London cycle commuters slam TfL Blackfriars Bridge plans

Removal of cycle lane represents unfair allocation of space, claim

by Mark Appleton   February 25, 2011  

Blackfriars Bridge.jpg

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Transport for London is generally regarded as having a reasonably enlightened attitude towards cyclists but not, it seems, where Blackfriars Bridge is concerned.

Cycle commuters who regularly cross the Thames at this point are suggesting the authority is undoing much of its good work with ill-considered changes to the current traffic system which will disadvantage those on two wheels.

The authority is planning to remove a well-used and highly appreciated cycle lane on Blackfriars Bridge to create a second traffic lane while squeezing cyclists onto a mixed use path.

Regular users have suggested that the proposal will endanger cyclists who at rush hour can form the majority of traffic.

The Cyclists in the City blog sums up the ojections to TfL’s plans thus: “It adds extra traffic lanes which means cars will almost certainly travel much faster through the junction than they do at present. Whether or not there's a tiny bit less traffic is utterly irrelevant.

“If there's enough motor traffic here and it has multiple nice wide clear lanes in front of it, it will become like Vauxhall gyratory - a car-dominated race track.”

The blog continues: “But cyclists aren't getting a fair deal. think that there are enough of us cycling over this bridge to demand we get a fair allocation of space on this junction.”

Cyclists in the City suggests there is still time to influence TfL's thinking on  the matter and explains how here.

2 user comments

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There is a lot of misinformation going on about the TfL proposals.

They are NOT saying that they are removing a cycle lane "on Blackfriars Bridge" - the lane in question is on dry land, on the north side of the bridge where the roads interchange withthe embankment. The 2.5m wide lane northbound on the bridge and the rather less satisfactory narrower lane southbound on the bridge are not, apparently, affected.

They are also NOT proposing a "mixed use path" - there is no shared space with pedestrians involved here.

What they are proposing is the removal of a fairly short stretch of cycle lane from the junction on the north bank towards the bridge itself - from the plans it looks like a distance of only about 20-30 metres. This isn't the real problem - the problem is that they are cramming in a second traffic lane for southbound traffic. As the inside lane on the bridge itself is a 24h bus lane, any traffic in the inside lane leading up to this will no doubt race to beat traffic in the right hand lane and 'undertake' them before the bus lane starts, and it is of course this inside lane which conflicts with cycle traffic.

There are other problems for cyclists, around maneouvres to cross the traffic when turning right for example.

And finally they are planning to remove a pedestrian crossing which in its short existence has become extremely popular.

All this in the name of smoothing traffic flow, but also driven by Network Rail whose ides of "benefiting pedestrians" (the stated aim of TfL in this scheme) can see no further than pedestrians who want to get to the station entrance

posted by Paul M [310 posts]
25th February 2011 - 23:56

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They've already screwed up Blackfriars bridge cycle lanes up once by having a cycle lane in the middle of the road, thus putting cyclists in danger from both sides. Now they have a relatively safe cycle route across it they want to change it again. Paul M is right, cars will race each other up the inside lane putting cyclists in danger. This is a well used route into the city and cars should not be the only priority.

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posted by AlexStriplight [68 posts]
27th February 2011 - 14:07

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