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Warning over move to make Barnsbury junction safer

Cyclists fear new pinch-point hazard and say proposals 'won’t encourage anyone new to get on their bike'

26 October, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Eilidh Murray at the Barnsbury junction

PLANS to redesign a Barnsbury junction are going ahead despite opposition from cyclists who claim the changes would mean it would still be “unsafe”.

A campaign was launched about two years ago after cyclist Jillian Hartin was knocked off her bike in Liverpool Road at the junction with Barnsbury Street.

Proposals, which includ­ed a new right-turn “pock­et” for cyclists, were consulted on earlier this year, but were rejected by Cycle Islington.

The Town Hall says it is pressing ahead with its plans, with work due to begin in January.

Nick Kochahook, from Cycle Islington, said: “The design the council consulted on introduces a new unsafe pinch-point in Liverpool Road and won’t encourage anyone new to get on their bike.

“The council have not shared any updated designs so we can’t be more positive at this point.

“If the council reaches out to us on this, we are ready to work with them to ensure a final design that makes everyone feel safe.”

He said the plans at consultation stage did little to address the excessive speed of drivers and poor sight-lines at the junction.

Cycle Islington suggested another design, which included a ban on right turns into Barnsbury Street for vehicles coming north up Liverpool Road.

Eilidh Murray, a cyclist from Canonbury, has pushed ahead with the campaign for changes at the junction after Ms Hartin was injured when she was involved in a collision with a car in 2016.

Ms Hartin said: “Fortunately, it was low speed and low impact, but still caused me to have a muscle injury, requiring a few weeks of physiotherapy to improve mobility and reduce pain.

“It was my first-ever impact with a car in nearly 20 years of cycling in London.”

She said it was difficult to see approaching traffic from some directions because of the crooked “dog-leg” junction.

Ms Murray, who cycles twice a day through the junction, has been keeping a detailed timeline of the proposals.

“To take over three years to get a spade in the ground on such a small piece of infrastructure at such a dangerous junction is hard to understand,” said 63-year-old Ms Murray.

“However, it’s great that something finally appears to be happening, however late, however small. I’ll be watching – and cycling – carefully.”

The council said late yesterday (Thursday) there have been two “minor” changes since consultation. These were extending the island on the east side of Barnsbury Street and reducing the length of the island on Liverpool Road.]

Cabinet councillor Claudia Webbe said the project will “improve safety” and was supported by the majority of residents to the consultation.

“It involved improvements to the existing zebra crossing and installation of a new right-turn ‘pocket’ for cyclists from Liverpool Road into Barnsbury Street East,” she said.

Delays are down to a number of factors, including having to secure extra funding for the approved scheme, the purdah period before the local elections in May, and scheduling the work with our contractor. We look forward to work beginning in January.”

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