There is a local cycling infrastructure issue in London that has been dominating the commuting cycle scene here for some months and even gets the most mild mannered cyclist seething with anger.
The issue involves the redesign of traffic flow on Blackfriars Bridge and cycle infrastructure (or lack of it) on the bridge that will follow the completion of a £550m redevelopment of Blackfriars rail station.
Transport for London (TfL) is redesigning Blackfriars Bridge in time for the train station to reopen in the autumn, but the plans have so far failed to factor the huge numbers of cyclists that use the bridge to get to both north and south parts of London.
Cyclists in danger
Cyclists comprise one-third of peak-time bridge users but cyclists and cycling groups, like the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), believe the designs for the bridge put forward by TfL will cause serious road danger for cyclists. Two cyclists have been killed on the bridge in recent years, and several serious crashes have been reported already this year.
TfL plans for the bridge
TfL plans for the bridge and a new junction include a motorway-style sliproad and multi-lane right turns as part of redesign of the junction at the north end of the bridge. All this with cars and motorcyclists travelling up to 30mph on the bridge.
The plans will mean right-turning cyclists will be forced to cross lanes of fast-moving traffic. while cyclists will also be squeezed into a narrow and unprotected cycle lane.
Despite strong campaigning from LCC and cyclists over the recent months, TfL are sticking to their plans.
The LCC has now published a new design for the controversial Blackfriars junction that it believes will be significantly better for cycling and walking than Transport for London’s current plans. Click here to see graphics for the new design.
LCC’s radically different road layout features protected cycle lanes and safe turns with cyclist-specific traffic lights, as well as convenient crossings for pedestrians.
The layout is based on a double-T junction design. This was rejected by TfL early in the planning stage of the Blackfriars project. LCC understand that this rejection was based on non-technical grounds.
Cycle safe design
LCC’s new cycling-safe design would add only 1% to the cost of the Blackfriars development and importantly it could save lives and prevent serious injuries.
LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said the LCC’s visionary design would provide larger and better spaces for people on bikes and on foot, but also retains bus and vehicle lanes.
“We hope these graphics stimulate debate among cyclists, pedestrians and city planners, so together we can come up with a solution that’s fit for all Londoners.”
LCC has organised a ‘flashride’ at Blackfriars on October 12 (at 5.45pm, meet on South side of the bridge at Doggetts Pub) with a call on London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to intervene and talk to TfL on making Blackfriars safe.
We’ve done a previous flashride to make our feelings known about TfL’s plans for Blackfriars, and we implore you to join the flashride protest this Wednesday if you can.