A lorry at the King’s Cross Railway Lands development
The nearby Regent’s Canal
Published: 14 February, 2013
by DAN CARRIER
HEAVY lorries are responsible for 50 per cent of all accidents involving cyclists, a Transport for London (TfL) report published this week has revealed – and the findings have prompted safety campaigners to lobby King’s Cross Railway Lands developers to look again at whether materials could be moved by canal.
The report was compiled by the Transport Research Laboratory and recommends contractors ensure drivers have plenty of time to make their deliveries so they don’t rush, plan routes in advance that avoid schools and built-up areas, treat any accidents in the same way they would if they had happened on building sites, and have stricter training.
The report shows that while heavy lorries make up around 5 per cent of London traffic, 50 per cent of cyclists involved in accidents are hit by lorries.
The King’s Cross area has seen a number of tragedies, including the deaths of Emma Foa, who was hit by a lorry at the Goodsway and Camley Street junction in December 2006, and the death of fashion student Deep Lee at the Euston Road and King’s Cross Road junction in October 2011.
Camden Cycling Campaign chairwoman Jean Dollimore told the New Journal the report highlighted how dangerous King’s Cross could potentially be for cyclists – and that an answer was on their doorstep.
She said: “At King’s Cross, extensive building work will continue for many years. Many users of the new buildings, including the students and staff of the University of the Arts, Central St Martins, will be walking and cycling to and from the site. Argent [the developers] should do all they can to prevent lorries accessing their site via junctions that pose threats to cyclists.
“The Regent’s Canal provides a ready-made route. The waste soil could be taken three locks upstream to the Powerday recycling centre beside the canal in Willesden. We know that Argent are pro-cycling and we urge them to enforce the use of canal freight by their contractors to avoid any more deaths.”
Her views were echoed by The Friends of Regents Canal chairman Ian Shacklock.
He said: “It strikes me that 21st-century construction companies are aquaphobic. They keep missing opportunities for modal shift from road to water and this is denying the Canal and River Trust much-needed investment in their infrastructure.
“Water transport has been available for a lot longer than HGVs, and our homes and narrow streets have suffered enough from heavy traffic.
“Big projects should look at better alternatives, but time after time these opportunities are squandered.”
Developers King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership say they have signed up to a safety charter drafted by the London Cyclist Campaign and offer courses for drivers.
They said: “We want to ensure that vehicles travelling to and from our construction site drive safely and are appropriately trained to be cyclist-aware.
“King’s Cross has already, before the release of this TfL report, agreed a Safer Lorries Charter with the London Cycling Campaign.
“This charter is now a formal part of our contract documentation with with our main contractors. We are also again this spring organising and funding with Camden Council a HGV urban driving skills course, with an emphasis on cycle awareness, which will involve our main contractors and their supply chain.”
The spokesman said they had considered using canals for transports but that the costs were too high.
A LUXURY development of eight homes on open land has been proposed by a bowling club in Croftdown Road, Dartmouth Park.
The Mansfield Bowling Club registered the controversial scheme at the council’s planning department this week.
They say it is the only way to save the club, while opponents say the proposals break planning law and don’t guarantee its future.