What is being proposed?
Transport for London (TfL) is proposing changes to the junction of Upper Thames Street and Queen Street Place in the City of London. This junction is at the north end of Southwark Bridge and is the northern end of Cycle Superhighway 7 (CS7). Around 6,000 cyclists cross this junction every day.
Both roads have 30 miles-per-hour speed limits and Upper Thames Street in particular is very busy with motor traffic, with over 34,000 vehicles using it every weekday. There have been several cyclists killed or seriously injured at this junction or on Upper Thames Street in recent years.
How will this affect cyclists?
The main changes TfL is proposing are:
|What is proposed||Why this might be good||Why this might be bad|
|Adding new cycle lanes to both sides of Upper Thames Street.||These would be ‘mandatory’ cycle lanes, meaning it would be illegal for motor vehicles to block them.||The cycle lanes would be 1.5 metres wide (compared to the 2.6-metre wide pedestrian footway) and would not be physically separated from motor traffic, so wide vehicles in particular may still block them. TfL points out that motorists could be fined for blocking these lanes, but in reality fines for motorists entering mandatory cycle lanes are extremely rare.The narrow width of the cycle lane and the motor-traffic lanes means that large vehicles would be passing very close to cyclists even if those vehicles did not go into the cycle lane.|
|Add ‘keep clear’ markings across the junction.||TfL say this will help stop motorists queuing across the junction and so blocking cyclist access to the cycle track on Queen Street. This is a very busy cycle track (almost everyone coming off CS7 uses it) and motorists blocking access to it can leave cyclists stranded in the middle of a very busy road.||‘Keep clear’ markings are advisory, so it would not be illegal for motorists to ignore them and in practice many do so.|
|Mark-out a waiting area for cyclists turning right from Upper Thames Street onto the Queen Street cycle track.||This area will provide a marked area for cyclists to wait to turn right.||Cyclists will have to cross two lanes of motor traffic to get to it and there is no provision (such as a cycle phase on the traffic lights) to help cyclists do this safely.|
The TfL proposal will not provide any dedicated space for cycling on Queen Street Place, with only an advisory cycle lane (which motor vehicles can legally use, too) on the southbound carriageway and no provision on the northbound carriageway. This is despite cyclists making up more than half of traffic on Queen Street Place in peak hours. Although there will be advanced stop lines (bike boxes) on all entrances to this junction, there will be no way to safely get to them from the south or west because there will be no feeder lanes.
Finally, TfL are not proposing to reduce the speed limit on either Upper Thames Street or Queen Street Place from 30 mph to 20 mph. This is despite previous TfL research showing that 20 mph speed limits can reduce the number of road users (of all types) who are killed or seriously injured by up to 70%, and the City of London recently deciding to put in place a 20 mph limit on all surrounding roads as “a cost-efficient and practical way to reduce casualty numbers quickly“.
Find out more
TfL has published a document explaining the proposed changes and a map of the junction. The Cyclists in the City blog published a more-detailed explanation of the good and bad parts of this proposal.
You can help make cycling in this area safer and easier by: