The City of London is creating a new walking route between Bank and Cannon Street stations, along Walbrook.
It doesn’t reach to the Thames yet, as there is some 1980s development and the dual-carriageway of Upper Thames Street in the way, but I suspect it will, at some point in the future.
On the Western side of the walk is Walbrook Square being developed by Bloomberg, which underneath which are both the London Mithraeum and the new step-free entrance to the Waterloo and City Line and Bank station.
On the Eastern side is the historic church of |St. Stephen Walbrook, where I once met Chad Varah; the founder of The Samaritans, who for personal and wider reasons, I nominated at Man of the Noughties.
This Google Map shows the area.
It looks like this walking and cycling route will come with a prestigious office development, an important Roman site and a transport interchange.
I have a feeling there’s a deep agenda in pedestrianising Walbrook in this way.
Commuters arriving in the City at Cannon Street station or the Waterloo and City Line will be able to come out of the stations onto the spacious thoroughfare of Walbrook , from where they could walk to their place of work. A pedestrianised Bank Junction would give a traffic free route for commuters to the East side of the junction.
Could we see other routes around Bank Junction also given over to pedestrians and cyclists? Roads like.
- Cannon |Street
- Dowgate Hill
- King William Street
- Lombard Street
- Old Jewry
- Prince’s Street
- St. Swithin’s Lane
and a few others, must all be being considered for full or partial pedestrianisation.
In addition, there will be beloe-ground routes through Bank station.
The City pf London is proposing to make Bank Junction accessible to only buses and cyclists.
On a personal note, I’m in favour, as my normal route to and from the area of Bank station is to take a 21 or 141 bus. I also use the 141 bus to get to and from London Bridge station, as the terminal stop is on the staion forecourt. They are extremely convenient buses for me as the Northbound stop is perhaps fifty metres from my house over a zebra crossing. Going South, the walk is a little further, but it is no more than a hundred and fifty metres.
However, not everyone is in favour of restricting traffic at Bank Junction.
This article in the Standard is entitled Cycling campaign groups slam black cab protest over traffic ban at Bank station.
This is said.
Cycling campaign groups have slammed a taxi protest over plans to close Bank junction off to most traffic, saying drivers are supporting “the right to poison Londoners”.
Black Cab drivers brought traffic to a standstill on Monday evening as they protested plans to close off the notorious junction to all traffic apart from bikes and buses.
Union members have argued that the proposals to only allow cyclists and buses at the junction are an example of TfL dodging the problem of congestion.
So it would be cyclists on one side and black cabs on the other.
The RMT union blames Uber on their web site.
This is said in the article.
The union claims the congestion is caused by Uber cars which, in turn, leave people turning to cycling out of “desperation”.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, said: “The decision to close Bank Junction to traffic is a comically inept one, made exceptionally bitter as the Mayor promised greater access to road space for black cabs.”
As I said earlier, all I want is this vital junction to run smoothly for buses.
I don’t use a taxi very often, except on say a busy, wet day to bring my shopping home, as the rank is outside Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsburys. How convenient is that?
The taxi drivers are not happy, but then London’s black cab drivers have rarely been happy in the years I’ve used them, since the 1960s.
- Getting to my house has caused a new moan, which is caused by the work that I wrote about in Why I’m In Favour Of Cycling Superhighways.
- Cyclists are always good for a moan.
- But their biggest ire is usually reserved for Uber and their lack of regulation.
Surprisingly, I’ve had no moans about moving to low-emission or electric vehicles.
So how do I think the situation will improve in the next few years?
Crossrail doesn’t serve Bank Junction directly, but I will be surprised if the massive double-ended Crossrail station at Liverpool Street and Moorgate, doesn’t attract a lot of passengers travelling to and from the City of London.
Bank Station Upgrade
Under Future Developments, Wikipedia says this.
- A new entrance on Walbrook, near Cannon Street station, will provide new escalators and lifts to the Waterloo and City line platforms.
- TfL is also consulting on retunnelling and widening the Northern line platforms.
- Adding lifts and new entrances on King William Street and Cannon Street.
- A new tunnel could be built to relocate the southbound Northern line platform.
The work could be completed by 2021 and will boost capacity by 40%, with 12 new escalators and 3 new lifts.
A well-designed Bank Underground station must relieve surface traffic of all types in the area.
Waterloo And City Line
When the new entry at Wallbrook to the Waterloo and City Line, opens hopefully in late 2017, it will dramatically improve the usefulness of the Waterloo and City Line.
But improvements are also needed at the Waterloo end of the line.
- Better connections to the new platforms 20-24 at Waterloo will be needed. Are they being provided in the current works.
- Better connection to Waterloo East station, so passengers can get access to Charing Cross services.
- Direct access to the street.
- Step-free access.
The line should at least run seven days a week, if not all the time under automatic control.
It could be a much more important line in London’s transport system.
It could even be renamed the City and South Bank Line.
The Northern City Line
One of Crossrail’s collateral improvements will be to give the Northern City Line excellent connections to the following.
- Liverpool Street station
- Central Line
The deep and dingy station will also have much better connection to the various walking routes in the area.
But connectivity would be nothing without trains and the Northern City Line is getting new Class 717 trains, which could run at up to twelve trains per hour all day.
The original plans for the Northern City Line envisaged the line running to Lothbury station, which would be just to the North of the Bank of England.
If this extension had been built, it would have surely proved to have been a valuable part of London’s railways. But it wasn’t and probably to build it now would be too expensive and impossible.
The actual City of London is compact and this Google Map shows the Northern part of the City between Bank, Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations.
- How one of the three main stations is within reach of much of the area.
- I would reckon that the three stations are about eight hundred metres apart.
If you don’t fancy walking, there are bus routes between the stations and the Central and Northern Lines also provide connections.
Uber is the fox in the hen coup.
It is disruptive technology and I don’t like it for various reasons.
- I like to pick up my cab from a rank or by hailing it on the street.
- I feel that apps with credit card details in them will be the next big fraud opportunity.
- I like a properly trained and regulated driver, who understands the intricacies of London’s streets.
I took an Uber cab once from Walthamstow to home and the driver came from West London and managed to get lost twice. As I wasn’t paying, I didn’t bother.
I can’t help feeling that Uber is very inefficient for the driver and only works if they have a monopoly of taxis on the streets.
I have given alternatives to the use of taxis around Bank Junction.
Taxi drivers will protest, but that area is one, where for most people, public transport will increasingly be the best way to travel.
Near me there is a junction, which drivers access, like Lewis Hamilton going into the pits at Silverstone.
It means they can get through to the City quicker.
But over the last few weeks, the number of drivers taking the bend quickly and putting pedestrians in danger has dropped significantly. I’ve also seen drivers go hurtling off doiwn the road only to come back a couple of minutes later, with faces like thunder.
I just give them a knowing look!
So why has a dangerous junction become a lot safer?
Cycling Superhighway 1, goes across the rat-run and it has been used to choke off the rats, as the pictures show.
I’m now very much in favour of the Cycling Superhughways despite being told by every taxi-driver I use, that they are a complete pain!
But then I don’t drive!
This article on the BBC is entitled Mayor accused of ‘betrayal’ over Silvertown river tunnel.
I made my feeling clear about the tunnel in No To Silvertown Tunnel . I started by saying this.
My personal feelings about the Silvertown Tunnel are that it is irrelevant to me, except that it might help some trucks bring goods that I buy online or at a local shop. Although as a sixty-eight year-old-widower living alone, I don’t think my transport needs through the tunnel will be high.
I don’t drive after my stroke and I like that lifestyle, except when last night it takes me three trains, a coach and a taxi to get back from watching football at Ipswich. But that tortuous late night journey was caused because NuLabor spent my tax money on pointless wars that will haunt us for generations, rather than in extending and renewing our rail system, that will nurture and enrich our future.
I don’t think, that I’ve changed my views much.
The Mayor is actually proposing five river crossings.
Here my thoughts on each
Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge
This is detailed in Wkipedia as the Rotherhithe Crossing or Brunel Bridge.
Wikipedia says this about the location.
The preferred location for the bridge identified in the feasibility study would be between the Impound Lock close to Cascades Tower on the northern (Canary Wharf) bank, and at Durand’s Wharf park on the southern (Rotherhithe) bank.
There is currently a Thames Clippers ferry shuttle between these two points. The Jubilee line parallels the route of the proposed bridge, with the nearest stations at Canada Water and Canary Wharf.
I took these pictures of the current ferry from Canary Wharf pier.
The bridge has its own web site, with a dramatic picture on the home page.
The visualisations show a bridge, that I think few would dislike. I certainly don’t!
- It’s dramatic.
- It would be open to pedestrians and cyclists.
- It would be the longest bascule opening bridge in the world.
- It would allow tall ships to pass through.
But above all I suspect that Marc and Isambard would have approved.
Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry
If Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe can sustain a ferry, then surely a ferry at the other side of Canary Wharf connecting to North Greenwich with the O2, must be viable.
This Google Map shows the Thames between Canary Wharf and North Greenwich.
It is not the longest ferry link, but there are questions to be answered.
- Does the ferry go right into the heart of Canary Wharf or only as far as the bank of the Thames?
- Does the ferry go all round the O2 to North Greenwich Pier or call at a new pier on the west side of the Greenwich Peninsular?
- Will the ferry be fully accessible?
- Will the ferry accommodate bicycles?
- Will the ferry be free, as is the current Woolwich Ferries?
- How many boats will be used?
I think that there could be an opportunity to design an integrated ferry and pier, that would be all things to all users.
It certainly shouldn’t be boring and if possible it should call at the heart of Canary Wharf.
In my view the Silvertown Tunnel is just another route for some travellers and possibly their goods to take between the two banks of the Thames.
Categories of traffic across the river through a new Silvertown Tunnel would include.
- Individuals, groups and families, who don’t necessarily need a vehicle. But sometimes choose to take one.
- Individuals, groups and families, who absolutely need to take a vehicle.
- Vans and trucks collecting or delivering goods.
- Buses and coaches
- Taxis, mini-cabs and private hire vehicles.
One thing that has been said about the Silvertown Tunnel is that it will be funded by a toll and some reports have said that the Blackwall and Rotherhithe Tunnels will be tolled as well.
London already has a congestion charging system for areas in the centre and I suspect that this could be updated to charge for the cross-river tunnels.
We’ve never had a toll to get across the Thames in London, with even the Woolwich Ferry being free, so I suspect that a toll would reduce cross-river vehicular traffic.
Remember that, when tunnels were built under the Thames in Central London, there was few quality alternatives with the exception of the Northern and Victoria Lines and the original undeveloped Thameslink.
But over the last few years, cross-river and other public transport has been getting better. And it still is!
- In the last year, a lot has been disclosed about Crossrail and its enormous Class 345 trains.
- We’ve also seen the opening of the new London Bridge station and can see the improvements taking place in South London.
- We’ve also seen the arrival of the Night Tube.
- Capacity is being increased on the cross-river East London Line and the Jubilee, Northern and Victoria Lines.
- We have Night Thameslink, so will we see a Night Crossrail?
Other developments will follow.
The only certainty is that we will be seeing a large increase in quality public transport, over, under and on the Thames.
I think for the first time in my life, there could be two competing ways of getting across the Thames; driving through a tunnel or using public transport.
Cost, convenience, needs and possibly an all-singing-and-dancing computer or phone app will tell you where to go.
As I said earlier, if the Silvertown Tunnel is built, it will be just another route for travellers, with perhaps a higher, but fixed cost.
If it is built, I think there should be conditions.
- The Blackwall, Rotherhithe and Silvertown Tunnels should all have tolls.
- Crossrail and Thameslink should have a great deal more Park-and-Ride capacity.
- All buses, coaches, mini-cabs, taxis and trucks in Central London should be low emission.
I also think that large areas of Central London, like the City and Oxford Street should be pedestrianised and some are on track for this to happen.
Much of the decision about the Silvertown Tunnel revolves around politics.
Sadiq Khan, has said he’s in favour of the tunnel with conditions, but he is up against a formidable movement that don’t want the tunnel built at any price.
I also find it interesting, that Ken Livingstone was in favour of the Silvertown Tunnel. But Ken brought in congestion charging.
I wouldn’t be surprised, if there’s some researchhanging aroiund in TfL, that says that a tolled road crossing will cut traffic. But it’s the sort of research no-one would believe.
So perhaps a tolled Silvertown Tunnel with conditions will be a good idea.
But only because there are now alternatives!
Gallions Reach DLR
The BBC article says this about this proposal.
A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich
It is different to the original proposal of a Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock, which stayed on the North bank of the Thames.
This map shows the area of London from Gallions Reach to Abbey Wood.
- Gallions Reach DLR station is marked with the red arrow.
- Just to the North of Gallions Reach station is the main DLR depot, which would probably be an excellent site to start a tunnel.
- The tunnel would probably emerge on the South bank of the Thames to the West of Thamesmead.
- It could then weave its way along the side of the main road.
- The North Kent Line with Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations runs along the bottom of the map.
- Crossrail could be extended to Gravesend.
- Crossrail should also be extended Ebbsfleet International for European rail services.
If the DLR extension went from Gallions Reach DLR station to Abbey Wood station it will be a loop on Crossrail serving a lot of areas ripe for quality housing and commercial development.
It certainly looks a feasible area to think about taking the DLR.
Barking Riverside Overground Extension
When I first heard about the Thamesmead Extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, I thought it was a good idea.
As it is mentioned in the Mayor’s plans, I suspect that building the extension is getting nearer to reality.
Certainly provision has been made in the design of the Barking Riverside Overground Extension to extend the line under the river if required.
Joined Up Connections
If you take out the Silvertown Tunnel, which is the only one of the five crossings for which you need a vehicle, you get a route along the Thames from Canada Water To Barking.
- Walk from Canada Water to the Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge
- Cross the Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge
- Walk to the Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry
- Take the Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry to North Greenwich
- Take the Emirates Air-Line to Royal Victoria
- Take the DLR to Gallions Reach and on to Thamesmead
- Take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to Barking
It’s an interesting route using various means of transport.
The title of this post is the title of this article in Rail Magazine.
These two statistics are given.
- Cycle-rail journeys have increased by 40% since 2010.
- The number of journeys where a bike was parked at the station increased by 75% in the same period.
You certainly see a lot more bikes on trains.
I think in the next few years will see more restrictions on bike usage on trains. Sometimes, there are just too many bikes, pushchairs and enormous cases on trains and there’ll come a point, when train companies try to cut the numbers.
I was talking to one of the driver managers of a company introducing the new Class 800 trains. He felt that the designers had not incorporated enough cycle places.
We shall see if he’s right, when the trains are serving their first summer.
As passengers have the space in the locomotive at present, if they turn up with a bike in the future and are told there there is no room, it will be an unholy row!
I walked the East-West Cycle Superhighway in two sections, as I crossed the bridges to have lunch on the South Bank by the Tate Modern.
It certainly is getting a move on, with some sections almost ready to open.
A few notes follow.
The Arthur Street Site
A new block is being created on this site, but before that happens, the site is being used to access the underground parts of Bank station.
This map from a TfL document show the site.
This fact sheet explains how the Arthur Street Site is to be used. This is said.
To deliver the proposed station improvements there is a need for a worksite in Arthur Street. This site is above the new tunnel alignment, and enables access via a shaft directly down to the new tunnel. This separates the underground tunnelling works from the extensive demolition and basement construction works on the Cannon Street site, facilitating an earlier completion of the tunnelling works and a reduction of the overall impact of the project on the City.
As with everything in the City of London, it all seems very crowded.
Along Upper Thames Street
As the pictures show the Cycle Superhighway is going on the North side of this road.
This road has always been jammed solid with cars, taxis and a lot of trucks.
The construction phase of the Cycle Superhighway isn’t exactly helping traffic flows.
The Millennium Inclinator
Westward From Blackfriars
After lunch, I crossed back to the North over Blackfriars Bridge and followed the Cycle Superhighway to Westminster station.
As with Cycle Superhighway CS5 from Oval to Pimlico, from what I could see, it seems to be well-designed and built.
I’ll look forward to hiring a bike at one end and riding it to the other.
The pictures tell the story, as I walked from Oval tube station to Pimlico along Cycle Superhighway CS5
This is the official Transport for London map for CS5.
This is a Google Map from Oval Station To Pimlico
Some of my thoughts.
- The route is an easy one to cycle, as it is virtually flat.
- I was impressed with the way that the designers of the Cycle Superhighway had threaded it through the area, with good attention to bus stops, traffic signals and signage.
- Before I walked towards Pimlico, I had a quick walk in the direction of Kennington and checked out the other cycle routes being constructed. The walking routes were good.
- I particularly liked the bike rental station in the dry in a railway arch. How many people like getting on a wet saddle? The Brownlees perhaps!
- The route was also an easy one to walk, as the designers had catered for walkers in the design.
- The builders had done an excellent job in making all the surfaces good for cyclists and walking.
- I was a bit surprised on how fast I was walking.
- I did feel though, that at times, there was a very crowded line of traffic alongside an almost empty cycle lane. The Jeremy Clarksons of this world might say something.
If all the Superhighways are designed and built to this standard, they will be a big asset to London.
I think in areas, where people are objecting to their imposition, they may actually win a few friends.
It’s a long time, since I was the parent of a young child and even longer since I used to cycle about four miles to school in the midst of the traffic.
But I would have no worries about my thirteen-year-old granddaughter cycling on a track like I saw today.
When I wrote Walking From Haggerston Station To Mare Street, I hadn’t realised how the scheme to effectively convert Middleton Road into a car-free route, would affect De Beauvoir Town.
Look at this Google Map, which shows the car-free route across London Fields.
The map is rather vague about what happens when it crosses the Kingsland Road and all it shows is a wavy line, which if you enlarge it and use a magnifying glass, has something like Northchurch Road written on it. This Google Map shows the area from Southgate to Kingsland Roads.
I think as Middleton Road links up to the South Side of De Beauvoir Square, that the downward kink in the route is De Beauvoir Square, so the route goes past St.Peter’s Church and then up Northchurch Road. For the first part of Northchurch Road, the route is following the route of the Cycle Superhighway CS1, that goes up Culford Road.
The two cycling routes are marked in blue on the map.
If the traffic scheme in London Fields is made permanent, I think I will be pleased, as it would give me a car-free cycle route from my house to the Cultural Quarter of Hackney.
If there were Boris Bike stations in De Beauvoir and London Fields, I wouldn’t even have to buy a bike.
On the other hand the London Fields scheme could generate a lot of cycling traffic through De Beauvoir Town.
Others might not be so pleased!
Later I walked the route and there are photographs of it in Walking From De Beauvoir Town to London Fields
This article from the Waltham Forest Guardian is entitled Grand opening of mini Holland scheme dominated by angry protestors.
I have posted it, as we are getting the Cycle Superhighway through where I live in the northern part of D Beauvoir Town in the near future and there are various opposing groups wanting or not wanting road closures and different parking restrictions.
As a Control Engineer, who has quite a bit of experience of dealing with complex liquid flow systems in chemical plants, I think that Councils tend to take a too definitive approach to the problem.
So my experience of chemical plants was in the late 1960s and we used an amazing PACE 231R. But that machine was the state-of-the-art computer of its day for solving differential equations. The computer was also the unrecognised star of the amazing rescue of the astronauts on Apollo 13.
The aim of the modelling in the chemical plant was to get different chemical streams flowing at the right rate into various reaction vessels, where they could be safely reacted and handled. The reaction products would then flow off in a controlled manner in other directions.
On a chemical plant the flows are controlled by various measures, but typically by valves, of which a domestic example is your mains water stop cock.
Often after modelling the flow system, it was found that the various valves were set almost to a fixed position for normal running of the plant.
If you look at traffic flows in say Walthamstow Village, as in the article, or De Beauvoir Town, you have an area bounded by main routes, which is crossed in a random manner by buses, cars, cyclists, pedestrians and trucks.
So what is different between modelling fluid and traffic flows?
Mathematically, it is the same process, but there is no variable method for regulating traffic flows.
The only regulation in De Beauvoir Town and other traffic systems is the brain of cyclists, pedestrians and regular drivers, who adapt their route according to their knowledge.
What the Mini Holland system in Walthamstow and other systems try to do is modify the thought processes of regular uses. The problem is that it may do that with the regular uses, but it doesn’t influence say your casual driver, who ventures into the area.
So in Walthamstow the local businesses and others see the drop in traffic and protest.
We need to apply more subtle ways of regulating the traffic, through areas like Walthamstow Village, that are understood by everybody.
- Speed limits should be set to twenty and they should be enforced. The Police need all the money they can get, so I would be happy to see mobile enforcement cameras on the top of Police vehicles parked at the side of the road.
- Computer-controlled traffic lights can be used as restrictors, so for instance at a notorious place where rat-runners enter an area, a pedestrian-crossing with lights could be placed. Timings could be adjusted automatically to the day of the week and time of the day.
- Speed humps aren’t as affective as they used to be. Perhaps car suspensions are better and Councils have softened them, so they don’t get sued?
- Cambridge has used rising bollards, that are automatically opened by certain vehicles, like buses, taxis, fire engines and ambulances.
- Even physical gates can even be opened and closed at various times. Suppose to calm an area, there was a need to shut off a road past a church. Why couldn’t it be opened on Sundays?
We are not being innovative enough.
Solutions like mini Hollands and just shutting routes are just too simplistic for a complex city like London.
As an aside, I’m old enough to remember London’s first experiment in traffic managment.
Green Lanes through Harringay in the 1960s was even more crowded with traffic than it is today. So traffic lights were put every fifty metres or so between Harringay Green Lanes and Turnpike Lane stations. There are quite a lot less lights today.
It cut the traffic through the area, but we all diverted through the side streets and made the lives of residents hell!
I took these pictures in Manchester City Centre.
These trucks with no sideguards wouldn’t be allowed in London. Why does Manchester allow them?