Transport for London will defy demands for the eastbound bus lane on Jamaica Road to be opened to normal vehicles during busy periods, after more than five hundred signed a petition.
Last week the News reported how hundreds of “fed up drivers” had signed the petition calling for the change, in the wake of Tower Bridge closing for three months.
But such a move would “seriously worsen” the journeys of bus passengers and potentially increase traffic elsewhere, according to TfL.
Alan Bristow, Director of Road Space Management at TfL, said: “We understand the frustration with limited road space in the Jamaica Road area.
“But to open the bus lane to non-emergency traffic would seriously worsen bus passengers’ journeys in the area and could result in increased queues of traffic at the eastern end of the road.
“We’ve been working hard to minimise congestion in the area and the impact of the City of London’s vital Tower Bridge work by banning local roadworks during the closure.”
The congestion heightened just after Tower Bridge shut, with one member of TfL staff reportedly admitting to a recent Borough, Bankside and Walworth Community Council that the traffic on the road had been worse than expected.
The petition was set up by Bermondsey drivers last week and quickly amassed hundreds of support-ers, sparking a debate between drivers, cyclists and bus users.
Paul Whittlesea was one of many who disagreed with the idea, saying: “Not the answer. We need tolls now on all river crossings to reduce car use.” While Nicola Branch said the drivers should: “Grow up. Get on their bikes or walk and stop killing the planet and our kids.”
Simon Hughes, the former Bermondsey MP who has campaigned on the issue for decades, said: “TfL have said no to changing the bus lane in Jamaica Road for year after year.
“But they have never come up with a good solution to the worsening traffic jams. It now needs the Mayor of London and the City Hall Assembly Members to tell TfL that their refusals to budge is holding up thousands of people every week and that is not acceptable.”