Yesterday I spent over 1,500 words looking at plans to introduce a new cycle lane from Greenwich to Woolwich. What was highlighted in that post was how this consultation only really covers the “easy” bits in Charlton with wide roads and stopped short of Woolwich town centre and almost entirely excluded Greenwich – both east along Woolwich Road and Trafalgar Road and west through the World Heritage zone.
However it did have some early ideas of what to do with the notorious roundabout in east Greenwich that has claimed lives in the recent past.
So what does it say – and how will changes here reverberate across a wider area?
Firstly, on the plus side excessive street clutter and poor crossings should be reduced. It’s currently horrible on foot and by bike.
The roundabout beneath the flyover would be removed and become a junction with segregated cycle lanes continuing below. A major change would be to close northbound entry to the A102 towards the Blackwall Tunnel from the roundabout beneath the flyover.
The impact of this would be to push some northbound traffic approaching from the west along Blackwall Lane – though it’s already quicker for most so impact would be minimal.
Coming from Charlton, and more traffic would instead head along Bugsby’s Way to reach the Blackwall Tunnel.
Reducing traffic on Woolwich Road has long been a goal, and the website states:
“We would aim to improve air quality in the area by reducing the volume of traffic on the A206 Woolwich Road. We think it might be possible to do this by restricting access from the A206 Woolwich Road to the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road”.
However, is this at the expense of extra congestion on Bugsby’s Way?
Bugsby’s Way is already heavily congested at times and a major bus route heading towards North Greenwich tube station. Buses frequently become caught in existing queues as bus lane space ends:
Greater traffic would also impact any future Greenwich Waterfront Transit scheme which is expected to pass through the Charlton Riverside area and head along Bugsby’s Way.
Increased traffic would then head past shops and homes currently being built at Greenwich Millennium Village and then alongside the recently opened St Mary Magdalene School – which is still a fair way from its eventual 1,630 pupil target.
Roads are already extremely poor in this area, fast moving and pedestrian facilities lacking. The scheme does not address these points.
Traffic diverted from Angerstein roundabout would also meet 30 per cent more traffic in the vicinity using Silvertown Tunnel compared to existing levels using Blackwall according to TfL traffic forecasts. Extra traffic will also arrive as a result of Greenwich Peninsula’s upgraded masterplan which sees owner Knight Dragon pushing for a 1,700-home increase to 17,000 homes, and over 8,000 homes planned at Charlton Masterplan sites.
Could this be why there’s been little to no improvement to roads on the Peninsula for pedestrians? Much more traffic is expected to be diverted here even though it’s an area rapidly urbanising?
This consultation and repercussions from changes do hint towards the elephant in the room. Whatever happens there will be increased traffic unless the underlying cause of increased vehicle use is addressed – and that’s exactly where Silvertown Tunnel will do the opposite.
You may also have seen that changes to the Angerstein roundabout would block southbound traffic except buses.
The same impacts apply here. More traffic heading either along Blackwall Lane or Bugsbys Way.
There will also be an element of wider displacement. More vehicles would enter and exit the A2 at the Sun in the Sands roundabout which could cause greater traffic on Shooters Hill.
Of course, these changes are not a reason to sit back. The current roundabout is dangerous, ugly, polluted and needs urgent change. How car use can be reduced as local housing and population number rapidly increase is the key challenge.
The cycle lane will help towards that goal – and once we see how it feeds in Cycle Highway 4 and Woolwich Town centre towards Plumstead a clearer impression can be gained as to whether it will meet the steep challenge set.
In the meantime, let’s hope some smaller scale work can finally get underway given a decade of postponements by Greenwich Council. Last year alone work around Angerstein roundabout was postponed both in March and then November. The latest start date is this month. No plans are currently in the public domain.
How many injuries could have been prevented if those projects had proceeded in recent years along with Sadiq Khan not cancelling the Better Junctions project for the roundabout in 2017?
As the consultation page states: “In 2017 and 2018 there were 215 collisions in which people were injured along the A206 Woolwich Road between Greenwich Town Centre and the Woolwich Ferry roundabout. There were three fatal collisions in which people walking or cycling tragically lost their lives, and a further 23 people were seriously injured”.
Click here to read 853s coverage of the changes.
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