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.