Our Placeshaping Director Jack Skillen shares his thoughts on movement through London Bridge.
Movement is at the centre of all our lives. I walk my son to school; cycle to work and take the tube to a meeting across town. I receive a work delivery by van; see taxis and buses taking visitors to explore the city and see people pouring into the train and bus stations on my way home. The interesting thing is, despite how little of that movement is by motor car – this mode is still dominant in defining our city.
The Southwark Movement Plan is the borough’s long term transport strategy, which you can read here, and is currently out to consultation. Southwark Council has taken a people-centric approach to transport – as opposed to prioritising vehicles; a method which has blighted many city centres across the world by pushing human activity to the sidelines.
Team London Bridge's draft response sets out a move towards clean transport options and a reduction in vehicles in the area. However, ease of everyday operations for all of our businesses is also a priority.
We welcome feedback to help us better reflect our business views. Please let us know your thoughts by 7th February. You can contact me at email@example.com/ 02074074701
Tooley Street Consultation
Tensions surrounding 'movement' were brought to the fore again by the recent TfL consultation on Tooley Street, which was met with black-cab protests against constraints to entering Tooley Street (although this has previously been the case for many years). On the other hand, cycling campaigners felt the opposite; advocating for safer streets to help make cycling accessible for all.
An artists impression of the future Tooley Street, from Thameslink
Team London Bridge businesses have also been conflicted with the need to strike a balance between safe and enjoyable streets, and uninterrupted business operations. Our response to the consultation takes both of these perspectives into account, however, our primary vision is for a cleaner, greener, safer London Bridge. We need to continue to work towards this vision by helping our businesses embrace greener options. For example, through our new cargo-bike deliveries project.
This more social role for streets was emphasised by the Unicorn Theatre in their response to the plans:
We await the final decision from TfL.
“Anything further than can be done to improve the family-friendly nature of this area would be excellent – a softening of the feel and more freedom for pedestrians on paved areas would do wonders. If child-orientated design becomes part of the thought process I would hope it results in a more playful space that works well for everyone. We also know that the fountains and riverside are attractive for families as play areas - better signage and more creative routes to get to the theatre together with more creative spaces in the area would be hugely beneficial”.
Gardens in our streets
An element of the Movement Plan Team London Bridge are keen to promote is the role that our streets have in greening the area. We have an opportunity to introduce more rain gardens to our local streets. These gardens will essentially act as a sponge when it rains, preventing water from flowing into the sewers which can lead to flooding.
A consultation event will take place in the London Bridge Hive on 11 Feb from 3pm, more details here; we’d love to have your views.
New developments and streets
Many of the new developments in the area will have a major impact on how the streets are designed and used in the future. All our responses to individual proposals are available to view here.
- Jack Skillen, Placeshaping Director