I was delighted to read about the proposed plan for a 22 mile underground tunnel through central London to increase road volume for cars while reducing their impact on the environment. Obviously not the environment in terms of air quality, as the air will still be there, but in terms of moving the volume of traffic off the streets to allow for more pedestrian and cycle ways. Hopefully the air bit will be taken care of by the slow electrification of vehicles.
As a car nut, but also a keen cyclist, I can really see the benefit of providing distance between motor vehicles and bikes, but with London so overbuilt the ability to achieve this is limited. I have always harboured thoughts about underground motorways crossing the city which would aid traffic to get from North to South or East to West. The idea is very similar to the Thames Link project connecting heavy rail across the capital. But unlike that scheme where a lot of the rail already exists this is more like the Crossrail project in its ambition and technical scope.
At the moment budgets expect such a project to cost in the region of £30bn, so expensive, but with London absorbing so much external investment I am sure the offset value of the land that would be released for development could seriously reduce the cost substantially. Initial estimates believe congestion in London will grow by 60% in the next 17 years so the need for extra capacity is significant. Apparently as well there has been little conflict from the green lobby to this proposal as they too can see the benefits it will bring.
Living in east London and commuting out to Worcestershire by far the slowest part of my journey is through central London. The idea that I could jump onto the tunnel system at Elephant & Castle and pop out on the A40 westway would be amazing. Unfortunately I could really do with this today, not in 20 years’ time (which realistically is how long anything takes in the UK), but I am sure whoever is living in London then will see the benefits straight away.