Since the Forest Hill Society was formed in 2006 we have been hoping for a new pedestrian bridge to replace the existing bridge between Sydenham Park and Dacres Road. This is an important connection to Sydenham and Forest Hill schools for children on either side of the railway and it is a useful bicycle route too – avoiding the poor cycling provision in the centres of Sydenham and Forest Hill.
We wanted a scheme that would work for everybody and provides a safe way to cross the railway instead of a slippery and steep set of steps over the bridge. After hours of careful deliberation, the Forest Hill Society put together a proposal that combines the latest innovative technology in personal transportation to provide a quick and easy way to cross the railway.
|Forest Hill Society Chair, Claus Murmann, tests out the prototype trebuchet|
On each side of the railway a trebuchet (sometimes referred to as a catapult) will be positioned to transport people across the railway line. This part of the scheme is simple enough, but the innovative part of the scheme is the installation of two ‘bounceways’ on either side of the railway, where passengers land and can bounce their way towards their chosen destination.
The bounceway is a series of trampolines that form the ideal landing site for trebuchet passengers. Bounceways were first proposed in 2014 for Jubilee Gardens by, then mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The scheme never got off the ground, but we are delighted that now that Mr Johnson has taken on a new role in government, this scheme is to take off - in Forest Hill.
The trebuchet will be capable of taking one person at a time with a bicycle or buggy and the speed of the flight and centrifugal force means that any bags of shopping can be safely carried without anything falling out.
Although initially considered dangerous, our experiments have shown that using the catapult in conjunction with two bounceways is significantly safer than trying to cross the existing footbridge.
Bounceway sketch from 2014 Architecture for Humanity
Boris Johnson is expected to lend his
support to this visionary transport scheme and will be one of the first
dignitaries to launch, or be launched by, this project. The PM's spokesperson, Avril Dummkopf, said that "at least
with this project, unlike the zip wire, we know he can't get stuck halfway
across!" Sadiq Khan is expected to take a different approach, with his own simultaneous launch from the other side of the railway. But we hope compromise is possible and that they meet somewhere in the middle.
The combination of bounceways and catapults is clearly the perfect solution for cyclists and pedestrians crossing a busy railway with the minimum of human debris.
We will continue to push for delivery of a new bridge for this location rather than this ridiculous scheme.