The planned Garden Bridge in London is receiving criticism for various provisions that are supposedly going to be put in place. Many people who were excited about the park-like bridge believe that these policies will prevent them from having a good time.
People at the bridge will not be allowed to run, play music, have picnics, assemble in large groups, fly kites or stay at the park very late. So far, more than 30 prohibitions have been announced.
Additionally, other reports have stated that the visitors of the Garden Bridge will have their phone signals tracked and monitored. This has caused considerable outrage from privacy advocates. Furthermore, people who break the rules of the bridge are reportedly going to have their names and addresses released to the public.
While most people were originally excited by the project, Londoners feel that they will be even more scrutinized in the park than they are in other parts of the city. Some people have compared the future bridge to be that of a miniature police state. Over time, the positive outlook of the project has continued to erode away.
The plans for the bridge originally promised a luscious maze of trees, wildflowers and ponds featuring giant lily pads. Birds would chirp and bees would buzz. It was supposed to be a paradise of “peace, beauty and magic”. The bridge is being designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick.
However, there quickly became flaws in the plan. The proposed bridge has been sandwiched between two other bridges that are less than ten minutes apart by walking. Additionally, the lack of a cycling path on the bridge forces cyclists to walk their bicycles. This has many bicycle enthusiasts feeling quite enraged.
The original price tag for the bridge was supposed to be just $90.5 million and require no funding from the public. Now the expected cost has reached $264 million, about half of which will come from the British Treasury. The failure to deliver on this promise has budget analysts fuming.
In essence, the British government is spending millions on a bridge that offers very little benefit in terms of infrastructure and is spoiling it with a long list of prohibitions. This comes at a time when the city of London is in desperate need of affordable housing.
Making matters even worse is that the design of the bridge has been attacked. The planned trees will block the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral from the riverside. Also, less than half of the surface of the bridge will contain plants, making it largely a waste of space. What was supposed to be a beautiful and massive garden will likely not come to fruition.
And then there are the problems of security, which most people consider to be excessive and oppressive. London already has more surveillance cameras per capita than anywhere else in the world. Many British people say that they feel as though they are living in a police state. The proposed security at the bridge is only adding to this feeling. It’s no surprise when officials have stated that visitors of the bridge will be scrutinized for eating sandwiches or flying a kite.
With the growing number of downfalls, people are starting to ask why the bridge is even being constructed in the first place. Some are beginning to suspect that the planning process was rigged from the start.
The selected designer Thomas Heatherwick has only designed one bridge in the past. Meanwhile, other potential designers have worked on up to 25. Despite this, Heatherwick was scored the highest when it came to “relevant design experience”. Some suspect that Heatherwick has a favorable relationship with key decision makers.
Now, changes are starting to come about. London announced last week that it is cutting some of the city’s funding on the project. This contribution could continue to decline if more bad news is spread.
While the Garden Bridge was supposed to become an iconic part of London’s culture, it is quickly turning into a mess. It is now a symbol of waste, skewed priorities, poor planning and backhanded actions by the city’s elite. Perhaps worst of all, the bridge hasn’t even been built yet. It will be interesting to see what problems arise once the bridge actually exists.