My response to the TfL River Crossing Consultation
I would like to make the following comments on the River Crossings Consultation.
While there could be a case for more river crossings east of Tower Bridge I am not convinced by the merits of the proposals that have been put forward.
I would question the appropriateness of calling this a consultation at all due to the limited information and detail that has been provided for making informed responses and the limited time given to respond.
Any new crossings will need to provide additional public transport, cycling and walking options.
If any crossings were to be built:
- Public transport, cyclists and pedestrians must be given priority over vehicle traffic
- Existing communities on both sides of the river must benefit.
- They should not encourage growth in vehicle traffic. If any new crossing does provide an option for private and commercial vehicle use it must only be as a method of reducing existing congestion.
While new crossings can be a spearhead for further development of housing and local business, on the information that is provided as part of this consultation process it is very hard to see how this will be the case at all with these plans. I remain unconvinced that to concentrate on providing additional crossings that provide for a major increase in private and commercial vehicles travel through local communities is the way forward. The location of the tunnel and road infrastructure on the Greenwich side of the river is in the middle of an area set for redevelopment. Taking this land and using it to build
additional roads for increased non local stopping traffic is unlikely to have any real additional local benefit.
Any proposed crossings should be linked to a wide range of public transport options. Encouraging public transport, cycling and walking will help to ensure that existing communities achieve maximum benefit from any new crossings. These modes will improve connectivity without significantly increasing congestion or reducing air quality. Crossings that prioritise these modes above private motorists, especially those who choose to commute by car, will bring more benefit to local communities. The challenge is to make sure that any new crossings benefit local areas around the crossings themselves by
providing easier access to riverside east London, rather than provide alternative routes for long-distance and orbital traffic.
There should be a proper traffic and environmental impact assessment undertaken given the fear that new roads attract rather than reduce traffic, and that potential traffic would be drawn in from Dartford adding more pressure on the East-West routes currently in use and the severe effect this would have on Greenwich town centre. Information about predicted traffic flows as a result of these proposals and environmental impacts on the surrounding areas need to be made public and included in the information provided in any consultation process. I note that it has not been provided here.
Should any new river crossings be developed, the issue of whether these new crossings will be tolled, and whether existing river crossings remain or become tolled, should also be a matter for public consultation. The predicted impacts of differing levels of tolls on traffic
flows and their impact on congestion in surrounding areas and predicted environmental impacts need to be made public.
I strongly believe that the information provided as part of this consultation process and the very limited time made available for people to respond is not satisfactory.
Firstly a four week consultation window is far too short for a project of this magnitude. Secondly these proposals offer only limited details about the proposals. There is no detail on the costs, the benefits or the business case for each of the projects listed, or any others that have been considered.
This current consultation does not reflect the significant amount of research and analysis that has been conducted into potential crossing options to date. A wide range of public authorities, groups and organisations have weighed the relative merits of previous proposals. I feel that these details need to be released to enable interested parties to make an informed decision.
In general; I find it hard to see how a river crossing and the increased traffic will bring any local benefit to Greenwich. Increased traffic flows are likely to have a detrimental impact on already congested roads in the local area.
I note that at this stage no funding is on the table for any river crossings. I think it is misleading of TfL to consult on specific proposals before any hope of funding has been secured. I would question why this consultation is being conducted at all in this form and at this particular time.
TfL needs to go back to the drawing board and come back with a more comprehensive plan and open consultation exercise to ensure the widest possible engagement with all stakeholders and access to a wide range of options. These options need to examine a number of different locations and types of crossings and should not be limited to a road only crossing in one location.