A One London transport policy will also address London’s connectivity challenge. South London has a patchwork of unintegrated, underdeveloped and poorly managed local and suburban main line rail services. Its 227 stations, many of them bleak and untouched for a century, symbolise the second-class service south Londoners get – as their commute plays second fiddle to the demands of the long-distance rail firms. This is a key part of the north-south divide my One London transport plan will overcome.
As well as closing the north-south side divide, my One London transport plan will also close the Thames chasm. London is moving east: Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Havering on the north bank, Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley on the south, are projected to provide nearly half of London’s new housing over the coming decades.
But east of Tower Bridge, cars, bikes, buses and trucks have to battle the daily bottlenecks around the Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels, while the North Greenwich cable car carries fewer passengers in a week than a bridge or tunnel would carry in 10 minutes. Sadly, in cancelling the Greenwich to Newham bridge on taking office in 2008, the mayor has simply compounded this massive obstacle to growth and prosperity in London.
I understand why many Londoners choose to own a car. But much of London is a car park: its roads are clogged, but most cars sit idle most of the time – 14 per cent of the city’s real estate is occupied by parked cars. Many Londoners want an alternative: the mobility a car provides without the hassle and cost of owning one.
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