Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Silvertown Tunnel consultation

Transport for London has just launched consultation into its planned Silvertown Tunnel, which is intended to increase capacity for vehicles wanting to cross the Thames between east London and the Greenwich Peninsula.

There's plenty of talk about how the new tunnel would 'relieve congestion' and yet in the same breath, TFL also explains that it intends to impose charges on both the Blackwall Tunnel and the Silvertown Tunnel to 'manage demand' (as well as to pay for the new tunnel). Isn't this just an admission that building a new tunnel would generate so much additional traffic that the new tunnel would be congested as soon as it opened.

TFL has put together a fly-through film showing how the tunnel portals and the tunnel service buildings are intended to fit in the existing landscape and link into the existing roads.

What's missing from all the jazzy fly-throughs and optimistic predictions is any explanation of how the roads on either side of the river will cope with this extra traffic. With the 'bottleneck' at the tunnel supposedly removed, the congestion problem will simply move to other parts of the network, increasing congestion elsewhere - outside your front door, your child's school or your local park perhaps?

As we saw from local pollution monitoring earlier this year, levels of nitrogen dioxide are already well above recommended safe levels in many parts of Greenwich and Lewisham. With increased traffic from a new tunnel adding even more congestion, pollution levels will only get worse.

The fly-through produced by TFL offers visualisations of a tunnel with no traffic; campaigners at No to Silvertown Tunnel have created a more realistic version showing the current situation in the Blackwall Tunnel, which is likely to be recreated very rapidly in any new tunnel nearby.

You can find out more about their campaign on the website, including an analysis of the proposed scheme, and some suggested public transport alternatives.


Anonymous said...

I must say, I'm underwhelmed by the 'evidence' of both parties.

Laura said...

Hi Deptford Dame, I just watched the TFL video and am going to provide some feedback as part of the consultation. Although the building of the Silvertown tunnel would provide me with an additional route to visiting family in East London/Essex, it does seem too close to the Blackwall tunnel. I agree that this could cause further bottle-necking and even more congestion and pollution through Greenwich, Deptford and down Evelyn Street. Surely it would be a better option to build another tunnel further East?