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Diamond Jubilee Bridge would span river from Battersea to Chelsea Harbour

Bike riders wanting to use a proposed cycling and walking bridge across the River Thames between Battersea and Fulham would have to take their bikes up and down stairs or use a lift to access the deck level because of lack of space at the landing points, it has emerged.

The Diamond Jubilee Bridge, which would run alongside one carrying the railway line between, would span the river from close to Fred Wells Gardens in Battersea to Chelsea Harbour.

Originally conceived in 2011 as a pedestrian bridge and designed on a pro bono basis by architects One World Design, the growth of cycling in London means the design has now been adapted to provide separate pedestrian and cycle lanes.

However, in a blog post on LinkedIn, Chris Medland, director at One World Design, explained that issues specific to the site meant that it would not be possible to provide ramps for people to cycle up to deck level.

He wrote: “The site of the bridge is selected based on need and as decided by the adopted plans of the local councils and the London Plan.

“The site is constrained by land ownership and the railway line and without partnership with Network Rail the provision of full cycle access ramps is problematic.”

Access to deck level for cyclists would be gained either through using a lift, or going up the stairs, which would be equipped with bike gutters similar to those employed at some railway stations.

To accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians, the deck would be wider than originally envisaged, meaning the cost of the project would rise from £26 million to £30 million, according to a report commissioned last year by Transport for London (TfL) from engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald.

Medland said: “At this cost the bridge still represents high value for money in terms of cost:benefit ratio and is around half the cost of the nearest proposed bridge at Nine Elms.”

He continued: “Assuming the council choose to progress the wider deck version of the bridge, this has raised around 30-40 per cent of the funding required so far. The bridge is public, will be owned by Wandsworth Council and will be open 24/7/365.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has included the project within his 25-year London Transport Plan, though he insists TfL will not be providing funding for it.

With One World Design granting the London Borough of Wandsworth the design licence on a pro bono basis, Medland said that “we expect the bridge will be put out to tender through the open procurement process.

“Our aim now is to make sure this bridge happens, and is developed in a way that suits the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. This is a needed true piece of local sustainable infrastructure and will make a great difference to this part of London that we call home.

“Our intention is and always has been that funding is sourced as far as practicable from a naming rights sponsor and we have been working in the background over the past six years to make this happen.

“Now, happily, we have an expert in these matters to guide us and with the engagement of TfL’s commercial department (as instructed by the Mayor) this approach stands a better chance than ever,” he added.

“The detail of how the appropriate brand gets sufficient exposure is to be agreed and clearly any physical branding with need the approval of the councils and other statutory authorities. It may be that any branding is temporary, say for the first 10 years for instance.”

Assuming a sponsor can be found within the next six to 12 months, the bridge could be open by summer 2010 or spring 2020, said Medland – although he cautioned that without private backing, it would take another generation to be completed.”

While some Twitter users were critical of the lack of access ramps, Green Party Assembly Member Caroline Russell defended the project, pointing out that the issue was related to land ownership, and that as a pro bono design with no public funding.

 “Want to have perfect ramps but Network Rail are the block to that,” she wrote. “So gutter for pushing and lift. It's an elegant simple thoughtful design.”

She continued: “I think people should take a step back before being hyper critical. If had had public £s then I'd understand but this is designed by someone who had the imagination to see that a bridge could really make a difference and they've designed pro bono the best bridge they can.

“Given the constraints, I think it's phenomenal. It's ready to go and not a penny of public £s spent.

She added: “It's central London - there is very little physical space. Buildings to the waterline. Pretty miraculous the landing points are available.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

18 comments

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alansmurphy [1248 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Genius, just like the start of grand tour time trials...

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rct [70 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I certainly hope no funds from LA cycling budgets are wasted on this.

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dottigirl [808 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

https://twitter.com/OWD_architects/status/899587461076090880

Thoughtless design.

Who here has even been able to use a 'gutter' with a loaded bike? Or even an unloaded one? They're pretty useless.

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brooksby [2709 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
Quote:

...without partnership with Network Rail the provision of full cycle access ramps is problematic.

So - GET partnership with Network Rail.  Simples.

A cycling bridge with a cycle lane, but which doesn't provide ramps but only stairs or lifts is a bit of a chocolate teapot, isn't it?

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alan sherman [9 posts] 3 months ago
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Looking at the map there seems to be quite a bit of access space at either end.  Especially if a curve round to the Thames path were used. may affect the view of the new Lombard tower though.

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muhasib [34 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

Still much cheaper to build this than the £46.4m of public money spent on not building a garden bridge.

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STATO [544 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
dottigirl wrote:

https://twitter.com/OWD_architects/status/899587461076090880

Thoughtless design.

Who here has even been able to use a 'gutter' with a loaded bike? Or even an unloaded one? They're pretty useless.

 

Unloaded they are fine, loaded they are a pain. Thankfully there is a lift in that case. 

I love how everyone on twitter is shouting look at what the dutch would do, er, they would use a bike gutter if there was not space for a ramp, plenty of examples to be found.

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SlowCoach [7 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes

Don't knock this. It looks to me that this could be used as an example to set a precedent for future road funding for motor vehicles. Just imagine what would happen if all new motorways had to be financed without touching the public purse and all users had to push their vehicles on and off the entrance/exit slips...  3

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burtthebike [1222 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

Given the constraints, this appears to be a reasonable compromise; it could have been just pedestrian.

What really concerns me is that it isn't publicly funded.  Why not?  We have a government which is wasting billions on building more roads and HS2 which have no economic case, but it won't fund proper cycling and walking provision.  As others have pointed out, the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is, to put it politely, effing pathetic, despite the fact that the economic case is absolutely overwhelming.

We've seen what happens when walking and cycling provision is left to charities like Sustrans; it is frequently abysmal, so what we want is a reasonable chunk of transport funding allocated to it, say 10%.

I trust that everyone complaining about this bridge and the appalling infrastructure we have to suffer, will be writing to their MP demanding that 10% of transport investment is for cycling and walking.

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Awavey [358 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
STATO wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

https://twitter.com/OWD_architects/status/899587461076090880

Thoughtless design.

Who here has even been able to use a 'gutter' with a loaded bike? Or even an unloaded one? They're pretty useless.

 

Unloaded they are fine, loaded they are a pain. Thankfully there is a lift in that case. 

A lift designed for disability access to the bridge, which will be its primary purpose for being there so they aren't breaking the law, its not designed for bikes, or more realistically even a bike, and certainly not a loaded one, and the video animation which only shows one side look pretty steep even for gutters, which aren't accounted for in that design or the space they will take away from pedestrian access

But yeah apart from that :rollseyes:

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photoben [11 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

When are we going to get a foot/cycle bridge between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe that's been talked about (and needed) for the last 15 years?

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kitkat [480 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

The Dundee end of the Tay bridge is lift or stairs only and isn't a problem unless you have a large volume of users where by you need a large lift, simples. Ideally yes there would be a ramp but is it better to have a bridge with nominally inconvenient cycle access or no cycle access at all? Given the funding model the perfect solution may be unachievable

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congokid [325 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Blimey, a bridge that I first proposed about 10 years ago in a BTL comment on an ES story asking for new London projects might actually become reality (I didn't get down to the specifics of access, though).

 

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ConcordeCX [509 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes
muhasib wrote:

Still much cheaper to build this than the £46.4m of public money spent on not building a garden bridge.

indeed. If there's any money left in the garden bridge kitty they should hand it over to this, and put a potted plant at each end as thanks.

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dottigirl [808 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

More of a rant on gutters, from a disability point of view:

Thing is, gutters are a pain for cyclists to use, and a trip hazard for pedestrians walking up the stairs. For the gutter to be far enough away from handrails for handlebars to clear the wall, they end up where anyone who needs to use the handrail for support would trip over it. This isn't good for a lot of vulnerable population. It's certainly affected me at my local station.

In addition, anyone with limited mobility will have a preference for which side of the stairs they use. For me, I prefer to grip the rail with my left and have my crutch as support on my right.

If I have to leave the rail for some reason - if there's someone else coming down who needs it more than me, or a cyclist using the gutter - it's very scary standing on stairs with nothing to hold and people in a hurry brushing/knocking past. Especially if I'm having a vulnerable day. It's reduced me to tears in the past.

Yes, I know there will be a lift, but they are often busy with bikes, pushchairs, suitcases, other disabled people. Or out of order. Plus, if I'm with a group of people, I don't want to leave them to go to a lift which is usually further away than the stairs, have to wait and have others wait for me too. I'll usually take the stairs instead.

Tbh, as a pedestrian, I'm not a massive fan of ramps either - my particular problems mean walking down slopes can cause sudden and painfully debilitating joint impingement. I normally hold the rail and walk backwards to prevent this. So, places with just a ramp (London Bridge station) can be as much or even more of a nightmare than stairs.

A ramp would need to be wide enough to ride, and clear enough so I wouldn't have to dismount, hopefully not even dab a foot down. 

And this is why I don't get out much nowadays.

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armb [128 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

For a while my commute was taking a bike on a train to a platform with a bridge with a bike gutter. I always found it easier just to pick up and carry the bike - but I didn't have a childseat, or bags of shopping. There was a lift, but always busy with a queue, so better left for those who really needed to use it.

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CumbrianDynamo [45 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
STATO wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

https://twitter.com/OWD_architects/status/899587461076090880

Thoughtless design.

Who here has even been able to use a 'gutter' with a loaded bike? Or even an unloaded one? They're pretty useless.

 

Unloaded they are fine, loaded they are a pain. Thankfully there is a lift in that case. 

I love how everyone on twitter is shouting look at what the dutch would do, er, they would use a bike gutter if there was not space for a ramp, plenty of examples to be found.

As would the Danes, and they would often include a lift too.

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flathunt [245 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

After watching the animation they can keep the bridge, fairly pointless, but if they can make it so I can ride straight through the heliport instead of jinking round it, I'll hypothecate all my taxes for a year.