Val Shawcross’s response to TfL: Not good enough, and I’ve told her so

Update: I may have been a bit harsh. See here for more.

Danny at Cyclists in the City has posted Val Shawcross’s latest response about Blackfriars Bridge.

I have to admit, I’m disappointed. I always knew we would have to fight TfL. But I thought that my London Assembly member might actually be on my side. Here is what Ms Shawcross has said she will actually do:

Val understands TfL’s need for more pedestrian crossings, but would like you to know that she and John challenged TfL about the loss of cycling facilities and have asked them to consider reducing the speed limit of the cars around Blackfriars Bridge. They have also asked TfL to see if they could look into the potential reworking of the teardrop shape island. TfL have confirmed that they will look into this and that they are investigating the costs involved.

To be fair, we wanted Ms Shawcross to ask for two things and she has said she will. Sadly, they’re not the same two. At the risk of repetition, but just to be perfectly clear, she has said she will:

1. Ask TfL to consider reducing speed limits. (We know how well this works.)

2. Ask Tfl to consider re-shaping the the traffic island.

Notably she will not:

1. Ask TfL not to add an extra lane of motor traffic.

2. Ask TfL not to make the cycle lane narrower. (She may have “challenged” TfL about the loss of facilities but it seems like her solution to this is lowering speed limits – in any case, unless she asks them not to add an extra traffic lane, which she hasn’t, then it is impossible to ask them not to reduce the cycle lane width.)

We know from TfL’s own data that at any random point during rush hour there are on average 17 bikes, compared with 6 private cars and 4 taxis on this section of road. This is what this looks like.

Is the solution to this creating more space for motor traffic and narrowing the bike lane, with a conciliatory reduction in the speed limit (and no mention of enforcement)?

In the email, Ms Shawcross’s assistant says:

Jenny Jones AM has been actively looking into this issue as well and has informed Val she is going to be doing a site visit with TfL and Val is hoping to go.

Hoping to go? She is chair of Transport Committee. She is the elected member for Lambeth and Southwark (where the south side of the bridge sits). I understand Ms Shawcross may be busy – but the pretense that she doesn’t have time to go and look at Blackfriars Bridge doesn’t wash.

If Val Shawcross doesn’t even bother to go and look at the bridge, she really doesn’t care.

I have replied to Ms Shawcross’s assistant’s email making the points I’ve made in this post. I’ve CCed in Jenny Jones so at least someone who is doing a site visit will be able to keep them in mind. I will post an update if I get a response.

4 Responses to “Val Shawcross’s response to TfL: Not good enough, and I’ve told her so”

  1. PaulM Says:

    There’s no point beating up on Val Shawcross. She’s the chair of the transport committee, not the Transport Csar – she has no authority to instruct TfL to change the plan.

    What’s more, she is in the minority group now, and the mayor, who does have the authority, is in the majority group which clearly sides with motorists. In fact Bozza, for all his fluffy cycle-clip style, is about as cycle-friendly as a rottweiler in a scrap yard, as a study of his wit & wisdom soon makes clear.

    All Val can do is ask for changes, and as with any request, it is more likely to be heeded if asked nicely. Adopting a Judean People’s Liberation Front style is on a hiding to nothing.

    Let’s encourage her to take a look for herself, rather than bitching about it. I for one am prepared to walk her round it, as I am sure are others.

  2. cycleoffutility Says:

    She has the authority to *ask* them not to add a new motor lane or make the cycle lane narrow – which is all I want her to do.

    • PaulM Says:

      And she has done precisely that, and she and John Biggs and Jenny Jones have expressed their irritation and frustration with TfL and teh mayor over this.

      And she did visit the bridge, this morning.

  3. Credit where it’s due: Val Shawcross has been pulling her weight « Cycle of Futility Says:

    […] week ago, I wrote a post expressing my disappointment with Val Shawcross’s email explaining where she stood on the […]

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