Complete the danged Bakerloo line

The Old Kent Road. A death row of increasingly-redundant large format stores, bookended east and west by Domino's Pizza.

A road built to serve cars in a city that passed peak-car a decade ago. A place of vast empty car parks and van storage yards, which houses, pleases and employs very few. A spectacularly grotesque waste of central London - and the only one of the cheap streets on the Monopoly Board that's still cheap.

While regeneration slowly creeps along Jamaica Road through Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, the Old Kent Road serves as a vast grey-brown ligature that restricts the flow of capital, energy and talent from the centre of London south east. With Vauxhall and the Elephant & Castle at last being razed and rebuilt, the OKR remains as the North London bigot's best argument against South London - a place where people are rarely seen, except bunched at crossings or hanging from doorways.

The Old Kent Road is also one of London's designated "opportunity areas". But it's a public transport desert and without new links, that opportunity won't materialise.

So why are we consulting about whether the Bakeloo Line should travel down it or go via Camberwell? This shouldn't even be a question. If the Old Kent Road was in North London, there would have been a Cobra meeting about it by now. Given that the extension will need to be part-funded from levies on developers along its route, the Old Kent Road is the best chance of getting the project paid for - the part of the journey where most development is possible.

Make the decision today, start work tomorrow. Forget about the Hayes extension if that's going to hold things up. In a city where brownfield is a precious commodity, the Old Kent Road represents a dereliction of duty on the part of our politicians.

15 comments:

Danja said...

Well said.

Monkeyboy said...

Get your lobbying trousers on, needs to integrate with this (press stuff is all about the trains 'cos that's what the public sees, also includes a major signal upgrade which is actually the bigger challange) http://www.tfl.gov.uk/campaign/new-tube-for-london

Michael_FH said...

Would you still be making the case against Camberwell if the route included a Brockley High Level station?
The decision to consult on a Camberwell route that loops back round to New Cross Gate (rather than through Crofton Park, or underground to Crystal Palace), is clearly designed to get one response only. And I don't particularly disagree with route proposed or any of the arguments you made, but I always get annoyed with consultations where there is an obvious 'right' and 'wrong' answer.

Over in Camberwell people realise that they cannot really argue for their route against the OKR route. And that is probably a good thing. What Camberwell needs is a station on the existing lines that run through the area, just like Overground should have a station in Brixton.


These are three rail investment projects that should be top of TfL's priority list.

goodforbrockley said...

It's amazing for Brockley in any case being 1 station from an underground. Trains north run through Brockley very frequently and will be even more so in the future. The sooner this happens the better.

Gu Est said...

Well I think they should start quickly either way and part raise crowd funding if necessary. I would gladly increase the mortgage to pay in advance for a 10years annual travel card if it meant getting it quicker.

50,000 people doing the same and half the budget is found.

Anon said...

Barron Nick can set the ball rolling with £1m?

Brockley Nick said...

I cycle to work (down the Old Kent Road), so no annual travel card, sadly.

Blood said...

I really do not mind the Bakerloo Line going via OKR and New Cross Gate. At least with this, we can avoid using the overcrowded Overground Line to Canada Water.


What puzzles me is why was Brockley removed from the second proposed route. It was the cheapest and easiest way to get the Bakerloo Line down to Lewisham without miles of expensive new tunnels. Like Michael already mentioned, it seems designed to only get one response.

Gu Est said...

Oh Nick, you are a prime target for the crowd funding, Not an existing client, you are becoming of age and getting wealthier. Cycling everyday may not be something you will be able to do soon ;O so an alternative down the Old Kent Road could be the solution for you by the time they finish it.

Call Boris and make your pledge.

Mackerel Sky said...

Sensible words from Nick here.


I expect as more people read this post there will be more comments about including Brockley in the scheme somehow. That's to be expected from a (mostly) Brockley-based readership, but it's clearly sensible for regeneration (though not gentrification) along the Old Kent Road to be among the highest priorities for our part of London. Having an option running along the existing Overground line via Denmark Hill won't bring anything like as many benefits to as many people.


As goodforbrockley points out, having Brockley station just 2 minutes ride away from an Underground station will be just as good for the area without having to suffer all the demolition, building, and environmental upheaval. Let's limit that to what's currently the Sainsbury's carpark at New Cross, which would presumably be redesigned and incorporated into a transport hub for National Rail, Overground, Bakerloo and local bus services.

iain said...

Given that the money will have to be raised by developers, is there a chance they won't have any interest in the OKR, and will prefer peckham because it's become more desirable, so they can sell studio flats at a higher price?

Mackerel Sky said...

I'm no expert on this but prices for Camberwell/Peckham flats would certainly be higher, but the sheer volume of locations down the Old Kent Road, the fact 'the Bakerloo extension' will be in the news and be seen as desirable, plus the opportunity area incentives from the Mayor Of London would probably mean developers prefer the OKR option. Not that we should favour the option developers favour, of course (!), but providing development is sensible, with a fair proportion at fair prices, I back the option that will bring regeneration to more people fastest.

Maytimegirl said...

Pity a loop wasn't considered (like the end of Central line). OKR, NXG, Lewisham, Brockley High stn, Peckham, Camberwell, Walworth rd.... Development heaven

TJ said...

Nick, one of the best pieces you've written.

terrencetrentderby said...

Old Kent Road resembles Lagos on a bad day so anything that eventually prices out the Holy Ghost Zone "churches" can only be a good thing.

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