Traffic restrictions were first imposed at the infamous Seven Arm Junction in May 2017 as part of a £1.7m scheme to address road safety concerns.
This follows the death of cyclist Ying Tao, 26, who was run over by a left-turning heavy goods vehicle in 2015 on her way to work. She was the second person killed at the crossroads in four years. There had also been 105 casualties, making it the most dangerous place on the Square Mile.
At least 45 members of the City of London Corporation have signed a motion calling on black cabs to regain access to the area “at all times”.
Alderman Tim Hailes, whose motion will be considered by the City Council Court next Thursday, said it was not intended to ‘undermine all the great work’ aimed at making Bank a more pleasant area for pedestrians and cyclists.
Mr Hailes told The Standard: ‘The fact is that not everyone is able to walk or cycle.
“Hackney cars have an excellent safety record, their fleet is increasingly moving towards zero emissions and many of us see them as central to the plurality of public transport.
“For those who are blind, disabled or have reduced mobility, they serve a vital service by enabling equality and inclusion. For women traveling later at night, they also provide reliable transportation home.
It is feared the ban has made it harder to hail a taxi in the City, while the number of licensed taxis in London has fallen by more than 4,000 in the past two years to 14,625.
The motion is supported by several prominent members of the municipal corporation, which is made up of 100 councilors and 25 aldermen. These include former Policy Chairs Sir Michael Snyder and Michael Cassidy and Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland.
However, Peter Murray, a prominent architect and cycling campaigner, said the motion was “very worrying”. He said the issue was not a “battle between cyclists and taxis” but how to create an “incredible public space in the heart of the city”.
Mr Murray told the Standard: ‘Surrounded by the Bank of England, Mansion House and the Royal Exchange, this could be a world-class place.
“Post-Covid, well-being is at the top of the urban agenda and pollution-free, pedestrian-friendly spaces are key to delivering a healthier city.”
The changes to Bank, which were partly funded by Transport for London, mean only buses and cyclists are allowed to cross the junction on weekdays between 7am and 7pm.
Cars, taxis and trucks are all prohibited. Thousands of drivers who broke the rules have been fined £130.
The objective of the program was to improve safety by limiting the number of vehicles passing through the intersection when the number of pedestrians and cyclists was the highest.
Research by the City Corporation found that the changes, which were made permanent after a 17-month trial, resulted in a “marked reduction” in road danger.
There have been no fatalities since Ms. Tao’s death and no serious injuries in 2019 or 2020.
Before the changes, there were an average of 13.6 road fatalities per year. In the three years since the program became permanent, this figure has fallen to 6.3 victims per year.
Additionally, there has been an improvement in air quality, with lower nitrogen dioxide levels at the junction and in surrounding streets.
If the motion – which could be subject to an amendment – passes, city officials will have to draw up plans by June to allow east-west and west-east taxi access to Bank.
However, TfL’s approval may be required before any changes can be implemented.
The motion also calls for a broader audit of all traffic restrictions on the Square Mile by September.
Critics privately regard the restrictions as “dog’s breakfast”, some of which date back to Ring of Steel security measures introduced in response to IRA terrorism, such as the Bishopsgate bombing in 1993.
A spokeswoman for the municipality said: ‘The motion will be discussed and debated in the normal manner among the elected members of the Court of Common Council.’