Mayor updates on Safer Junctions programme and highlights need for TfL to engage with boroughs

Safety improvements to a roundabout in south east London where two cyclists have been killed in recent years will not happen for at least five years, according to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The roundabout, in east Greenwich, lies underneath the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach road at its junction with the A206 Woolwich Road. In 2009 Adrianna Skrzypiec, aged 31, lost her life there when she was dragged 140 metres by a lorry. The driver failed to stop, and a coroner’s inquest heard that there were no witnesses to the crash.

In May this year, 37-year-old Edgars Cepuras was killed at the same junction. He is one of three cyclists to have been died this year on the planned Cycle Superhighway 4 that was originally intended to run from Tower Bridge to Woolwich.

Under the latest plans from Transport for London (TfL), the route will now go no further eastwards than Greenwich.

Khan was asked last month by Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, “What progress has been made in improving London's most dangerous junctions for cyclists and pedestrians?”

In his response, he confirmed that work at the roundabout, which is equally intimidating for people on bike or on foot, would not start until “late 2021” and that it would take two years to complete.

The junction is one of 73 identified under the Safer Junctions programme as being particularly dangerous for vulnerable road users.

The mayor said that of those, work was now finished at 73 junctions, “with 41 at design or construction and eight at feasibility stage.”

Highlighting that the TfL Road Network carries as much as 30 per cent of London’s traffic but accounts for just 5 per cent of roads in the capital by distance, Khan said it was a key priority for TfL to continue working closely with boroughs to improve these junctions for all road users.”

Khan gave two examples that reflect neighbouring boroughs that many who ride bikes in the centre of the city would see as occupying opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to being cycle-friendly.

Regarding the Holborn gyratory, where four cyclists have been killed in the past five years with Dr Peter Fisher the most recent victim in August this year, he said: “Camden Council is working closely with TfL on measures to reduce danger at key locations, including Holborn.

“I understand the safety concerns extend to the whole operation of the gyratory and I have made it clear we see it as a key priority for TfL to work with Camden to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. It is in Camden’s hands.”

Last month, Camden Council confirmed that experimental protected cycle lanes running through Bloomsbury along Tavistock Place and Torrington Place would be made permanent, in a move applauded by cycle campaigners.

There was bad news just days later, however, when it emerged that the City of Westminster had won a judicial review to halt work on the planned Cycle Superhighway 11 from Maida Vale to the West End.

Earlier this year, the same council also blocked Khan’s flagship project to pedestrianise Oxford Street.

Khan made an oblique allusion to those when explaining why delays occur in implementing projects .

“One of the roles we have as politicians is to explain to people what we are doing, but also explain the reasons for delays,” he said. “One of the reasons for delays is that we have to work with councils. Only 5 per cent of the roads are TfL roads. The remainder are council roads.

“We have to work with them in relation to consultation, otherwise we are challenged. You will know that on a regular basis I am taken to court by Westminster [Council], for example. We have to make sure we consult with councils,” he added.

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.