Taxi protest over Bank junction branded ‘misguided’
Laura Laker January 12 2017
A taxi protest planned today against a daytime ban on all vehicles bar buses at Bank junction has been called misguided by cycling and walking charities who say changes would improve safety as well as benefiting journey times.
The 18 month trial by the City of London Corporation will see the junction, on which cyclist Ying Tao was killed in 2015, closed to all traffic bar buses, cycles and people on foot between 7am and 7pm. There were more than 100 collisions at Bank in the period 2010-14. Seventy-five per cent were between those times, with people on foot and bikes the main casualties.
The RMT union claims the cause of congestion is a rise in Uber vehicles on the road, and that people are taking to cycling out of “desperation”. The taxi protest will take place this afternoon from 5pm.
Meanwhile, cycling and walking campaigners are backing the City, who say changes will save lives and improve the public realm, while reducing driver journey times by around half a minute by bypassing the “inefficient” Bank junction.
“This is not about cars versus bicycles, or pedestrians versus taxis,” said Ashok Sinha, CEO of the London Cycling Campaign. “It’s about stopping more terrible fatalities, celebrating the City’s iconic buildings and spaces, and making the area a hugely more attractive place to work, do business and visit. That’s good for everyone – including those taxi drivers misguidedly protesting today, whose journey times through the area are actually set to improve when these plans go ahead.”
Tompion Platt, Head of Policy and Communications, Living Streets said: “The vast majority of people using Bank Junction are on foot – 18,000 in the morning peak. For everyone walking and cycling there, Bank Junction is woefully inadequate. It’s hugely polluted, overcrowded and unsafe – as demonstrated by its shocking casualty record. These changes will improve Bank Junction for everyone who works, lives and visits the City by making it a safer and healthier place.”
In a blog for road.cc, the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee Chairman, Christopher Hayward writes: “A number of casualties and fatalities have highlighted very real concerns about safety at this junction. With cyclists now making up to 50% of the traffic crossing the junction in peak times, we felt that it was fundamental that cyclist safety be seen as a very important.
“I would like to underline that this is an experimental scheme. It may last up to 18 months, but the scheme will be under regular review.”