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Boris: Dragging his heels over river crossing claim

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 May 2011

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

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Boris Johnson has been accused of lagging behind on east London river crossings, finally commissioning a report almost three years after snubbing a £60million proposal.

The London Mayor revealed a package of measures to solve the drastic shortage of river crossings in east London.

The proposals included a road crossing at Silvertown and a new vehicle ferry at Gallions Reach to replace the existing Woolwich ferry.

He also tasked Transport for London to draw up detailed plans by later this year.

However the recent push to secure river crossings in time for the Olympics comes years after transport charity Sustrans proposed a £60million crossing between Durand’s Wharf in Rotherhithe and Westferry Circus in Canary Wharf.

Sustrans London Director Carl Pittman revealed that studies on a possible crossing were first commissioned in 2006 and presented to Boris shortly after he came into office in 2008.

He said: “There was an acknowledgement that crossings east of Tower Bridge were needed. But the new mayor decided this wasn’t something he wanted to take forward.”

He added: “One of the things that’s disappointing is that we made the case for a crossing quite a while ago. Generally, west of Tower Bridge there’s an awful lot of crossings but east of it there isn’t.

“We’re not really supportive of road crossings because it’s public transport, foot and bike that’s really needed.

“I think the cable car (to be built between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks) is a good start but it isn’t going to solve all the problems – it relies on dropping people at the Jubilee line, which has had it’s own problems lately, and it doesn’t connect to Canary Wharf.”

City and East London Assembly member John Biggs said: “The cable car will be a great tourist attraction for east London but it is not a replacement for a new road crossing, and is a poor alternative to the existing rail crossings, which already allow the same journey in similar time.”

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