TfL’s Business Plan: Blackfriars Bridge is on the surface but TfL’s rotten, car-obsessed attitude goes right to its core

Last week, TfL’s Board approved its draft Business Plan and Budget (pdf).

Shared space: Plenty of room for a segregated lane but not even an ASL - this cyclist chooses to run the red (Business Plan p8)

The second page of the Surface Transport section, after some stats, is entitled “Maximising the efficient and reliable operation of the road network.” Sadly it’s hardly a surprise that this is TfL’s main priority, especially when we see what this entails.

Not enough room: Why we can't have segregated cycle facilities in London (Business Plan p56)

The aim is to “relieve congestion and improve traffic flow”. By their own figures on p55, bicycles make up 3% of traffic in London, while motor vehicles make up 97%.

Kulveer Ranger, the mayor’s transport policy advisor, is well aware that half of all car trips in outer London are less than two miles. Given that this is a man whose job description includes “overseeing the relationship between GLA and TfL”, you might have thought he would have been able to communicate to his colleagues that if some of these journeys were by bike, it would have a positive effect on the congestion that TfL are so concerned about.

However, TfL’s solutions to these trips are the following (p56):

  1. Smoothing traffic flow, which consists of “removing unnecessary traffic signals”. What this means in reality is, for example, “the extremely popular and very busy [pedestrian] crossing at Watergate to the Blackfriars Pub will disappear completely – all in the name of ‘smoothing traffic flow’.”
  2. A Driver’s Charter – “Under the charter, warning notices rather than penalty charges will be issued for new offences and challenges.”

That’s it. This is the entire section on “maximising the efficient and reliable operation of the road network.” Cycling isn’t mentioned anywhere in the London Streets section (pp56-61). Usually I’d put some sort of sarcastic remark here, or maybe have a go at a bit of insight or analysis, but I really think this speaks for itself.

The Blackfriars Bridge consultation has 11 days left. If you feel, like I do, that TfL need to wake up to the fact that the solution to congestion in London isn’t making life easier for drivers at the expense of everyone else on London’s streets, then why not take the time to tell them so?

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