Notorious traffic black spot Bank Junction has been given a glowing safety report card almost a year after the City Corporation began trialling the ban of cars and trucks using the intersection during weekdays, with accidents cut by more than 52%.
There were just seven collisions at the six-armed crossroads in the first 10 months of the scheme, which closed the junction to all but buses, cyclists and pedestrians on weekdays between 7am and 7pm from last May.
It is a marked improvement on figures for last five years, which saw an average of 14.4 road accidents at the intersection during scheme hours, according to a progress report to be tabled at the Corporation’s streets and walkways committee next week. Casualties in the streets surrounding Bank Junction have also dropped by 33%.
Monday’s streets and walkways committee is the first of several City Corporation committees to consider the reports and decide whether to make the ban permanent.
The authority introduced it as an 18-month trial as part of a raft of safety measures at Bank Junction following the death of 26-year-old cyclist Ying Tao, who was hit and killed by a lorry in 2015.
The ban angered some motorists, particularly black cab drivers who blockaded parts of the City last year, calling the scheme “the beginning of the end for the cab trade”.
But local businesses are largely supportive of the ban according to a public consultation, with 75% of respondents in favour of making the experiment permanent either in its current guise or with minor modifications.
Just over 4,300 responses were analysed for the consultation, the most of any City transport scheme. According to the overview, some cyclists are calling for the ban to be extended 24/7, while other groups think buses should be banned along with other vehicles. On the flip side, taxi drivers are calling for the ban to be scaled back to allow them use of the junction throughout the day.
Last December, the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) submitted an independent report into the rationale for excluding taxis from the junction and its impact on the taxi trade and traffic conditions in the area.
In a letter to the City Corporation, LTDA chairman Richard Massett said that it was clear “the trial has had a significant negative impact on the taxi trade, our passengers and the wider travelling public.” City officers said they were still verifying the contents of the report.
The progress report also flagged lower pollution levels in the immediate vicinity of the junction, with no detrimental impact to the air quality of other parts of the Square Mile another key criteria of the scheme’s success.
Four committees will consider the reports before a final decision on the scheme is made at the policy and resources committee meeting on 5 July.
This article was updated on 14 May.