Thames Gateway Bridge dead

We hope you like the Woolwich Ferry.

110 comments:

lb said...

"Way to go", Boris.

I doubt he's ever even seen the Woolwich Ferry, let alone used it.

Hugh said...

We need the Brockley Foxes' view, as a matter of urgency.

lb said...

"Ferry quite good, bridge not built"

Anonymous said...

FFS, get this twerp out as soon as possible. The Blackwell tunnel is hell most days, Dartford is too far. We NEED that bridge.

fabhat said...

Fantastic - a new nonsensical expensive routemaster bus is a great idea, but intelligent, viable transport solutions to south london's transport weaknesses...no. Bloody Boris - how long before we can vote him out.

Headhunter said...

I agree! Exactly how much money is being wasted on developing the new Routemaster to satisfy tourists when the bendies, no matter how much people bellyache about them, are very efficient modes of transport across London.

Monkeyboy said...

Told you so... (at least I think I did a while back??) My good chum who works in TfLs Major Projects division got this vibe back in May. He's also confirmed that he's canning the various Tram schemes although apparently they were on their way out under Ken as well.

And the bendies? I'm not a cyclist so can;t comment on the safety aspect but I've always found them great. Sure you can;t always get a seat but most journey's are only short hops and the numerous doors are a real boon. I think the fare dodging aspect was over hyped. If it was that big a deal you could simply employ a conductor. They don't look as cute as Routemasters - hardly a transport policy.

Monkeyboy said...

Also says this....

'And we will continue to look for more savings including through a major review of London's bus network.'

A through review does not translate to 'more buses or bus routes' in my mind.

Buses are not glamorous but are a cheap, quick and relatively cheap way of improving public transport. One think Ken did do was improve them, remember what they were like before? Thatcher said (I may have got the exact words wrong)

"If you are over the age of twenty and find yourself on a bus, you should consider yourself a failure in life.”

...cow

Monkeyboy said...

As you can see I only scraped my 'O' level English......

fred vest said...

wasn't actually thatcher who said this, it was loelia ponsonby, wife of the duke of westminster

Monkeyboy said...

well she's a cow as well then.

Headhunter said...

I'm a cyclist and I don't find bendies a problem at all. In fact I don't usually find any buses a problem. They usually signal their movements well before they make them and are very slow moving and easy to pass if necessary.

They're only a problem if you try to undertake them as they turn left or something equally stupid. Bendies are extremely efficient people movers and very quick to board and disembark from.

When I lived in Islington, trying to get the 38 Routemaster back was a nightmare. You stood waiting near Soho whilst 3 or 4 went by, completely full before you perhaps managed to shove your way to stand on the lower deck. Then usually at the next stop a bunch of people seated at the front of the lower deck needed to get off and had to squeeze past all the standing passengers, so the bus was usually held up and then the conductor had to battle with excess people trying to get on.... They were buses from another era and London needed to move on. Now Bozo is dragging us back again...

Tamsin said...

I loved the Routemasters and found it extremely amusing that in the first four months of bendy-buses more broke down than in 40 years of Routemasters, but regrettably you're right - they do belong in a different era.
I miss the human contact - buying a ticket from the conductor - and you don't even now get to exchange a word with the driver, but in reality - to move vast numbers of people - quick on and quick off has to be the way forward.

Tamsin said...

What I do dislike though is the removal of passenger autonomy. With the Routemaster you could jump on, with due care, when it was paused at traffic lights and if it got stuck in traffic you could get off and walk. Now, to protect us from ourselves, we have automatic doors to keep you penned in and to shut on you if you are bit slow - no conductor to take care of you or heft up your pushchair.

Sue Luxton said...

finally, Boris makes a decision I fully support!

The Cat Man said...

The bendy buses were death traps - if you manage to avoid one exploding on your journey then you most likely will get hurt by crowds of hoodies.

Monkeyboy, apparently you have 'many chums' and you are always refering to my chum did this or that. Why don't you stop boasting about how popular you are and actually do something tangible for once.

Theres a word for people like you, and its not very pleasent. You sound like a right jerk.

Monkeyboy said...

eh? hoodies are attracted to Bendies but never use Routmasters? Thanks, I'll remember that.

fabhat said...

catman - do you travel by bus ever? Have you been attacked by hoodies or set on fire while on a bendy bus? Then perhaps writing them off in one fell swoop is a little hasty.

I prefer double deckers for purely asthetic reasons, but the bendies are okay - and if you're carrying lots of bags the big spaces for buggies/wheelchairs and large items are a godsend. I use buses regularly and so far haven't had a problem...

The Cat Man said...

I think it was when they were first introduced, a number of the bendy buses burst into fire - quite an alarmingly high number that the major suspended their use.

Has the new routemaster design been confirmed? It would be interesting to see how they are to look.

Anonymous said...

...and they got fixed and reintroduced. Now about the hoodies......

toshy said...

"The bendy buses were death traps - if you manage to avoid one exploding on your journey then you most likely will get hurt by crowds of hoodies."

Absolutely unbelievable. Why don't you get back to posting comments like this on the Daily Mail website where they belong?

Anonymous said...

Why this demand for 'routemasters', what is so special about them? Is it just nostalgia rather being practical?

Aren't the buses were operated by private companies, do TfL provide the buses and the companies drive them?

Anonymous said...

The reason the bridge has been dropped is to encourage people to take up the tri-athelon?

lb said...

The problem with Routemasters is that employing a driver and conductor doubles the wage bill, at a stroke. Not very financially prudent.

Not sure what the 'new Routemaster' will entail, but it strikes me that if it doesn't have the above, then it'll basically be just another double-decker bus.

Headhunter said...

Sue - which decision of Boris's is it you support? New Routmasters or the Thames Gateway thing? And why do you support him? Just interested to hear yuor view...

So "hoodies" are attracted to bendies and not Routemasters? Of course! Routemasters are like little time capsules of 1950s London where everyone tips their hat to the conductor as they board and offer their seats to ladies... Have you ever even taken a Routemaster? They were an absolute nightmare, good riddance to an outdated design.

I think about 3 or 4 bendies of all the hundreds on the road making thousands upon thousands of journeys have caught fire. Hardly a major risk to anyone riding one.

I agree that it was nice to be able to hop on and off RMs as and when, but as LB points out, they double the wage bill for TfL.

lb said...

I used to occasionally get the Routemasters that ran from Clapton Ponds in Hackney down into central London and, yeah, they really weren't that great and were really showing their age. It was nice to have the personal touch of a conductor, but on balance I'd rather have more frequent buses for the money.

The Routemaster may have been a 'design classic' that did its job effectively, but then so was the Brownie box camera, and no-one seems in a real hurry to use those.

Headhunter said...

Exactly. And as soon as they got to a slight incline they slowed right down and made so much noise they could barely make it up the slightest hill. They did well to serve London for 40 years or so, but let's move on

lb said...

Further to the above, a design classic.

I imagine Sue Luxton is supporting the withdrawal of the Gateway plans, but in this case (having had to use the Blackwall Tunnel twice every day for a year) I think she's woefully misguided, if that's the case. I'd be interested to hear why she thinks this is a good decision by Bojo.

Jt said...

Working people need to watch the Greens. Their priority is not you it is their ideological environmental concerns.

lb said...

According to the Economist, their suggestion was in fact "a cable car".

Personally, I don't agree with building new roads until it's absolutely necessary, but as I said, I wonder if these people have ever tried to use the Blackwall Tunnel, or its approaches. No amount of public transport is going to solve that one.

Brockley Nick said...

LB - you are right. Sue's welcoming Boris' decision to scrap the bridge - it was Green party policy.

A totally misguided policy and the idea that the cable car was in any way a meaningful substitute (rather than a tourist attraction) is laughable.

As I wrote before the decision, the two sides of the Thames Gateway are completely unconnected and the existing crossings are totally inadequate, if we are going to create a successful urban environment in that part of London.

A truly enlightened green policy would be to encourage the bridge, because cities are the most environmentally efficient way of housing people and the Thames Gateway is the most important new urban development in the country. This decision makes the chances of the Thames Gateway becoming anything more than a giant sink estate more remote. As well as cars, it would also have carried buses, pedestrians and potentially the DLR.

Still, what does any of that matter, when you are instinctively opposed to any new roads?

Anonymous said...

Toeing the party line...

The Cat Man said...

In Barcelona they have a cable car that is used to connect 'barcelonettra' to the otherside of the bay. It is used by tourists, but its mostly used as a way of daily transport for the residents of that area.

Im not opposed to that idea, but as LB pointed out - the Blackwall Tunnel is a complete nightmare so another option has to be put on the table - and soon.

The Cat Man said...

I would imagine that car owners are seen to be the 'evil' from within the green party.

Tressillian James said...

Sue - it would be interesting to know if the Green party consulted or canvassed any of its constiuents on the Gateway Bridge - or if the policy is opposition to any road infrastructure devlopment?

A lot of us on the blog before have mentioned how we need transport links - including the bridge - to help regnenerate the area and encorage business. As everyone points out - the Blackwall Tunnel is choked - what is the Green policy re the tunnel - to encourrage people and businesses away from there cars and vans? That would take a long time.

You know us characters here - we are far from being anti-green - but we do want to know? It seems that this si a valid issue when it comes to re-election.

Anonymous said...

Speak for yourself, I'm anti-green I'm afraid.

The various tunnels are indeed a nightmare. Sometimes I sit in the bottom of them and wonder just what would happen if a torrent of water suddently flooded them.

Brockley Jon said...

Thamesmead really is doomed now.

Anonymous said...

...from a certain point of view.

lb said...

Several times I've sat in a car in the bottom of the Blackwall Tunnel practically willing a torrent of water to suddenly flood it, if only to bring a rapid end to the whole tedious experience.

drakefell debaser said...

I don’t get Sues reasoning for supporting this either given that cars stuck in congestion pollute more than they do when they actually move at a reasonable speed. A cable car would be ok for fun but it will hardly ease congestion and it would have to be very expensive to use because the amount of people it can move in one go is limited compared to a bridge linking north and south. London needs radical changes down stream and abseiling across rivers or doing sod all in what now looks to be the case, is not the solution. Not impressed with Boris on this one.

Brockley Nick said...

It also needs to be said that the way this announcement was made was pretty cowardly. First day, a big song and dance the saying (in vague terms) what they will build, without mentioning what they wouldn't build. The very next day, they sneak this news out.

Headhunter said...

Probably the main reason for rejecting the bridge by the Greens is that evidence often illustrates that when it comes to roads, "if you build it, they will come".

Take the M25, it made it far easier to travel by car/motor vehicle, so immediately people made journeys by car that previously they may have made by other means (or not at all). Thatcher spent her whole period as PM building more and more roads, it did very little to relieve traffic, it just brought more and more people onto these new roads.

I'm sure that according to the Greens, if the bridge were constructed, it would not simply relieve pressure on the tunnel but actually create a whole new wave of traffic which would increase steadily as development took place in areas previously relatively inaccessible.

This development following construction of the bridge may also increasingly threaten very sensitive land out near the Thames estuary a little closer. This land is very important to migrating birds and other wildlife.

Or perhaps I'm putting words in Sue's mouth...

lb said...

Building roads doesn't necessarily increase traffic in itself. The '80s road-building policy went hand-in-hand with several other factors, all neatly explained here. But essentially, the cost of motoring remained stable, while incomes and the cost of public transport - notably after bus deregulation, for short trips - increased dramatically. Demographic changes and changes in retail patterns are mentioned too.

I sincerely hope the Greens don't attempt to use a "road building creates more traffic" argument.

Headhunter said...

However I don’t think you can argue that building roads did NOT increase traffic and encourage car use. Certainly it’s not the ONLY reason more and more people began to drive but it certainly helped and has helped mould the landscape around us which and it has become much more essential to own a car than previously. The 1980s also saw a continuation of disinvestment in public transport and rail. Train services got increasingly worse whilst prices increased, whilst as you point out, motoring costs remained stable and Thatcher was intent on building roads left right and centre making it easier to get around. In light of this your report points out that between 1989 and 2004 the number of trips made by car increased by 13%. This is also of course due to the increase in massive, out of town shopping developments and supermarkets and the decline of the local shop for local people, but Thatcher’s roads obviously massively helped in access to these new shopping centres then once the local shops have gone, people have no option than to drive

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I was never a great fan of the Gateway Bridge as it didn't connect any existing infastructure.

Wouldn't it make more sense to put a bridge or a tunnel where the Woolwich Ferry is and join the north and south circulars together?

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just tarmac over the Thames? We don't really need the river any more any way. Connect North and south, and bosh, job done.

Tressillian James said...

You may jest - I actually had a cabbie suggest that to me the other day - to cut down on congestion on the Embankement - he thought the Thames could run underneath 2 huge overhanging highways running along the course of the Thames.

I kept quiet because I was late.

Anonymous said...

I believe when the reports came out that Boris wasn't going to build the bridge it was also amde clear he wasn't pursuing any projects that didn't have government funding attached. And given all the noise out of the government about increasing investment in infrastructure as a way to get us out of recession, would it be too naive to hope that this is negotiating tactics by Boris?

nobbly brick said...

"First day, a big song and dance the saying (in vague terms) what they will build, without mentioning what they wouldn't build. The very next day, they sneak this news out."


nothing like Heidi Alexander and Loampit Vale then...

BrockleyBiker said...

Well BJ has done one good thing with regards to traffic as from January bikers will able to use bus lanes which is fantastic news. Yet another reason to get on two wheels.

Sue Luxton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue Luxton said...

Just to be clear – it’s the decision to scrap the Thames Gateway Bridge I support, not Boris Johnson's plans to scrap six major public transport schemes and introduce above inflation price increases in the average public transport fare.

London Green Party policy has been absolutely consistent in its opposition to the Thames Gateway bridge – it was a key manifesto pledge for us in both 2004 and 2008 and as part of the 2005 budget agreement our London Assembly members struck with Ken Livingstone, he had to provide £50,000 to help residents opposed to the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge to put their case at a public inquiry (versus the £30m of public money Ken wasted on this). It's taken 8 years, but we can now cross that one off the to do list! (You can find more about the Green Party's policies for transport in London in our 20-20 Vision doc that was published as part of the election campaign earlier in the year.)

Brockley councillor and London Assembly member Darren Johnson on the announcement to scrap the bridge:

"Scrapping this six lane, new road across the Thames is good news for the environment and for the local people who have spent years fighting this proposal. It was the single biggest mistake of the previous mayor, who spent nearly £30m of taxpayers money preparing a traffic generating monster which would have brought increased pollution and congestion to east London. This decision vindicates the hard work of the local people and experts who successfully opposed this bridge at the public inquiry and whom I have enjoyed working with during the last eight years."

If you're serious about tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions by the 80-90% needed to prevent runaway climate change, you really can't go round building massive new road schemes, airports etc - you have to invest that money in decent public transport infrastructure.

An increase in traffic generally reduces quality of life in that area, and increases the number of people dying prematurely each year due to poor air quality (currently about 1000/year in London - far more than are murdered). All too often the areas that suffer most from congestions and poor air quality are the ones with the most deprivation and lowest car ownership levels.

To be honest I was a bit sceptical about the cable car thing when Darren first mentioned it, and thought it sounded a bit off the wall to put in our recent newsletter, but various people seem to view it as a sound idea worth investigating further.

Brockley Biker - don't get me started on the motorbikes in bus lanes, though Brockley councillor Romayne Phoenix had a good letter in the SLP today.

Brockley Nick said...

Sorry Sue, but you've not actually explained what your solution is.

Firstly, the bridge would have provided quite a bit of public transport across the river (it's virtually impossible to cross the river in that part of London without a car).

Secondly, you've had scrapping the bridge as a key part of your manifesto for more than four years and the closest thing you've got to an alternative is 'maybe a cable car isn't such a crazy idea'. Not a very convincing policy I'm afraid. Those articles don't suggest it's a suitable replacement for a proper mass transit system, they just say that cable cars deliver a reasonable (but very limited) service given their low cost.

You also ignored the point that cities are the most environmentally friendly way of housing our population and to make Thames Gateway a success, rather than a cull-de-sac hell hole, we need to join it up with the rest of the city.

Congestion is terrible around the Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels and drivers regularly have to do 20 mile round trips to Dartford and back, whenever the tunnel closes - which is often.

In short, the bridge would have been the green solution, if you take a sensible, long-term view.

Put it another way, should we demolish a couple of dozen of the bridges in west london?

Sue Luxton said...

Nick, we're not going to agree on this I'm afraid, and you're twisting my words slightly about the cable car - it isn't party policy, merely something that has been looked into by Darren at a London Assembly level.

Whichever way you look at it - building more roads for private transport - which is what the Gateway Bridge was about, is not the green solution, and definitely not the long-term green view, if you factor in climate change and the likelihood of higher petrol prices going forward - investing in public transport infrastructure projects, creating more local jobs thereby reducing the need to travel and investing in walking and cycling are. So while I think Boris was right to scrap the bridge, he was wrong to also cancel public transport proposals for an Oxford Street Tram, East London Transit, Greenwich Waterfront Transit, Docklands Light Rail extension to Dagenham Dock, extensions to Croydon Tramlink, the East London Line extension from Surrey Quays and New Cross to Clapham Junction, and important public space proposals at Parliament Square, Euston Station, Victoria Embankment, and the route between central London and the Olympic park.

You say "should we demolish a couple of dozen of the bridges in west london?" - no, but closing a few of them to private vehicles and making them exclusively for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists could do wonders to alleviate congestion and kick start that all important 'modal shift' to more sustainable forms of transport.

Brockley Nick said...

I know the cable car isn't policy but the problem is (and I have just checked that link you included) that the Gren's have no policy for the Gateway area. The document just says you won't build the bridge but will put money in to other projects across London.

Nothing to make the Gateway area viable. Without adequate links, people won't move to the gateway (other than poor people who will have no choice but be marooned there), jobs won't locate there and developers won't build there. That means we will miss out on a chance to develop a brownfield area to house our people and we'll get more urban sprawl elsewhere, which will mean less efficient land use and more reliance on cars...

There are a lot of very good Green transport policies but here you've allowed dogma to get in the way of rational analysis of the issue. You're also unfairly characterising the bridge as cars only. it would have taken pedestrians, cyclists, buses and potentially the dlr. Now, there is no way across by bike without cycling to rotherhithe - about 10 miles?

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, you gave people 50,000 pounds of public money to complain - and you found some takers?!

What do you expect? There are lots of people who enjoy complaining (as Ross and Brand will tell you) - the fact that lots did does nothing to support your case.

The Cat Man said...

I think you are also making the assumption that public transport is greener than private transport.

Obviously that is true at present, but look at where the innovation is happening.

It can also be a bit of a false economy - taking three trains to get to one destination or a direct car journey in much less time (and less environmental damage).

Playing devils advocate here.

Anonymous said...

The bridge was bitterly opposed by the people of Bexley who would have had to put up with all the increased traffic, pollution and noise. At the public inquiry on the bridge the planning inspector concluded that the bridge was inconsistent with the objectives in the Mayor of London's transport strategy of tackling climate change, reducing air pollution and reducing traffic. The Thames Gateway does need decent transport links if it is to be effectively regenerated but public transport, not a six-lane road bridge is the key to delivering this, and there was no real evidence presented to demonstrate that a road bridge would deliver regeneration benefits. Independent transport experts commissioned through TfL came up with a number of alternatives, a high-capacity cable car being just one of a range of options which now need to be considered.

Darren Johnson AM - Green Party Member of the London Assembly

osh said...

how many more years darren?

you've had 8 years to come up with an alternative

you could have argued for more bus routes across the bridge. for road pricing to limit traffic.

the cable car is not a serious solution and you are embarassing yourselves by clinging to it.

bexley is a hotbed of bnp support by the way, so i wouldn't too much stock in their judgement either.

nobbly brick said...

Well said Darren

drakefell debaser said...

High capacity cable car? Do they exist? The ones i have been on seat 6 at most unless you propose they accept standing passengers and we suffer a similar fate as the majority or rail passengers do? It's all very well opposing things but that has to be replaced with a viable alternative. This is what is so wrong with this decision because rather than saying - we are scrapping that but doing this - we have nothing. £50 million pissed up the wall in what ever Ken did and then £50 grand to argue it? It's no wonder things get done because once it gets down to doing something there is no money left to do anything.

max said...

I never had an opinion on this until now, I just did a bit of reading around and you know what? I think that the cable car idea is not bad.
If it can deliver the 5000 people per hour that it say it would then it would be pretty good.

drakefell debaser said...

Yes but transporting 5000 people per hour to the other side of the river is all it can do. There then has to be the infrastructure either side so that people can continue their journey- bus stops, rail stations, else it is not a means to an end. A bridge for the DLR, connecting North Greenwich with Canning Town for example would would join two areas that are trying to redevelop and plant the seeds for an additional extension south. It is shame the extension to Dagenham has been scrapped as well. The DLR is what every service should be like, quick and reliable and it should be expanded. Scrapping a road bridge is fine but we are still left with the problem at the end of the day and the reduction of cars can only be achieved if there is the choice not to use them.

The Cat Man said...

I think the idea was to have a number of stops so that it could provide a proper mode of transport.

Like I said, there is one in Barcelona - 3 stops - across water, used daily by the residents. Each car carries something like 30-50, and there wasn't that many csrriages but it is certainly more than you would think.

Its more of a culture change if anything. It could work, but based on what I have seen I would say it was too expensive unless continually subsidised.

The Green Party is very weak in terms of budgetry/economic policy. In fact, it comes second to green issues.

The Cat Man said...

Darren,

How can you honestly say no evidence of regeneration benefits?

What area are you looking at? 10 miles? 20miles? There is obvious benefits.

I think the real issue is that it may appear outside of your elected constituency.

Transpontine said...

I don't really see why, if you oppose something that you think is wrong, you are obliged to come up with an alternative. Yes the Blackwall tunnel is a pain, but nobody's dying because of the lack of a river crossing - so is there actually a problem that needs an urgent solution? Perhaps rather than agonise about transport links for 'The Thames Gateway' we should question the inevitability of the endless expansion of London eastwards, predicated as it is upon an infinite property market/credit boom which is collapsing around us.

osh said...

Transpontine: you are obligated if a) you are supposed to be a responsible political party, not just a pressure group and b) you agree (as darren does above) with the proposition that the gateway needs proper links.

The gateway expansion isn't about endless speculative greed, it's about population growth.

lb said...

"Whichever way you look at it - building more roads for private transport - which is what the Gateway Bridge was about, is not the green solution, and definitely not the long-term green view, if you factor in climate change and the likelihood of higher petrol prices going forward"

This is, frankly, a pathetic argument. The whole point is that it's not a solution that comes out bad "whichever way you look at it" - in this one case, at least, there are several ways of looking at the reasoning behind the development, all of which Nick and other people have touched on. This is to do with major redevelopment of a brownfield site, not with driving a superhighway across open farmland. The bridge would also, potentially, have carried the DLR, and other public transport access. It would have carried some of the large volumes of freight which are currently routed much closer to the centre of London. It would have helped spread the infrastructure of a part of the capital that's already close to breaking point - there is, clearly, a problem.

As for all the other proposals Johnson has cancelled - yeah, the man's clearly a cretin; you only need to study the careers of some of his appointees (Simon Milton??!?) to see that. But what's this got to do with the bridge, exactly?

As I said, I'm not normally the kind of person to advocate building more roads. But this seemed like a good idea, possibly even a necessary step - any arguments against it have to be pretty strong. This thread's really brought home why the Greens still aren't ready to be taken seriously as a party of administration, sorry.

lb said...

As for the cable car, well...

"There's nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
Bona fide,
Electrified,
Six-car
Monorail"

drakefell debaser said...

Catman, only you would associate culture with a cable car. Step away from the crack pipe.

Brockley Nick said...

It put North Haverbrook on the map.

"But main street's still all cracked and broken!"

"Sorry mom, the mob has spoken..."

nobbly brick said...

I believe that, possibly within a generation, the car will be on the verge of obsolescence and the need for a different lifestyle in terms of traveling will be paramount. Whether that's a return to mass public (and publicly owned) transport by, for example, rail, remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, roads have a limited future because they are already at breaking point and no amount of encouragement at present is deterring people from their own private, petrol driven, means of transport.

The bicycle will survive, no doubt about that, and vast decentralising will also be necessary, but multi-lane whatevers is a short term, short sighted solution.

lb said...

But a bridge that a light rail system, gas-powered buses, our future electric-powered bubble cars (or whatever the hell we'll be driving) can all use, would be pretty future proof either way, don't you agree?

lb said...

Also, would the cable car "attract" hoodies? I think we should be told.

nobbly brick said...

Yes, but it wouldn't be necessary if, for instance, with the lack of cars, at least one of the Blackwall tunnels were turned over to that use.

We are talking of a future where cars wouldn't rule our lives.

Remember the time when there were train stations *everywhere* and how suddenly that changed (Beeching etc). That was a radical change and one that led to our 'modal change' to the road. The same kind of thinking needs to be applied now and with a longer term view of the future. Maybe railways are the future...

Anonymous said...

The car isn't likely to die any time soon. Want to get your heavy shopping home? Visit someone in the middle of the night, safely? Infact, just embrace a pasttime that many others enjoy, just for the hell of it? Car please!

Monkeyboy said...

We've managed to put cheese in a can but have not perfected the personal jet pack. Yet another example of 'Big Car' undermining innovation.

(I'm off to buy a Dyson, 25% off if you trade in your old one, who says advertising doesn't work?)

Anonymous said...

Wow. You can't put a train or even light rail through the blackwall tunnel.

And even if you could, it's a long way from where the bridge was due to be built! Are you saying in the car-free, localised future, everyone has to go on a ten mile round trip to cross the river?

lb said...

I do think trains should be developed much further - especially for travel outside London - but my point was the Green policy on this exhibited nothing beyond knee-jerk thinking which (as someone commented) was more akin to that of a pressure group than a party of administration. The Gateway development is (or was) about a lot more than simply building a six-lane road. What's the other solution, anyway? Sit on our hands until the oil dries up and then say "I told you so"? Or wait till the crossings in the east of London grind to a halt and the residents of Poplar have been killed off by air pollution?

Putting more money into transport in other areas of London may alleviate the congestion issue, but will do little for the bottleneck in the south-east of the city or to shift general patterns of travel in terms of people's destinations. The bridge, on the other hand, was as I saw it part of a more strategic plan to extend the viable, accessible parts of the city.

lb said...

What happens to the old Dysons that you trade in? Do they get sent to indigenous Peruvian farmers, or something?

westsider said...

Oh man, nobbly brick, I can't believe what I'm reading from you.

You're the guy who takes every opportunity to slag off Lewisham Gateway and your main criticism - which you've used over and over on this site - is that it will make car journeys from one side of Lewisham town centre to the other longer (never mind that it will make getting to the station a lot easier for people and locate a large number of new homes near a transport node).

Yet here you are forecasting the death of the car and using that as your excuse for opposing a project that would drastically reduce journey times across the river - for car drivers and everyone else.

Why don't you come clean and admit that you just enjoy opposing things.

max said...

To be fair, I wouldn't think that Bojo turned it down because of Green pressure. It's more likely the money wasn't there.

nobbly brick said...

That's not my main criticism W, my main criticism is that the Gateway is simply property speculation. I have used the road layout, and many other aspects of the scheme to highlight the folly of the thinking.

My enjoyment doesn't come from opposing things either, it may look like that to you because that's how you choose to see it. In fact, if you look back (which I wouldn't encourage you to do) you'll see that I espouse regeneration based on the needs of the user, whether that user is resident or passer-through.

I don't see the proposed 'regeneration' of central Lewisham as being based *enough* on that ideal.

When I walked down Loampit Vale the other day I thought 'my god, what a s**thole, why can't something be done about this?' As a resident I felt ashamed of what it looked like, and as a resident when I looked at the 'exhibition' the Council had provided in the shopping centre I felt further ashamed because the Council were planning the replace one s**thole with another one which will turn into a s**thole in the space of a few years.

Creative thinking it is not.

max said...

Good point about the need to build the connection the cable car against the ready road network leading to the bridge.
I think that there's one point in the opposition to the bridge that does not have my support and is the equation of this bridge to extra road network as if it was leading somewhere else, this is all inside London, it's about connecting two sides of one town, not leading people to shopping centres out of town.

The Cat Man said...

I think part of the problem in lewisham's case is that the key planner/decision makers are rotated on a 3 yr basis so there is no real long term 'buy-in' or concept for the area to regeneration over say, 10 yrs or 20yrs. Obviously, lip service will be provided but dig abit deeper and this would be a key variable.

Lewisham would benefit from having a strong leader with a vision to push something 'focal' through the plans. I don't think we have this currently.

does anyone know what lewishams position is regard to te Bridge? I.e. did they actually advocate any support?

nobbly brick said...

CM, the present regeneration project, of which Lewisham gateway and Loampit Vale are components, has been going on since 1999 (and possibly before).

Look at Central Lewisham and you can see how well the £15.9 million 'single regeneration budget' has been spent...

Can't you??

max said...

I think that the Lewisham Regeneration failure boiles down the to dogma that it has to be a private public partnership rather than the public doing its bit and letting the private doing its own.
The deal is phenomenally complex and the public administrators saw it as a way to offload public expenditure. New road layout, new bus station, new utilities mains, new swimming pool, new affordable housing. All out of the developers' pockets if you think about it. And to give them enough profit a massive volume had to be developed, and it only worked with the previous housing market. Take away one piece and the whole jigsaw doesn't work anymore.

Tressilliana said...

'I think part of the problem in lewisham's case is that the key planner/decision makers are rotated on a 3 yr basis so there is no real long term 'buy-in' or concept for the area to regeneration over say, 10 yrs or 20yrs.'

Steve Bullock has been Mayor for two terms now and used to be Leader of the Council in the 90s. He's had every chance to 'buy in' to a longer-term vision of Lewisham. Labour was continuously in charge of the council for decades until the glorious outcome of the last election when at last non-Labour councillors got a chance to influence what happens in the borough. If only all the anti-Bullock candidates had got together and agreed on one candidate he'd have been out too. Maybe next time. I find single-party states disquieting.

Sue Luxton said...

Nick said "You're also unfairly characterising the bridge as cars only. it would have taken pedestrians, cyclists, buses and potentially the dlr."

What was proposed was a six lane bridge - 4 lanes would have been for private transport, lorries etc, 2 for public transport. It would also have had a cycle lane, a pedestrian walkway and the facility for a Docklands Light Rail crossing. ie possibly, maybe the DLR, but that was still up in the air.

If the main aim of this bridge had been to provide public transport, walking and cycling links, I probably would have supported it, but it wasn't. It was a thinly-disguised motorway bridge with a bit of public transport thrown in as an add-on. And as a cyclist, particularly as an asthmatic cyclist, even with a separate lane, I'm not sure the prospect of cycling alongside 4 lanes of cars whizzing past would appeal much. Likewise walking. If it cut out a long diversion, I would probably have used it, but it would hardly have been a pleasant experience.

The bridge as proposed wasted the opportunity to move away from our current dependence on private vehicles and, as the inspector's report said, the regeneration benefits it would bring were overstated.

As John Vidal's article in the Guardian on Thursday says, evidence at the inquiry showed it would encourage car use, bringing more air and noise pollution and increasing carbon emissions. The bridge was to pass through some of Britain's most deprived communities in east London, but leading transport analysts showed it would not bring regeneration to these areas.

LB: The relevance of mentioning the other schemes that Mayor Johnson has scrapped was that he announced them all at the same time and I wanted to be clear that while we supported him on the bridge, we did not support him on the other proposals.

Max - I'm quite certain he didn't scrap this because the Greens asked him to, given his record so far ;), but it's not just that the money isn't there, it's that Boris is busy trying to cut 15% off his budget, particularly the LDA, and you can't do that just through efficiency savings, you have to cut things.

osh said...

Sue what's the point in replying if you avoid the issue.

What should we do to create proper links in the gateway?

You're quibbling over details but avoiding that question.

Is two bus lanes a little or a lot. It's a matter of opinion. But it's fact that it's two more than we have at the moment.

Are the regen benefits overstated? Probably. What public schemes don't overstate their claims? But there obviously would have been big benefits.

Bexley's poor because no bugger can get in or out. Well done to all who helped to keep it that way...

max said...

Maybe the answer could be in bridge for multiple use, more balanced towards public transport, cycling and pedestrian and that's fee paying for private cars. Could be a next election manifesto for somebody.

osh said...

Max, it could have been in the Green's last manifesto. They campaigned with Ken. Why couldn't they have used that leverage to get a commitment to get the dlr to cross or better cycling provision? Or toll fees?

max said...

Pretty good questions.

Jt said...

Expect a congestion charge for the Blackwall tunnel to thin down the traffic.

yaxu said...

Wouldn't it make more sense to put a bridge or a tunnel where the Woolwich Ferry is

There already is a tunnel there and it works great (when the lifts are working).

The Cat Man said...

I think the greens have made a serious mistake.

Ok, so what if 4 out of the 6 lanes was for private transport. Does that mean south london shouldn't have the regeneration benefits? Whats stopping the greens campaigniing for some of those lanes being given to dedicated public transport once the bridge had been built?

Seriously, the greens need to get a long term plan in order. Instead of doing the sensible thing - approving the building of the bridge (long term) they have opted to use the 4 private transport lanes (short term) as a justification to stop it.

Think long term, we could of had a new bridge, regeneration and a new campaign issue to convert lanes to public use.

Now Bexley will suffer, and so will south london.

Well done greens - great econonic thinkers!!!

The Cat Man said...

wow - large report.

para 9.20: minimum public provision for bridge: "TfL would be fettering the future exercise of their discretion, an action which it is not legally open to them to take." and

para 9.101: "The scheme would make significant improvements to public transport journey times and to reliability [4.175], and would offer scope for increasing public transport capacity to match the pace of future development in the Thames Gateway [5.44]."

para 9.22: widening of existing roads: "There was no proposal before the inquiry to extend the proposed route from the TGB on the southern bank of the River Thames to either the A2 or the A20."

para 9.63: impact on air quality, noise pollution etc: "These are relatively insensitive to changes in traffic volume [4.267, 4.297], and so a traffic model of limited reliability would be unlikely to give rise to a substantially different finding in these matters."

nobbly brick said...

catman, where have those paragraphs come from?

The Cat Man said...

the inspectors report on sues link above

Anonymous said...

Cat... The greens did not support the bridge but it was Boris who canned it. You should really be aiming your wrath at the torys and their stooge, Boris.

Actually didn't you say you rather liked him?

The Cat Man said...

I like aspects of his personality, and some of his policies. Evidently, not this one.

Hes more patriotic then red ken, thats the bit I like. I dislike his lack of development of poor areas and his focus on improving the lot of the rich.

lb said...

Oh, it seems entirely legitimate to engage the Greens on this - seeing as their single-issue 'policy' has meant they've effectively acted as Johnson's 'stooges' in the matter. I note the other Johnson (Darren) is prominent in the Guardian article's cheerleading:

'Darren Johnson, a Green member of the London assembly, said: "Scrapping this six-lane new road across the Thames is good news for the environment and for the local people who have spent years fighting this proposal. It was the single biggest mistake of the previous mayor, who spent £30m of taxpayers' money preparing a traffic-generating monster."'

Yeah, Darren, but what are the other answers? Even the planner's report said that none of the other solutions were at all viable. As things stand, nothing will be done.

Claiming the Greens don't support Johnson's other policies, or some of them, is just a red herring - although his decision may have been all about money, the Greens provided him with plenty of ammunition.

What the hell is Stephen Norris doing on the TFL board, by the way? A former director-general of the Road Haulier's Association?
Another laughable Bojo appointment.

Dave Hill said...

This is a brilliant thread.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Hot off the press from Building Magazine:

"Hazel Blears intervenes on transport schemes blocked by Boris

London mayor has met Blears to discuss schemes she believes are vital to the regeneration of Thames Gateway

The secretary of state for communities has intervened in the decision by London mayor Boris Johnson to block a number of transport schemes deemed vital to the regeneration of the Thames Gateway.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears met with Johnson this week to discuss the possibility of re-instating plans for the construction of a vital extension to the Docklands Light Railway in the Thames Gateway and a new road bridge across the Thames."

Phoenix from the ashes perhaps.........

patrick1971 said...

Hazel Blears and BoJo? What a gruesome twosome. Throw in the road lobby, and it's a really unattractive threesome...

Anonymous said...

Who are the "Road Lobby"? People who actually want to use their cars?

Headhunter said...

People who prefer to invest in building more and more roads rather than public transport. Like Mrs Thatcher and a lot of her government.

Anonymous said...

More of that sort of thing, IMO!

fred vest said...

buses & trams (and bicycles) are not really fussed about having roads to roll over these days

Anonymous said...

Indeed. Perhaps Headhunter thinks that, like himself, they can walk on water.

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