Given the number of bridges that criss cross the Thames, (Tower Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Chelsea Bridge, etc), then its easy to assume that London has enough of them. Not so, according to its Mayor, Boris Johnson who has just announced that he would like to build another thirteen crossings of various sorts. These would comprise bridges, tunnels and ferry routes and are needed, according to Transport for London, to keep pace with the Capital’s relentless population growth; estimated to swell from its current 8.6 million to 10 million in 2030.
Significantly, a third of that population growth will be in the east of London, where the fewest number of crossings can be found. In fact, there is just one bus route which crosses the river east of Tower Bridge, and only three road crossings between Tower Bridge and the M25, which, given the huge numbers of people now working or living in East London, is mind boggling.
Perhaps because the Mayor is a strong advocate for cycling, amongst the proposed new crossings are three combined pedestrian and cycle bridges; one linking Fulham and Battersea (to be called the Diamond Jubilee Bridge) one linking Vauxhall and and Battersea and one, much further east, linking Rotherhithe to Canary Walk. Continuing the green theme, the Mayor’s plans include a new Garden Bridge which give pedestrians a link between the South Bank and Temple station, located on the North of the river by the Victoria Embankment.
Car lovers are in for a rougher ride, with Greens calling on the Mayor to scrap any proposed new road crossings as well as the proposed new £3 billion Silvertown tunnel that would link Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks.
The river itself has not gone unnoticed, with the Mayor including in his scheme the idea of a new passenger ferry between the North Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs and another one planned for Charlton.
Rail users have not been left out either, with plans for a London Overground extension between Barking Riverside in the north and Thamesmead in the south.
The thirteen crossings are listed in a report which can be downloaded by clicking here
The North South Divide? Not in London there won’t be.