There was another snippet of MOAR ROADS in yesterday’s LBC phone in – here’s a transcription. Given what happened over Hammersmith there’s no guarantee this is what he’ll say next month, of course:
NF: Mark in Dagenham
BJ: Mark in Dagenham..sorry I turned over your page and lost you…Mark in Dagenham
Mark: Hello, Boris, thanks for taking my call.
BJ: Not at all
Mark: Um, question for you – there’s supposed to be a new bridge coming over linking the north to the south circular…
Mark: But people in East London, Dagenham-wise, etc., all we have is a toll bridge, the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.
Mark: Which is, er, quite an expensive thing, er, tax on people going to work
BJ: Yes. You’re talking about the Second Dartford Crossing here, are you, or are you talking…which which bridge are you talking about, Mark, you’re talking about the new bridge
Mark: The new bridge that’s supposed to be linking the north to the south circular. Beckton way.
BJ (nonplussed): Yep, yep, right..well there’s there’s there’s there’s
NF (over): I’m not aware of this bridge
BJ: Well, there’s sev..there’s several proposals we’re there’s there’s we’re doing. Go on.
Mark: My question is, what reassurances can you give to the people of east London that this won’t be a toll bridge? Cos we’re all scared that that’s going to happen, and it’s not going to help people who can barely afford to go to work anyway.
NF: Mark, pardon my ignorance it’s it’s Nick Ferrari here, where does it leave the south and land, just so I get a full sense of this, where’s it going to take off and where’s it going to land, Mark, that you’ve heard?
Mark: Well, we’ve heard there’s supposed to be a bridge linking the North Circular, which runs from the M11 to the South Circular, running across Beckton.
NF: So it goes from Beckton what, into Eltham or Woolwich, or…?
Mark: It runs into, yeah, would be running into Eltham
NF: Running over…I thought that idea was…
BJ (over): That’s the Thames Gateway Bridge, yes
NF: Mr. Mayor, I thought that had been shelved?
BJ: Well, look. Let me, let me, let me, let me try and answer Mark’s question. What we’ve got to do, Mark, actually, is build not just one bridge but a series of river crossings, we’re starting with the Blackwall 2 tunnel, which will help Nick Ferrari in particular…
BJ: …and that will be going by 2020, or 2020-2021 – not so far away! erm, only six years or seven years to go, we’re going for the Blackwall 2 tunnel at Silvertown, but we will also need a series of crossings to the, to the east and actually there’s a there’s a there’s loads of sites that er, are we are looking at and, um, I think the important thing for people of um both on both sides is that you shouldn’t just do one, because if you do one then you’re going to get much more pressure, much more traffic on, on that area and if you if you you can dilute the traffic if you have if you have several crossings. London is going east, Mark, it’s the big, the big changes in our, in our city are happening as the as the population starts to grow again in the east. Look at the jobs being created in, in Tower Hamlets, in in Newham, it’s incredible to look at the way employment is taking off in those boroughs, did you see those statistics yesterday about falls in unemployment in eastern London, it’s very very remarkable, we’ve got to build on that, we’ve got to build new river crossings but Mark’s really asking will I, will he have to pay, that’s what he really wants to know and the answer there Mark is look I’m really sorry but I think almost certainly yes is the answer and I’m very sorry to say that and I know it’s going to be erm you know news that you won’t you won’t want to hear but I I cannot see how we can in the current financially straightened circumstances put in huge new infrastructure like that, all of them cost hundreds of millions of pounds, without tolling them
NF: Let’s get a quick response from Mark. Mark, quickly if you would, a response to the Mayor
Mark: Well, I can understand the cost implications of this but people in West London enjoy free travel and I don’t see why we can’t, bearing in mind the ordinary working man we’re talking £20 a week just to actually use the bridge.
BJ: Well, Mark, I understand that point, I understand that point and I and I understand that, the sense of injustice historically because all those bridges were built in the west of London and that’s where, where the city was. I mean of course in the old days many of them were tolled and, and when they were first built they were tolled in order to, in order to get them built and that was the economic model that they had to use to construct those bridges and, and that is the grim reality of where we are today Mark, I am you know I I I wish I could give you a sort of er, tooth fairy answer and say it’ll all be fine and you won’t have to pay a thing er but that is that is not er you know…Perhaps TfL will tell me otherwise but I I I’d like <mumbling>
NF (interrupting): Mark in no way appearing glib of course if you are using that Dartford crossing, if you get a Dart Tag, it’s not massive but there is a saving as I’m sure you’re aware, sir, so you don’t have to pay the whole £20, it might help a little bit. Mr. Mayor?
BJ: Can we go to Ray in Orpington
What’s interesting here is the accidental support given to the No Silvertown Tunnel campaign, first by calling it ‘Blackwall 2′, thus revealing it’s really a Ringway fragment, and secondly by admitting that building a single new road crossing will attract traffic and cause ‘pressure’ (i.e. congestion and presumably air pollution), which is the opposite of what TfL and the tunnel cheerleaders in Greenwich etc. have been arguing.
The tolling is a Roads Task Force thing – they argue that if you build new roads, they must be tolled to ‘lock in the benefits’, or people will use them too much. OK, whatever, but what Boris didn’t tell Mark is that under the Silvertown plans they have to toll the near-parallel *current* Blackwall Tunnel as well, or the new tunnel will not be attractive and will end up like a ghostly underground equivalent of the empty cable car.
Oh, and Mark’s original question? There’s no evidence TfL are yet mad enough to try and connect the North and South Circulars – what Mark presumably thinks is the Gallions Reach Bridge (formerly the TGB) which connects the North Circular to not much, really, other than Thamesmead. The original plans there were to connect it to the southern part of Ringway 2, which doesn’t exist. Or does it? Next in this series of MOAR ROADS pieces is an assessment of the RTF’s London Orbital Tunnel, which is a kind of Ringway 1.5 and thus of some interest here.
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