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Radical changes to lethal Greenwich roundabout – will it happen & what impact?

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.

Blackwall Tunnel flyover in Greenwich

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?

Northbound slip road closed

Firstly, on the plus side excessive street clutter and poor crossings should be reduced.  It’s currently horrible on foot and by bike.

As things stand

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.

Looking ahead from new 335 bus – access ahead towards Blackwall Tunnel could be stopped

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.

Looking up Blackwall Lane.

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”.

Woolwich 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:

Bus lane ending on Bugsbys Way.

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.

GWT map from the early 2000s before being scrapped. Plans on the drawing board again

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.

New homes underway on right. More traffic could head past this point

Roads are already extremely poor in this area, fast moving and pedestrian facilities lacking. The scheme does not address these points.

Roundabout beside new school.

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.

Vehicle dominated streets

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?

Anti-pedestrian design in Greenwich

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.

Entrance to A102 in front of bus would be blocked to private vehicles

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.

Blackheath near Sun in the Sands junction – taken from new 335 route

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.

Public realm heading to east Greenwich shops

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.

 

 

 

7 Comments

  1. JR

    Which buses will turn left and go southbound onto the A102 – no buses turn left from Woolwich Road, and it’ll only be the 177 and 161 using that junction thanks to TfL cutting the 180. Unless they mean that one sole route that goes that way will be rerouted.

    Currently when the Woolwich Road/A102 junction is blocked people use Elliscombe Road/Victoria Way/Charlton Church lane as a rat run and I foresee this becoming permanent. Can’t they just have width restrictors or similar to reduce lorry traffic or reduce speeds and make those who have no choice (many of us Charlton residents) still be able to access the A102?

    TfL seem to think that because the current roundabout is terrible that any change is better by default. But it will cut off a lot of us in SE7 and force us into detours and add to congestion.

    Finally If you don’t like the proposal let TfL know on their consultation!

    • Steve

      I agree, totally ridiculous and pointless stopping vehicles turning left onto the A2.
      The whole ‘upgrade’ works from the cycle route, Silvertown Tunnel to this seem to be half baked and to be honest an unnecessary waste of massive amounts of public money.
      If you want a cycle highway build it along the north and south banks of the Thames from east to west, stop destroying the flow of traffic around roads which though not perfect at least flow quite well much of the time and allow this city to operate as it does.
      As for the Silvertown tunnel, what a waste of time, money and effort and we all know the extra traffic will produce more pollution, congestion and only waste peoples time and money.
      Also, why not build a bridge or tunnel to the east across the Thames with easy links to Essex and the M11/25 for HGV use and make HGV/coaches pay to use the Blackwall Tunnel rather than everyone under the Silvertown scheme.

      • Tim

        I agree with you about the Silvertown tunnel and charging HGVs/coaches for using Blackwall (at least during peak hours).

        That said, this roundabout does need changing – it’s horrible to use for all forms of transport, and I think I’d describe the traffic flow as smooth maybe every tenth time I use it. Lane discipline is terrible – travelling to the east through it I’ve seen cars go onto the A102 both north and south from the middle lane, and straight over from the left and right lanes. The number of traffic lights on it clearly indicates that it doesn’t work as a roundabout.

        Routing cycle traffic along the river, whilst pleasant, isn’t a solution. It tuns a 2km journey between Greenwich and Charlton into a 7km one. These are exactly the kinds of journeys that we should be encouraging people out of their cars for, but that design like this roundabout act as blockers too.

        I’m not saying this is necessarily the optimal solution. I’d be interested to know how much clearance there was between the flyover and roundabout and whether it was possible to put an elevated cycleway over the road and below the flyover to connect up segregated cycle lanes along the A206. That, and pedestrian crossings going to the central island to reduce the amount of waiting pedestrians have to do.

  2. selondonman

    these plans are utter stupidity and jsut virtue signalling .. and stuff the local road users

  3. Graham

    A lot of the coaches that use the Blackwall Tunnel in the peak hours are commuter coaches bringing people from Kent etc in to Canary Wahrf, The City and Central London. With out these commuter coaches there could be a lot more cars going through the Blackwall Tunnel.

    Another bus route through the Blackwall Tunnel is needed to support the 108 and allow more local journies to be completed by bus.

    Despite money being given to Greenwich Council to improve the public transport infrastructure to the in this area including by the Developer who built IKEA this has not been forthcoming as yet.

    We will not reduce car usage until public transport has been improved and the area made safer for people to walk and cycle.

    The Angerstein Roundabout is a particular difficult junction to negotiate on foot and very difficult to cross.

  4. Grahm

    A lot of the coaches that use the Blackwall Tunnel in the peak hours are commuter coaches bringing people from Kent etc in to Canary Wharf, The City and Central London. With out these commuter coaches there could be a lot more cars going through the Blackwall Tunnel.

    Another bus route through the Blackwall Tunnel is also needed to support the 108 and allow more local journies to be completed by bus through the tunnel.

    Despite money being given to Greenwich Council to improve the public transport infrastructure in this area including by the Developer who built IKEA this has not been forthcoming as yet.

    We will not reduce car usage until public transport has been improved and the area made safer for people to walk and cycle.

    The Angerstein Roundabout is a particular difficult junction to negotiate on foot and very difficult to cross.as is very busy most of the dayand evening 7 days a week.

    Corrected typing errors.

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