A few days ago Abbey Wood’s public realm upgrade opened on one side of the new station. It looked little like renders shown in advance and obvious design flaws were evident. Within days areas have had to be fenced off as drivers headed onto pavements to drop-off and pick-up passengers – as long predicted would happen.
On the other side of the tracks a future phase is now beginning on Felixstowe Road. Given months to go until completion will we see similar mistakes or lessons learned?
Taking a look at renders for the area shows obvious flaws apparent. There’s a mass of paving that will again become a car park without action:
Fewer trees are evident in the render above. A row lining the road could prevent cars heading onto pavements.
In years leading up to the new station building, paving outside the station exit on Felixstowe Road was a daily car park. Despite notifications Greenwich Council almost never enforced against pavement parking leaving pedestrians to navigate around cars.
This was around the time Greenwich parking department was seeing a £2 million annual income deficit resulting in money taken from other budgets to make up the difference (they’ve now got the deficit down to £1.4 million a year).
On my last visit to the area it was the same story with a vehicle blocking paving again. They still havn’t got a grip, so much hope for the layout shown in visualisations to operate well?
Newly created space doesn’t seem to have much use based on renders.
It would be an ideal spot for cycle parking in an area of high footfall to help prevent theft:
Instead cycle racks have been placed on the flyover where bus stops used to be. The bus stops have then moved to an area of narrow paving. Not great with more bus routes and passengers coming.
This image from 2015 shows the options for cyclists.
It seems another design mistake. As someone who has cycled in this area I would never cycle uphill onto the flyover coming from Thamesmead alongside buses and cars using a non-segregated lane to then park above but instead cross the road then cycle onto Felixstowe Road if given a choice – and with ample space there should be that option.
Whilst a repeat of clumsy, haphazard and cluttered street furniture installation is the last thing needed completely open space will not work either. At least not without strict enforcement which, let’s be honest, is not going to happen.
And for one, will this concrete wall go?
It seems a no-brainer that it would – but well, we’ve thought that before.
Anyway, let’s hope in a few months we won’t have to refer back to this post and basic design elements are implemented.
As ever, Bexley is Bonkers has been doing a sterling job documenting and photographing ongoing changes here.