TfL Planning To Remove Blackfriars Bridge Approach Cycle Lane

Blackfriars Bridge — once home to the infamous and twice fatal cycle lane of death — has for bike users been a relative bright spot in the Thameslink upgrade disruption. Since the work got going at the station, a rather lovely 2.5m wide, smoothly surfaced and clearly marked compulsory cycle lane has guided riders from the stressful city streets, through the junction, onto the bridge and sped them safely to the wider roads of SE1. Sadly it has emerged that this is apparently not a permanent fixture.

TfL proposes to add a second general traffic lane through the junction southbound, removing the cycle lane from that most-needed stretch. Other hideous features include a shared area where pedestrians and cyclists unhappily mix for no necessary reason and a cycle right-turn area disguised and hidden from the view of oncoming traffic (see Cyclists in the City for a calmer, more detailed analysis).

35.6% of Blackfriars commuter traffic (northbound, mornings) is on bicycles. This is a triumph of the practicality of cycling in London in spite of the lacklustre efforts by the City and the Mayor to make genuine provision to safely commute across the river.

Crossing the bridges is one of the most dangerous parts of any trans-Thames cycle-journey; cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians converge and jostle for bridge space while those with engines enjoy the one stretch of their trip where they can accelerate meaningfully. If the bridges are bad, getting onto them is the greater obstacle with the gyratory junctions and one way systems that dominate most of the bridge approaches. Glancing at the maps of London’s cycling accidents you can see the clusters around those killer junctions — including the northern Blackfriars approach.

TfL have neglected to inform anyone, so far as we can tell (hint — press releases — we read them), but there is actually a comment period on the plans (which we couldn’t find anywhere online*) that ends on Wednesday. We’re indebted to the good people at Southwark Cyclists and Cyclists in the City for drawing this to our attention; check out their report and  if you’d like to add a contribution to this furtive consultation please email Jamila.Barrett@tfl.gov.uk with the subject line “PLEASE STOP TRYING TO KILL ME ON BLACKFRIARS BRIDGE” (other subject lines are, of course, fine).

*We asked TfL for the plans and their explanation of why this is a good idea, but they’ve not got back to us. We will update this post with their response.

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  • http://twitter.com/johnb78 John Band

    Glad you’ve also not managed to spot the TfL consultation on their own site – I had a look when I read the Southwark Cyclists post and assumed my Internet voodoo had failed. Epic fail, especially as the whole point of removing the horrid subway at Blackfriars was supposed to be to make the whole area around the station mouth more non-car friendly.

  • PaulM

    Hopefully you got the drawings I sent to your hello mail address.

    TfL are also planning to remove the pedestrian crossing just north of “Watergate” which is the street which goes round the back of the Hotel. It takes pedestrians from the south of New Bridge St by Tudor St and the TescoMetro across to the Black Friar pub and El Vinos. This was always a highly trafficked route before the crossing was put there just a few years ago when the Blackfriars station construction site was carved out of the road layout – you used to have to dodge four lanes of sometime fast-moving and always aggressive motor vehicles, but many people did it all the same to avoid the horrid underpass.

    If you are not a cyclist, at least let TfL know what you think of reoving this crossing.

  • http://twitter.com/johnb78 John Band

    “just a few years ago” = less than 1.5 years ago, as part of the long-term plans for Blackfriars. Can’t believe Boris is seeking to remove it. It’s almost as if Tories were evil bastards who loved cars and hated people…

  • http://twitter.com/jamesofwalsh James Walsh

    Did they ever get back to you? I cycled over that bridge on Saturday (I know, not the busiest of times) and was impressed at the current layout. Hilarious / depressing that they’re going to turn it back into an anti-cyclist shitstorm.

  • Anonymous

    They did not.

    Update will follow, but keep an eye on http://cyclelondoncity.blogspot.com/ and there’s more on http://cycalogical.blogspot.com/2011/03/blackfriars-bridge-tfls-priorities.html

    It’s good at the moment isn’t… Huge shame – hopefully some anger can be mobilised and Boris will put a stop to it if he’s serious about cycling.