Earlier this month the City of London Corporation voted to approve the ‘Bank on Safety’ scheme. The 16-month experimental safety scheme at the Bank junction is now permanent following final sign-off by the City of London Corporation’s most senior decision-making body. Vehicle access to Bank junction will be restricted to buses, cycles and pedestrians only, Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm.
The Court of Common Council (the City’s local authority meeting) made the decision after months of scrutiny by a range of committees. With over 4,200 responses to an extensive public consultation, the needs of local road users and other stakeholders were considered along with the operational needs of the Square Mile. Importantly 75% of respondents indicated they supported or generally supported the scheme.
As your team of elected local representatives my Ward colleagues and I have been closely engaged throughout the decision-making process, speaking to local business, workers and residents, and engaging through various committees to ensure a balanced outcome. We fully support the decision to make the scheme permanent. The previous position was unacceptable and dangerous. The trial has been successful, with initial indicators showing a noticeable reduction in casualties and incidents at the junction, no major effects on traffic flows in other parts of the City, whilst improving journey times for bus users.
The next step will be to consider how the area can be improved further. The All Change at Bank programme will now be developed to bring about the City Corporation’s aspirations to enhance Bank Junction as a public space.
The All Change at Bank proposals will be fully consulted upon. As a team we have already raised a number of issues we would like the City Corporation to have a closer look at such as disabled access; traffic and pollution in the surrounding area (notably Gresham Street and Cheapside); enforcement and signage; and taxi passenger impacts (for example looking at drop-off points).
Cycling and pedestrian safety
Both the London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets (supporting pedestrians) have welcomed the decision to make the traffic restrictions at Bank permanent. The vast majority of people using Bank Junction and surrounding streets in the Ward of Cheap at peak times are on foot.
As your local team we are increasingly getting more people raising concerns about the behaviour of some cyclists. Indeed it is worrying that 8 out of the 11 incidents at Bank Junction during the trial were due to cycle / pedestrian collisions. We will continue to put pressure on the Corporation and City Police – both my Ward colleague Nick Bensted-Smith and I serve on the City’s Police Committee – to ensure this is being looked at properly, and we support further street improvements including clear spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Click for update here.
New Transport Strategy for the City
Within this context the Corporation is developing the long-term transport strategy for the City. My Ward colleague Alastair Moss is chairing the Transport Strategy Board. This Strategy will set out how the Corporation will manage transport and streets to ensure the Square Mile remains a great place to work, live, invest and visit. Streets must be public spaces as well as helping the movement of people and vehicles. With limited space available and increasing pressure on the streets, we need to be innovative as to how we manage and share space. The final strategy will be published in Spring 2019.