Greenwich borough bus lane to be removed in 2020

Work is now well underway on altering street layouts in Deptford to accommodate segregated cycle lanes coming this year as part of Cycle Superhighway 4, or simply Cycle Highway 4 as it’s now branded.

Click to enlarge – Cycle superhighway 4 plans

One of the more controversial elements is the removal of bus lanes in congested area which TfL now admit will slow buses.

Junction work

Removing this bus lane comes in advance of Silvertown Tunnel, which if built would see more traffic heading through this area to avoid tolls as the Rotherhithe Tunnel would remain free.

The east-bound bus lane on Creek Road is to be removed between Deptford High Street junction and a junction by Norman Road. TfL state: “a journey time increase of up to 6 minutes is expected eastbound between Surrey Quays Road and Creek Road”.

Heavily congested

Greenwich had no apparent concerns about losing this lane in their consultation response (see page 44 here) as there’s no mention of it, but again showed how thinking is rooted decades in the past by stating:

“They are concerned about and question the removal of guard railings”.

Work at Deptford

Other councils welcome their removal in many areas. Guardrails have been proven in studies to often make junctions and streets dangerous as traffic speeds up when present, as drivers often feel a sense of separation from pedestrians. When they come into contact with pedestrians it is then at a higher speed.

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Cyclists can also be pushed and squashed against railings by vehicles.

Courtesy Google. Greenwich junction remained dated even after new build alongside.

Lewisham Council came up with feedback asking for CS4 to link with a Quietway – which is to now happen.

Courtesy Google. Greenwich quiet on bus lane going but vocal on railings

Greenwich’s feedback is on the other hand embarrassing and, well, pointless. Very little of merit is noted.

This junction will change and see segregated lane join Creek Road.

For a long time I’ve raised the subject of Greenwich’s Highways Department’s dated design practices and how they ignore contemporary street design guidance. The authority frequently spends money while it contravenes modern thinking and TfL guidelines. Is it any wonder TfL seem reluctant to work with them? They must wonder why bother working with a council so intransigent and difficult.

Cluttered and dangerous – no change for years

Lewisham Living Streets take the opposing viewpoint to Greenwich Council and seek “a review and rationalisation of footway clutter”.

Lewisham Living Streets also oppose the loss of a pedestrian crossing which Greenwich Council didn’t remark upon – despite it being in Greenwich borough. This crossing is going:

Crossing to be removed for new one at western arm of junction

It’s beside a new Pocket Park currently being constructed – and covered last week on this site. That is a TfL and Greenwich joint project and even there Greenwich seem determined to stick to outdated practices.

Pinch point. Paving narrow for a High Street with much footfall at busy times

They have removed some guardrail but insisted on raised planters in areas which divert pedestrian from direct routes. Another downside is pinch points for pedestrians – as also seen along Eltham High Street

This is another view of the crossing going directly next to the new Pocket Park being built as part of a Low Emission Neighbourhood scheme:

Pocket Park on left. This crossing is being removed

The entire junction as it stands was only built earlier this decade when New Capital Quay and Waitrose completed at a cost of hundreds of thousands by Greenwich Highways Department – again using outdated design. It includes much street clutter penning pedestrians in and risks cyclists being squashed.

Greenery and trees removed from Woolwich central reservation recently

Sustrans have also raised concerns about this loss.

Nothing by Greenwich Council about the crossing being removed – only about railings.

Plumstead Road – central reservation greenery removed here for guardrail in recent years

Work is yet to begin at the top of Deptford High Street where a new pedestrian crossing is to be installed and right hand turns will be banned.

Over 3,000 homes are planned just north of there at the long-delayed Convoys Wharf project. Those with long memories may remember Boris Johnson called it in when Mayor as an “urgent decision” was needed. Six years on and not one home has started.

Future stages

Consultation on a cycle lane from Greenwich to Woolwich is imminent. It’ll be interesting to see if Greenwich are doggedly sticking to street design that goes against modern advice.

Much recent design work in the borough has continued to use expensive measures that are pushing the borough backwards. These consultations offer a glimpse into how Greenwich Council operate, work with other authorities and explain so much about why others are reluctant to work with them.

Except for Silvertown Tunnel.

Silvertown will add to this traffic

Ultimately it’s residents who suffer. The council all too often ignores public realm, and when engaged by others wants to turn the clock back to a time when cars were king and everything subservient to them.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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