Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Just because it’s called a “Gateway” …

with 2 comments

I grew up in East London, just to the north of what was then the largest man made sheet of enclosed water in the world. The Royal Docks. Which, of course, closed as a result of containerisation and competition from ports like Rotterdam.

This area is now known as “The Thames Gateway” but there the similarities to our own project cease. In the UK it is about regeneration of the area. The London Docklands Development Corporation was set up by Mrs Thatcher to exploit the old docklands and was forbidden to have any kind of planning or development control. That did not work at all, and sooner rather than later planners were busily going about their business but just being low profile about it. The Thames Gateway is much bigger area and has also has been designated Britain’s first eco-region.  (I think I may have to find out what they mean by that – but again the contrast to the cavalier attitude to the sensitive ecosystems of the Fraser and the South Coast could not be more stark).

Ministers promise Thames Gateway transport overhaul

is really all about public transport – or what we call “transit”. But of course there is also some money for roads and “local transport schemes”. The Labour government started out trying not to build roads and shift more people onto buses and trains, but the amounts of public spending required and the sentiments of the businesses and lobbying of the road promoters weakened their resolve early. Even so this area has now seen High Speed 1 – the connecting line to Channel Tunnel – expansions of the Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee and East and North London Lines (now being sold as The Overground) and will benefit from the Crossrail project which links the Great Eastern and Great Western main lines rather like the Parisian RER projects of the 1960s.

But the point I am trying to make is that this plan is not about trying to get back the containers “lost” to Europoort and Felixstowe. It is about integrated planning to accommodate a growing population (as in Canada driven mainly by immigration) with a plan to deal with new housing, economic regeneration and transport. Not just widening the existing highways, promising a few more buses and hoping the land use sorts itself out somehow, which is how the BC Liberals think things should be done.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 1, 2007 at 8:55 am

Posted in Urban Planning

2 Responses

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  1. Not related, but humorous and from your native England I believe:


    December 1, 2007 at 11:22 am

  2. Yes that is in England and no it is not on topic for this post but I will leave it as it is a useful reminder of how incredibly stupid some drivers are. We need some bus only lanes like this here – with these very neat rising barriers.

    Stephen Rees

    December 1, 2007 at 2:55 pm

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