Boris’ vision for Crystal Palace: no tram, more traffic

Boris Johnson has unveiled his long-term infrastructure plan, setting out what he thinks London needs up to 2050. There’s lots to take in, but two quick headlines for Crystal Palace are: no tram extension, and more motor traffic on our polluted, congested roads.

No tram

The Mayor has been promising to extend the tram to Crystal Palace for years.

There was some discussion about the route up Anerley Hill, and debate as to whether it should take off a slice of the park or stay on the street, as you can see in this route map:


After his first election he scrapped it in a cull of unfunded schemes in November 2008.

In March 2011 he announced it was back on the table with a nice photo-op next to a tram, and used this to help his re-election campaign down our way. But shortly after the elections his business plan contained… no plans for it.

Earlier this year he told a Conservative Party fundraising dinner that it was “absolutely guaranteed” by 2020, and got more positive press.

But four months later and it looks dead in the water again. Read the Transport Supporting Paper for his new infrastructure plan with infrastructure planned up to 2050 and you’ll find no mention of the extension. The Sutton link is in there, as are some capacity improvements.

So come on, Boris, what happened to the repeated promises that we’d get the extension?

But more traffic

There’s another worry in the plan. Boris’ vision for London, shared by many Labour figures, is for decades of road building in London. He wants new road bridges over the Thames in east London, bringing increased pollution and congestion to residential areas. He wants to bury great big new super-expensive tunnels in inner London, creating appalling pinch-points at the entrances.

He is also relaxing car parking standards to allow more parking spaces when homes are built, under pressure from outer London Tories

But his Transport Supporting Paper tells us two of the stark consequence of this pro-car agenda.

First, the rising population of car owners would mean an extra million car parking spaces, equivalent to an area the size of Richmond Park!

Second, even in an optimistic ‘low car’ scenario where usage keeps falling in inner London, his agenda will result in traffic levels rising 5-10% across Bromley and Croydon, and 0-5% across Southwark and Lewisham:


So we will be blighted with even more pollution and congestion in places like the Triangle, the Crystal Palace Parade, Church Street, Anerley Road and Penge High Street.

As one of our London Assembly Members, Darren Johnson, said:

Instead of learning from that debacle, the Mayor is pushing for the kind of road-building projects which belong back in the car-dominated 1960s. Rather than channelling time, energy and public funds into these wasteful schemes which will worsen air quality yet further, he should be investing in public transport and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.

What do you think?