Report suggests funding for public transport and cycling would cost less than current plans for road river crossings and road widening
The London Mayorâ€™s proposed Â£28 billion investment in road schemes in his recent infrastructure plan is â€œcar centricâ€ and â€œtotally at odds with what Londoners wantâ€, according to a report published today (November 18) by Assembly Member Darren Johnson.
The Green Party Assembly Memberâ€™s report â€“ â€˜Boris Johnsonâ€™s Roads to Nowhereâ€™ â€“ outlines an alternative plan at a cost of around Â£25.5 billion, which he claims will benefit air quality by boosting cycling infrastructure and expanding provision of trams, Crossrail, Overground and Underground public transport services.
The Mayorâ€™s near-Â£28 billion road investment up to 2050 includes projects such as a 22-mile road tunnel through the capital, widening junction 30 of the M25, and constructing the Silvertown Tunnel under the Thames and the Gallions Reach river bridge.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson plans to spend Â£1-2 billion on cycling up to 2050.
However, Darren Johnson believes the Mayorâ€™s â€œdangerousâ€ infrastructure plan shows he â€œisnâ€™t learning from the past decade of success, when investment in alternatives to the car, the introduction of the congestion charge and a reallocation of road space from cars to buses, bike and the public realm actually saw traffic and congestion fallâ€.
The report states that air pollution levels exceed legal limits on more than half the main road network in London, and, it adds: â€œThese levels of pollution need to be cut while Londonâ€™s population is growing at the rate of 100,000 people per year.â€
Darren Johnson claims that focusing instead on public transport is both better for Londonâ€™s air quality and economic growth, citing the rejuvenation of East London in recent years following expansion of Overground services in the area.
The Assembly Memberâ€™s proposed alternative Â£25.5 billion investment includes:
In addition, the report advocates a new Woolwich Ferry and traffic-free bridges across the Thames instead of current plans for road crossings at Silvertown and Gallions Reach, which are currently the subject of a public consultation and have faced opposition from air quality campaigners (see airqualitynews.com story).
Commenting on his report, Darren Johnson said today: â€œThis Mayorâ€™s costly obsession with new roads threatens to send London hurtling back to a 1970s vision of a car-dominated future. Tunnelling, bridging, lane-widening and road-building will devour Londonâ€™s transport budget. Building more roads to ease congestion simply does not work as new roads attract new vehicles, just creating more traffic and more pollution.â€
He added: â€œThis city desperately needs clean, efficient ways of getting around such as new rail links, trams schemes, better bus services and proper cycle routes. This is what we need to be investing in, not more roads.â€