Greenwich Council will once again receive over £3 million from TfL to improve streets and public spaces across the borough in the newly begun financial year 2018/19. All councils in London receive annual sums from this Local Implementation Plan pot.
I recently covered how Greenwich Council have failed to consult on many 2017/18 projects, let alone actually carry them out, so this list might be fanciful but here’s where money should be going.
It sadly goes without saying that once again the council has not sought resident feedback before the start of the financial year to guide projects as seen in other borough across London.
They’re already chasing against time which is a pointer as to why so many schemes do not progress as they should.
Regular meetings in each area of the borough alongside online feedback would help avoid this.
This year there’s £110,000 for Phase 2 works on Eynsham Drive in Abbey Wood. Yet last year’s £120,000 for Phase 1 has not been spent nor has consultation yet occurred.
The shopping parade at Eynsham Drive is the heart of the estate but not a particularly great or welcoming spot.
There’s no mention of improving this area which surely should be a key aim. This is how it appears on approach from certain directions.
One idea that is mentioned a cycle lane over Eynsham Drive Bridge. I have cycled in the area regularly and anyone heading north-south over rail tracks would most likely leave Eynsham Drive and cross the railway line via nearby footbridges with ramps so it’s hard to see the point of this.
If I did use the bridge it was one of the few areas a bit of green paint wasn’t needed. But anyway, that’ll take minimal sums out of £110,000, leaving much left over.
There’s mention of “upgraded crossings”. Welcome in places yet again that doesn’t take much out of £110.000. Some should still be available for improving the shopping parade. Will it be used for that purpose?
Instead I’m expecting more street clutter and a messier road to be the ultimate result of this money given Greenwich Highways Department’s usual modus operandi.
There’s £67,000 for Woolwich Road between Blackwall Lane and Tunnel Avenue. An area of dire street design so this is very welcome, assuming clutter is removed and not added.
But we’ve been here before. Greenwich had a separate fund called HILLs which was supposed to spend £50,000 on the same area back in 2015. What happened? This is from 2015:
£220,000 is also due to be spent in Charlton on
- Provision of mandatory cycle lanes between Prospect Vale and the roundabout at Warspite Rd.
- Inclusion of VAS signs.
- Consider light segregation where appropriate.
This seems welcome alongside the scheme to extend riverside cycle lanes.
A one-way system is also being considered for Sandy Hill Road in Woolwich.
What is this money for?
One issue with how this money is what is meant by “transport”. Across Greenwich borough it’s all too often tarmac and roads. A pretty narrow remit.
For many other councils money given for “transport” includes area of public spaces including paving, estates, park entrances and more. Pedestrians are considered a form of transport and not just when crossing roads. They’re not an afterthought.
Greenwich’s narrow approach means that instead of improving areas around stations, shops, estates and areas of high pedestrian footfall they focus predominantly on the road.
That then usually translates to many more signs and street clutter. But most paving and public space is ignored.
Hopefully this will change as “public realm” does appear more often in reports. Promising sounding schemes include:
Continued upgrade programme of the whole Thames Path including match-funding elements of the Quietways route and upgrading other sections. This includes improvements around Greenwich Wharf, interim measures to improve the Western Peninsula Thames Path (within the wider context of on-going development). Improving access to the Thames Path around the Thames Barrier and Cutty Sark Gardens will also be explored.
They have a year now to truly consult and implement schemes.
So I’ll see you in March 2019 to see if they’ve delivered, unlike previous years.
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