From the blog
We have learned that Transport for London (TfL) has drawn up detailed plans to pedestrianise the Underground train tunnel between Waterloo and Bank stations.
A confidential report, A Better Way to Bank, has been circulated to a select group of senior TfL Directors, and we understand it is being viewed favourably by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson.
The tunnel will be transformed into a bright, attractive space with video walls and music, and help 'passengers' collectively burn off the equivalent of 6 million Calories per week (or 200,000 chocolate fingers).
At only 1.5 miles long, the Waterloo and City line is the shortest tube line on the network. The report highlights some key factors that favour the line's conversion into a foot tunnel:
- Cost – maintenance, energy and staffing costs would decrease dramatically, and help TfL meet tough new financial targets
- Capacity – by allowing people to occupy the whole length of the tunnel, the report states that passenger through-put could be increased by almost 50%
- Carbon – TfL has calculated that CO2 emissions 'per passenger kilometre' would be cut by around 80%
- Users' Oyster cards would be credited by up to £3 per week - 20p for each one-way weekday trip they make, with a £1 'Bank Your Bonus' reward if 10 trips are completed in a single week
- The tunnels will be finished in high quality materials, with bright high-efficiency LED lighting, and stretches of video walls depicting inspiring scenes of nature from around the world
- Users will experience atmospheric 'soundscapes' along stretches of the tunnel, including live relays of choral music from St Paul's Cathedral (above them)
So a mix of views there. But all in all, we are encouraged to see such radical 'blue-sky' thinking from TfL. It recognises that there's a debate to be had about the increasingly important role that walking can play in meeting key economic, environmental and health challenges.
While we see the merit of the scheme on cold, dark, wet and windy winter evenings, we probably needn't remind people that to see genuine blue sky, there's a rather wonderful above ground route from Waterloo to Bank.
Image: Frazer Payne and tompagenet
Video: Richard Ballard, Vivienne Eguridu, Samira Musa