A consultation has been launched on designs for three pocket parks in east Greenwich along Trafalgar Road.
It follows a separate consultation around five months ago on other changes along the road.
Funding comes from TfL “low emissions neighbourhoods” scheme. The irony of this being a short distance from a planned Ikea, Silvertown Tunnel, Cruise Liner terminal and numerous car-based retail parks is not lost on many.
But anyway, it’ll be a nice boost to Trafalgar Road which is’t the most attractive street in the world. It was always telling how the quality of street design and street furniture heavily dropped as soon as leaving tourist-heavy west Greenwich.
The pocket parks promise to bring more greenery.
One good option sees an open space created on Mell Street.
I’m not sure it’s a particularly radical change. Two out of three pocket parks are proposed for areas and former junctions where cars are already prevented from accessing Trafalgar Road such as Hoskins Street.
Should other junctions be included?
Instead of removing some street clutter and barriers under these plans Greenwich Council double-down and turn railings into solid walls.
There is a place for railings but the sheer number in east Greenwich is excessive (as in so many other areas).
Excessive railings are bad for cyclists (who can get trapped between them and traffic) as well as pedestrians, who are often corralled into crossing at designated crossings some way from the most direct routes and their presence has been shown to increase traffic speed as drivers psychologically feel a greater sense of separation from pedestrians and so increase speed.
That then makes any collisions occur at higher speed. Research showing this was a main cause in so many authorities removing them over the past decade, and very few are used in other developed nations. But as we’ve seen, Greenwich Council are often operating to 30 year old design guidance.
Not to mention that there presence on narrow paving often takes away a sizable amount of paving “real estate” which makes navigating streets harder for those in wheelchairs or simply slows down movement on busy streets.
Then there’s the simple case of them being ugly. There’s some great buildings on Trafalgar Road obscured behind all sorts of street clutter.
An uglier street is a street where some residents take less pride, less people want to visit and businesses suffer for that.
One other potential issues is substantial raised planters shown in renders. Nothing wrong in theory yet the record of maintenance is not good. And materials are often used for side walls which easily stain.
If local groups are consulted throughout, such as EGRA, that would help long term maintenance.
So we can expect some improvements and more greenery which is very welcome but many of the fundamental issues with the street, like so many across Greenwich borough, are seemingly not being tackled. It’s a bit of light tinkering which lacks boldness and is still reliant on dated thinking.
You can comment here. Seeing online consultations such as however this is very welcome and a thumbs up to Greenwich Council for doing them.