Plans to improve the area around the station in Abbey Wood are now on display at Sainsbury’s Abbey Wood – until 5pm on Sunday. Much of the work is focused on the flyover over the station but a small section is covered to the south in the area up to the Abbey Arms pub (as seen above) and a larger stretch on Felixstowe Road to the north. The work is due to kick off next month.
A separate scheme to upgrade the rest of Abbey Wood’s main shopping street beside the station, Wilton Road, is noticeably absent from this consultation. With work there due to begin before the end of the month, just what is going to happen? Greenwich and Bexley borough’s have revealed no information whatsoever to the public.
If Greenwich Highways Department have a big influence I’m wary. Will the project use poor and dated paving as seen elsewhere, and cheap and ugly street furniture and lighting? I hope not, but revealing nothing so late in the day, coupled with a very poor record doesn’t perhaps bode well.
Back to the Crossrail scheme, and much is very good and will be a huge boost. Here’s how Felixstowe Road will look:
There’s some potential issues. The extensive paving will become a car park in no time unless bollards are installed and Greenwich Council enforce parking rules. The mass of paving on the left is in Greenwich borough. The area on the right is Bexley borough.
Just before current work begun one bollard was removed on the Greenwich side. Almost immediately up to half a dozen cars at a time drove up on the pavement at times and blocked pedestrian access to the northern station entrance. You’d be hard pressed to find worse driving and parking than in this area. If they think some of the more selfish and idiotic drivers will obey the road and not drive on paving they are mistaken.
There’s a two-way cycle lane installed last year as part of Sainsbury’s-related road changes which runs almost to the point above. There’s space here for many more cycle racks. Some are located on the flyover but why many would pedal up a hill to reach them and end up sweating if you could park here is beyond me.
The area under the flyover needs improving too. LED lights could improve this dark and dingy spot:
This has happened under a number of Network Rail bridges in Southwark. Here’s one example. Southwark Council had a whole program to improve areas under bridge called “art under the arches”. The website states:
“The regeneration projects were delivered to improve the safety of the routes beneath the viaducts in Bankside, and since completion, the number of people passing through the arches has increased substantially. The four bridges are located at Dolben Street, Treveris Street, Burrell Street, and Gambia Street.”
Here’s the planned timeline for Crossrail work:
Bus hold ups?
Another possible issue is altering some stretches of road to single lane on the flyover. It’s currently two lanes each way. Reducing the number of lanes down to one will increase traffic, possibly holding up buses heading to the station:
It should be ok, though they’ll very likely be a large increase in buses serving the station as TfL adjust routes up to 2018. The advent of Crossrail will likely see more cars heading here too. Add in Peabody’s development of thousands of new homes just to the north, and things like Abbey Wood’s proposed tower, and car use is likely to rise. Many more people (and at least 11k homes could be coming to Thamesmead) also means more heading to the Sainsbury’s just north of here too.
Unless buses have a dedicated lane all along Harrow Manorway and the flyover they could be slowed down substantially. Which in turn will make more turn to cars.
A website for these schemes is here. It may still be in preview mode in which case the password is Bexley1617
Bexley is Bonkers has also covered this as well as issues such as a potential extension of Crossrail east to Belvedere, Erith, and Slade Green. Bexley Council now plan on 22,000 new homes around Erith and Belvedere stations. This from TfL’s report into taking over Southeastern:
Unfortunately the design of the station has just seen a massive lump of concrete installed where any eastbound track would run.
On the whole this improvement project around Abbey Wood will be a huge boost for the area. There’s a few issues that could have a big negative impact if they aren’t picked up. Location and number of cycle racks, prevention of poor parking, congestion blocking buses hampering usage and the like.
And aside from that, how can no information be made public just days before a large scheme kicks off that has the potential to transform a main street in a large town? The fact no public information is out there about Wilton Road’s £400k public realm upgrade is a sign of a council that isn’t functioning well. Or certainly one that lacks a culture of transparency.
It’s great that money was found for the area (though £400k to cover 90% of the main street verses £6 million for the immediate environment around the station may not be enough) but they have to engage with people.
It’s not the only example. £3million is to be spent around Plumstead station next spring. Where’s the information, where’s the consultation? Trying to get information from Plumstead Councillors draws no response.