Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has defended plans to build a bridge across the Thames linking Rotherhithe with Canary Wharf.

Mr Khan was speaking at the People’s Question Time event in Bexley on Thursday night where he was challenged from the floor about plans for a “£400 million vanity bridge” at Rotherhithe.

The Mayor said: “I don’t apologise for wanting to make sure that we have a cycle and pedestrian bridge at Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe.

“Actually it was one of the campaigns that Caroline Pidgeon talked about during the mayoral campaign.

“I was initially not sure of my views but was persuaded during the mayoral campaign that it was a good idea.

“We have worked cross-party to get this scheme up and running.”

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said: “It’s so important for pedestrians and cyclists to be able to cross the Thames.

“At the moment on this side of London you have a choice: you go through the Rotherhithe Tunnel – literally taking your life into your own hands – or you have to trek further east and go through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.

“We need to make sure that people can get across the Thames in a healthy, safe way.

“I think this is a fantastic project and it will be a real triumph for London to see a brand new bridge at that location.”

This week we reported that Canary Wharf Group is opposing the bridge and favours an improved ferry service instead.

The owners of Canary Wharf have criticised plans for a bridge across the Thames linking the Isle of Dogs with Rotherhithe.

Canary Wharf Group’s hostility to the scheme has been known for some time but is now a matter of public record thanks to the firm’s submission to the London Plan examination in public currently being held at City Hall

“We are concerned about the proposed walk and cycle river crossing between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf,” says CWG in its written statement on transport schemes in London.

“This is a very expensive and environmentally intrusive scheme and we believe the significantly cheaper ferry proposal should be properly considered as a more viable and attractive (to users) proposition.

“With public finances heavily constrained, it is vital that investment in infrastructure is spent wisely on the most important, beneficial and deliverable initiatives.”

Last month Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Transport for London (TfL) is continuing to develop the scheme, including aspects of design, construction and operation of this important new crossing.

“As part of this, TfL is engaging directly with a number of stakeholders, including the Port of London Authority, London boroughs, land owners and local community groups.

“This work is helping to develop greater detail on the scheme, which TfL will share as part of a formal public consultation, which is currently planned to launch in spring 2019.”

In its London Plan EIP submission, Canary Wharf also argues that greater capacity is needed on the Jubilee line in order to meet future demand.

The Bramcote Estate in South Bermondsey is one of 11 areas around the capital to receive a share of the Mayor of London and Transport for London’s £53.4 million Liveable Neighbourhoods funding.

Southwark Council bid for the funding from City Hall and TfL.

The scheme at the Bramcote Estate will reduce car use by make walking and cycling much easier for local residents and connect the area with the future Cycleway 4 and Old Kent Road.

Roads will be closed to through traffic, junctions re-designed and streets made easier to cross on foot. Links will also be improved to the Deptford Parks Liveable Neighbourhood, for which Lewisham Council was awarded funding last year.

Further details of the project are available in this report.

Transport for London and Southwark Council have launched a public consultation on revised plans for the Jamaica Road / Southwark Park Road / West Lane junction in connection with the new cycle superhighway.

The new plans include banning the right turn out of Southwark Park Road on to Jamaica Road for all traffic except buses, taxis and cyclists. 

“This is in response to safety and congestion concerns raised regarding additional strategic traffic using Southwark Park Road to access Rotherhithe Tunnel,” says TfL.

The public consultation continues till Tuesday 2 April.

A £2 an hour charge for car parking is to be introduced in Southwark Park from 1 April this year.

Southwark Council hopes to raise £200,000 a year by introducing car parking charges in the borough’s open spaces.

There are 90 car parking spaces in Southwark Park. At present, car parking is free but there is a four-hour time limit.

The new parking charge will be payable by phone, text or app.

As part of the same package of measures, the council is planning to spend £28,000 on resurfacing and drainage works at Southwark Park, as well as installing new signage to advise motorists of the charges and how to pay.

Further details are available in this report.

West Midlands Police image used under a Creative Commons licence

52 motorists received warning letters from the Metropolitan Police after volunteers taking part in a police scheme used speed guns to detect drivers breaking the limit in Salter Road last June.

Details of the Community Roadwatch operations were obtained by SE16.com under the Freedom of Information Act.

A letter from the Met’s Supt Thomas Naughton is sent to the registered keeper of vehicles found speeding, reminding car owners that around 2,000 people a year are killed or seriously injured on London’s roads each year, with speed a contributory factor in half of these collisions.

“The local community asks that drivers passing through the area observe the posted speed limits,” says Supt Naughton in his letter.

“Reducing your speed will directly contribute to saving lives and will improve the quality of life for those residents.

“No further action will be taken on this occasion but this report will be held on our records for 12 months. If your vehicle comes to notice again it will be investigated further.”

If the same vehicle is found speeding a second time, a further letter is sent warning that “the vehicle details have now been entered onto police intelligence records and they will also be passed to our Criminal Justice Unit for entry onto their databases.

“If the vehicle is seen offending again, it will be added to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) hotlist.

“This will alert all patrolling roads policing units to the presence of the vehicle and it might be stopped and checked. In cases of persistent or extreme speeding, vehicles may be targeted for enforcement by police officers or mobile speed camera vans.”

Transport for London has asked the Government to help fund a second entrance for Surrey Quays Station and extra facilities at Canada Water Bus Station to meet rising demand for public transport as the area is developed.

News of the funding bid came in London transport commissioner Mike Brown’s regular report to the TfL board.

“We submitted a bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) on 3 December for various enhancements to the transport network to support the provision of around 14,000 new homes by 2031,” wrote Mr Brown.

“The enhancements included in the bid were as follows:

  • An increase in service frequencies on the East London line to 20 trains per hour
  • A second entrance at Surrey Quays station
  • A new station at Surrey Canal Road, between Queens Road Peckham and Surrey Quays
  • Additional facilities at Canada Water bus station, to enable the provision of a new bus route serving the Convoys Wharf development

“These enhancements will support the major developments proposed at Canada Water, New Bermondsey and Convoys Wharf, delivering mixed-use development that supports key Mayoral objectives.

“A decision on funding for the bid is expected from central government during 2019. “

Last summer TfL set out its initial view on the transport implications of the Canada Water masterplan.

New cameras are being introduced in the Rotherhithe Tunnel to increase safety and deter vehicles that don’t meet the safety restrictions from using the route.

Vehicles that are more than two metres (six foot six inches) wide or two metres high, or goods vehicles weighing more than 2 tonnes, are not safe to travel through the tunnel.

From early February, enforcement will be carried out by the new cameras and people driving vehicles through the tunnel that do not comply with the restrictions could be fined up to £130.

The tunnel, which was built in 1908, was not designed to cope with modern levels of traffic. In September 2018 TfL carried out detailed analysis of the tunnel’s ventilation system, which would be used to extract smoke and other dangerous fumes in the event of a fire. This showed that new restrictions were vital to ensure road users could continue to use the tunnel safely, whilst TfL works on plans for the tunnel’s future.

By not complying with restrictions at the tunnel, drivers are putting themselves and others at risk.Enforcement officers have been present at both approaches to the tunnel since the new restrictions were introduced to assist drivers and prevent vehicles entering the tunnel that do not comply.

Officers have turned away an average of 600 vehicles a day since September. Drivers whose vehicles do not meet the restrictions are advised to use nearby Tower Bridge or the Blackwall Tunnel to cross the Thames. The congestion charge does not apply to either crossing.

Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management, said: “Safety is our top priority and these restrictions are absolutely essential to ensure that people can continue to use the tunnel safely. People driving vehicles through the tunnel that do not meet the restrictions are putting both themselves and others at risk. I would encourage all users of the tunnel to check that their vehicle is below two metres in height and width, and that goods vehicles are less than two tonnes in weight, so that they are compliant when the new cameras are switched on.”

Ferry at the Hilton

A new timetable has been introduced this week on the Thames Clippers ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, with two extended gaps in service during the day.

This is the email sent to passengers:

The RB4 Doubletree Docklands ferry timetable is changing from 5th November 2018.
There will be a break in service between 1053 and 1157 and between 2103 and 2140 weekdays.
Your journey may be affected as follows:
Morning break:
Last boat before break: 1050 from Canary Wharf to Doubletree Docklands
First boat after break: 1157 from Doubletree Docklands to Canary Wharf
Afternoon break:
Last boat before break: 2100 from Canary Wharf to Doubletree Docklands
First boat after break: 2140 from Doubletree Docklands to Canary Wharf
See the new timetable here: https://www.thamesclippers.com/servicechanges
We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your continued and valued support.

Thames Clippers email

Six months after dockless cycle hire was introduced in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, one of the two operators has withdrawn from the borough of Southwark.

Mobike (whose bikes have orange wheels) received a lot of publicity for its decision to cease operations in  Manchester, but at the same time it drastically reduced its London operating area, withdrawing from Southwark entirely, leaving its central London zone covering parts of Camden and Islington.

Rival firm Ofo (yellow bikes) continues to serve the whole borough of Southwark.

Plans to bring Santander Cycles to SE16 are still on the agenda but no agreement has been reached between TfL and Southwark Council over funding.