How to improve narrow congested streets? Trafalgar Road consultation underway

Greenwich Council have launched a consultation on improving Trafalgar Road in Greenwich. Funding for the scheme comes from a TfL fund awarded in 2016.

There’s some positives seen in these plans such as removing excessive street clutter. This is greatly welcome on such a busy and narrow street with pedestrians, cyclists, buses and other traffic vying for limited space.

A cycling contraflow on Mell Street is also a positive, as is a cycle link to Old Woolwich Road from Trafalgar Road.

One of the biggest issues with the road is narrowness in places. The plans therefore see little in the way of segregated lanes and instead a slight widening of green paint.

The bus lane becomes 24/7. More double yellows will appear on the road.

Worst areas untouched

Unfortunately the junction by the Greenwich Centre and Blackwall Lane is not covered. Nor are the many streets linking the Peninsula and east Greenwich. The lack of action on some absolutely dire streets in Greenwich and Charlton is bizarre. Why that area wasn’t the focus of a bid, nor ever improved using New Homes Bonus income, Section 106 money or TfL’s annual LIP fund is a continuing mystery.

Who is in control?

Confusion also still reigns apparently as to who controls streets across Greenwich. It’s almost entirely Greenwich Council, yet local councillors have tweeted about how they wish TfL or the police would act on, say, parking. It’s Greenwich Council’s responsibility.

It ceased being a predominantly police matter many years ago. They can still act with certain obstructions but when officer numbers are being squeezed and cut it’s not very likely to happen often as it’s not really their job anymore.

When it comes to street design, TfL also only directly control the A102 and Blackwall tunnel approach and flyover, and will not enforce on other streets. TfL do have a say on what happens but the random placement of street furniture, types used and other interventions are Greenwich Council’s work.

Yet councillors continue to point the finger outside of the council as to who is to blame for poor walking and cycling conditions. Whether this is ignorance or deflection is unknown. They have more than enough income from local developments to improve these streets.

In vain without action?

It’s mistaken thinking from Greenwich Councillors (and it appears council departments) that gives a hint as to why poor parking is endemic in places and Greenwich’s parking budget has a £10 million black hole.

And that thinking, along with a skeleton parking staff as covered here, means that all the improvement in the world will mean little if people park where they want when they want.

On my last visit a car was parked on double yellows at the start of the westbound bus lane in the middle of the peak period blocking every bus behind it. On a half-mile stretch six cars were parked on yellows or on the paving aiding gridlock.

What this consultation boils down to is some decent work but it’s mostly small scale stuff. Removing clutter, a bit of paint and not much else. This really should be routine stuff being done under routine audits of major streets and not as a result of a major fund being awarded.

There are other schemes coming under the fund which will hopefully yield better results. One is a pocket park which will be consulted separately.

You can see the consultation documents and comment here.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    7 thoughts on “How to improve narrow congested streets? Trafalgar Road consultation underway

    • Thanks, and as you say absolutely bizarre they aren’t looking at those awful junctions. Typical Greenwich Council – it’s always someone else’s fault.

      Why make the bus lanes 24 hours if parking isn’t enforced during peak? And if the 180 and 177 do cease running down parts of Trafalgar Road as TfL plan, again, why bother?

    • Completely agree. It’s a terrible and going to get worse with Ikea. The improvements are a nice idea but won’t help with congestion. More trees would be a good start.

    • This is one of the worst parts of my cycle to work. Many mornings the cycle lanes are essentially deemed out of bounds by delivery lorries to the Co-Op, Iceland, Tesco and other outlets.

      Wider green paint will do nothing to assist cycling when there are vans and lorries parked up.

      The line ‘we spend a lot money on these (cycling) facilities, and then they don’t use them’ rings in my ears.

    • Whenever I have reported road issues to the council, they are quick to say it is a matter for TFL.

      As for Trafalgar Road, I have walked, cycled, bus ridden and driven along there for over 40 years. The main cause of congestion along Trafalgar Road in my opinion appears to be caused by the traffic lights at the junction of Maze Hill. Once past those lights, traffic flows into Greenwich Town centre. Perhaps looking into those lights might be a consideration as well as the irresponsible parking on Trafalgar Road, especially outside the Tesco Metro store.

    • Whole of traffic issues especially town center could be solved by making some real choices. Just need to make one through-road 2 way, e.g. Creek road – Trafalgar.
      Then you can get rid of all the rat-race around the market and pedestrianize it King William street . (Only direction that would be canceled would be Creek Road – Greenwich Hi st).
      Same for Trafalgar Road, there is always eagerness to accommodate everyone: cars, cyclists, buses and parking space. In the end some choices need to be made because this way no one is happy.

    • I’m desperate for any improvements no matter how minor along here. It’s one of my main barriers to cycling to work as I actually enjoy using Quietway 1, it’s just reaching it from Charlton that’s the problem.

      But as others have said and I agree, it’s all a total waste of time if anti social parking isn’t addressed. Until those responsible are fined, making a bike lane mandatory or adding some double yellows won’t make any difference at all. Will the council step up? Past record suggests not…

    • Pingback: Have your say on new pocket parks in Greenwich – From The Murky Depths

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