£1.2 billion redevelopment of London Bridge station fails to provide for cyclists

London Bridge station is the latest central location due to be subject to a massive redevelopment, but there are serious concerns about the possible removal of cycle routes and lack of attention to dangerous junctions in the area.

(View our official objection)

The planning application submitted to Southwark Council by Network Rail would reorganise this important transport hub, providing a badly needed new £1.2 billion station and concourse but - unless substantial changes are made - the consequences for cycling could be dire.

Where have the developers gone wrong?

Bike routes removed

The cycle route along Weston Street (London Cycle Network 22) will disappear into the station, where riders will be able to “walk bikes through the 24/7 part of the concourse".

Network Rail's representatives told us: “Cyclists will use alternative road routes. These have not been defined. There is no provision to cycle through the new station concourse."

Dangerous junction with London Bridge ignored

Cyclists make up 33% of traffic crossing the river at London Bridge at peak times, but nothing is to be done to address the junction at London Bridge and Tooley Street, which is a nightmare for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Developers say traffic light timings might be changed but that is all.

Their planning application stops short of the junction and says nothing about the land just metres from the development, even though Southwark Council’s planning guidance, quoted in the application, says “Applications will be granted provided that there is adequate provision for pedestrians and cyclists within the development, and where practicable within the surrounding area.”

Inadequate cycle parking

With the consistent rises in cycling in London you might also expect the rail authorities to be aiming for standards seen at Dutch stations, where thousands of bike spaces are the norm, not hundreds.

The developers promise 500 spaces saying this is above the Transport for London 2004 advisory standards and above the clearly inadequate number that are provided at present.

What they don’t highlight is that 500 is below the standard recommended in a 2010 report for TfL, which the developers quote but then ignore, and that it doesn’t allow for growth in demand or all the people working at the station.

No detail is given about the quality or security of the parking proposed.

And in case you are one of the 400 registered users of the fully secure bike park at the On Your Bike Shop near the station and are wondering what next – that’s coming down too (in 2013) and any replacement, if there is one, will be subject to ‘commercial considerations.”

Nothing learned from Blackfriars

It's hard to believe that after all the public criticism of the £550m development at Blackfriars and the inadequate cycling parking at The Shard next to London Bridge, that Network Rail hasn’t done better at London Bridge.

It’s also surprising given that the Mayor, who plays a role in major planning applications, rides along Tooley Street daily, and has expressed his concern about the lack of cycle parking at stations.

What happened to the millions of pounds Network Rail allocated to improve cycling parking at its stations after it was publicly embarrassed by the former transport minister Lord Adonis?

The London Bridge planning application can be read online

Next steps

On Saturday 6 August 2011 we’ll be submitting our offical response (before the 6 August deadline), and publishing a letter that you can use to object to the scheme.

Southwark Council will consider the application, which might be referred to the Mayor.


Any idea on proposed start & completion dates for this scheme? Looks like an absolutely massive undertaking; aside from the poor provision for cyclists it looks like a good scheme for the area in many respects (although the presumed loss of the various business units that currently operate in those arches is a pity & no doubt there'll be years of disruption while they build it all).

AFAIK the Cycle Superhighway CS4 (Woolwich -> London Bridge, opening 2015) will run along Tooley St, the scheme should at least acknowledge that.

Network Rail are not known for their love of bikes on station property, however Stainer St will presumably remain under council control albeit "traffic free" (i.e. pedestrian only) in the current proposal..? Thing is, knowing how crowded it gets around there, I can't see a cycle path on an otherwise pedestrian area working too well.. even if they were to provide signage & a painted cycle route, there will likely be commuters & shoppers milling around in all directions, which doesn't exactly make for safe and practical cycling.

Alternatively, perhaps there's scope (and room) for improved provision on Bermondsey St (N/S) and St Thomas St (E/W). Personally I'd accept the loss of Weston & Stainer in return for:-

* high quality implementation of CS4 on Tooley St (i.e. give proper room to the blue lane there on a street that's choked with taxis, buses, commuters & suicidal tourists)

* close Bermondsey St tunnel to motor traffic, make it a high quality 2-way cycle link between the old LCN22 and CS4.

* implement dedicated 2 way cycle infrastructure along entire length of St Thomas St. (unsure from these plans whether the intention is for it to remain 1-way for motor traffic as is currently the case).

* making the London Bridge / Borough High St / Tooley St junction safer for people on bikes.. which /should/ happen anyway as part of the CS4 works, but will it?

  • By mike_c at 2:36pm 6 August 2011

Nothing's going to happen until after the Olympics, so the start is at least 12 months ago. We'll update as we get more information.

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