m11_link_returned_to_sender_banner_on_house_of_transport_ministerWe were saddened but not surprised to hear, during our monthly meeting last Wednesday, that a young man had been killed at the hideous ‘Lea Interchange’, a sprawling junction next to what is now the Olympics site in the far north-east corner of our borough. The bus which ran over Dan Harris was being driven from the media centre on Eastway onto the slip road of a quasi-motorway called the ‘A12 Hackney to M11 Link Road’, whose construction in the 1990s was opposed by this group and many other individuals and organisations, including Hackney Council. The Department for Transport’s decision to bulldoze the road through Wanstead, Leytonstone, Leyton and Hackney Wick, in the teeth of fierce resistance, has had many unpleasant outcomes, including community severance and increased car dependance in Waltham Forest, and the spewing of thousands of extra motor vehicles into our borough every day. Conditions for walking and cycling at and around the Lea Interchange were further worsened in recent years by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which became the de factohighway authority for this location. Adding insult to injury, the ODA then announced that it planned to ban cycle traffic from most of the carriageway during the games. We sent a formal objection, which was eventually acknowledged (and of course dismissed) six months after we sent it. In the ODA’s opinion, cycle traffic should be restricted to sub-standard, inconvenient shared-use footway ‘facilities’, which turned out to be poorly signposted and hard to follow. Whether and to what extent the temporary Olympics arrangements might have been a factor in the collision we will not know until the investigators have done their work. Perhaps not even then. What we can say for certain is that the death of Dan Harris is the latest bitter legacy of the M11 Link Road.