Simon MacMichael May 1 2017
The City of London Corporation has confirmed Monday 22 May as the date when all vehicles other than buses and bicycles will be banned from Bank Junction under an experimental safety scheme while consultation continues into longer-term measures, which may include full pedestrianisation.
Seven major roads including Cheapside, Poultry and King William Street meet at the junction, which has one of the worst safety records in the capital and where 26-year-old cyclist Ying Tao was killed when she was riding to work in June 2015.
Her death led to two ‘die-in’ protests at the junction by the campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists, and the following year the City of London Corporation unveiled its All Change at Bank scheme to ban vehicles including lorries and taxis from the junction between 7am and 7pm on weekdays and possibly pedestrianise it.
As an interim measure over the next 18 months, called Bank on Safety, the junction will be closed to traffic other than buses and bicycles between those hours from 22 May. There will also be local access only restrictions on sections of the roads radiating out from it, as shown on this map.
Unveiling the restrictions last week, the City of London Corporation said:
Bank Junction does not work very well. It has heavy pedestrian use and many of the Bank station exits are located on, or close to, the main junction. This contributes to pedestrians crowding on the narrow pavements around junction. The area also has a high collision and casualty record and requires improvement.
London Underground is undertaking a large capacity upgrade of Bank station which will increase the numbers of passengers able to interchange between lines within the station as well as enter and exit. This work is expected to finish in 2021.
It is proposed that the surface level should be improved within the same time frame as the underground station upgrade. This would assist the expected increase in demand in the area over the coming years.
The Corporation says that ultimately the proposed changes at Bank will “reduce casualties by simplifying the junction, reduce pedestrian crowding levels, improve air quality and improve the perception of place, as a place to spend time in rather than pass through.”
> Guest blog: London’s Bank junction trial aims for dramatic reduction in cyclist and pedestrian casualties
The proposals have however been opposed by bodies representing the capital’s black cab drivers who have held a series of protests, with the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association describing them as “the craziest scheme anyone has suggested for some time.”
But in response to a protest by the United Cabbies Group, i in January, London Cycling Campaign chief executive Askok Sinha said: “This is not about cars versus bicycles, or pedestrians versus taxis.
“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.
In a blog post published on road.cc the same month, the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee Chairman, Christopher Hayward outlined the proposed temporary measures that have now been confirmed.
He said: “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,” he added.