Plans for dangerous Stamford Hill junction slammed in wake of crashes
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:24 24 March 2016
A public consultation on safety improvements to a killer junction ended last week. While it was open there were three major crashes, leaving one pedestrian dead and another with serious injuries.
Transport for London (TfL) has drawn up plans to make the crossing of Stamford Hill and Clapton Common less dangerous for all road users after acknowledging it has one of the highest collision rates in the borough.
Among the proposals are the moving of central islands, advanced stop lines (ASLs) for cyclists, built-out pavements and “continuous footways” over side roads leading to the junction.
But after three horrific collisions within the six-week consultation period, cycling campaigners have called on TfL to re-think the plans, saying they don’t go far enough to protect them or pedestrians.
Jono Kenyon, coordinator of Hackney Cycling Campaign, told the Gazette the plans favoured motor vehicles. He said: “Despite the large numbers of collisions, no serious attempt has been made to make the whole junction safer for all users.
“There are some very minor changes but overall it fails a series of basic quality measures. Having to cross the road in three stages is unfair on pedestrians, especially the elderly and children.”
A man, believed to be in his 40s, was killed on the night of March 4 after being hit by a bus at the junction. Just four days later, a man was left fighting for his life when he was hit by a van.
And on Friday night, a private Hatzola ambulance was on its way to an emergency call when it collided with a car and was written off.
Transport lecturer Dr Rachel Aldred, a member of Hackney Cycling Campaign, conducted her own experiment using TfL’s Junction Assessment Tool, which offers a quick and simple look into safety at the crossroads.
She found it scored just four out of a possible 24 for safety.
“This is a critical fail for cycling,” continued Jono. “Especially as TfL and Hackney Council look to get more Londoners moving by bike.”
While the group welcomed the trial of continuous footways and praised the removal of two slip roads, it labelled the plans “unambitious, ineffective and outdated”.
Jono said: “We consider advanced stop lines completely insufficient to make junctions safer. They do not protect people cycling from left-turning motor vehicles when the lights are green and offer no protection to being hit from behind by drivers.
Just how unsafe is the junction?
The Junction Assessment Tool assigns a score of 0-2 for each movement through a junction. The Stamford Hill junction has 12 movements (left, right and straight on at every approach), making a maximum score of 24.
Scoring zero means “conditions exist that are most likely to give rise to the most common collision types”.
Transport lecturer Dr Rachel Aldred, right, said: “For the Stamford Hill plans, cyclists going straight on at any of the four approaches will be at risk of being ‘left hooked’ by vehicles turning left – a common cause of cyclist death and injury at busy junctions – so all those movements would score zero.
“Any cyclist turning right has to move across more than one stream of traffic, a difficult and again potentially hazardous manoeuvre. Thus all the right turning cyclist movements would score 0 as well.
“For cyclists turning left at any of the approaches, I would assign a score of either 0 or 1 – there is a risk of being hit from behind, but I don’t think it is as risky as cycling straight on or turning right. Being generous and giving the left turn movements all 1 adds up to a total of 4 – overall a very poor score.”
“Right-turning cyclists will be expected to cross multiple busy motor traffic lanes and risk ‘right hooks’.
“The large junction envelope, with up to six lanes of motor traffic, can comfortably accommodate protected space for people cycling without the loss of bus-priority or significant loss of pedestrian space.
“We reject the proposed scheme and ask that an alternative, which allows people cycling to move through the junction in their own time and space, is considered instead.”
One suggested improvement was “single stage” crossings for cyclists and pedestrians, with “green scramble junctions” where cyclists could cross in any direction.
The group has also called for a cycleway from Amhurst Park to Seven Sisters Road and Finsbury Park.
Another campaigner, who blogs as Hackney Cyclist, said it was an “awful” proposal and questioned why some corner pavements were being expanded, calling for a safe space for cyclists to turn instead.
They also questioned why the southbound carriageway was to remain as six lanes and said the width of the pavement approaching the junction was “ridiculously” wide and should have a cycle track installed.
“There is nothing at all planned here for people cycling, except for some ASLs,” they said.
Cazenove Lib Dem councillor Abraham Jacobson took to Twitter after the second crash this month to say cars and cyclists were “dicing with death daily” at the junction.
Nigel Hardy, head of sponsorship for surface transport at TfL, said: “We are committed to improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians at the junction.
“The proposals would make the junction much easier and safer to navigate by reducing the number of crossing stages, giving priority to pedestrians and putting in advance stop lines for cyclists.
“We are now considering all the views received so we can deliver the best scheme we can.”
Hackney Council is still writing its response to the consultation.