TfL are on the offensive today over Silvertown Tunnel plans as they announce a contractor and claim it will “effectively” eliminate congestion and slash air pollution.
Many who have followed plans may be spluttering into their dinner hearing that.
Reducing pollution? Perhaps – though that’s simply a result of a move from diesel to hybrids and electric, which is likely to happen in coming years and decades anyway.
But congestion? Let’s look at what is planned.
There is no change planned to the A2 south of the Thames. Every single day from 3pm congestion builds up from around Eltham towards Sun in the Sands roundabout. That’s with one tunnel’s worth of traffic feeding into this road below:.
Add a second tunnel directly next to Blackwall feeding the very same road southbound and can we expect a reduction in congestion?
You’ll note when it comes to claims of traffic reduction the northbound morning queues from Greenwich to Kidbooke are usually the only ones mentioned and not the southbound afternoon jams. The tunnel does nothing for that.
Then we have the question of whether the northbound AM queues will even be alleviated. The new tunnel will induce traffic – particularly lorries currently barred from Blackwall Tunnel.
The new tunnel also has numerous traffic lights immediately at the northern exit in the Royal Docks unlike the Blackwall Tunnel. Traffic is extremely likely to back up through the tunnel.
Ah, but what of tolls putting people off both Blackwall and the new tunnel?
Well ok, that is possible but then a substantial number of drivers will head to Woolwich Ferry and the Rotherhithe tunnel to avoid paying.
That will clog up Greenwich town centre and Deptford. Charlton’s dual carriageways should be fine – though whether that remains the case once 7,500 homes are built at Charlton Riverside is unknown.
George Osborne’s Standard has covered this today with apparent inaccuracies. They state 37 buses an hour will run in each direction. It’s actually 20 an hour and only for three years.
TfL state “We are committed to ensuring it’s delivered with minimal impact to residents”. As I covered last week, work for the tunnel involves narrowing roads in Greenwich which are currently clogged when gigs are on at the o2. Many vehicles double parking are ubers waiting for jobs – and TfL’s cabs unit are barely ever seen. A new 10k music venue opens directly beside narrowed roads in three months.
At the time TfL blamed falling numbers of passengers. Since then strong growth is back.
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