Remember the Thames Deckway? Last year, it was just the latest in a string of batty proposals to improve life for cyclists in London. This one would have made them cycle along a floating deck for eight miles between Battersea and Canary Wharf, and thereby got them out of the way of all those nasty cars.
At the time, we laid out the reasons it wasn't exactly the best plan we'd ever heard: it would cost around £600m, parallel existing or soon-to-exist routes, and might get hit by passing boats, to name a few. Yes, there were good points, like the plan to collect tidal, solar and wind power along the deckway – but overall, we concluded that this was maybe just a marketing ploy by consultants Arup and the architect and artist behind the scheme.
No such luck. This month, the River Cycleway Consortium launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
At first, we were surprised to see it only aimed to raise a £175,000: perhaps they found a way to build the deckway for a far less exorbitant sum than they'd originally thought? On closer inspection, though, it became clear that the campaign is only raising enough cash to conduct a viability study on the project.
Then, armed with the study, the consortium plans to raise the £600m required to actually build the thing from private investors. They don't plan to seek any public investment, and would pay back the initial investment through the £1.50 charge cyclists would pay for every trip alon the Deckway. From the Indiegogo campaign page:
Putting together projections, planning and price will reinforce the business and financial case for the project as the company prepares to go after major investors....
The need for public funding is not presently envisaged. Initially we are seeking to realise this project as a high impact social and environmental enterprise.
Those who donate will be rewarded with passes to access the deckway for up to a year, plus cool cycling accessories like bags, a "customised Thames Deckway cycling hat", and something called a "reflective slap band".
The campaign page also includes a projected timeline for the project:
As you can see, the consortium would plan to open the deckway for service by 2023 after raising around £6.175m worth of donations and investment in total. Best of luck to them.