very safe for cycling. Many of the completed junctions only partially provide safety for cycling. What is most worrying for them is that plans for seven junctions are missing completely. There are no published plans, there are no consultations, there is nothing. When will you come forward with plans for these junctions?

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): There are eight that I referred to in my answer to your question. Of the 73 --

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: No, I am talking about the 33 now. The Better Junctions, not your Safer Junctions.

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): The 33. All of them have a delivery start date and all of them have a delivery completion date as well. Which are the seven you are referring to?

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: Perhaps you could provide it for all of them. Apparently, there are seven junctions that we do not have any plans out for. Perhaps you could let us know in writing.

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Yes. Chairman, I have a list here of 33. All of them have a delivery start date and a delivery complete date.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: That sounds promising. Looking at your long-term plans, you have real ambition - Vision Zero - around eliminating all fatal and serious collisions by 2041. With respect, I think you will be 71 in 2041 and I expect it will be very hard to hold you to account for these past promises. Do you accept that we need more pace and more rapid progress to tackle these junctions and do you recognise the concerns that thousands of cyclists in London have? They have signed a petition that they have submitted to you. They are frustrated at the progress both under [The Rt. Hon] Boris [Johnson MP], frankly, and also now under you. What commitment can you give them today?

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Sure. One of the roles we have as politicians is to explain to people what we are doing, but also explain the reasons for delays. One of the reasons for delays is that we have to work with councils. Only 5% of the roads are TfL roads. The remainder are council roads. We have to work with them in relation to consultation, otherwise we are challenged. You will know that on a regular basis I am taken to court by Westminster [Council], for example. We have to make sure we consult with councils. We have to make sure also that if there are other projects taking place in the same place, we line them up. Old Street is a good example in relation to trying to line up works taking place at the station with feasibility work. The other reality is that we do not want all of London dug up at the same time because that leads to all sorts of traffic chaos. We are trying to plan the stages but we are going as fast as we possibly can. Any ideas to accelerate, Chairman, I am happy to hear.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: Thank you very much indeed, Mr Mayor.