Local campaigners are leading an effort to have corporate manslaughter charges brought against Transport for London following the death of Min Joo Lee at Kings Cross on 3 October.
A 2008 report on the Pedestrian Environment and Community Safety, commissioned by TfL, condemned the road environment in Kings Cross, identifying the York Way junction as a particular. The report concluded that ‘the key crossing location at the southern end of York way should be redesigned’ as ‘auditors felt that casualties were inevitable'. TfL had decided to not publish the report, and only did so following a freedom of information request from local resident and campaigner William Perrin.
Last week Perrin, editor of the Kings Cross Environment page, raised a question: if TfL knew the junction was dangerous, but attempted to repress the report and do nothing about it, were they not potentially guilty of corporate manslaughter? Perrin has referred the report to the Metropolitan Police and the investigating coroner.
Perrin is taking these steps after witnessing TfL's continual failure to take action on a known problem:
"TfL commissioned a report for itself in 2008 that condemned Kings Cross road safety, attacking the fundamental design of the roads in the area. I got TfL to publish the report through FOI but over three years later, TfL hasn't made the substantive changes the report called for.
And now someone is dead at a sport where TfL report auditors said that 'casualties are inevitable'. I feel that strong measures are called for to hold TfL to account and stop needless deaths on roads that TfL manages."
Last week the Camden New Journal reported that junction work at York Way, that might have saved Joo Lee's life, was due to take place last month but has been delayed. The works (PDF), carried out in conjunction with the Olympic Delivery Authority, make small changes to the pavement layout, but leave the gyratory in place and don't provide any cycle lanes, despite the steady increase in cycling through the area.
The Guardian and the BBC have picked up the story. In the BBC London report, a TfL statement confirms that the work will start shortly. Danny from Cyclists in the City is unimpressed: "It's taken four years of obfuscation just to get a handful of advanced stop lines at Kings Cross. During that same period, New York has built 250 miles of bicycle lanes".
Green Assembly Member and Mayoral Candidate Jenny Jones has challenged the Mayor to join her on a cycle through the Kings Cross area – though given it's only a mile or so from Boris's house we're guessing he's already familiar with it.