Cross River Tram - scheme under threat?

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Sunday 11 May 2003 10.53pm
Sorry that sources for this have to be unattributable - hope I am well enough known on the forum not to be accused of trolling

A leading light of a local Council infomed me that there was a recent meeting of senior councillors from all the boroughs involved in the Cross River Partnership.

Reportedly, someone from TfL announced that, at the very least, the timetable for the project has been put back and work would be unlikely to commence before 2010- i.e several years after the west london tram scheme - despite Ken's earlier pledges that he wanted both pursued at the same timescale. It was also possible that the scheme could be dropped completely.

There was quite a bit of fur flying when this was announced as a done deed. Obviously, lobbying of Ken/Ministers is still going on, but it sounds alarmingly as though a decision has been made.

Given TfL's lack of central Government funding, and the priority being given to Crossrail for any Olympic bid, should we be expecting an imminent announcement that the scheme is to be scaled back to a "guided busway"?

The TfL "London Trams" site still suggests completion by 2011.
http://www.londontransport.co.uk/trams/initiatives/ini_index_cr.shtml

Some earlier details of the scheme are in this thread.
http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/1/4340

Edited to get both links to work



Post edited (12 May 03 11:59)
MM
Monday 12 May 2003 10.45am
I've heard similar mutterings. Its nothing short of disastrous. The economic impact will be felt for many years to come.



________________________________

-MM- The Nature of Monkey was Irrepressible.
MM
Monday 12 May 2003 11.03am
If anybody wants to email the mayor and the Assembly's transport committee members, you can do so by copying the following emails into your email's To: box


mayor@london.gov.uk, john.biggs@london.gov.uk, sally.hamwee@london.gov.uk, tony.arbour@london.gov.uk, samantha.heath@london.gov.uk, roger.evans@london.gov.uk, jenny.jones@london.gov.uk, lynne.featherstone@london.gov.uk, eric.ollerenshaw@london.gov.uk, nicky.gavron@london.gov.uk



________________________________

-MM- The Nature of Monkey was Irrepressible.
MM
Tuesday 13 May 2003 4.18pm
I have just received this letter from Jenny Jones, one of the Green Party members on the London Assembly. It sounds like our comrades North of the river are trying to spanner the proposals. And people wonder why I have such an antithesis to those who live North of the river!!! I have included all of the main text of her letter, even though it is mainly regarding the other (West London) tram proposals, as I feel there are lobbying lessons to be learnt, here, and they need to be acted upon urgently:

"The Green Party members on the London Assembly would
also be concerned if the Cross River Tram scheme was
mothballed. The effect of the public opposition to the
West London Tram has clearly been felt within TfL and
there is an obvious need to learn the lessons of that
consultation process before embarking upon the next
one. However, one of those lessons must be the need to
engage with community groups and be seen to be flexible
at the earliest possible stage.

I have made my own efforts to engage in the debate
over the west London tram and to be as supportive of the
project as possible. This support must include
providing TfL with friendly feedback and suggestions about
how they could improve the scheme and gain public
acceptability. I would wish to do the same with the Cross
River scheme and some of the issues I've highlighted in
my recent letter to the project manager, Tim Jones
(see below), might be useful for pre-empting public
opposition to the Cross River project.

I hope to meet the Cross River project team in the
next two weeks so that they can brief me in time for a
meeting of the Camberwell Society which I'm speaking at.
I have also written a letter to the local paper
calling upon people to keep an open mind (see below)

I wish you every success with your lobbying.


Jenny Jones
Green Party member of the London Assembly



Letter 1

Editor
Ham and high


The residents of Somers Town have every right to be
consulted about the dotted line on a map which takes the
proposed Cross River tram through their area. I would
definitely encourage them to kick up a fuss and raise
their concerns well before Transport for London have
any firm plans for a route. However, they should be
careful not to miss out on such a great opportunity
before they have seriously considered the advantages which
modern, quiet, fast, reliable and non polluting trams
can bring. It is interesting to contrast the more
questioning attitude of people in North London towards
the tram, with the welcoming embrace of people in South
London who want the existing Croydon tram extended to
their area. Whilst I have my own concerns about the
route, I think it is important to remember that trams
are a successful and familiar part of life throughout
Europe and could improve our lives by replacing many of
the cars which currently dominate our streets.


Letter 2

To: Tim Jones


WEST LONDON TRAM

Following on from our meeting, as well as a useful
meeting between Phil Hewitt and my researcher, I have a
few further points and questions about the promotion of
the West London Tram (WLT) scheme. I would be grateful
for a response to both this and the previous letter in
the very near future, particularly in view of the fact
that I am looking to provide support for WLT. I am
also aware that you are undertaking a Review of the
Engineering Design Strategy, in part to address issues
raised by the consultation process, and would ask you to
keep me informed about its outcome and any changes in
the WLT timetable.

1) Modal Shift

TfL's claims on traffic reduction resulting from WLT
and likely modal shift from car to tram, do need to be
supported by more evidence. For example, is there
evidence from other countries which have had trams in
operation for longer than four years, and on similar
types of routes? This is particularly important as the
proposed West London Tram (WLT) route does not resemble
existing routes in other UK cities. All of these
British tram routes serve a central hub, typically a town
centre. Croydon tram replaced an irregular bus route
and car journeys making long linear journeys or
journeys to the town centre. By contrast, the WLT route would
be catering for short, local journeys.

I was encouraged to hear that TfL plans to carry out
new traffic counts with the results made available by
October 2003. These counts should help establish the
nature of the many short car journeys made locally,
and the extent to which these cars are using 'dog legs'.
I hope that the findings will be used to recalculate
the projected shift from car to tram. Could I ask you
to provide me with the traffic count report as soon as
possible. In addition, I would be interested to know
from the modelling about projected passenger numbers
and modal shift, in a scenario where congestion charging
and other traffic reduction measures have been
introduced across West London.



2) Costs

The leap in costs from an indicative 200 million in
1999, to 425 million, has raised understandable
concern amongst supporters of the tram - not least because
such a large increase in costs gives the impression
that the initial scheme was not properly worked out.
Can you please help me to deal with this point? For
example, would a similar increase in costs have applied
to the other tram schemes which were considered and
rejected as part of the strategic review which selected
the final four transit proposals?

3) Integrated Bus Network

It is very reassuring to hear that indicative plans
are being prepared for how the bus network would be
integrated with the proposed West London tram. This seems
especially important for dealing with the local
North/South car journeys, through the use of feeder buses
and encouraging people to switch to public transport.

I understand that the proposed changes to bus routes
will only be indicative, as TfL London Buses can not
approve the proposed package until 2008 - the year
before the Tram would go into operation. To win public
confidence in the tram package, it would be important to
get a firm political commitment from the current Mayor,
the TfL Board and other parties to implementing these
changes. Would it be possible for a firmer commitment
to be shown earlier through the TfL seven-year
business plan and three-year spending which should cover the
proposed network well ahead of 2008?

4) Enforcement on the Uxbridge Road

I recognise that enforcement along bus routes is a
major problem all over London, but it does seem that
Acton and Southall have congestion despite relatively low
levels of traffic, due to the lack of enforcement. In
terms of the public's acceptance of the WLT, I feel
that enforcement is a pre-requisite for WLT, in order to
give a clearer picture of the actual bus volume on the
road, and to show the local authorities' commitment
to traffic management in the short-term. Can you give
me an update on this?

5) Traffic Management

I believe that the local traffic management measures
should be consulted upon and implemented as soon as
possible. It would be good for local people to have
reassurances that there is a separate, substantial budget
for this, as was the case with congestion charging.

10 million of the WLT overall costings (425 million)
is currently allocated to traffic management measures.
I understand that provision for the 'hard' traffic
management measures such as junction improvements, road
closures, widening and narrowing, would be included in
the PFI contract. The soft traffic management
measures in surrounding residential areas, such as Walk to
School, as well as Home Zones if residents wanted them,
would be implemented by the local authority (via TfL)
but managed by the boroughs. It is expected that most
traffic management measures will be implemented in
advance of the tram works. Can you confirm this?

6) Tram Stops

I welcome the news that tram stops will be placed at
closer intervals in neighbourhoods such as Southall
where high use of the tram would be expected, and there
were no parallel bus services. I understand that
unlike bus stops, tram stops are very expensive to build.
Feeder buses in between tram stops on some parts of
the route are being considered.

7) Bikes

I am glad to hear that your team met with the Cycling
Centre of Excellence (28th March), I hope that the
Centre's suggestions, as far as possible, have been taken
on board.

8) Energy Contract

I assume that all trams in London will run on non
nuclear, renewable energy. This would confirm that the
tram's position as the most sustainable form of public
transport. The Energy contract for Croydon was included
in the PFI, but is due for renewal in two years. I
realize that there are cost implications for green energy
but these should be underpinned by a political
commitment from the Mayor.

Summary

In my view, the key measures that will help make
this scheme more publicly acceptable are:

Meet the concerns of existing bus users (3,4,6),
cyclists (7) and environmentalists (1,8)
Clarify and promote the traffic reduction benefits
of the scheme
Ensure that the relevant Councils implement local
traffic management schemes and soft measures well ahead
of commencement of works
Ensure that bus lane enforcement on Uxbridge Road
takes place over the next year.

I would forward to hearing from you shortly,





Jenny Jones
Green Party member of the London Assembly
Wednesday 14 May 2003 11.01am
Tram: excellent, the sooner the better. It will push up house prices, so its new neighbours, if they don't like it, can take their profits and move somewhere else cheaper - and less accessible. Just like the neighbours of Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick etc. who will doubtless whinge about the proposed new runways but completely ignore the economic benefits in the local economy and to them.

Anyway, to my point: 'I assume that all trams in London will run on non-nuclear, renewable energy. This would confirm that the tram's position as the most sustainable form of public transport. The Energy contract for Croydon was included in the PFI, but is due for renewal in two years. I realize that there are cost implications for green energy but these should be underpinned by a political commitment from the Mayor.'

I thought the whole point of having a national grid is that lots of power stations put electricity into the grid, and anybody can take it out. How does she 'know' that the 'particular' electricity is non-nuclear? Anyway, nuclear is probably the cleanest form of energy there is, apart from solar. Land based wind power is probably the worst in terms of environmental impact.
Wednesday 14 May 2003 4.19pm
Interesting to see there's a campaign in Streatham for a Tramlink extension:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3025309.stm



Editor of the London SE1 website.
Subscribe to our SE1 Direct weekly newsletter.
MM
Thursday 15 May 2003 12.35pm
The key person at TfL for the SE Tram proposals is Martin Dean:

martindean@tfl.gov.uk



________________________________

-MM- The Nature of Monkey was Irrepressible.
Sunday 18 May 2003 8.29pm
My similarly unatttributable sources suggest that there are some real problems with current proposals - presumably our friends from the north are one - and that quite a lot is back on the drawing board. But in an active way which could lead to new, if altered, proposals.

In general its south London who need the improved transport. And I suspect it is south London elected representatives who will have to fight for it.
Tuesday 20 May 2003 1.12pm
The story's hit the South London Press...

Tram plan 'outrage'



Editor of the London SE1 website.
Subscribe to our SE1 Direct weekly newsletter.
MM
Tuesday 20 May 2003 3.00pm
I know I have called for petitions before, but PLEASE can all of our Southwark councillors band together, whatever their political colour, and use as much influence as they can to get these plans "back on the rails". We are in danger of being walked over by our more affluent cousins, both in West London, and in North London too. We need to make a very large public stink about this.



________________________________

-MM- The Nature of Monkey was Irrepressible.
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