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.
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.”
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.”
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
“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.
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.