By Chris Hayward, Planning and Transportation Chairman at the City.
Last December, the City of London Corporation approved an experimental safety scheme for Bank junction. Starting in April this year, measures will be adopted to improve the safety of road users and pedestrians with the aim of reducing casualties and improving air quality at one of London’s busiest junctions.
A number of casualties and fatalities have highlighted very real concerns about safety at this junction. With cyclists now making up to 50% of the traffic crossing the junction in peak times, we felt that it was fundamental that cyclist safety be seen as a very important.
The safety scheme will see vehicle journeys through the junction limited, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 7am and 7pm. Only cyclists and buses may pass through the junction during the restricted time period. We hope to see casualties reduced by 50-60% a year.
I would like to underline that this is an experimental scheme. It may last up to 18 months, but the scheme will be under regular review. I will be addressing the Planning and Transportation Committee for the first progress meeting, four weeks after the scheme is initiated.
The City recognises that cycling is a very important mode of transport and consequently cycling is supported by many of the City Corporation’s policies. Over several years, we have successfully implemented a network of cycle improvement measures such as point road closures and the conversion of 85% (over 70 streets) of one-way streets to cycle contra-flows, to make the City more accessible for people who cycle. We now also provide 2,150 on-street and 345 off street cycle parking spaces available to members of the public.
We have recently introduced two Quietway cycle routes which have seen cycle lanes created, vehicle speeds reduced, new road surfaces and improved street lighting amongst many alterations. On top of this, we continue to work with TfL on extending the north/south Cycle Superhighway northwards.
Our road safety team work in conjunction with CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety programme) and the Considerate Contractors Scheme to highlight the dangers of construction vehicles and other road users in busy locations.
Other activities being delivered across the City include the exchanging places (LGV / cyclist safety) scheme, commercial vehicle unit’s safer lorry scheme (LGV / vulnerable road users), and the road watch campaign (20mph speed limit).
During our Committee approval period, the London Cycling Campaign, Living Streets, Construction Industry Cycling Commission and London Travel Watch, all spoke in favour of the decision to approve the Bank junction experimental safety scheme. Feedback and continued support from the cycling community will be a significant measure of the success and permanency of this scheme.