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hostile streets coverA new report by the London Assembly's Transport Committee presents the conclusions of a study into the problems faced by people on foot and on bikes when they are faced with travelling along or crossing main roads in outer London, particularly at major intersections.

Hostile Streets - Walking and cycling at outer London Junctions concludes that even very recent junction improvements, such as removal of the gyratory system at Archway, have seriously neglected the interests of everyone except drivers.

In the introduction to the report, Hostile Streets - Walking and cycling at outer London Junctions, Caroline Russell, an Assembly Member representing the Green Party, points out that "Active travel improves people’s health, cuts air pollution, and when the streets are set up for it, is the quickest and easiest way to get around. However, many streets in outer London have been designed for cars, and not for people. Londoners who want to walk to school, cycle to work, or pop out to the shops face hostile streets that don’t meet their needs. Main roads and busy junctions disrupt journeys, and make walking and cycling less enjoyable, less convenient and less safe."

The report finds that junctions are particularly problematical. Three quarters of the 9,718 people who were injured walking or cycling on London’s roads in 2016, were involved in collisions at junctions. And 71 per cent of the 1,287 crashes where people were killed or seriously injured, happened at junctions. Yet even very expensive junction improvements carried out recently or still in progress, such as removal of the Archway gyratory system, have been done without proper consideration for pedestrians and cyclists.

The report also accuses Transport for London of neglecting outer London when carrying out work to enable active travel. TfL have also been giving low priority to the most dangerous junctions because they often have relatively low casualty figures - but this is because so few people have sufficient nerve to tackle them on foot and instead either drive or go somewhere else.

The Transport Committee is made up of members of all five parties in the London Assembly. While most of the main recommendations were agreed by all members, the Conservative and UKIP members refused to sign up to a recommendation for a review of speed limits on main roads managed by TfL (rather than the boroughs) and to make it clear that people breaking 20mph limits can be caught and prosecuted.

The same members objected to the ideas promoted by the Turning the Corner campaign, even though the recommendation was to first trial the concept off-road and despite the fact that the principles it uses have long been practised in many countries, including the USA, and result in less delay for all road users, including car drivers.

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