York Way crossing – the madness continues, casualties surely still inevitable

A 2008 report commissioned by TfL said that at the junction of York Way ‘casualties are inevitable’ and that at busy times the junction was ‘like a battleground’

It has taken TfL a remarkable four years to rebuild the pedestrian crossing at the junction of York Way and Pentonville Road.  But simple observation shows madness at this junction continues that endangers all road users, in part as warned by local activists.

I shot some video and took some pictures just after getting off a train at Kings Cross this Friday 1 June at about 1700 to demonstrate.

I observed the taxi in the photo dropping off a man in the middle of the road – not even bothering to pull over to a safe place.   The video below then shows traffic streaming around this passenger as the lights go green and he is stranded in the middle of the road.  The video also demonstrates that the chicane behaviour continues where vehicles criss-cross in front of each other endangering cyclists. Pedestrian safety continues to be questionable as poor junction design causes traffic to back up across the junction with alarming regularity and pedestrians then flood between the vehicles.

The video at 1:33 also shows the craziness of the taxi drop off here on the West side of York Way.  Taxis cut across abruptly and then cause obstructions either by stopping short or in the middle of the road.  Notice that there is a double red line at this point.  The redoubtable Sean Murray has been banging on at Camden et al about this for ages in an epic email correspondence.  It’s mired in the failed relationship between Camden and Network Rail and TfL at this point.  But it seems to be TfL’s fault.  Camden’s Senior Engineer Andrew Helyer in response to Sean’s questions says

With respect to the taxi drop off issue at the southern end of York Way, Camden are not the traffic authority for this southern section of highway but we do support use of the new drop off facility on the other side of the station instead. However, until the new station is fully completed and the works for the new Station Square commence after the Olympics, the future of the York Way drop off remains subject to further discussion between the relevant stakeholders.

It’s obviously a stupid place to put a drop off.  In the face of the evidence the taxi drop off should be closed temporarily on the precautionary principle while they work out if it should be kept open.  The failure of TfL to tackle problems at this junction has already led to a police corporate manslaughter investigation reported in the The Times.  TfL also know that this junction complex at York Way, Pentonville Road, Grays Inn Road does not comply with their own cycle design standards.  It’s another failure of TfL’s controlling mind. It’s hard to think of another brand new crossing that has had this much political attention focussed on it that is this bad.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
This entry was posted in Road Safety in Kings Cross. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to York Way crossing – the madness continues, casualties surely still inevitable

  1. Cllr Rupert Perry says:

    If you had turned the camera round to look up York Way, this would have shown the roadworks by the pavement which reduce the space for buses so they tail back to the junction. Meanwhile the timings of the traffic lights at the right turn into the new entrance to Kings Cross have been altered so now very few vehicles get through at a time. Will things be fixed in time for the Olympics. Hopefully the York Way road/pavement works will be finished before then.

  2. Cllr Rupert Perry says:

    Correction, Will, you did turn the camera round but it was so brief I missed it the first time. The road works are shown.

  3. sean says:

    And Rupert, what about the Taxi’s still dropping off here – despite Tweets from TFL informing York Way is closed, it’s simply not being enforced. Indeed, Camden have failed to remove the ‘Taxi set down only’ signage (and yes, this is in the Camden part of York Way)

    The road works btw occupy a footprint similar to new road layout, so what we see today is, I believe, a good prediction of what’s to come.

    Would you meet us on site?

    • Cllr Rupert Perry says:

      As I understand it, there are no rules which prevent cabs from dropping off people on red routes, even where there are double red lines. Obviously with the main entrance to the station on the West side, this is where most cabs drop people off who are going on the train. The madness of the traffic lights only allowing a handful of vehicles at a time to turn right into Pancras Rd means tailbacks and maybe is the cause of some people wanting to be dropped off in York Way. The “Taxi Set down only” signage deters other vehicles from dropping off people in the space, and deters Taxis from using that space as a pick up point. While the road works are happening the temporary bus stop is closer to the junction, and so there is a mass of buses and taxis competing for a reduced bit of road space. With the signage removed, minicabs and cars would be added to the mix. Maybe when the roadworks are finished the bus stops will be further up York Way again.

      • sean murray says:

        Thanks Rupert for feedback. Am I correct you’re a Black Cab driver? I ask as I think it useful the wider audience understand the context of your comments.

      • Cllr Rupert Perry says:

        Hi Sean. You are correct. I am a part time Black Cab Driver. I am also a rail, tube and bus user, pedestrian and cyclist. Perhaps that gives enough context you ask for. I am fortunate to be able to witness the situation around Kings Cross from many angles. Meanwhile the roadworks have moved closer to Pentonville Rd so that now there is virtually no space for buses or cabs to stop in York Way until the works are completed.

  4. Ian says:

    It seems that they just don’t know or don’t care how to sort this out. Extending the pavement out into the road doesn’t make a lot of difference. Like you I see taxis dropping off all the time at the junction (preventing pedestrians from crossing) because they are backed up. They could have put a cyclists slip lane in there, but they are so in thrall to taxis and cars that they appear to just give up and let anarchy and danger reign. Tfl are utterly hopeless, and negligent. The councils seem to have no willpower to take them on and also neglect their responsibilities for the majority of people who use the area – pedestrians.

  5. David Lincoln says:

    “It’s hard to think of another brand new crossing that has had this much political attention focussed on it that is this bad.” -except maybe the Bow Roundabout new junction design !!!

  6. James Melly says:

    What a mad video! Before the roadworks started further up York Way I still think it was a slight improvement on the previous layout.

    Anyway that work will have to finish by late July because the Olympic torch will be coming past: http://www.kxldn.co.uk/blog/index.php/2012/06/14/the-olympic-torch-in-kings-cross-on-26-july/

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