Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Cycling is still officially banned in the foot tunnel

Greenwich Foot Tunnel is set to reach capacity during rush hour for cyclists by 2025, according to Transport for London studies for the new Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge.

A new consultation has been launched today into the bridge proposal, identifying possible sites for a new pedestrian and cycle link across the Thames.

TfL says 4.7% of Canary Wharf employees – 4,900 people – already cycle to work, and existing crossings impose constraints on how many people can use bikes to head to the employment centre.

“The lift capacity at Greenwich Foot Tunnel imposes an absolute capacity constraint on the cycle network,” the consultation background document reads.

“Some queues already occur at times during the peaks, and it is forecast that capacity will be reached throughout the peak hour before 2025.”

The foot tunnel has become an increasingly popular route to Canary Wharf for cyclists, even though riding a bicycle is technically banned under its 1915 bylaws.

Greenwich Council has installed a system to permit cycling when pedestrian usage is low, and is attempting to change the bylaws, although this still has to be agreed by Tower Hamlets Council, and it is believed there is some opposition on the north side of the Thames to a change.

The consultation documents also include a map showing where Canary Wharf’s cycling commuters come from.

Canary Wharf cycling origins map
Taken from TfL’s Background to Consultation report

It shows large numbers coming from Lewisham, west Greenwich, Lee, Blackheath and parts of Deptford, but with other clusters coming from Clapham, Brixton and Dulwich.

The consultation on the £300m bridge invites users to think about the location and the possible height of the bridge. Three locations are under consideration: between the Doubletree hotel at Nelson Dock and Westferry Circus, and two different alignments from Durands Wharf Park at Rotherhithe.

Canary Wharf bridge options

TfL plans to hold a second consultation in 2018, before applying for planning permission in 2019.

The documents also considers an option for a ferry, which TfL says would be “cheaper and faster to implement than the bridge or tunnel alternatives, but is unlikely to encourage as many walking or cycling trips”. TfL is planning to put in a ferry between Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf instead of a fixed crossing.

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