The London Mayor’s £2.2bn Silvertown Tunnel is due to open as a new river crossing in 2025 without any cycle lanes planned for it.
This means that cargo bikes and e-bikes have nowhere reliable to cross the Thames east of Tower Bridge. Nor may ordinary people on bikes, unless they can carry them down and up the nearly-100 stairs at either end of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
The Green Party wants to make Silvertown Tunnel more friendly and accessible for people walking, cycling, and using public transport, aiming to tackle the challenges faced by those who travel in the area.
To share ideas, local activists met the Green Party candidate for Mayor of London, Zoë Garbett, at Greenwich Foot Tunnel to talk about making improvements to the area and making better use of Silvertown Tunnel.
During their chat, the group spoke with a representative from PedalMe cycle couriers, who shared the difficulties they face with river crossings in our area. They pointed out that the Greenwich Foot Tunnel suffers frequently from maintenance issues, such as the lift often breaking down.
(By coincidence, the lift on the north side was broken when Zöe visited, and the south side lift actually broke while everyone was looking at it!)
Because it lacks any cycling provision whatsoever, Silvertown Tunnel does nothing at all for sustainable businesses like cycle couriers. PedalMe stressed the need for better and more reliable solution to river crossings to be able to grow their business.
Karin Tearle, from the Greenwich Green Party and running for the Greater London Assembly, talked to Zoë about the problems faced by people from different backgrounds in using Greenwich Foot Tunnel and the need for the alternatives.
“People young and old, and women especially, just cannot carry a heavy e-bike up the steps when the lifts break down. And wheelchair users just can’t rely on the lift. It’s really important for our city that new infrastructure addresses these issues and make things easier and fairer for everyone who wants to choose greener transport.”