From The Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Greenwich borough

Greenwich borough streets see highest increase in collisions across all of London.

The latest figures on injuries across streets and public spaces show Greenwich borough with the highest increase of any London borough at 16% in 2017.

Pedestrian injuries were up a massive 36% and cyclist injuries 25%. Car occupant injuries reduced 2%.

This site has long highlighted dire conditions of many streets in the borough. Improving public spaces and streets are so often an afterthought at best with spending priorities. They’re cluttered, ugly, dangerous and littered with dangerous parking.

An area of rapid change

I could say “I told you so” but I’d much rather they changed tack and start focusing on this issue instead of continually turning a blind eye. How many times do they need informing of poor parking? How many examples of poor design practice in the borough, and better examples elsewhere have to be shown, before more funds are allocated and better street design adopted?

I’ve also covered many sources of funds that are available to improve the situation.

Despite this, public realm and street changes are usually long down the list of priorities for Greenwich Council. They rigidly stick to dated working practices and cluttering up streets with bollards and guardrail instead of looking what works in the 21st century. Those boroughs that have de-clutterred on a large scale see some big drops.

Greenwich are often reliant on external funds from TfL for any changes instead of using some of their own income. One example is east Greenwich’s low emission zone. Welcome though it is, the amount spent is far below income the authority has in its coffers from new developments in the area.

TfL are not helping the situation by cutting short the planned Cycle Superhighway from Tower bridge at Deptford Creek instead of Woolwich and removing the roundabout under the Blackwall Tunnel approach flyover from improvement schemes, however responsibility for 90% of streets rests with Greenwich borough.

A new 1,600 capacity school opens in weeks on Greenwich Peninsula. No new crossings have been provided. Ikea opens soon. No firm plans are in to improve things for pedestrians or public transport users. Charlton retail park income still lies unspent.

Asking the public

When using TfL funds, consultation is often non-existent. Abbey Wood is a prime example. £120,000 was recently spent. Since then three serious accidents have occurred in recent weeks. Many local people were not asked about changes.

On my first trip through after work completed it was immediately obvious some of the scheme was idiotic.

Charlton

Parking issues were still prevalent and enforcement absent which compounded the issue.

Income

I’ve often covered the many millions Greenwich council receive from new developments that could be improving streets including:

  • £174 million in forthcoming Section 106 income. £34 million is already in council coffers. Public realm is usually way below other areas for spending. The councils employment agency GLLaB takes far more income than safer and healthier streets, to give one example.

Heavy traffic on Bugsby’s Way before Ikea arrives.

Instead of using substantial funds from these vast amounts, Greenwich are running a scheme for £30,000 to be spent in areas of the borough. Nice and all, but penny change when compared to the overall pot and unlikely to do much.

Priorities

So despite the many millions of income, very little is allocated towards public spaces and street improvements and now the borough has the highest growth in casualties in all of London.

It’s all so predictable and yet sadly injuries will continue. More accidents will happen in areas like Greenwich Peninsula as new schools and shops open and street work lags behind.

Bugsby’s Way. Pedestrians an afterthought at best

What will it take for them to wake up? Each time some figures come out, or a new development is announced, you think maybe this time. But it doesn’t happen. And more and more people are injured. More and more people turn to their cars as cycling and walking conditions are so poor.

And with that, Greenwich continues to see public health issues increase. The percentage of adults classified as overweight or obese is 27th out of 33 authorities in London.

It’s all related. And for all the PR nothing is really changing. What councillors will take this issue by the scruff of the neck and enact changes in priorities and working practices?

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9 Comments

  1. Good rant. And spot on. Thanks.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      It is a bit of a rant but this is people lives and years of inaction led to this. No one in power seems willing or able to do much about it. Its a massive public health issue. Some see better streets as some kind of fanciful thing. No. It reduces injuries, improves health, helps local businesses and shops with footfall, aids better and stronger communities and much more.

  2. GreenwichRes

    It is frustrating isn’t it? You’ve been going on about the state of our streets for ages and nothing ever seems to be done. You’d think even a little pride would spur them into action – there’s no way ours can compare with those of the other Royal borough!

  3. James

    Does anyone know why the council is so atrocious at public realm, walking and cycling friendly design, and even basic tree planting? Is it political incompetence, ingrained opposition from officials, or something else entirely?

  4. Jo

    I flip between wondering whether our elected representatives don’t care about this issue or are unable to do anything.

    They are supposed to lead, to give direction to departments and officers to follow. Yet none seem willing or able to. And so departments appear to call the shots and keep to dated working practices.

    A 36% rise in injuries in one year is massive. This destroys lives and costs the economy much money to boot. Where is the relevant councillor in charge (or the leader) coming out to state what will change? How this is urgent?

    Silence as usual will probably follow which shows how much they care.

  5. fromthemurkydepths

    It needs someone who will champion the cause of better public areas, parks and streets, is passionate and pushes hard internally to focus more money towards this area from S106 income. Even increasing injuries doesn’t seem enough to spur some action.

    What usually happens is TfL are blamed, or limited TfL money generally used instead of substantial Greenwich funds. They’ve rendered themselves impotent, like on many issues, when they can do things themselves.

    It’ll take work from the ground up. Whilst car free day was on last week roads were a mess down the road in east Greenwich, as well as Woolwich and Abbey Wood (at least) with endemic dangerous parking.

    Let’s look at Abbey Wood as an example. Wilton Road was probably only improved as the GLA/TfL and Bexley Council were also invloved. Would they have done it if just down to them? The vast majority of similar streets are ignored. And it was a grand total of £75k. Nothing compared to what they receive annually.

  6. Lurk

    I would vote for you if you ran to become a councillor!

  7. CDT

    I agree if Murky would make a great councillor and would put most of the Councillors sitting on Greenwich Council to shame. Sadly most councillors and MP’s don’t really seem that interested in peoples issues and the areas they represent.

    Not like the old school councillors who were not paid any fees and stood as a councillor because they really cared about the area they lived in and represented Like Councillors Jim and Janet Gillman who used to be councillors in the Charlton and Councillor John Austin Walker who I believe also became an MP for a time representing Thamemsead and Erith who really cared about the area where he represented.

    Sadly we do not see councillors or MP’s like them anymore.

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