I wrote on Saturday about the bits of political reaction I had picked up so far on the Kings Cross road safety issue, including work from Islington Labour and the Greens. The Lib Dems have got in touch with some interesting work they have been doing for the past few years picked up by the BBC. Including some good questions to the Mayor from Caroline Pidgeon AM and a letter in the CNJ from Councillor Braithwaite that includes the telling quote
'In not one of the above examples has TfL actually made any of the improvements that have been agreed to be necessary.'
We try to have a balanced view on this site and I now await comment from the Conservatives. I have updated the original post on political reactions to link back to this new post. All this sites posts on this grim topic are gathered in this category. Please add testimony of your experiences in the gyratory to this growing, sorry list.
Here are Caroline Pidgeon AM's questions to the Mayor (she is chair of the GLA Transport Committee) and his answers (UPDATED 24 October 0900):
Following question (546/2010), please can you provide statistics on the number of personal injury accidents for the past three years for the following roads: Acton Street, Swinton Street, King's Cross Road, and Gray's Inn Road.
Answer by Boris Johnson
For the purposes of this reply, the definition of the Kings Cross one-way system comprises:
• Grays’s Inn Road between York Way and Acton Street
• King’s Cross Road between Pentonville Road and Acton Street
• Pentonville Road between York Way and King’s Cross Road
• Acton Street
• Swinton Street
In the latest three years for which data is currently available , i.e. to November 2009, there was a total of 63 collisions in the roads comprising the King’s Cross one-way system. These 63 collisions resulted in a total of 74 casualties of which one was fatal, 16 serious and 57 slight. The table below shows a breakdown of these casualties by mode of travel and severity.
A501 One-Way system King’s Cross Question number 1053/2010 Meeting date 17/03/2010
You have acknowledged that safety on the King's Cross one-way system through the boroughs of Camden and Islington needs addressing. Pursuant to your answers to MQs (1053/2010), (547/2010) and (2701/2009), can you tell me:
a) What has been the result, if any, of your discussions about "speed issues" on the King's Cross one-way system with the London Borough of Islington?
b) Whether a new design for the Caledonian Road/ Pentonville Road junction is now ready, and whether this will improve road safety for pedestrians?
Answer by Boris Johnson
a) There have been few speed related collisions along Pentonville Road, Penton Rise and Kings Cross Road and therefore TfL currently has no additional proposals at this location. However, a scheme to provide southbound cycle facilities has recently been implemented on Penton Rise which has narrowed the carriageway and is expected to reduce speeds on this section of the gyratory. TfL will monitor the impact of this scheme. In addition, following customer correspondence and discussions with officers from Camden, TfL has identified a future scheme to investigate the feasibility of providing cycle facilities at Swinton Street and Acton Street. TfL’s ability to progress this scheme in future is dependent on the availability of funding, however.
b) TfL has developed a design for the junction of Caledonian Road and Pentonville Road as part of wider junction improvements in the Kings Cross area, with the objective of improving the pedestrian environment and better catering for the high pedestrian demand here. The proposals include widening the existing crossing facility across Caledonian Road, which should provide more capacity for pedestrians and reduce the number of pedestrians crossing the road outside of the formal crossing area, which is predicted to deliver safety benefits. These designs are currently undergoing further assessment in order to understand their impacts of the wider road network impact, for all modes. The progression of this scheme is dependent on the outcome of this assessment, the availability of funding and public consultation. At this stage, it is intended that these improvements will be delivered in advance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games towards the end of 2011.
Further to MQs 1053/2010, 2962/2010 and 2701/2009, given your previous acknowledgement that speeding is an issue on the King's Cross one-way system and that measures are needed to tackle this, will you set out your current plans to improve these roads for pedestrians and cyclists?
Answer by Boris Johnson - Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.
Written answer received on 13 July 2011:
Transport for London has, in response to previous concerns raised about speeding, implemented some specific measures on the King’s Cross one-way system. For example southbound cycle facilities were provided on Penton Rise in the summer / autumn of 2010 which narrowed the carriageway and reduced vehicle speeds on this section. This is in addition to a speed camera introduced on Pentonville Road in July 2008. TfL is monitoring the impacts of these schemes and would consider the provision of further speed reduction measures, for example on Acton Street, if surveys indicate there is a problem.
TfL is making improvements to the pedestrian crossing across Caledonian Road, at the junction with Pentonville Road, by widening the existing crossing facility. This enhancement, which will be completed by April 2012, should provide more capacity for pedestrians and reduce the number of pedestrians crossing the road outside of the formal crossing area, which is predicted to deliver safety benefits. This is part of wider junction improvements in the King’s Cross area, with the objective of improving the pedestrian environment and better catering for the high pedestrian demand here.
Question number 1876/2011 Meeting date 15/06/2011
Further to MQ (1876/2011), you have said that you will consider providing further speed reduction measures on the King's Cross one-way system including on the worst-affected roads such as Acton Street "if surveys indicate that there is a problem". Can you tell me when these surveys have been carried out or will be taking place, and when you will have the full results of these surveys and if these will be made publically available?
Answer by Boris Johnson
Speed surveys in the Kings Cross area, including Acton Street, Swinton Street, Grays Inn Road and Kings Cross Road are planned to be undertaken by March 2012. The results of these speed surveys will form the basis of any decisions on action taken in the area. The survey results will be available within a month of their completion.
Question number 2489/2011 Meeting date 14/09/2011
Further to MQ (1876/2011), you have said that you will consider providing further speed reduction measures on the King's Cross one-way system including on the worst-affected roads such as Acton Street "if surveys indicate that there is a problem". Can you tell me over what period these surveys have been or will be taking place, what they suggest to date, and when you will have the full results of these surveys and if these will be made available?
Answer by Boris Johnson
The speed surveys are planned to be undertaken in the first two weeks of March 2012. These will then be analysed and follow-up proposals put together.
Question number 3109/2011 Meeting date 12/10/2011
Reader Derek also wrote in to draw my attention to local Lib Dem Cllr Paul Braithwaite's letter in the Camden New Journal last week:
TFL a need for Action
Subject: TfL is utterly indifferent to cyclists' safety Whilst I applaud the constructive and sensible suggestions made in the letter from Camden Cyclists' Jean Dollimore (13th October) I want to throw a spotlight of profound criticism on TfL. I think it is well justified that a case of Corporate Manslaughter is now being considered over the cyclist's death at Kings Cross on 3rd October. I really believe we need something of that magnitude to get through to TfL's high command.
I'll list just a few on the road design defects on TfL controlled roads that I've been fighting for years in vain to remedy for cyclist safety:
The "Death Mile" on Camden Road was the subject of a very comprehensive proposed scheme in 2005, with virtually none of the recommendations implemented, despite the death of the Polish Student cyclist at the junction with St Pancras Way six months ago.
The recent new two-way traffic working on Russell Square's, which daily puts hundreds of cyclists at grave risk in the south east corner. The timing of the cyclists' traffic lights from Crogsland Road by the Roundhouse, where I participated in meeting TfL on-site with Camden highways officers two years ago. The cyclist crossing of Euston Road into Ossulston Street, where yet another woman cyclist was killed five years ago – again, I participated in an on-site review with TfL and Camden officers more than four years ago.
In not one of the above examples has TfL actually made any of the improvements that have been agreed to be necessary. Camden's well-meaning officers do pursue TfL persistently but ineffectively. they are being totally disregarded with impugnity by TfL. It's time to press the nuclear button and try to over-turn the rot at the top of TfL. They are dominated by bus considerations and seemingly indifferent to cyclist and pedestrian safety.
Hopefully, as the Mayoral election approaches, Londoners will hold Mayor Boris's feet to the fire and seek committment to sort out the malaise at the top of TfL from all the four mayoral candidates.
Cllr Paul Braithwaite
Camden's Cycling Champion