Pedestrians to be caged in at replacement Greenwich footbridge

Plans have been submitted to replace a pedestrian bridge over the A102 as part of Silvertown Tunnel work on the Greenwich Peninsula.

Planned bridge

If you thought the controversial nature of the tunnel would ensure good design for pedestrians and cyclists, think again.

Existing crossing

A new bridge needs to span seven lanes of traffic due to the new Silvertown road tunnel which diverts from the Blackwall Tunnel just to the north of the pedestrian bridge, heading via an underpass towards the Royal Docks.

Tunnel mouth

In doing do, the new bridge replaces quite an attractive, open-air pedestrian bridge for one that cages pedestrians inside mesh lining the side and roof.

Compare to the existing bridge:

Current bridge. Visibility is good for pedestrians

Now renders may make this structure look almost ok in places, but having used similar new structures in Abbey Wood with extensive use of mesh they are just not welcoming in the slightest:

Replacement Church Manorway bridge with mesh lining sides and top.

Open bridges were replaced with structures with a cage-like appearance.


It does little to entice people to travel on foot. Quite the reverse. Isn’t active travel supposed to be an aim? This design does the opposite.

Mesh on another Abbey Wood bridge

The current Greenwich bridge is pretty dire on approach from both sides due to clutter though is actually a rather attractive and pleasant bridge to use when actually traversing the A102. It’s open, feels relatively safe given good views on approach and while crossing.

Existing bridge over A102. Ignoring the road and clutter, the bridge itself with its twists and elegant form is attractive

This is the latest kick in the teeth for pedestrians and cyclists from both the tunnel and quality of active travel provision on the Peninsula. Silvertown crossing itself provides no access for either pedestrians or cyclists to cross the river and “mitigation” payment from TfL to Greenwich Council is a tiny amount of the overall cost at £2 billion. Just £700,000 has been allocated for small-scale projects in half a dozen locations, which is less than a medium size housing development brings in Section 106 and CIL payments. It’s really a drop in the ocean.

But even with all the new developments and millions, pedestrian links are still very poor when it comes to traversing roads.

Pedestrian links both under and over the A102 are dire

Riverlinx and Atkins state more design work will be undertaken, and it needs to. It’s neither attractive nor appealing as things stand.

Approved hotel near bridge on Boord Street

Given a major hotel is being built close by and thousands of homes in future, this is just not a good enough link.




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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    19 thoughts on “Pedestrians to be caged in at replacement Greenwich footbridge

    • Take note all politicians who we know let the Silvertown tunnel go ahead. Your names will be forever remembered by the people of Greenwich for being responsible for the inevitable disaster of the increased congestion, pollution, climate effect and lost economic advantage. Don’t think you can to do a Dominic Cummings and apologise afterwards, blame officers and central government, there’s no new Information to come to light to get you off the hook. Each individual Greenwich politician needs to stand up and oppose the tunnel now, almost too late. What a legacy for you and your children.

    • i’m assuming the caging is to stop stuff being chucked off the footbridge. Agree Mave- the Millennium Village will become hugely polluted

      • Probably but it’s an example of taking the cheap and easy option without thought for wider ramifications. Making a bridge as off-putting as possible to all users based on the potential actions of a very small minority is poor design. It’s anti pedestrian and similar to blocking pathways and park access to parents with buggies and those in wheelchairs as there may, perhaps, once in a blue moon be a moped.

        That line of thinking ceases many improvements (or limits usability) on the off chance something may happen at some unspecified time. See also Angerstein crossing.

        We don’t close roads as there may be an accident one day in the future.

        If they must have things on the wide use perspex so visibility on approach is maintained and it’s at least half pleasant and feels safe to use.

    • I have never liked the current A102 footbridge and with age, am increasingly fearful of heights. Consequently, I welcome the caged, yellow painted replacement. The footbridge at Abbey Wood could have been a lot better if colourful panels had been used instead of muddy grey ones. It’s all down to cost, of course, and the bean counters will have to truck with aesthetics.

    • This is a Shame the bridge needs to be more like the TIDE linear park and ideally connecting to the river edge instead of dropping you into car hell

    • I wonder why the 2 cyclists are not on their bikes? Cyclists will be cycling. Mind you I don’t mind cyclists passing on the current bridge (unlike the foot tunnel where its super intimidating).
      Oh it needs cameras – don’t forget the cameras. Is pretty spooky going over these in the dark.

    • Agree. The current bridge is horrific. It’s not a ” … rather attractive and pleasant bridge to use”. Possibly in terms of the view of the chemical factory, which has it’s charms if you appreciate industrial aesthetics.

      The new design will likely be more pleasant to use, if it’s actually maintained properly. It does, though, make me think of an interment camp or open-air prison; maybe that is apt considering all the ‘ life-debt ‘ apartments they’re building in the area.

      • The current bridge is a pleasing design to me. I like the curves and sweeping lines. Obviously design is subjective, but what isn’t is good visibility on approach which it has compared to a bridge covered in a cage. If you havnt used Abbey Wood bridges they highlight how crap a mesh cage is. Approaching pedestrians can’t see if anyone lingering on them, and that’s not enticing to some pedestrians. They’re secluded and dingy not just on reproach but when using.

    • Many did, including the MP for Greenwich & Woolwich and members of Greenwich & Woolwich Labour Party.

    • i.e. response to first comment re. ” Each individual Greenwich politician needs to stand up and oppose the tunnel now”

    • All good points of course, probably myself & anonymous are influenced in opinion by it’s vertiginous nature. The mesh box bridges seem to be a standard from crossings at railway/ DLR stations. Something more imaginative, natural, and less ‘prison-industrial-complex’ would be preferable.

    • Mesh-based bridges are almost always super ugly and uninviting so this’ll fit right in with the local area!

      Seriously, this is not acceptable. Put some reinforced glass or transparent panelling along it.

      This sort of anti-design merely attracts antisocial behaviour by baking in ugliness and hostile design from the start.

    • I don’t mean to be gruesome but there are plenty of other ways in the area if someone is intent. Traffic is also often so slow below it would be a poor choice of spot.

      I just think it’s the cheap option. Sign it off asap for the lowest cost and forget the area and its users.

    • Yes, sure. I expect swapping out the steel mesh for clear polycarbonate panels would add significantly to the budget.

    • From the planning docs …

      “ Consultation and Engagement Undertaken
      The Order and the approved Design Principles which have substantially shaped the design presented in this application have been subject to four rounds of public consultation prior to their approval by the Secretary of State. These consultations were undertaken between 2012 and 2015, and conducted via web-based invitations for participation, a large number of local ‘roadshows’, and focused workshops with individual stakeholders. Matters of design were central to these consultations, and the project received almost 5,000 responses to the consultations which were considered and reported upon when finalising the details presented within the application for development consent”

      = !?!

      Stakeholders overwhelmingly expressed their preference for a prison-complex/ internment camp style design it seems …

    • Oh yes …

      The point I was making about that wasn’t that this bridge specifically would be a magnet for anything of that nature, more that it may be the case that these kind of footbridges are by default designed in this way now due to ‘safety concerns’ and whoever builds them not wanting to be ‘liable’. That Len Blavatnik tower at Tate Modern surely could of benefitted from a higher plexiglass barrier around the edges. I’ve been up there a few times and it’s terrifying.


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