TfL says ‘threat of Corporate Manslaughter charges against TfL’…’unhelpful and inappropriate’

The BBC covered the Kings Cross road safety issues that we’ve been campaigning on.  Our very own Sophie Talbot did a lap of the gyratory with a helmet cam.  I used the excellent Whatdotheyknow website to make a freedom of information request to TfL to understand how they may be discussing the potential for corporate manslaughter.  It seems that TfL sees this mainly as a media issue. There seems to be no discussion about whether there is or isn’t a potential liability. Interestingly, despite the exchange below TfL did put up a spokesman in the end as the BBC clip linked above shows.  Also nice to see that this site is ‘the bloggersphere’ not ‘citizens’ for instance:

From: Jessica Roscoe
Sent: 18 October 2011 11:56
To: Isabel Dedring
Cc: Hilary Merrett; Samantha Hart; Jonathan Edwards; Richard McGreevy; Elliot Treharne;
Erica Blennerhassett
Subject: RE: FOR URGENT CLEARANCE: BBC London / TfL statement on Kings Cross
Junctions
Importance: High
Hi Isabel,
Tom E is chasing TfL for our response on this + bad news, they now will mention the
corporate manslaughter charge being levied on the blogs.
TfL legal department have drawn up the additional line below. Please can you advise if happy
to go back as below, both the line in general and the legal line?
Thanks, Jess

If asked about the threat of Corporate Manslaughter charges against TfL
These calls are unhelpful and inappropriate while the initial Police
investigations are still being carried. It is a tragedy that a young cyclist has
lost her life at this junction outside Kings Cross, and as usual, we have been
working with the Police with their ongoing investigation into what happened.
This is part of TfL’s ongoing commitment to make roads safer for all users.

From: Jessica Roscoe
Sent: 18 October 2011 11:06
To: Isabel Dedring
Cc: Hilary Merrett; Samantha Hart; Jonathan Edwards; Richard McGreevy; Elliot Treharne;
Erica Blennerhassett
Subject: FOR URGENT CLEARANCE: BBC London / TfL statement on Kings Cross Junctions
Hi Isabel,
Tom Edwards from BBC London TV is planning to run the Kings Cross junction story today,
the one we managed to put off last week. He has asked TfL for an interview to answer why
TfL has not yet acted when a report three years ago raised concerns about this junction.

TfL are not planning to put anyone up, unless we insist. Apparently it should be Garrett or
Dana, but they are both in board meetings all morning. Tom E has already filmed material at
Kings Cross this morning, so we expect it will run at lunchtime.

Driving this is the bloggersphere where people are calling for a charge of corporate
manslaughter, however since there is still a police investigation underway into the cyclist
death last week, Tom Edwards will have to tread very carefully and will probably not mention
this directly.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/davehillblog/2011/oct/17/campaigner-seeks-corporatemanslaughter-charge-over-kings-cross-cyclist-death

So, as things stand, Tom E is expecting a statement only. TfL have added to the one we
cleared last week. Are you happy for us to respond as below? TfL want this line to go back to
Tom E in the next half an hour.
Thanks, Jess

A Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson said
“It is a tragedy that a young cyclist has lost her life at this junction outside
Kings Cross, and we await the outcome of the ongoing police investigation
into what happened. TfL monitors for collisions on all of the TfL Road Network
and in the past 3 years there have been 2 serious collisions at this junction,
neither of which involved cyclists.
“Since 2008, TfL has maintained the road network outside Kings Cross station
and commissioned a further report in 2009 to specifically investigate what
could be achieved at the three junctions around Kings Cross station. We have
been working to design schemes which will benefit pedestrians and all road
users, including cyclists, through the area . Earlier this year we engaged with
key local stakeholders and the community about the resulting plans to
increase pedestrian capacity and for safety improvements at three key
junctions around Kings Cross in time for the London 2012 Games.
“Detailed design is now being finalised and work will begin later this year to
be completed in spring 2012.”
Additional information:
• In March 2008 a Pedestrian Environment Review System (PERS)
study looked into what possible improvements could be made outside
Kings Cross and St Pancras station to help enhance the local area
subject to funding being secured. Following this, a further report was
commissioned by TfL which investigated what specifically could be
achieved at the three junctions outside Kings Cross.
• The Kings Cross Pedestrian Improvement scheme incorporates a
number of the recommendations from both the 2008 and 2009 report.
• TfL has an ongoing programme of reviewing and improving the TfL
Road Network to ensure that it continues to operate safely and
efficiently for all transport modes, especially pedestrians and cyclists.
• TfL’s Capital Development team has a number of schemes in
development across London which will help improve cycling facilities
(for example, by installing Advance Stop Lines at junctions and
installing cycle lanes along the TfL Road Network where helpful for
cyclists.)
Specifically about the PERS report
The Pedestrian Environment Review System investigated a number of
junctions in the Kings Cross area. This report was prepared by TRL and
Living Streets for TfL. This report identified a number of short, medium and
long term improvements that could be delivered. Since then, TfL have
completed a vast majority of the short term recommendations in the PERS
report and the junction improvement scheme that we are working on will begin
to deliver the medium and long term improvements suggested in both the
2008 and TfL 2009 report. These works will begin in November 2011 and will
be completed in Spring 2012. If asked what is being delivered for cyclists:
These improvements are predominantly to increase pedestrian capacity and
safety in time for the London 2012 Games but the new road layout designs
will reflect the needs of all road users, including cyclists.
Euston Road / Pancras Way junction
• We plan to remove the existing pedestrian island on Pancras Road.
This will allow us to extend the footway and install new tactile paving
on both the eastern and western sides of the pavement. Our plans will
also create more space, with shorter and smoother crossings for
pedestrians.
Euston Road / York Way junction
• To make it easier for pedestrians to cross, we are planning to extend
the pedestrian island on Euston Road. Further changes to the road
layout will be made including the location of the ‘no stopping’ yellow
box and extending existing, and installing additional advanced stop
lines for cyclists.
Pentonville Road at junction of Kings Cross Bridge and Caledonian Road
• We plan to remove the existing pedestrian island on York Way and
extend the pavement on the western side. This will create more space,
with shorter and smoother crossings for pedestrians. We also plan to
install new advanced stop lines for cyclists and new tactile paving as
well as change the location of the ‘no stopping’ yellow box.

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 Road Safety in Kings Cross. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to TfL says ‘threat of Corporate Manslaughter charges against TfL’…’unhelpful and inappropriate’

  1. Diana Shelley says:

    Unhelpful and inappropriate? Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

  2. Tony Rees says:

    You took the words out of my mouth! The fact that they are rattled perhaps means that something worthwhile will come from the pressure being put on TfL.

  3. I have never been to ‘the blogosphere’ so I have no idea what TfL is talking about. I’m a citizen like everyone who lives in KX, works in KX or travels through KX. How can we hold TfL publicly to account… well, the only way seems to be by charging them with manslaughter following deaths resulting directly from their negligence in maintaining what they knew to be hazardous road layouts. Public bodies being called to account by citizens is an essential part of a democracy. Oh, but then… that is unhelpful and inappropriate isn’t it – democratic processes waste so much time and money, which after all are the important things here.

  4. TfL ‘head of streets’ also unhelpfully gave evidence to a select committee that pedestrians “disobeying traffic signals” contribute to congestion – http://j.mp/A1QeaJ (HC872, 2011 p.7)
    However, the highway code and the manual for streets indicate priority should be given to pedestrians and cyclists, and TfL is obliged to make highways in King’s Cross safer public places for all street and road users, not just motorised traffic.

  5. Stuart Cottis says:

    The whole gyratory is bonkers and while most of the posts deal with cyclists (and for good reason), as a KX resident and car-owner and frequent driver (yes, shocker…) the junction does not work for anybody: pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist. I think a much more radical re-think is required than the one proposed that is being implemented. There is a huge amount of space wasted in York Way with buses standing (often with engines running). There ought to be a return to proper two-way running of what is, after all, an A Road. Junctions should be controlled with traffic lights. This is what would happen in any well organised European city such as Berlin.

  6. This is the dismal and vague result of campaigning and TfL “consultation” since 2008:
    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/projectsandschemes/24344.aspx – 17 July 2013

    “Kings Cross Gyratory Review Objectives”
    “Kings Cross has been identified as a Growth / Opportunity Area as part of the 2011 London Plan. This scheme aims to facilitate this growth by providing for the expected increase in movements, as well as existing needs, through:
    - Improved safety for all road users, in particular pedestrian and cyclists
    - Better balancing of the impact of traffic with the need to create an improved place to live, work and visit
    - Improved cycle movement and facilities
    - Improved pedestrian movements, particularly for public transport interchange and access to and from the mainline stations
    - Comparable bus journey times, services and infrastructure
    - Appropriate provision for taxis, private hire vehicles, servicing and freight
    - Retention of journey time reliability and capacity on the Inner Ring Road
    - Ensuring suitable provision for coaches and tour buses
    - Improved environment and urban realm
    NB* These are in no particular order”

    Discuss.

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