Playing politics with people’s lives and deaths – part 1

The junction between Goswell Road and Lever Street is not particularly dangerous for people walking or cycling. It has traffic lights, it has speed humps on the Lever Road side. The map below shows Cycling KSIs for the past 15 years in South Islington. The junction is in the middle of the map, with no incidents.

Screenshot_2018-07-28_at_12.09.19

Soren Aarlev was killed there at 00:20 while riding home. We don’t know the circumstances and Vision Zero principles require to study well the dynamics of the crash to examine whether the design of the junction can be improved. We do know that there are two interventions in the area which will greatly improve the safety of the majority of people cycling in a East West direction:

  • reduce the volume of motor traffic who use Skinner-Percival-Lever Streets as a rat run between Farringdon Road and Old Street, by making them one-way, in opposite directions
  • transform the advisory cycle lane on Percival Street to mandatory, thus preventing people from parking there in the evening and on week-ends

Shortly after the death of Soren, Councillor Claudia Webbe did not miss the opportunity of covering herself with excrement:

Transport chief Councillor Claudia Webbe said: “I am writing to the Mayor of London to urgently request funding that will allow us to look at options for how best to improve this junction, making it safer for all road users – particularly more vulnerable users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motor­cyclists.”

She expressed her con­dolences to the cyclist’s family and added: “Tackling dangerous junctions and rebalancing roads in favour of pedestrians and cyclists is one of my top priorities.”

This is truly an outrageous statement from a despicable woman who has done NOTHING for the safety of citizens walking and cycling, while at the head of Transport & Environment.

We have documented how Islington Council has received a grant of £2,000,000 from Transport for London, half of it earmarked for improving the safety of the thousands of people cycling on Old Street and Clerkenwell Road, which is the long strings of serious incidents at the bottom of the map. The Council, while Webbe was directly responsible for spending the money, has not done anything at all, except spending hundreds of thousands pounds in consultants fees.

The two interventions we propose above are anathema to the Council which has a long history of opposing plugging rat runs and removing car parking privileges in order to improve cycling safety. Therefore it is unlikely that any money from TfL will be spent to tackle issues that prevent people from cycling in safety.

In other words, Webbe has been given £millions to improve the safety of people cycling in Islington, she has decided not to do anything concrete with the money, and then when someone is killed at a safe junction, without knowing any details of the crash, she uses the death of the poor victim to score political points.

That is the depravity of the woman.

cllr-claudia-webbe

Image: Camden New Journal

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