London mayor Boris Johnson has admitted his proposals for the Silvertown Tunnel will cause “much more pressure and much more traffic” on local roads – despite his allies at Greenwich Council claiming the opposite.
Johnson’s admission also gives campaigners against a new Ikea in Greenwich a new line of argument while the mayor considers whether or not to ratify Greenwich Council’s decision to back the new store.
All this comes in a week London’s been enveloped in a smog which is actually visible thanks to it including some Saharan dust particles – with the capital’s politicians paralysed by inaction.
Johnson’s comments about Silvertown were made in a phone-in on LBC with breakfast host Nick Ferrari on Tuesday morning. Thanks to Boriswatch’s Tom Barry for the heads-up and transcript of this conversation with a caller called Mark from Dagenham, 25 minutes into the programme:
“What we’ve got to do, Mark, actually, is build not just one bridge but a series of river crossings, we’re starting with the Blackwall 2 tunnel… that will be going by 2020, or 2020-2021 – not so far away! Erm, only six years or seven years to go, we’re going for the Blackwall 2 tunnel at Silvertown, but we will also need a series of crossings to the, to the east and actually there’s a there’s a there’s loads of sites that er, are we are looking at and, um, I think the important thing for people of um both on both sides is that you shouldn’t just do one, because if you do one then you’re going to get much more pressure, much more traffic on, on that area and if you if you you can dilute the traffic if you have if you have several crossings.”
Yet the current proposals from Transport for London, which Johnson chairs, are just for the one crossing – at Silvertown. And Johnson has been happy to push the merits of this one crossing in the past – calling it “a major new crossing east of Tower Bridge”.
(Update Friday 8.30am: A spokesperson for Johnson has also told the Mercury that Silvertown will DOUBLE capacity at Blackwall. Past TfL statements have put the planned increase in traffic at 20%.)
So not only has Boris Johnson torpedoed his own argument, his friendly fire has also shot down some of the nonsense spouted by his partners-in-roadbuilding at Greenwich Council, such as this classic from “Greener Greenwich” cabinet member Harry Singh.
It’s increasingly looking like the mayor is starting to soften up for a U-turn on the Gallions Reach crossing – which would flood Woolwich, Plumstead and Abbey Wood with new traffic, as well as for more roadbuilding in general. But where else along SE London’s riverfront would Johnson swing his wrecking-ball to build yet more road crossings?
Meanwhile, while voicing doubts on putting too much pressure on the road network on the Greenwich Peninsula, the mayor is currently deciding whether or not to approve Greenwich Council’s decision to allow Ikea to build a new superstore there.
Of course, an Ikea will bring the same problem – an increase in traffic, something that was ignored when it was bulldozed through planning last month.
So it’s possible to use Johnson’s words to argue the case against Greenwich’s decision, as well as the GLA’s 2004 objection to a store in Sidcup. If you want to write to City Hall to object, use reference number D&P/3283/PR and write to planning[at]london.gov.uk before 9 April.
To say the least I’m sceptical about a new Silvertown Tunnel – unless the smart traffic management systems are amazingly effective. Assuming the new tunnel is a twin bore, maybe we could have 3+1 tidal flows at peak hours?
But Gallions is another story. Ignore the propaganda from Bexley and elsewhere. We need it. We have a modern dual carriageway which – even at peak times – is nowhere near capacity – goes from Dartford to the point where the bridge / ferry feeder road would originate. And this is supported by a good road network through the Thamesmead area generally. Smart traffic management has been shown to prevent rat-running in many locations (look at Liverpool and Manchester, as well as other parts of London. The Plumstead bus garage gyratory and the Beresford Street / Plumstead Road to and from the current Woolwich Ferry roundabout will also need upgrading – but the proposal to relocate the leisure centre will could make a start on making space for easing bottlenecks.
A good road network through Thamesmead? You think all the bridge users are coming from Erith?
And are you advocating WIDENING the A206 at Woolwich?
There are already mumblings about a cut and cover tunnel through the farm and Oxleas Woods. It’s quite clear what Boris’ and the Council’s intentions are.
Talk of the tunnel from Gallions Bridge through to the A2 has been ongoing for over a year now and is part of TfL’s long term ambition if you believe their own options paper from the last consultation.
In the short-term we’ll get this in the way of increased traffic down residential roads – http://i2.greenwich-libdems.org.uk/en/image/5qM230/800/596/gallions-bridge-am-northbound-traffic-in-2021.png (from Newham’s economic impact document) with a hell of a lot of misery, congestion, pollution and health impacts along the way.
In the long-term just think what a tunnel would do for increased traffic. It has to get to that tunnel somehow, down the same residential roads, and the junction portals are going to be massive. Who wants one of those in their backyard? I don’t.
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