A new round of campaigning for a bridge in east London has sprung up, with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) calling for action on the long-postponed crossing.
The LCCI says that almost half of London's population lives east of Tower Bridge, yet it's served by just two fixed road river crossings (plus the Woolwich Ferry, and the Dartford Crossing outside the capital), while there are 22 road crossings to the west. Former mayor Ken Livingstone proposed two road crossings back in 2003 but a Gallions Reach bridge was rejected by a public inquiry before being abandoned by Boris Johnson when he took over the Mayor's office.
A TfL consultation last year showed 71% of respondents in favour of a fixed crossing at Gallions Reach, while 76% favoured the controversial Silvertown tunnel option and 51% backed a ferry service at Gallions Reach. Other options, including imposing tolls on the Blackwall Tunnel, have been explored. While TfL found this would halve non-peak traffic, they admitted that further research was needed on peak traffic. Which is, of course, when traffic is at its worst and people need to actually be on the roads.
While the LCCI has launched its own petition in support of the crossing, south east London residents have formed their own campaign against further road building in the area. Green Party AM Darren Johnson has also criticised plans for a new road across the Thames in the area as lacking ‘economic credibility’. A City Hall spokesperson told the BBC:
"The Mayor has been a strong and vocal supporter for more river crossings in east London and is pushing them ahead as fast as national infrastructure processes allow. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous. He has already built the Emirates Air Line which has carried 3.4 million passengers and is pressing ahead with the Silvertown Tunnel in order to double capacity of Blackwall by 2022."
Leaving aside the risible suggestion that the cable car could be considered a viable river crossing for commuters, our prediction last May that we'd still be writing about this in 10 years time is nearly a year closer to being accurate.
Photo by O.F.E. in the Londonist Flickr pool.