Transport for London (TfL) has launched a consultation into a new cycling and walking bridge spanning the Thames from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf, a crossing that campaigners say could unlock “huge potential” to get people on both sides of the river cycling.
Both the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) and Sustrans, which recommended in a feasibility report published last year the building of a bascule bridge, which would open to allow shipping to pass through, have backed the project.
In October last year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for proposals for the bridge to be brought forward and said it could open as early as 2020.
TfL says that depending on responses to the consultation, a second consultation will be held early next year for the final preferred design, ahead of applying for the necessary planning consents in early 2019.
With the bridge linking into existing or proposed cycle routes on either side of the Thames, TfL believes it would encourage more people to cycle or walk locally as well as supporting new jobs and housing in the area, and forecasts that by 2031 it could see more than 2 million trips across it annually.
Selection of the bridge as TfL’s preferred option for the crossing – the competing options were a ferry or a tunnel – follows a year-long review it conducted in partnership with engineering consultancy Arcadis and Knight Architects.
Val Shawcross, London’s deputy mayor for transport, said: “It’s great news that we’ve started the formal process for a new walking and cycling crossing between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf.
“This area of east London has seen huge growth in recent years, and our desire for a dedicated crossing for cyclists and pedestrians shows our real commitment to greener forms of transport across London.
“It will provide vital new connections to work, shopping and leisure facilities for thousands of local residents and provide a new route for commuters into Canary Wharf.
“We now want everyone to have their say before we outline further details of how we can make this ambition a reality.”
Simon Munk, LCC infrastructure campaigner, commented: “More walking and cycling-friendly crossings across the Thames are much-needed, especially connecting east London.
“There is huge potential to get more people from south London cycling to work in the Docklands area but the options currently available – Tower Bridge, Rotherhithe Tunnel and the Greenwich Foot Tunnel – all have major issues for potential cyclists.
“We welcome this new consultation and hope the Mayor moves forward on this crossing, along with the proposed Cycle Superhighway 4, which will improve access to the bridge and other major cycling schemes, rapidly for the benefit of all Londoners.”
The consultation, which you can find here, will remain open until 8 January 2018.