Kings Cross dangerous roads – update

Cyclist death kx daniels counterThe huge support for my post suggesting TfL should answer corporate manslaughter charges was moving.  Our case is that TfL did not act promptly on a report it commissioned condeming the Kings Cross road junctions – the junctions are still overwhelmingly the same now as three years ago when the report was written.  TfL bureacrats have failed, someone is now dead.

We have used this website to help organise a number of campaigns over the years. My campaigning method is to share thinking as it emerges rather than plot secretly.  That way you get a stronger basis for action.  Whilst i understand that people want to protest, demonstrate etc that hasn't been my emphasis, my own interest is in the hard yards of getting the broken bureacracies held to account to change.  If someone does wish to organise a protest then this site would be happy to help co-ordinate.

Over the weekend I have begin piecing together how the systems work.  The death should be investigated by the Met's Road Death Investigation Unit.  Their report will go to the St Pancras Coroner Andrew Scott Ried in a hearing likely to be in May 2012.  

I spoke with the Coroners Officer who is the case officer. And have written to the Coroner enclosing a copy of the TfL-commissioned report, making the basic case.  I asked him to consider raising the issue of corporate manslaugher with the CPS by making a statment or writing following his inquest.  

I have left a voicemail with the police on the number they advertised asking for witnesses to say that i have new information.  I shall find the correct officer on Monday and write to the senior officer there enclosing a copy of the TfL-commissioned report.

Corporate Manslaughter is prosecuted by the CPS, with the head of the CPS making the decision.  There is avery good guide to prosecuting corporate manslaughter online When i have spoken to the police I shall also write to the Director of Public Prosecutions.  There's also a handy HSE guide.

TfL is a politically controlled body with the Mayor in ultimate charge.   The Mayor's Transport Commissioner is before the GLA for his regular question time in early November.  I need to find a GLA member to raise the issue with him.  By complete coincidence last week Jenny Jones AM challenged the Mayor to ride Kings Cross with her.  So i shall see if she will raise the wider issue in former questions (I have to say that riding around Kings Cross on an inspection tour is frankly lethal without a police escort).

I've also been looking at the excellent, if harrowing RoadPeace resources on road safety.

Questions on my mind:  

Kx york way junction tfl proposalWho was consulted locally by TfL on their undelivered 'Kings Cross Junction Improvement Scheme'?   Did we all miss it?  Download Kings Cross junction improvement scheme  The Camden Cycling Campaign was consulted but who else saw this locally?  The changes proposed seem very poor, and fiddle at the margins.  If TfL propose something this trivial they could have implemented it within a few months of the initial report they commissioned that set out the dangers.  This TfL document makes a far stronger case for negligence by TfL mangers.  

The changes proposed to the York Way bottle neck seem to throw cyclists and vehicles even closer together.  Wide vehicles will sterilise the space for cyclists altogether.

Kings Cross is not the only deadly junction in London with a TfL report on it's danger to users – why has TfL not been prosecuted before?  

Why has the police Road Death Investigation Unit not in fact investigated TfL?

Why did Camden Council press ahead with S106 funded works on York Way that don't appear to synch with TfL's work?

Suggestions and views welcome in the comments.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online, trustee. The Indigo Trust.
This entry was posted in Anti Social Behaviour, Crime etc, Road Safety in Kings Cross, Transport. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Kings Cross dangerous roads – update

  1. Clare Hill says:

    Excellent work on all of this, Will, and thanks for the update on the Corporate Manslaughter enquiries. I’m happy to help in whatever way I can on both the back end (research) work or the front end (campaign) side.

    I think as a community and group of road users we need the two-pronged approach, ie Boris made to cycle through KX/flashride/direct action temp closure + legal challenge. Part of me just wishes a whole load of sandbags and construction barriers would drop from the sky and shut down the junction entirely and immediately until something’s done.

    In the meantime it looks like there really is an appetite to get organised.

  2. Sophie Talbot says:

    What is the relationship between the KX Junction Improvement Scheme and the Living Streets report? Will TfL make the consultation list for KXJIS available? King’s Cross Community Projects did not have sight of the consultation document or knowledge that the consultation was taking place. Shall we/you ask Jennette Arnold key GLAM for the area to work with us/you on this?

  3. This is excellent work William, I don’t know where you find that time. As a Kings Cross Resident for 15 years I fully agree with you on all your points and thank you on your actions which are highly commendable. I agree that it is high tide that the whole gyratory system be reformed with pedestrian, cycling, public transport and private transport users as equal participants. There must be space made for separate cycle lanes on Caledonian Rd, York Way, Grays inn Rd, Kings Cross Rd, Acton Street, Swinton Street. and Euston Rd. , very clear traffic crossings for all participants. If I may point out the junctions between Pentonville Rise – Kings Cross Rd and Swinton Street, and between Caledonian Rd and Pentonville Rd, and between Swinton Street and Grays inn Road, and between Acton Street and Grays Inn Road,and between Pancras Rd and Euston Rd, are all dangerous for cyclists. There are no lanes and speeds in he entire area often exceed 30 miles per hour. A permanent speed reduction around the gyratory area of Kings Cross to 20 miles on the grounds of being a very dangerous spot with many vehicles I feel would help tremendously and be an instant accident reducer as well as reduce the gravity of impacts when accidents do still happen. Planers must take account of the fact also that due to the stations the area has many people walking about who haven’t got a clue of Kings Cross, some even not too aware of left sided traffic (continental travellers from Eurostar). Hence the area must be made as safe as possible because it is near the stations, yes provide access by all means and keep traffic flowing, but it can not be right that cars and lorries have the sole priority in such an area.

  4. sean says:

    TFL did not consult with residents or businesses in York Way on junction improvements. We did receive Camden’s plan A or B to choose from for York Way north of the junction. Both options we have now learnt TFL has blocked.

    So right now: TFL claim to have held a consultation when they haven’t. They advised work would start on the junctions in September and it hasn’t and they’ve blocked Camden’s proposals to improve the rest of York Way.

    We are continuing to chase Camden for an update on the rest of York Way.

  5. James Melly says:

    Good luck with the campaign and let me know if I can help in any way.

    I was watching the junction for a while again yesterday and one thing that struck me is that there is always traffic still coming from Gray’s Inn Road when the pedestrian lights to cross the lane where it enters York Way go back to green, and when the traffic starts entering from Euston Road. This causes confusion and increased risk of accidents for both pedestrians and road users.

    Surely this is just a timing issue that could be changed straight away? Even if it mucks up phasing and increases congestion isn’t that preferable to more accidents?

  6. Simon says:

    I’m not a lawyer, so can’t really comment on the legal aspects. But on a moral level, there definitely is a case to answer here. I’d be happy to offer any help I can with this issue, just get in touch.

  7. Danny says:

    re your point about the local ‘consultation’ – when TfL ‘consulted’ on Blackfriars, it sent an email to the London Cycling Campaign on a Friday, asking for comments by the following Tuesday. The basic assumption was, oh well, we’ve sent this to some cyclists, that’ll do.
    http://cyclelondoncity.blogspot.com/2011/02/object-to-new-blackfriars-bridge-scheme.html

    All the local politicians I talk to, including all the Assembly members, local government etc all say TfL basically does what it likes, how it likes and isn’t upheld by any of the democratic processes of equivalent institutions in local government. I think that’s very true.

  8. Chris says:

    It’s strange and sad. When the Daily Mail made a campaign for literacy they got a huge voice. Daily Mail should take a stand for cyclists.

  9. sean says:

    I wouldn’t hold your breath for a Mail campaign! It is of course the tragic death of a student from CSM that’s re-energised the community to demand a better, safer public realm. I think it’s broader than just cycling though, it’s also about how thousands of pedestrians everyday have to navigate a hostile environment. We must not let TFL marginalise this as as ‘just’ a campaign by cyclists. I can not find one person: car driver, van driver, pedestrian, bus user or cyclist who thinks the current design is anywhere near good enough.

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