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Bank Junction’s experimental traffic ban is made permanent

Patrick McDonnell
13 September 2018

A traffic ban trial at Bank Junction is to be made permanent, the City of London Corporation has announced today.

The ‘Bank on Safety’ scheme, which restricts the junction to buses and cyclists only between 7am and 7pm, has been in operation since May 2017. This marks the first phase of plans to totally re-design the junction by 2021, which could result in the removal of all motorised traffic. 

The corporation’s Court of Common Council made the final decision after months of scrutiny by a range of Corporation committees.

With over 4,200 responses to the consultation on the safety scheme, the wide-ranging needs of local road users and other stakeholders were considered along with the operational needs of the Square Mile, the Corporation states.

Modelling estimates that the number of casualties will be cut by between 50% and 60% as a result of the scheme, says the authority. There were 105 collisions in and around the junction in a five-year period up to 2014, with 64% of the casualties involving pedestrians or cyclists. In the 12 months after the scheme was introduced casualties fell by 27%, exceeding the 25% target, says the corporation. 

Based on data from the City of London Police, there were 11 casualties at the junction in the year after the scheme began. This compared with an annual average of 15 casualties for the five years before the scheme.

However, the data showed there has been a rise in the number of casualties in accidents between cyclists and pedestrians since the traffic ban. In September 2017 a pedestrian and a cyclist collided on Poultry, resulting in a serious injury to the cyclist, and in October 2017, a pedestrian and a cyclist collided on Mansion House Street, resulting in a serious injury to the pedestrian.

There were also a number of less serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists in the 12-month period after the scheme’s launch. For example in June 2017 a pedestrian and cyclist collided at the Cornhill pedestrian on Bank Junction, resulting in a slight injury to the pedestrian. In July, two cyclists collided at Queen Victoria Street/Walbrook Street Junction resulting in a slight injury to one of the cyclists.

Iain Simmons, the council’s assistant director of city transportation says: “Transport for London has been working with the London Cycling Campaign and has been talking to cyclists using the junction about ensuring they exhibit good behaviour.”

Chris Hayward, chairman of the planning and transportation committee at the City of London Corporation, says: “Compliance to the scheme is currently at 96%. Additional measures will be explored to further improve the scheme’s performance and reach that end goal of 100% compliance at the junction.

“This would inspire City workers, visitors and residents to truly enjoy the iconic surroundings such as the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange.

“I look forward to applying our learning from this project and continuing to spearhead positive changes across the Square Mile after the City Corporation unveils it’s 25-year Transport Strategy next year.”

The ‘Bank on Safety’ scheme is part of the ‘All Change at Bank’, initiative an improvements programme, which sets out the City Corporation’s broader aspirations and long-term proposals for Bank junction.

Penny Rees, TfL’s head of network sponsorship, says: “Reducing road danger at key junctions such as Bank is a vital part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal of nobody killed or seriously injured on London’s streets. 

“I’m delighted that the Corporation has taken this bold step towards protecting the most vulnerable road users in the city. We will continue to work closely with the Corporation on a range of measures to reduce road danger, clean up our air and create healthy streets for everyone.”

Fran Graham, campaigns cordinator at the London Cycling Campaign comments: “London Cycling Campaign has long campaigned for action to make Bank junction safer, and gave our support to the Bank on Safety trial from the start. We are delighted that the City of London Corporation has now made the scheme permanent. 

“This bold scheme has proved its worth, changing a hostile and dangerous junction into a space people can enjoy, while walking and cycling far more safely. We look forward to plans to improve the iconic space further, and to see many more such schemes to liberate the City’s streets for everyone.”

Joe Irvin, chief executive, Living Streets said: “The Bank on Safety scheme is an unequivocal success for pedestrians - and the vast majority of people using Bank Junction at peak times are on foot. 

“The safety scheme has clearly made their journeys easier and safer, with 90% of people who walk or cycle supporting the scheme and initial indicators showing reductions in casualties at the junction.

“With a growing population, the future of the City of London depends on a walkable streetscape, avoiding being choked by traffic and cherishing its world-famous heritage. The decision to make the trial permanent is a huge step in the right direction. We support continued improvements, including more time to cross and space for pedestrians, to ensure Bank Junction’s place at the beating heart of the City.”

Find out more about the Bank Junction scheme at Healthy Streets which is being hosted by the City of London Corporation

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