Council bosses have opposed initial plans for a cycle superhighway through Bermondsey and Rotherhithe – raising concerns over pollution and increased traffic on residential roads.
Transport for London recently consulted on plans to build a 2.5-mile segregated cycle link along the A200 between Tower Bridge and Greenwich, running through Tooley Street and Jamaica Road.
It is hoped Cycle Superhighway 4 would make this section of the A200 safer – where there were 93 recorded collisions involving cyclists and 49 involving pedestrians between September 2013 and August 2016.
But a letter written by Southwark councillors Ian Wingfield and Mark Williams to London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner has revealed they support the plans for Cycle Superhighway 4 “in principle” – but not in their “current form”.
Cllr Wingfield, cabinet member for environment and the public realm, and Cllr Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said they were concerned traffic would idle for longer, causing increased pollution in the area.
They also said they were “deeply concerned by the impact on Southwark Park Road which is forecast to take an additional 200-300 vehicles per hour at peak which will fundamentally alter the look and feel, and air quality, of a heavily populated residential street”.
In their letter to commisioner Will Norman, the councillors added that they could not accept the increased journey time for buses.
Speaking to the News, Cllr Wingfield said: “We are very concerned that the proposed CS4 design will push more cars onto residential streets, causing air pollution, and increase local bus journey times.
“We have made this clear in our response to TfL. We have also offered a number of possible solutions to minimise the impact on local streets and make sure they don’t become more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.
“We have had several conversations with TfL since the summer and we will continue to work with them to examine these plans and look at ways we can reduce the negative impacts.”
Sir Simon Hughes, former MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark for 32 years, who still lives in Bermondsey, said he also opposed the current proposals – and urged TfL “not to proceed with them”.
“The CS4 proposals should not be proceeded with unless and until they can be agreed with Southwark Council and the governing party and principal opposition party on Southwark Council,” he said.
Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner for the London Cycling Campaign, said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the letter.
“I think it’s really disappointing that we are talking about pollution and congestion issues but the issue is there’s too much traffic in the area,” he said.
“I don’t think any residential street in London should suffer huge amounts of traffic because people are cutting away from major roads. The problem is too many of us drive too short distances and we need to look at those issues.
“I think to get a scheme where you are saving huge amounts of cyclists’ lives and collisions and injuries, not to mention the fact there will be a lot more people who feel able to cycle, is a good thing.”
Mr Munk added that the “common claim” traffic would slow down and increase pollution was “yet to materialise”.
“In fact in similar schemes, like Tavistock Place and on Embankment, pollution levels are slightly down,” he said. “Every year, every month, every day we delay these schemes is costing people’s health.”