London’s deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander has confirmed that plans are in hand to extend the Santander Cycles bike hire scheme to SE16.

Ms Alexander was speaking at a London Assembly transport committee meeting held to probe the decision to halt the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge project.

Under questioning from Florence Eshalomi AM about the risk that Southwark is losing out on a number of transport infrastructure schemes, Ms Alexander said: “We are making significant progress on walking and cycling investments in Southwark and this part of London.

“Work has already started on Cycleway 4 which goes from Tower Bridge to Greenwich – and that will be extended to Woolwich.

“We’re also working with Southwark on a new cycle route from Rotherhithe to Peckham.

“I’ve asked TfL officers to accelerate their work to expand the Santander scheme further into Southwark, so that when we get this fantastic new cycleway built from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, further along that route you can get Santander docked bikes, because I know that is an aspiration that Southwark has.”

Southwark Council leader Peter John said last week: “We are also working with TfL on a programme to expand the Santander cycle hire scheme from London Bridge to the [Rotherhithe] peninsular, and this will be part of the cycle hire action plan presented to cabinet in the autumn.”

Southwark Council has launched a public consultation on the ‘Rotherhithe Movement Plan’, a three-pronged set of proposed changes to transport in the area.

The council is proposing to introduce a Rotherhithe and Surrey Docks controlled parking zone (CPZ), replace the Lower Road one way system with two-way traffic and build a new cycle route along Redriff Road and Salter Road.

More details are available at www.southwark.gov.uk/rotherhithemovementplan and in the three consultation pages:

The closing date for responses is 4 October.

A graphic posted by Google to promote the launch of public transport ‘crowdedness predictions’ in Google Maps

Google is adding ‘crowdedness predictions’ for public transport on its Maps apps … and the company says that Canada Water is one of London’s most crowded stations and the Jubilee line is the most crowded line.

In a blog post Google explained: “Crowdedness predictions come from optional feedback directly from the people who use Google Maps. In fact, you may have received notifications asking about how crowded your subway, train, or bus ride was after navigating in transit mode. To learn more about how crowdedness levels vary around the world, we analyzed aggregated and anonymized reports of crowdedness from Google Maps users from October 2018 to June 2019 during peak commuting hours (6am – 10am), and identified which lines had the highest number of crowdedness reports. “

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently responded to concerns about the overcrowding at Canada Water, noting that the Elizabeth line could help free up capacity on the Jubilee line.

TfL is also bidding for Government funds to further upgrade the East London line – including a revamp for Surrey Quays Station – with a decision due in July.

Transport for London has announced that work will begin on 5 July on the construction of the £54 million cycleway between Tower Bridge and Greenwich via Jamaica Road.

Work is starting on the first section of Cycleway 4 between Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe Roundabout and includes new pedestrian crossings along Tooley Street and Jamaica Road and the overhaul of the Rotherhithe roundabout.

“I’m delighted that work is about to begin on this major new cycle route in south-east London,” said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

“High-quality segregated cycle routes greatly increase the numbers of people who feel confident cycling on our streets and with new pedestrian crossings along the route, road danger will be substantially reduced for thousands of pedestrians too.

“Boroughs like Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich really understand the huge benefits of investing in high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure. With record investment from TfL we will continue to work with boroughs who share our vision to tackle London’s inactivity crisis, reduce road danger, and get more people out of their cars and into cleaner greener forms of transport.”

Cllr Richard Livingstone, Southwark’s cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, said: “In Southwark we welcome this new addition to our growing network of cycleways.

“I hope that the introduction of segregated bike lanes and improved junctions will encourage even more people to get on their bikes and help to improve their health and happiness, and all of our air quality.”

Public consultation on the Lower Road section of the route is expected this summer.

Transport for London has delayed the next round of public consultation on the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Bridge as it tries to trim the cost of the scheme, a City Hall committee has been told.

TfL has allocated £330 million to the walking and cycling scheme in its business plan.

Public consultation was due to open last month but has been delayed whilst TfL tries to tweak the scheme to try to keep the cost of the bridge within £330 million.

David Hughes, TfL’s investment delivery planning director, told the London Assembly budget & performance committee: “We’ve deferred the start of the consultation to allow further work on value engineering aspects of the scheme, going back looking at certain of the requirements around alignment [and] the navigation requirements of the Port of London to see if we can take out part of the cost before going to consultation.”

Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, added: “We will seek contributions from the private sector to help deliver it” – but he warned that the amounts to be extracted from Canada Water developers British Land and Canary Wharf Group “are not going to be huge”.

Mr Hughes was unable to give Assembly members a new timetable for the next public consultation on the bridge.

Transport for London has announced that Abellio (owned by the Dutch national rail operator) has retained the contract to run the C10 bus route from March 2020.

The C10 links Canada Water with Victoria via the Rotherhithe peninsula, Bermondsey, Elephant & Castle and Pimlico.

A new fleet of electric single deck buses will be introduced on the route.

TfL is in the process of converting all single deck routes to use electric vehicles.

The new contract calls for a peak requirement of 22 vehicles, up from 20 at the moment, which suggests a small frequency boost could be on the cards.

A recent demonstration of cargo bikes in action near London Bridge

Businesses at the Blue will benefit from a share of a £170,000 funding pot – backed by Transport for London – for projects to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

The funding from TfL’s Healthy Streets Fund for Business will be matched by business improvement districts like the Blue Bermondsey.

In Bermondsey, the scheme will enable more cycling at the Blue marketplace by providing cargo bikes, storage spaces and other facilities to allow people to cycle to work. This will also allow traders to move more goods by bike.Z

Jack Shah, Chair of Blue Bermondsey Business Improvement District, said: “This is fantastic news for businesses at the Blue. This funding from TfL will be used to improve business cycling, including a shared cargo bike trial at the Blue, as well as better storage for market traders. Longer term, there is a huge opportunity for new cycle routes at the Blue which could link up along the Low Line with other areas such as London Bridge and Bankside.

“Business cargo bikes could use these routes for last mile zero emissions deliveries during weekday daytimes, to help reduce air pollution for our local communities. Residents and visitors could also enjoy cycling along the Low Line in the evenings and at weekends, bringing new customers to businesses at the Blue.”

Earlier this year Lambeth & Southwark London Assembly member Florence Eshalomi tabled this question to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan: “Many of my constituents are concerned about the daily overcrowding at Canada Water station and their safety when waiting for a train. What are you doing to address this?”

Mr Khan’s response has now been published by City Hall:

“The safety of customers and staff is always Transport for London’s (TfL) top priority, and TfL does all it can to ensure that customers travel safely at all times.

“Canada Water can get very busy, but staff are trained to carefully manage passenger flows at the station to ensure a safe travel environment and minimum inconvenience for customers. An additional Customer Service Supervisor is also available at the station just to concentrate on passenger flows during the AM peak.

“The London Overground currently provides a 16 trains per hour service in each direction and platform crowding is cleared as quickly as possible. TfL is also looking at a number of possible mitigation measures to help ease the crowding on escalators to the Jubilee line at Canada Water which we know can get particularly busy.

“Improvements are already addressing crowding along the Jubilee line. A timetable change in 2018 increased evening peak services between West Hampstead and North Greenwich. Jubilee line trains are now running a peak service for an extra two hours per day, easing congestion at key stations like Canary Wharf, Waterloo and Canada Water.

“TfL’s investment programme is playing a vital role in supporting London’s growth. Providing Londoners with a range of high-quality alternative travel options will also help ease crowding at key locations like Canada Water.

“For example, when the Elizabeth line opens, it will serve more than half a million customers a day and add 10 per cent more capacity in central London. It may also help ease crowding at Canada Water if passengers change at Whitechapel to get to onward destinations such as Canary Wharf, Stratford and the West End. TfL’s modernisation of signalling on vast parts of the Tube network, new and more frequent trains, and the upgrade of stations like Victoria, Bank and Elephant & Castle are also critical, to relieve pressure on the Tube, and enable London to meet growing demand. TfL is also investing record amounts in walking and cycling, to support efficient and healthy ways to get around the city and realise my vision of Healthy Streets for London.”

Earlier this year we reported on plans to introduce charges for car parking in Southwark Park and other green spaces in the borough.

The council is currently running a public consultation (till 13 May) and Cllr Rebecca Lury – the deputy council leader whose portfolio includes parks – insisted at a recent overview & scrutiny committee meeting (video above) that no final decision to introduce charges has been made.

However, income from the new fees is included in the council’s budget for the current financial year.

Plans to close the London Overground ticket offices at Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays have been abandoned.

Rotherhithe councillors were among those who objected to the proposals which were also criticised by the London TravelWatch watchdog.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I am proud of the service the London Overground provides to hundreds of thousands of Londoners every day, and it is vital that we ensure stations across the network continue to operate in a way that best serves the needs of everyone travelling across the capital.

“Proposals were being considered that would have resulted in the permanent loss of 27 ticket offices. However, having listened closely to the views of passengers and to the hard-working staff working at our stations I have asked TfL to ensure that no ticket officers will be closed permanently, and the busiest ticket offices will remain open to passengers exactly as they do now.

“TfL will carry on working closely with Arriva Rail and transport staff to ensure any changes in how stations operate and the adoption of new technology truly has a beneficial impact for all the Londoners who rely on the service every day.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a significant victory for RMT members at the front line of the London Overgroundservice who led the campaign to stop this ticket office carnage and jacked up the political pressure to reverse the cuts. 

“It proves that trade union campaigning works. 

“However we remain vigilant as in our experience once a package of cuts is proposed they remain an option in the longer term. Any backsliding will result in a new blast of pressure from this trade union and our national campaign to staff our stations and retain ticket offices continues.” ‎