A leading member of the London Assembly has criticised Transport for London’s shortening of south-east London’s first cycle superhighway, adding the effects of the Silvertown Tunnel have not been properly factored into the plans.
If built, Cycle Superhighway 4 (CS4) will run from Tower Bridge Road to Deptford Creek Bridge along Tooley Street, Jamaica Road, Lower Road, Evelyn Street and Creek Road, providing a segregated two-way route and a remodelled roundabout at Rotherhithe Tunnel.
But the original plans saw the route run through Greenwich town centre, east Greenwich and Charlton to Woolwich. Instead, it will link to the Thames Cycle Path as soon as it enters Greenwich, ending at the junction of Creek Road and Norway Street. The shelving of the route to Woolwich has also meant a halt to plans to rework the roundabout at Woolwich Road flyover, where cyclist Adrianna Skrzypiec was killed by a truck in 2009.
Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, who is also deputy chair of the assembly’s transport committee, said the failure to to continue the cycle route through Greenwich was “perverse” considering TfL’s plans to build the Silvertown Tunnel, a road crossing between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks which is aimed at allowing HGVs that cannot access the existing northbound Blackwall Tunnel to cross the Thames.
Pidgeon also says plans to toll both the Blackwall Tunnel and the proposed Silvertown Tunnel have also not been properly factored into the cycle superhighway plans. Southwark Council have previously voiced concerns that the tolling plans will lead to more traffic running through the Rotherhithe Tunnel.
Her comments came in response to a public consultation into the CS4 plans, which closed on Sunday.
She wrote: “It is incredibly disappointing that the proposed Cycle Superhighway ends on Creek Road, some distance before Greenwich town centre. My understanding is that when first considered there was some consideration given to the Cycle Superhighway 4 running through to Greenwich town centre, onto Charlton and ending in Woolwich. I fail to understand why the proposed route now ends prematurely before reaching such an important destination as Greenwich town centre, let alone Woolwich.
“If TfL is serious about providing extra links for crossing the Thames for people in south east London the extension of Cycle Superhighway 4 out to Woolwich should be an obvious consideration. The failure for TfL to consider a Cycle Superhighway which runs properly into Greenwich while still proposing the Silvertown road tunnel is a perverse policy if the Mayor and TfL are truly serious about reducing car traffic and maximising the number of trips made by walking and reducing the reliance on cars.
She added: “Due to both the proposed Silvertown Tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel being tolled there will inevitably be more traffic directed to the Rotherhithe Tunnel and the Rotherhithe area. It is regrettable that this is not properly factored into this consultation.
“The success of Cycle Superhighway 4 depends on a reduction in road traffic and congestion and this should involve a review of the proposed Silvertown Tunnel.”
The government recently delayed making a decision on whether or not to approve the Silvertown Tunnel, and has asked TfL to reassess the air pollution impact of the scheme. TfL has always maintained the tunnel will not result in any extra traffic, but its modelling has been contested by local councils and campaigners against the scheme.
Earlier this month, attendees at a cycling forum organised by Greenwich Council were told Greenwich would lobby for an extension to the route, although no response to the consultation has yet been discussed by any council committees or published on its website.
However, the shortcomings of the route clearly weren’t communicated to the council’s press office, which breezily tweeted on Friday that the proposals would “transform roads in Greenwich”. In fact, only one road in the borough will see any substantial change – the half a kilometre of Creek Road in Deptford that falls within its boundary.
There’s more information about the scheme at tfl.gov.uk/cs4.
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