Woo-hoo – I opened my post this weekend to discover that I was being consulted by TFL about their proposed Cross River Tram. That’s consulted in my capacity as a local resident, not in my capacity as a blogger of great influence (although it’s surely only a matter of time). I’m all for trams in general – adding a touch of exotic to one’s foreign travels to Brussels and Sheffield and places like that – but I object to this one because central London already has a pretty good albeit overstretched transport infrastructure and adding something that looks like a bus and is as slow as a bus (because it competes with traffic) but costs a lot more and is lethal to cyclists seems to me like a very poor way of improving the situation as opposed to – hello? – simply buying more buses. Or maybe running more trains. Or (as the other half suggests, but he’s grumpy like that) getting rid of some of the people. So I open the enormous and expensive looking consultation package and have a look.
There’s one large explanatory brochure and several individual questionnaires where they have divided up the route into a number of bite-sized chunks so that I can object to them all individually rather than all in one go. Except of course, I can’t object to the tram. The tram has been decided on. That consultation took place in 2001. I can just object to the route the tram will take. Starting with the first bite-size chunk: Euston to Waterloo.
There is only one proposed route between Euston and Waterloo and it’s an eminently sensible one – I know this because it’s the one the 59 bus already takes between Waterloo and Euston. And, curiously enough, it also resembles the route the Northern Line takes between Waterloo and Euston. Something to do with the old ‘shortest route between two points’, possibly? Getting from Waterloo to Euston by public transport is not currently rocket science. Although it probably will be when they start digging up the roads to put the trams in, and diverting the buses and running fewer trains to pay for it all. There is no need for a tram between Waterloo and Euston unless – and this may be their cunning plan – they’re trying to kill all the cyclists who use that route by putting lethal sunken tramlines across all the major roads.
But that’s all by the by because I can’t object to that either*. The questionnaire part of the consultation package for this part of the route has precisely two boxes for me to fill in:
‘My reasons for agreeing with this choice’
* I’d link you to the actual questionnaire but when I followed up with their website I found myself on a page which was the HTML equivalent of a piece of paper with ‘P.T.O.’ written on both sides. Go here and click on the link that says ‘have your say on this part of the route’ to see what I mean