London's cyclists and anyone that uses Blackfriars Bridge are being urged to email Transport for London (TfL) to object to the proposals for traffic management on the bridge and the area surrounding Blackfriars station including the removal of the southbound cycle lane over the bridge and the narrowing of the northbound cycle lane.
TfL's current consultation process for the scheme closes on 15 April and before then the London Cycling Campaign hopes to flood TfL's inbox with thousands of objections to the plans - the email address to send objections to the proposals too is STEngagement [at] tfl.gov.uk. Whatever traffic management measures are finally agreed are likely to be in place for a generation so as the LCC points out on its website "if you fail to email now, we could be stuck with the dangers for the foreseeable future." LCC have posted a letter covering the reasons why cyclists are objecting to the scheme as it stands, but they also suggest that your own words will have an even more powerful effect.
TfL are making the changes at Blackfriars to cope with a massive increase in the numbers of pedestrians expected to be using Blackfriars station when it reopens later this year following refurbishment – predicted to rise from 4000 to 10,000 during the morning peak. TfL believes that the current street layout will be unable to cope with these numbers which is why they are proposing to widen pavements and install two major new pedestrian crossings. However, TfL is also keen to minimise the impact to traffic flows to this end they want to add more traffic lanes to enable them to 'stack' traffic and avoid congestion the current southbound cycle lane outside the station that helps cyclists get on to the bridge would disappear as part of this plan.
This critics, including the LCC, point out prioritises the desire to keep motorised traffic moving ahead of the safety of cyclists even though cyclists already make up one third of traffic using the bridge during peak times.
As road.cc reported last month TfL have already been forced to move on their original proposals, reopening the consultation process and bringing forward the suggestion of an "additional cycle facility" so that cyclists can more easily turn right onto Blackfriars Bridge. This has so far failed to appease critics of the scheme who point out the particular importance of London's bridges to the movement of commuter cycle traffic in the capital and claim that it will hamper the continued growth of cycling in the capital something London's mayor has been keen to champion. Cycling across Blackfriars Bridge is a particularly emotive subject for many in London's cycling community because the current arrangements for cycle traffic were put in place following the deaths of two cyclists on the bridge within 15 months.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.