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Boris told: hurry up with Tower Bridge Road crossing and bike boxes

London SE1 website team

Local councillors have urged Mayor of London Boris Johnson to speed up work to improve safety at the junction of Tower Bridge Road and Abbey Street where cyclist Ellie Carey was killed last month.

Boris told: hurry up with Tower Bridge Road crossing and bike boxes
There is no pedestrian phase at these traffic lights and no advanced stop line for cyclists

This week the Mayor has given his first public confirmation that Transport for London is seeking to provide a push-button pelican crossing at the junction and is considering advanced stop lines ('bike boxes') for cyclists – but he has not set a timetable for the works to be carried out.

In December 2010 Mr Johnson had effectively ruled out any changes because, he claimed, the collision rate at the junction did not justify the expense.

Currently there is no pedestrian phase to the lights at the junction and walkers must guess when it is safe to cross.

A campaign by local politicians to persuade TfL to improve the junction was put back in the spotlight by the death of cyclist Ellie Carey in early December.

Last month dozens of cyclists and local residents joined Ellie's family for a candlelit vigil at the scene of the fatal collision.

Mr Johnson has belatedly published his reply to a question tabled by Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon asking him whether TfL would take action as a matter of urgency.

"My thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the deceased," replied Mr Johnson.

"Daniel Moylan, TfL's deputy chair, met relatives of the deceased very recently on my behalf.

"I have confirmed previously that TfL had planned to undertake a comprehensive study of this junction in 2011/12 to determine what improvements for pedestrians and cyclists were possible.

"TfL recognises that improvements are desirable here, although I do want to be clear that there is nothing within its collision history to suggest that cyclists are more at risk using this junction than others.

"TfL is progressing its study and is seeking to develop a scheme that would provide push-button pedestrian crossings and advanced stop lines for cyclists where doing so is found to be feasible.

"TfL anticipate that they will be in a position to outline their findings and present a scheme to stakeholders early in 2012."

Caroline Pidgeon has warned that TfL must not be allowed to delay the implementations of the findings of its study.

"TfL has a long record in dragging their feet when it comes to improving junctions for pedestrians and cyclists," she told the London SE1 website.

"It is vital that this does not take place with this junction. Some very basic safety improvements must be made to this junction within a few months."

TfL had previously told councillors that even if the study found that changes to the junction were needed, work might not be carried out for up to two years.

Grange ward Lib Dem councillor Mark Gettleson, who has worked closely with the family of Ellie Carey, said: "Disgracefully, there's still no sense of urgency. Our key demand is that these very important, simple improvements be implemented in the early part of this year.

"The absolutely key thing is that we get the changes implemented before the Olympics. Boris makes no mention of this crucial detail in his answer.

"The junction is so clearly deadly and the changes required so comparatively easy that delaying until '2013/2014', as TfL have suggested, is criminal.

"We have waited too long and lost too much."

Labour's Cllr Claire Hickson, whose Chaucer ward includes Bermondsey Square, has also worked with London Assembly member Val Shawcross to put pressure on the Mayor.

She said: "After last year's tragic incident, it is good to finally get a clearer timetable for TfL's study and an indication of their plans.

"I hope this means that the actual changes will take place sooner than we were told last year.

"We have to thank Ellie's family who have done a great deal to push this forward, hopefully helping to make this road safer for all of us."

Since Ellie Carey's death more than 850 people have signed a petition calling for improvements at the junction – more than half of them from Guernsey where Ellie was born and brought up.

39,000 towards the cost of junction improvements is now available from section 106 funding associated with a local housing development thanks to a recent decision by Bermondsey Community Council.

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