A response from Val Shawcross last night.
It's an interesting response. I do worry that Val may have slightly misunderstood what a lot of people are saying, though, namely that no-one wants to take away space from pedestrians.
From the many copies of emails I've seen to TfL, people actually want to encourage TfL to keep one of the existing pedestrian crossings that it plans to remove (ie it seems to think of the junction primarily in terms of pedestrians exiting and entering the station, not in terms of the many people heading in other directions) and secondly that the addition of an extra vehicle lane in each direction will make it perilously difficult to manoeuvre across this junction on a bicycle. Those are the key points.
The fact that the few existing bicycle lanes are either removed or remain at a paltry 150cm is a further issue given the sheer volume and relative share of bicycles on this junction. I very much hope TfL can be made to realise that motor traffic should be not be getting more space here but that the additional space it is proposing to add to the current scheme should be allocated to pedestrians and people using bicycles rather than private motor cars.
After all, bicycles and pedestrians are also 'traffic' but we need space to manoeuvre that is not threatened by three lanes of fast-moving, dangerous motor traffic.
Blackfriars Bridge scheme
I am writing on behalf of Val Shawcross AM regarding your concerns about the Blackfriars Bridge scheme. Val and John Biggs AM met with Andrew Miles, Nigel Hardy and Toyin Odinusa who are three key officers from TfL, yesterday (9 March 2011).
TfL would like you to know that the current layout is an interim scheme and they are working towards a new scheme, which is reasonably urgent as it needs to be open in time for the end of this year. This scheme is being conducted by Network Rail and Colin Buchanan (CB) in communication with TfL. In yesterday’s meeting TfL promised Val and John that there would be a TfL web page which will contain all the information about the Blackfriars Bridge scheme in the next few days. Also, TfL have stated further that they will open up a public consultation for the month following the web page being publicly activated. Val will be making a response on the consultation on your behalf, but also encourages you to make comments directly to TfL’s web page. We will also email you the TfL’s web page about the consultation, when it is activated.
Val would like you to know, that she and John went over the complaints you sent and looked in detail at the issues you raised. Val understands TfL’s need for more pedestrian crossings, but would like you to know that she and John challenged TfL about the loss of cycling facilities and have asked them to consider reducing the speed limit of the cars around Blackfriars Bridge. They have also asked TfL to see if they could look into the potential reworking of the teardrop shape island. TfL have confirmed that they will look into this and that they are investigating the costs involved.
Jenny Jones AM has been actively looking into this issue as well and has informed Val she is going to be doing a site visit with TfL and Val is hoping to go.
I hope you find this update helpful and we will continue to keep you updated with further information Val receives from TfL on this.
Please do not hesitate to contact me using my details below if you require further information.
(Please note I will be away on annual leave from 21-25 March, so it may take me longer than normal to respond).
Kind Regards "