Bank Junction to be comprehensively redesigned
Bank Junction will be comprehensively redesigned, papers released today by the City of London Corporation have shown.
The City has been undertaking a programme of improvements to major junctions for many years. Holborn Circus is already complete, and Aldgate is under construction. Modelling data has now been collected on traffic flows at Bank Junction and the analysis of the four options that have been tested will now be discussed and agreed with TfL. The Corporation’s Streets & Walkways Committee will meet on 30 November to approve the start of the design process for Bank Junction.
This is a major project which will take around five years to complete, so in order to see safety improved as soon as possible, the City will begin with an interim measure:
1.An initial “Interim Traffic Order”. With consent from TfL, this would hopefully be in place from late 2016, and will close the junction to motorised vehicles (except buses). Signage will be changed, and local access agreements will be in place to allow vehicles to serve buildings on the junction.
2.A complete redesign. Once the interim measure is in place, the City will consult to determine the best long-term solution, which will not only improve safety but also create a better public space for all the City’s users, resulting in the complete redesign of the junction.
Currently, around 18,000 pedestrians, 1,600 cyclists, 1,400 cars, and 220 buses use Bank Junction in the peak morning rush hour. Modelling data has shown that 30% of pedestrians do not use the prescribed crossings, and 70% do not cross at the green man. Moreover, if they were to wait for the green man, the crossings would not be able to cope with the weight of pedestrian traffic.
The short-term scheme will focus on the safety benefits. Removing cars from the equation will not only create more space for pedestrians and cyclists, the City’s most vulnerable road users, but modelling work done in conjunction with TfL has shown that it will actually increase the efficiency of car journeys throughout the City, as they will no longer be competing for space with so many buses and cyclists. It will also improve journey times for buses and make bus journeys through the junction easier.
The scheme will also contribute to a significant improvement in air quality around the area. Local agreements will be in place to enable necessary access to buildings on the junction, and the City intends to provide improved drop-off and pick-up facilities exclusively for black cabs at the Bank junction.
The City will be looking for TfL funding for the project, so the modelling data will be submitted to TfL. Throughout the design stage of the project, the modelling will be extensively examined to ensure that the eventual scheme has the greatest safety benefits and acceptable impacts on the wider road network. The TfL funding would come from the Local Implementation Plan fund, which funds projects that support the Mayor’s Transport Strategy locally.
Speaking ahead of the Committee meeting, Chairman of Planning & Transportation Michael Welbank said:
“Bank Junction is dysfunctional, dangerous, dirty, congested, and polluting. It is grossly inefficient for traffic, unsafe for pedestrians, with too many people milling around in a space design for horses and carts. This is completely inappropriate to form the heart of a modern city. We are committed to changing this, and making Bank a truly wonderful place for people to safely enjoy. The safety of all our road users is of paramount importance to us, especially pedestrians and cyclists. This is a radical step which will help reduce the number of tragic casualties within the Square Mile and make Bank a practical public space, and improve traffic flow in the City.”
The long-term scheme will look at how to create a safer space for the future, but will also look at how to create a sense of place. Bank Junction was historically a gathering point for City workers, and bringing this sense of public space back would greatly benefit the City as a whole.
Because of the complicated demands of the various building projects being undertaken in the City, such as Crossrail and the Cycle Superhighway, the first date that the traffic order could be put in place is November 2016.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of TfL Surface Transport, said: “We are working with the City of London and other partners to develop and assess options for a complete redesign of Bank Junction, which aims to transform the junction into a safer and better environment that all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians can enjoy. We are supporting the City in delivering a scheme that will help reduce the number of collisions and ensure safer routes and improve bus journey times.”
Road safety in the City of London
The City of London Corporation is committed to improving road safety for all road users within the Square Mile. As part of this programme, the City has:
- A rolling programme of major schemes to improve road safety and amenity. Holborn Circus is now complete and working well, and Aldgate is in the construction phase. Bank is the next major project to be developed
- Introduced over 70 two-way cycling streets to make it safer and easier for people to cycle
- Introduced a 20mph speed limit aimed at reducing the dangers on the City’s streets
- Consulted on the introduction of Quietways in the City, which less confident cyclists wanting to use low-traffic routes can use. Works are scheduled to begin before Christmas 2015.
- Set up “exchanging places” exhibits, where cyclists can have their traffic fines cancelled and learn about road safety
- Supported the Mayor’s East-West Cycle Superhighway
About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:
(1) We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of more than £15 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
(2) We also help look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London.
(3) We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.