Transport for London have revealed details about a planned new ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf after they scrapped plans for a bridge.
Ironically the image on the press release shows a misty day. Will a ferry even run in such conditions? Not a problem that would have afflicted bridge users.
TfL’s press release of course sounds wonderful but doesn’t answer some other key questions. Will it be free to all like a bridge would have been?
Will it run 24/7? A bridge would have permitted that level of access across the Thames. It’d a bit embarrassing if a major world city has a ferry service between major centres of employment, leisure and housing that shuts up shop early.
TfL claim it will provide a ‘turn up and go’ service but exactly just what is that; every five minutes? Fifteen? Waiting 15 minutes is not a bit of a downgrade from a quick cycle or walk over a bridge.
And crucially what lessons have been learned from the disastrous Woolwich ferry experience? This is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge and not for cars, but will it include problematic docking equipment? How much resilience will there there be, given only two new Woolwich ferries replaced the three previously used? Will it be liable to stopping during high tides as Woolwich frequently is, and something that may become ever more common?
Aside from the Rotherhithe ferry, why are there no plans for a free North Greenwich to Isle of Dogs ferry? There’s paid services from Thames Clippers of course, but with 20,000 homes planned on Greenwich Peninsula and over 8,000 in Charlton, where’s the plan to cross the Thames aside from the Jubilee Line?
If Greenwich has to see increased congestion and pollution from Silvertown Tunnel, aren’t local residents worth more than being forced onto packed Jubilee Line trains and paying for the privilege?
Arguing new bus routes (again at cost rather than free) are some kind of substitute doesn’t really tally given forecasts for increased congestion across Greenwich after a tunnel completes – according to TfL themselves – which somewhat negates more routes through a tunnel. Journeys will be slowed as soon as they reach the borough heading south.
It looks as though Greenwich gets a new road tunnel, more congestion but no free crossings as seen across west London and now Rotherhithe.
More details of the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge will be revealed this summer.