A new bridge in East London that would save as many as 10,000 bus or Tube commutes a day has received pledges of support from the leading Mayoral contenders.
The bridge would connect Canada Water and the Isle of Dogs, a route that isn’t open to cyclists at present unless they divert to Tower Bridge. East London’s economy is set to grow massively in the next few years, with an estimated 110,000 new jobs set to be created in the Isle of Dogs in the next 15 years. People are moving there in droves too, with 6600 new homes set to be built in Canada Water.
The idea would be that the bridge is a lifting bridge like Tower Bridge, allowing larger vessels to get up the river to the Pool of London. Its final design would be down to an international competition and then of course, planning consent from the relevant local authorities.
A feasibility study published by cycling charity Sustrans suggests that as many as 13,000 clean commutes a day would take place across the bridge as soon as it was opened, saving London’s economy £10 million annually.
On Sustrans timeline for the bridge’s planning and construction, their first objective has been to get support from the London Mayoral candidates. They appear to have succeeded. According to reports, Sadiq Khan, Zac Goldsmith, Sian Pidgeon and Caroline Sian Berry are all in support.
Khan said, “All the evidence from around the world is that river crossings help regenerate an area – but we can’t do it at any cost. We’ve talked about air pollution and the dangers of more cars so it’s got to be done in a sensitive way so we’ve got to explore options to regenerate those areas and have more river crossings.”
Goldsmith pointed out that any new bridge is likely to be tolled, but said, “There are some very powerful equity arguments for creating those crossings in a part of London where they don’t exist. The big concern has to be air quality so the bridges have to be built and used and financed in a way that encourages that shift to cleaner vehicles.”
It is likely that any bridge will be privately funded so there will be tolls to cross the river. If the charge is competitive and doesn’t drive people away from cycling or walking the route then it looks to be a good idea. Paying 50p to save the hassle and difficulty of jumping on a packed Tube in the morning may well be a draw to many commuters as well as paying for the design and build costs in rapid time. If the idea of a bridge toll in London shocks you, think back to the old London Bridge where people paid tolls to get in the City for many centuries!
More information on the bridge, and to pledge your own support for it, can be found on the Sustrans website here.