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London's most dangerous junctions scheduled for improvement

Kings Cross gyratory, Lambeth Bridge North and South, Waterloo Imax roundabout and Euston Road among junctions being targeted, alongside a new safer junctions programme

Four of London’s most dangerous junctions, including the Kings Cross gyratory, Lambeth Bridge North and South roundabouts, and the Waterloo Imax roundabout, as well as Euston Road, are among those destined for cycling and walking improvements, can reveal.

In an email scant of details a City Hall spokesperson also revealed a new Safer Junctions Programme will launch this summer. A new Strategic Cycle Network plan is also in the pipeline for London which, campaigners say, when launched will represent a major advancement in the fight to shift short car journeys to cycles. 

The news comes six weeks after London’s first cycling and walking commissioner, Will Norman, started the job, as City Hall and TfL come under increasing pressure to draw up a timetable for action, as almost a year has elapsed since Sadiq Khan, who pledged to make London a byword for cycling, was elected and, until now, no new schemes have been announced.

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In an interview with Laura Laker for Guardian Cities, published today, Norman said Cycle Superhighway 4, which will also be consulted on this year, would run from Woolwich to London Bridge, and CS9 from Olympia to Hounslow, with CS4 a shorter, "manageable" route, to Greenwich, consulted on this year, the rest to follow later.

While Kings Cross, Euston Road and Waterloo Imax plans will be released for consultation this summer, no time scale was given for the consultation on "long-term plans" for Lambeth Bridge North, considered London’s most dangerous junction, where Moira Gemmill was killed cycling in 2015, or for Lambeth Bridge South.

At present, those travelling across Lambeth Bridge by bike must tackle two of London’s most hazardous junctions in quick succession. Previous proposals to improve cycling conditions at Lambeth Bridge North were rejected after modelling predicted they would worsen traffic congestion, while recent temporary alterations to the junction, including narrowing approaches, and the introduction of raised tables, intended to slow traffic down, were criticised for potentially placing cycles in conflict with drivers.

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Kings Cross gyratory, a thoroughfare for numerous and heavy vehicles, claimed the life of cyclist Min Joo Lee in 2011. The London Cycling Campaign rejected previous Kings Cross gyratory plans, both interim plans in 2014 and further plans in 2016 for providing what they saw as inadequate cycling provision.

When the North-South cycle superhighway is complete, it will meet Euston Road a few metres West of the Kings Cross gyratory.

City Hall would not confirm how much of Euston Road will be included for improvements under this consultation, but the 2016 Kings Cross report said further consultation on the gyratory itself, and Euston Road, will be launched in 2017.

The London Cycling Campaign’s infrastructure campaigner, Simon Munk, told the Strategic Cycle Network plan will have a "major" impact on cycling in London.

Munk, who explains the mapping data comes from TfL travel demand survey and census-level data, said: “This is potentially a huge thing, which shows where the highest trip generators are for cycling; where short driving journeys could be swapped for cycling.

“It’s going to show a bunch of potential routes where TfL and boroughs should be focusing their efforts. Most TfL funding going forward is going to be tied to that. We think those are the top priority routes, and that map is going to become very important in terms of how TfL are going to fund things but also how campaigners are going to respond.”

He said providing evidence cycling infrastructure on key routes could take short car journeys off the roads will make it hard for boroughs he describes as “hostile to cycling” to object to such schemes.

He said: “We are no longer talking about cyclists versus buses or cyclists versus drivers or cyclists versus walkers, we are talking about what’s the most appropriate mode of travel for certain journeys, where’s the most appropriate place for a cycling route, and here’s the data to back it up.”

Munk also welcomed the announcement of a further safer junctions programme. A better junctions programme, begun by the former London Mayoral administration, under Boris Johnson, tackled, among others, Aldgate gyratory, Archway, Blackfriars, and Elephant & Castle, with many routes linked to Cycle Superhighways. Of 33 locations identified in the better junctions programme in 2014, however, believes only nine are now complete or under construction, with Kings Cross, Lambeth North and South, St Paul’s and Marble Arch Gyratories among those awaiting improvements. Westminster Bridge, on which work will start "imminently", according to Will Norman, was also on the list.

Munk says work has likely been going on behind the scenes in terms of changing processes within TfL and planning routes, to enable the cycling programme to proceed, while deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross, has been working on the Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy, which is due for consultation mid-May, amid huge funding cuts from central Government.

Those impatient for change in London remain sceptical over the non-confrontational approach this administration is taking, and what many see as the stalling of London’s cycling programme.

The news comes after it emerged the extension to the East-West Cycle Superhighway in West London won’t be built until 2021.

In an email sent to Laura Laker, a City Hall spokesperson listed the following schemes as a taster of work taking place or due to take place in London. Those in bold are those newly announced.

  • Archway gyratory junction scheme – construction work continues 
  • Westminster Bridge South – Pedestrian and cyclist safety improvement to Westminster Bridge area will begin imminently. The bridge is to become the fourth bridge in central London to have segregated cycle lanes, with the south-side junction remodelled to make it easier to cross for pedestrians.
  • Publish our Strategic Cycle Network plan that identifies the most important future cycle connections to prioritise.
  • The Mayor’s Transport Strategy will be published for consultation in May.
  • Alongside the strategy will be information about the new Liveable Neighbourhoods programme. This programme will continue our investment in town centres, high streets and residential neighbourhoods to encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, reduce short car trips and support the use of streets as public spaces.
  • Consultation on Cycle Superhighway 9 (the route from Kensington Olympia to Hounslow) will take place in the summer (including tackling Chiswick Roundabout / Kew Bridge Junction)
  • Consultation on transforming Waterloo IMAX junction will take place this summer
  • Consultation on long-term schemes at Lambeth Bridge north and south
  • Consultation will take place for Kings Cross Gyratory and Euston Road this summer
  • Southwark will start construction at the Dulwich Village junction scheme in the summer, as part of Quietway 7, creating a safe route for cyclists through the area
  • Newham’s Stratford Gyratory scheme, funded by TfL, will start in autumn
  • Consultation on Cycle Superhighway 4 (the route from London Bridge to Greenwich)will take place in the autumn (including tackling Surrey Quays junction and Rotherhithe Roundabout)
  • Construction will start to transform Old Street roundabout for cyclists and pedestrians this year
  • Launch a new safer junctions programme this year
  • Complete Quietway 2 this summer
  • Kingston’s Portsmouth Road Mini Holland scheme will complete this summer 
  • Cycle Superhighway 11 - work to start at Swiss Cottage in the autumn
  • East-West [Cycle Superhighway] Phase 2 - we are committed to extending this route further West, but some re-routing is required following the previous consultation.

This article was amended on 5 April to read CS4 will run from Woolwich to London Bridge; it previously said to Tower Bridge.

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ChairRDRF | 7 years ago

Worthwhile looking at Andrew Gilligan's blog for monthly updates.

Jackson | 7 years ago

Sadiq Khan Cycling performance tracker

performance: bad

Zjtm231 | 7 years ago

Dont worry I'm sure Khan will kick this into the long grass so he doesnt have to bother with it during his term.  Far too busy sorting out his bid for leadership of the Labour party to care one jot about cyclists lives.

rct replied to Zjtm231 | 7 years ago

Zjtm231 wrote:

Dont worry I'm sure Khan will kick this into the long grass so he doesnt have to bother with it during his term.  Far too busy sorting out his bid for leadership of the Labour party to care one jot about cyclists lives.

I agree, although he would be better off working on this than a leadership bid for a party that is finished as a political force for a generation.

multimodal | 7 years ago

They're not scheduled for improvement. These junctions are scheduled for consultation. I'm not a single issue voter but if I was I'd be pretty annoyed. He's wasted a year.

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