TFL Stand By Elephant and Castle Design Despite Second Death
A 20-year-old man was killed last week at the Elephant and Castle roundabout, just six weeks after an 86-year-old woman’s life was taken at the controversially revamped two-way traffic junction.
Despite the deaths Transport for London (TfL) said it is committed to the £25m plans to redesign the roundabout.
Last week’s tragic accident saw two motorcyclists collide at the junction with Newington Causeway at 3.30pm on Wednesday March 16.
The 20-year-old male motorcyclist, whose name has been withheld by his family, was airlifted to hospital and confirmed dead that evening. The second motorcyclist had only minor injuries, and no arrests have been made.
Pensioner Johanna Hedger was struck by a lorry six weeks earlier on February 5, while using a temporary crossing at the roundabout’s junction with the New Kent Road. The 86-year-old was confirmed dead at the scene by paramedics, and her body was airlifted to hospital.
A 53-year-old male driver of the lorry was arrested and released on bail until a date in May.
This week Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle told the News that TfL are were pushing ahead with their plans for the old roundabout. Although it appears changes have been made to a temporary crossing where the elderly woman was killed, TfL deny the crossing played a role in her death.
Mr Coyle wrote a letter to TfL shortly after Mrs Hedger’s death to demand a safety review into the crossing. It is understood that a meeting was then held on February 12 between TfL and the Met Police to agree changes to the Old Kent Road temporary crossing, which resulted in adjustments.
But messages received by Mr Coyle from TfL suggest they will carry on implementing their “final designs” for the roundabout and its road markings, and that no such “safety review” is planned.
Mr Coyle told the News he received a letter on March 10 from Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport.
“As is standard practice,” Mr Leon wrote, “we will engage in a full Stage Three Road Safety Audit on the junction and will address any concerns raised”.
Mr Daniels also wrote that a Met Police investigation found that neither the layout nor the road fixtures had “played a causal role” in Mrs Hedger’s death.
“Since the gyratory changed to two-way operation on December 5, we have been closely monitoring the junction to ensure it operates safely and effectively for all road users… As with any new scheme, there is a bedding-in period,” his letter said.
Mr Coyle told the News: “I am very concerned that TfL do not appear to have ensured safety was sufficiently prioritised during the roadworks to change the layout of the northern roundabout.
“I feel it [TfL’s safety audits] needs to be published. The fact that they have made some changes to the temporary crossing shows there was more of a problem than they care to admit. I think there is potentially more of an issue there.”
Commenting on the motorcyclist’s death, Mr Daniels, said: “I was extremely saddened to learn that a motorcyclist has died after a collision in Elephant and Castle.
“Our thoughts are with their family and friends and we stand ready to provide them with any help and assistance they might need at this time. We will also work closely with the police and emergency services who will be undertaking a thorough investigation of the incident.”