Major works are to go ahead at London’s Bank, with access limited to cycles and buses, despite huge opposition from taxi drivers.
The City of London’s Policy & Resources Committee has approved traffic restrictions and major safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at Bank junction.
No motor vehicles except buses will be allowed through the junction between 7am and 7pm, making it more easily navigated by cyclists and pedestrians.
City of London officer, Iain Simmons, said bus journey times would be improved, there would be a slight improvement in taxi movements and casualties would be reduced significantly.
This summer we reported how passers-by are formed a human chain to block the road after a cyclist was struck by a car at the notorious junction in the City of London. The victim, a man in his forties, was taken to hospital with facial injuries. His condition was initially described as critical before later being downgraded.
Several Committee members said doing nothing at the junction was not acceptable.
The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) made a submission to the committee, noting that the issue was both about safety and about restoring the heart of the City of London and making it attractive to workers, visitors and commuters – a view that was acknowledged by Committee members.
The experimental scheme will be implemented in late April 2017 for an initial period of 18 months with a final report in the Summer of 2018.
The radical changes at Bank follow the death of Ying Tao, in 2015, who was killed in an incident involving a tipper truck at Bank Junction.
Taxi drivers attempted to halt the changes at earlier meetings.
Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) spoke at the City's Transport & Planning Committee. The LTDA "totally accepts something needs to be done at Bank and many other junctions," said McNamara, adding ”it's the wrong scheme at the wrong time in the wrong place.”
Speaking on behalf of the LCC, Simon Munk said: "It should come as no surprise to you that a cycle campaigner would mention Ying Tao, the 26 year old woman who tragically lost her life last year at Bank. But I don’t want to just mention her.
“Or the other cyclists seriously injured in the last few years. Because your decision to close Bank to motor vehicle traffic should not be solely about people who cycle through this junction and the risks they face.
“Nor should it be just about pedestrians either. Even though pedestrians suffer as much as cyclists. As do their families, loved ones, co-workers. Bank is a dangerous junction... but [this scheme] is far bigger than just a safety issue."
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.