Plans have been revealed to ban all motor vehicles other than buses from Bank junction in the City of London, the location where cyclist Ying Tao lost her life earlier this year, in a bid to improve the safety of people on bikes and on foot.
Michael Welbank, chairman of the City of London’s Transport & Planning Committee announced in a speech at a formal dinner in the Guildhall Library that a public consultation will open next month ahead of a proposed 12-month trial.
News of the project, dubbed the “Battle for Bank,” was broken in a blog post by one of the attendees at the dinner, Peter Murray, who is chairman of New London Architecture and master of the chartered architects livery company.
It transpires that the proposals were not meant to be made public until next month, and the blog post has subsequently been amended to remove some of the remarks made below by Mr Murray.
He said that Mr Welbank had revealed “a plan to remove all vehicles except buses from Bank Junction and restore it to its traditional role as a major public space in the Square Mile.
“The busy six-way junction is a blight on the City, polluted and dangerous, it was the site of the death of Ying Tao, a young employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers, in June this year. She was crushed by a construction HGV.
“The Corporation has plans to remove through traffic from the junction making it more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists for a 12-month period in order to test the proposition in the way that Mayor Bloomberg did in New York’s Times Square,” he continued. “If it works it will be made permanent.”
He added that while Transport for London had yet to approve the plans, “traffic modelling shows that there would be minimal impact on the general flow of traffic in the City.”
One area of concern may be the potential for conflict between pedestrians and cyclists, something the City of London Corporation has previously cited as particular concern when blocking plans for proposed Quietways.
Following Ms Tao’s death, Bank junction was the scene of a vigil and die-in organised by campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists, which said on Twitter in response to the proposals to ban traffic: “We wholeheartedly approve of this. Ying Tao did not die in vain.”
Prior to that vigil, the group said: “It is a horrendous junction – seven major and two minor roads merge there, meaning no matter how good the driving or cycling it’s a nightmare - with absolutely no sensible provision for cyclists and even pedestrians poorly looked after.
“At least three of these roads needs to be closed to through traffic and made over for the huge numbers of pedestrians and cyclists using this junction at rush hour every day.
“A staggering 33% of the rush hour traffic is already cyclists at this junction.
“The City of London opposes provision of physically protected cycle lanes.
“They have spent zero on protected cycle lanes over last five years.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.