FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Greenwich borough, Transport

A look at Greenwich Council’s cycle strategy – £7.3 million well spent?

Greenwich Council have published a report looking at progress on their cycle strategy over the past three years. Over that time £7.34 million has been spent on a number of measures.

The report lists a number of very welcome schemes such as the upgrade to the Ridgeway from Plumstead station heading through Abbey Wood and Thamesmead, the £1.2 million road upgrade from Plumstead to Woolwich, a swing bridge over Deptford Creek and smaller schemes such as cycle storage locations:

Unfortunately the number of people cycling seems to have stagnated recently. It’s risen from a derisory 1.1% in 2011/12 to 2.3% in 2014/15 but slipped back to 2.2% last year.

A separate measure shows an 11% rise in cycling in 2015-16 so take your pic with the figures. The report doesn’t have 2016/17 figures for some reason which would offer greater insight into progress. Cyclist injures have reduced from levels seen in 2005-2009.

As good as the schemes are, I’ve covered before how some are being hampered by failings in certain council departments with new schemes being compromised by a lack of parking enforcement in numerous areas.

Future plans

There’s a fair few promising schemes possibly coming in future. One is a segregated lane for the eastbound stretch of Plumstead Road to mirror the westbound lane. Hopefully parking enforcement is a lot better.

Another idea is light separation on Woolwich Road from Woolwich to Charlton. Again, much needed as cars park in the existing painted lane in the same spots daily. Light separation is the use of things such as wands. It’s far cheaper than rebuilding entire streets and a great way to introduce physical separation.

Another welcome scheme are segregated cycle lanes on Harrow Manorway leading to Abbey Wood station, which are being installed under the current £10 million upgrade scheme which is due to finish before Crossrail arrives.

Upgraded Harrow manorway with cycle and bus lanes

There’s mention of engaging with TfL to inform the proactive development of a “Liveable Neighbourhood” proposal in Thamesmead, Abbey Wood and
Plumstead area.

Greenwich are also lobbying the Mayor and TfL to push forward the Cycle Superhighway from central London to Woolwich. It is now curtailed at Deptford under current plans. Let’s hope areas like this see improvement:

Hopefully lobbying succeeds but waiting for the arrival of a Cycle Superhighway is sometimes given as an excuse for not improving dire cycle and walking links around east Greenwich and the Peninsula. Given it could be 5-10 years before any work is undertaken, parallel plans need drawing up. It can’t stay the utter state it currently is. I covered the links here.

A more attractive environment with better lighting, less clutter, painting and murals would increase attractiveness for those on foot as well. A lick of paint such as this would lift the gloominess.

Overall a lot of great steps have been taken the past few years but they’re hampered by parking issues and widespread failures of enforcement. Greater parking income can also be re-invested in improvements. Just think what £9 million not attained over the past five years could’ve done.

Many recent schemes are islands amongst a sea of poor design thus their attractiveness is diminished, but they’ve laid a good foundation and forthcoming plans look good and will plug the gaps.

One more thing – credit to the council for extensive details of schemes in the appendix. Now we need this for TfL’s £3.5 million annual funds under the Local Implementation Plan where spending figures and the scope of schemes is very lacking.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Matt

    I’m very interested in the Thames Path Quietway idea. Hopefully this includes improvements and resurfacing of the cycle paths along this route already as in my experience, some surfaces are poorly maintained and uncomfortable to ride on. In particular, the current route from the Woolwich Road towards the Thames Barrier can be unsuitable due to tree roots creating uncomfortable raised cracks in the path.

    I really and truly hope the lobbying to extend CS4 are successful though. It would be a boon for Charlton residents and could hopefully provide a safe, fast route into Woolwich or towards central London for those like me who enjoy commuting by bike but may be put off cycling on the A206 at rush hour. And you’re right, that awful flyover definitely needs looking at…

    • fromthemurkydepths

      CS4 would be great but Sadiq Khan shows very little interest and with TfL’s finances right now it’s very unlikely any progress will happen in 5 years. Given that, ignoring the area isn’t an option when so much money is coming in from developers and forthcoming traffic levels could be very high.

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