London Cycling Campaign)
Last week, another cyclist died at an infamously dangerous junction under the Blackwall Tunnel Approach in Greenwich, a junction nicknamed locally as the “crossing of death”. We don’t have details of the collision yet, but the site was also where Adrianna Skrzypiec was killed in 2009 while cycling.
Less than a handful of the junctions Transport for London (TfL) identify as most dangerous over the last eight years have been made safe enough for most people to feel happy cycling and walking through them. The Greenwich “crossing of death” has been on TfL’s hit list for years, but no plans for it have ever been advanced.
We can’t keep waiting for Londoners to be killed before we get action. Please sign our petition to Mayor Sadiq Khan to ask him to rapidly bring all of the most dangerous junctions in London up to high quality international standards.
Witnesses at the coroner’s hearing after Skrzypiec’s death testified that the junction was “exceptionally dangerous” and warned “there are going to be more” collisions. Now, tragically, there has been.
Greenwich council in 2011 said it was “working on plans”. But despite the junction also being on TfL’s Better Junctions hit list, and the proposed future alignment of Cycle Superhighway 4 extension to Woolwich, we’re now facing another fatality. Why are we still asking for this lethal junction to be made safer for cyclists? Why are we waiting for so many dangerous junctions to see improvements?
The Better Junctions programme was announced eight years ago with the aim to fix the worst junctions in London. Mayor Sadiq Khan extended the original list after his election to 77 junctions, turning it into the Safer Junctions programme. Yet what do we have to show apart from a long list of lethal junctions and a lot of fine words? Very little.
Pace of progress
The very little that has been achieved? Westminster Bridge Road and Blackfriars show that the dangerous and complex junctions in these programmes can be made far better and safer, but most junctions that TfL consider completed feature serious problems, a few have been consulted on but not built, and many more remain in limbo without plans, timetable or changes complete. Like with the “crossing of death”, every year without progress has very real risks.
The pace of progress is far too slow. And concerns as minor as saving a tree in the middle of a roundabout are apparently enough to cause delays. Apparently lives lost, families devastated and safe cycling and walking in London are less a priority.
The Mayor of London and Deputy Mayor for Transport must rapidly bring all of the junctions in the Safer and Better Junctions programmes up to international quality standards, with a public timescale for doing so.
The Mayor has pledged to achieve “Vision Zero” to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on London’s roads to nothing by 2041. If he’s even vaguely serious about this laudable aim, it’s time to get moving on our most lethal junctions.