Why did Transport for London reject its own cycle-friendly Blackfriars design?

photo Hundreds of protestors demonstrated against the latest designs proposed for Blackfriars Bridge

What the hundreds of cyclists who demonstrated on Blackfriars Bridge this morning might not know is that, four years ago, Transport for London was considering a much safer design (pictured below).

That plan for the northern junction of the bridge would create a much safer environment for cyclists than the current design, which retains the existing motorway-style junction.

When LCC asked Transport for London why the safer design was abandoned, all we were told is that it was for reasons of 'capacity' and 'space'.

It's known that the safer double T-junction option is also the solution favoured by the City of London.

Both schemes that have been proposed this year by TfL, one in February (http://tinyurl.com/5sf2qz8) and one last week (http://tinyurl.com/3mh7eta), have united cyclists in opposition because they pose unacceptable risks to the many cyclists who use this bridge.

TfL has admitted its February scheme was flawed, but it's new proposals have only tinkered with the plans, rather than accepting that a radical redesign is the only way to increase safety for cycists, who now make up over one-third of bridge users at peak times.

Adding to cyclist anger is that a 20mph limit at the Blackfriars junction, which has been in place during the recent roadworks, is going to be increased to 30mph, adding to cyclist danger.

The drawing here is the option TfL was considering in 2007, showing how the mini-spaghetti junction at Blackfriars could be eliminated and turned into two straightforward T junctions.

This design would provide more space for pedestrians, more space for cyclists, and a simpler traffic system for all road users.

There would also be room for large pedestrian plazas that people could enjoy, instead of the wasted area that's the current traffic island.

LCC and other cycling campaigners are calling for an immediate commitment to retain and extend the 20mph speed limit, and for the plans for a non-motorway-style junction to be re-introduced.