Labour London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold OBE AM today raised serious concerns about the progress of Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘Better Junctions’ programme after requests for an update on the project’s progress were refused.
The Better Junctions programme was established to assess 500 of the worst junctions in the capital but was later ‘refocused’ by the Mayor to only tackle 33 of the worst performing junctions and gyratories across London, including Archway Gyratory, the Nag’s Head Gyratory and Highbury Corner in Islington; and Old Street Roundabout and the Apex Junction, key danger hotspots in Hackney.
Last month Val Shawcross, Labour Group transport spokesperson, asked the Mayor when he expected the work on each of the 33 dangerous junctions to be completed. Mayor’s recent evasive response that “this information will be released within the coming months” has prompted fears that after the programme could be scaled back further.
Labour London Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, said:
“London’s cyclists and road users will be deeply concerned that more than two years on from the Mayor promising to review these danger hot points very little seems to have been done.
“Despite originally promising to review the five hundred most dangerous junctions the Mayor has scaled this back to only thirty-three, and now he can’t, or won’t, even say what, if any, progress has been made on those including the infamous Archway Gyratory, Nag’s Head Gyratory, Highbury Corner junction, Old Street Roundabout and Apex Junction in my constituency. It is staggering that Boris Johnson has adopted such a secretive, snail-pace approach to this problem, especially given the number of cyclists killed and injured which prompted this review. As we head into winter and road conditions become more dangerous for cyclists people will want to know what is taking the Mayor so long.”
Despite pledging to review 500 junctions the Mayor only published a list of 100 junctions to receive work, this list is available here the Mayor then ‘refocused’ the list down to just 33 junctions, details of these are available here.
Val Shawcross’ question on the Better Junctions programme and the Mayor’s response is below:
Question No: 2014/2549
When do you expect the work on each of the 33 dangerous junctions scheduled for works under the ‘Better Junctions’ Programme and TfL Cycling Action Plan to be completed? Please list the junctions, give dates on which the work commenced, or is expected to, and the dates of expected completion for each project.
Written response from the Mayor
This information will be released within the coming months
At today’s Mayor’s Question Time, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced that thirty-three of London’s biggest and most dangerous road junctions will be re-designed to make them safer and less threatening for cyclists and pedestrians, in a programme costing £290 million.
Gyratories at Archway, Highbury Corner and the Nag’s Head in Islington, together with the Apex Junction and Old Street Roundabout in Hackney, will, according to the Mayor, get a complete overhaul to make them safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.
In a move that will cost Transport for London (TfL) nearly £300 million, the Mayor has promised to build two-way roads, segregated cycle tracks and new traffic-free public spaces across London – detailed designs for which are due to be published next month, with work scheduled to begin on the improvement works in the latter part of this year.
I welcome the Mayor’s announcement to re-design some of the largest and most dangerous junctions in my constituency across Hackney and Islington. The gyratories and junctions in question have always been sources of frustration for commuters, and places with a high number of accidents and, most sadly, fatalities for Londoners.
I regret that none of the junctions included in this programme fall within the London Borough of Waltham Forest, but, nonetheless, this major project to re-design the main junctions across Hackney and Islington cannot come soon enough. I have regularly challenged the Mayor to act on this issue off the back of numerous complaints and concerns I have had from my constituents, and I am very pleased to see that he has taken my views on board when making this important announcement.
As always, the detail of the scheme is what I am most interested in – rather than the Mayor’s rhetoric – so we now wait for the Mayor and Transport for London to put these words into action. I look forward to seeing the Mayor’s detailed plans, budgets and timelines for these improvements, which he has promised to publish next month, and I just hope that Boris delivers on this promise. If it’s done right, this programme will reduce congestion, improve road safety and, most importantly, save Londoners’ lives and the Mayor must do all he can to make sure this happens.