SADIQ Khan has reassured a charity for blind people that building a cycle superhighway beside its headquarters will not put its members at greater risk.
The Mayor has written to the Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the Royal National Institute of the Blind, after concerns were raised about Judd Street being used as part of the route for the extension of the North-South superhighway to King’s Cross.
However the RNIB remains concerned at the possibility of an increase in collisions between pedestrians and cyclists and is still arguing for the route to be diverted away from Judd Street.
Transport for London initially proposed replacing the traffic lights and pelican crossing near the RNIB offices with a large zebra crossing.
See here for my story from April when concerns were first raised: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/cyclists-hitting-staff-who-work-at-blind-peoples-group-london-hq-a3226566.html
But after 170 people raised the issue in a TfL consultation, Mr Khan decided that the signal-controlled crossing “will not be changed”. Concerns had also been raised by former Home Secretary David Blunkett.
A total of 70 per cent of more than 1,300 respondents backed the wider extension of the CS6 segregated bike route through Bloomsbury. It currently runs between Elephant and Castle and Farringdon.
TfL will announce in the Autumn how it plans to proceed. Mr Khan has not given the official go-ahead but said the superhighway would make a “big difference”.
He said: “It will provide thousands more Londoners with an easier and safer cycling route in central London. Of course, there are lessons to be learned from how previous routes were delivered, including reducing the impact of construction on all road users.
“I have therefore asked TfL to look very carefully at issues raised by the public to make sure they are properly considered during the process.”
Richard Holmes, regional campaigns officer for RNIB, said: “While Transport for London acknowledge changing the pelican crossing would be foolish, it has not addressed RNIB’s concerns about how the dramatic increase of cycling on Judd Street will impact upon blind and sighted pedestrians.
“We are concerned about the plans to run the cycle superhighway along Judd Street and think other alternative routes need to explored fully. We continue to lobby and campaign for the superhighway to go another way to make it safer for blind and partially sighted people using Judd Street.”