A City of London Corporation report on the Mayor's cycle superhighway has demanded 'key changes' from Transport for London (TfL) before it will support the £50m scheme.
The authority's Planning and Transportation Committee published the interim report, which makes 11 demands of TfL to redesign junctions it describes as 'unsafe', manage traffic flow and improve pedestrian access. The report says:
These proposals have significant benefits as well as implications. It represents a major change in the way cycling facilities on the public highway should be provided. However, the proposals could lead to implications that cannot easily be reversed such as the reinstatement of turning movements or the way junctions operate.
The City considers that the proposals are too heavily biased towards cyclists with insufficient consideration given to the needs of other users.
The City's director of the built environment claims that Ludgate Circus, where two cyclists have died this year, will become more dangerous for pedestrians if the superhighway goes ahead as planned. 'Excessive' pedestrian wait times are criticised. In fact, TfL plans to lengthen these further at Tower Hill's Minories, Blackfriars station and Ludgate Circus — which the report calls 'the most dangerous location in the City':
It is already a location where many pedestrians ignore the pedestrian crossings. The proposed stagger crossings, reduced refuges island widths, excessive increases in wait times and the additional two-way cycle lane running through the junction, will add further risks and collisions, particularly to pedestrians.
Other proposals, such as the relocation of Blackfriars Pier to Puddle Dock, are expected to bring greater foot traffic into the area but without providing better access for pedestrians (or the disabled, who astonishingly, will have no access at all). The report calls these 'a huge missed opportunity' to improve pedestrian space where it's most needed. It also notes that increased congestion of motorised traffic resulting from the superhighway changes could become a risk to cycling safety as cyclists weave in and out of jams.
As is to be expected, the City of London Corporation aren't the only people not happy with the existing plans. City Hall released traffic impact timings which suggest motorists could face an extra 16 minutes on their journeys in some areas, however unlikely this is to actually happen.
The Canary Wharf Group has also defended its objections to the superhighway. It was revealed earlier this month that CWG's finance director is on the board of TfL and chairs its Finance & Policy Committee. Which is quite some conflict of interest. Dave Hill in the Guardian has more on this.
The scheme has been dubbed ‘Crossrail for bikes', with two routes — north-south from King’s Cross to Elephant and Castle, and east-west from Barking to Acton. The second phase of London's cycle 'Quietways' was announced yesterday. TfL's consultation has been extended from 19 October to 9 November. You can see TfL's plans here and read the City of London Corporation's report here.
Photo by James Lemons in the Londonist Flickr pool.