City of London Wants Your Views

The City of London Corporation, who control the streets in the City, want your views on their transport strategy. They have mounted an exhibition that runs until the end of March and there are some “drop-in” sessions also where you can talk to their staff. In addition they would like you to complete a survey.

See that and more information here: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/transport-and-streets/Pages/transport-strategy.aspx

If you work in the City or travel there on business, please make sure you complete the survey.

You might wish to state you oppose road closures, and you will also find the survey requires you to indicate a hierarchy of priorities for road usage – cars, PHVs, buses versus cyclists and pedestrians. This is a very divisive approach. It should be a question of what is an appropriate balance in different locations and at different times.

The transport strategy is still being developed but it’s interesting to look at the proposed Strategy Board Members. It’s dominated by City Corporation staff, GLA representatives, and by representatives of financial institutions (what do the latter know about transport issues?). There is not a single representative of road users such as taxi drivers, PHV drivers, private motorists (the ABD has certainly not been invited), freight owners or even cyclists. See this document for details: http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/documents/s90399/TS%20Strategy%20Board%20Report%20LP%20Sub%20260118%20FINAL.pdf

Regretably this is a typical example of how the City Corporation is biased and staff in the relevant department seem to want to close down all the roads if they could.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.

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City of London Traffic Reduction

The City of London Corporation are developing a Transport Strategy as part of the Corporation’s “Local Implementation Plan” that all local councils in London have to prepare. The proposals from Steve Presland, Transportation and Public Realm Director, include “measures to reduce traffic” and “the reallocation of road space to increase priority and comfort for people on foot….”. There will be research to agree the optimal allocation of space between all travel modes and a review of the potential “for permanent or timed road closures to improve conditions for people walking, cycling and using public transport”. Yes we are likely to see more damage to the road network such as the one recently introduced at Bank. The move to reduce traffic is despite the fact that the level of business activity in the City is likely to increase over the next few years. So traffic congestion will no doubt get even worse.

The Transport Strategy will be subject to a public consultation in early 2018 but you can see what it is likely to contain.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.

 

Bank Junction Closure

As first reported back in December 2015, the City of London Corporation are proceeding with a plan to close Bank junction to all but buses and cyclists. Black cab drivers are incensed by this proposal and ran several demonstration at that junction and near the Houses of Parliament last week. This caused widespread traffic chaos.

According to a report by the City of London Corporation, the benefit will be a significant reduction in casualties (often pedestrians and cyclists) around the junction, and average traffic journey times will be neutral or slightly positive. It will also improve bus services based on the modelling done.

All general traffic will be banned from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm from travelling through the junction, which is one of the key parts of the road network in the City of London. Although much traffic already avoids it because it is very heavily congested, it will certainly cause a lot of difficulties for taxi drivers. Diverting traffic will surely make other alternative routes busier.

The scheme will start in April, and last for 18 months on an experimental basis but such schemes tend to become permanent. The Corporation’s report says “The experimental scheme will not solve all safety aspects at Bank, but will make a significant difference without the need for infrastructure changes, which will take more time to plan and deliver”.

What’s the cost of this project? It is budgeted to be £792,000. More information is present here: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/transport-and-streets/traffic-management/Pages/Bank.aspx

Comment: One of the key sources of congestion at Bank are in fact buses of which there are many and who move slowly. The configuration of the junction and the narrow pavements (insufficient for the number of people exiting Bank underground) are major problems and a cause of the poor accident record. So one cannot dispute that some measures needed to be taken to tackle these problems.

However there were other alternatives, such as simplifying the junction, or allowing entry only from certain directions that would have surely helped. Closing this key junction to traffic will be similar to the redesign of other key junctions in central London such as Trafalgar Square and Aldgate which has contributed so much to reduced journey times in central London.

Taxi driver David Morris was quoted in the Financial Times as saying “We are part of the London public transport system and yet we will be denied access”. He suggested there would be horrendous gridlock as a result and questioned where all the traffic will go. One cannot but be sympathetic to his views because this looks like another step that will reduce the capacity of the road network of London. One cannot continue to remove road space and expect congestion to do anything but get worse.

If you wish to object to these plans, I suggest you write to Gillian Howard, at City of London Corporation, Guildhall, PO Box 270, London EC2P 2EJ. Or send an email to bankarea@cityoflondon.gov.uk . There does not appear to be any formal consultation process as yet and given the timescale for implementation it would seem they are not going to bother with one.

The ABD has already submitted an objection, but the more they get, the better.

Roger Lawson

Traffic in the City of London, and Beech Street

The City of London Corporation has recently published a report entitled “Traffic in the City of London”. It acknowledges that “certain major infrastructure project such as Crossrail and the Cycle Superhighway” along with new building development have increased demand on the highway network. As a result traffic congestion in some parts of the City has increased.

Their solutions include “reducing the amount of traffic in the City to a level our community finds acceptable”, making representations for London wide policy change (e.g. changes to the Congestion Charge, which would include higher charges and wider geographic coverage) and reducing goods vehicle movements. They also propose to “actively discourage vehicle movements”.

In addition they suggest bridge tolls over all the Thames bridges using ANPR technology as on the Dartford Crossing to reduce traffic volumes and more active management by TfL of traffic signals to reduce traffic into the City.

Zero Emission Vehicles Only and Beech Street

They also suggest a ban of all vehicles in the City other than zero emission ones and have already firmed up proposals to do that for Beech Street, or close it completely to through traffic. Beech Street runs underneath the Barbican and is heavily used as a cross-city route.

The City Corporation’s report is well worth reading and is a good example of the anti road transport mentality that is now so prevalent.

Roger Lawson

More Congestion in the City

We have covered the worsening congestion in the City of London arising from the works around Aldgate and the impact of the new Cycle Superhighways during 2015. But it is going to get worse in 2016.

There will be in addition be major works that will close the junction of Aldgate, Leadenhall Street and Fenchurch Street requiring that all three roads be closed from January to April.

In addition Tower Bridge will be closed to “re-deck” the bascules (the raising part of the road surface). This is likely to take place in Q4 2016 and will require traffic on the inner ring road to be diverted via the Congestion Charge zone to use Southwark or London Bridges.

The end of 2016 might also see a closure of Bank junction (see previous blog post on that topic).

Note that the Highways Team in the City of London Corporation now have their own Facebook page (see https://www.facebook.com/Squarehighways) and Twitter feed so you can easily give them your comments on news items.

There is one thing for certain in 2016 – road users will find life more difficult in the City.

Roger Lawson