Bank Junction to be Closed?

The City of London Corporation is considering various options for changes to Bank road junction in the City. This is the key road junction outside the Bank of England which is the central hub of roads in the City and used by many bus routes. It is typically heavily congested and because of the narrow pavements is also the scene of many pedestrian accidents. Neither is it cyclist friendly of course. There were 118 casualties of all kinds in the last 5 years, mainly to pedestrians from them walking into the road while ignoring the traffic, including one fatality.

Two of the options considered in a report by the Corporation’s staff are complete closure, or the closure of all East-West movements, although they concede that the latter might not get the support of TfL. Other options include removing Poultry and Cornhill or simply reducing capacity by 50% on all arms.

But they are keen to remove all traffic other than buses and as a result enhance Bank as a “place”, effectively removing it from its purpose as part of the road network. An interim “experimental” scheme might allow pedal cycles and buses only through the junction during working hours, but there should be a full public consultation in due course. The overall view of the “Streets and Walkways” Sub-Committee who considered the proposals was that “the proposals should be supported, however the changes should not be at the expense of diminishing traffic flow through the city“. But how is that to be achieved is a key question.

Definitely a project to keep an eye on because this could be as damaging as the pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square, or the changes in the Aldgate area, to the road network in London. Removing road space in one location just moves the traffic onto other roads of course, which are typically already congested. Modelling of the result of a local scheme often ignores these wider impacts.

Roger Lawson

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