Plans to re-introduce a continuous bus lane and segregated cycle lane from Plumstead to Woolwich seem to be advancing well. This is a TfL funded scheme which is classified as bus improvement work but contains much more than simply a bus lane.
£1.2m seems a snip for major upgrades along a busy route. The cycle lane segregation is really quite simple and has likely taken a small amount of the overall budget, which also includes new paving and a crossing along the road, as well as alterations to the shops near Plumstead station.
The scheme seems a winner all round. No users of the street lose space but cyclists and bus passenger gain. Narrowing the wide central reservation is the main cause of gained space. The very wide pavements have seen a metre or two occasionally taken but the paving is already very wide here, and even then not in many places along the road.
The cycle lane snakes around island bus stops.
There’s plenty more places this could be done. Unfortunately immediately to the west the same mistakes have just been made. As Berkeley Homes finish their towers above Crossrail, some contributions they gave to Greenwich Council have gone towards a new central reservation with ‘greenery’. Like the now-narrowed stretch just east, this cannot be easily kept clean due to safety rules.
So a matter of months after completion it’s strewn with litter and what appear to be a few dead plants and some weeds. It looks a mess.
A simple line on the road or similar, instead of a central reservation, would gain a metre of space which could’ve provided a cycle lane outside the new towers so cyclists do not contend with buses pulling into and out of stops. Here is an example of a wide road without a central reservation, though without a cycle lane. Woolwich has wider pavements so could accommodate one:
The use of foliage in the central reservation, as seen in Woolwich, also increases average speed as drivers feel separated from cars on the other carriageway and so a feeling of safety and detachment can mean some speed up. No central reservation increases caution and can actually be safer.
There’s the argument that pedestrians are more likely to cross here and be in danger but 1) the forthcoming new crossing not yet open should alleviate that 2) the increase in speeds brought on by this type of central reservation causes problems further along as the higher speeds that result then bring more danger at crossings and pedestrian/car interfaces further along.
So all in all we see some very good design and some very poor. Directly next to each other. Greenwich Highways Department not learning lessons it seems.