Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Greenwich

Blackwall Tunnel queues return to Greenwich

Tunnel approach

Greater levels of traffic this morning has seen the return of morning tailbacks on the Blackwall Tunnel.

Traffic increases were already occurring last week as shops like B&Q reopened in Greenwich.

Street furniture in bike lane near B&Q in Greenwich alongside unloading lorry and car parked on paving

With many cities all over the world announcing and quickly implementing changes to streets allowing extra space for pedestrians which enabled social distancing – and more widely encouraging walking and cycling as public transport was discouraged – London and the UK has done very little.

As I covered last week, Paris is planning 650 km of improvements and Berlin is doing similar. It took three days to turn thought into reality in the German capital as work quickly went into motion.

Barely finished work in Abbey Wood which saw bus stop moved from area with wide paving to extremely narrow section of bridge

 

This morning TfL announced…

drumroll please…

some signs.

There’s notable exceptions in London such as Lambeth announcing plans but little else in most places.

Woolwich New Road

Even on stretches such as Woolwich to Charlton where an expensive multi-million cycle lane is planned after a decade of talking, simple short term measures are not taken such as light segregation between cycle lanes and general traffic. Dicing with traffic is the name of the game.

No light segregation between lane and traffic

This now sets us up for a situation whereby many people, including those who did use buses and trains, get into cars instead of walking, cycling or taking public transport for shorter journeys. The knock-on effect will be to clog up streets and hamper vehicles which need to be on the road including business deliveries, emergency service vehicles and ambulances.

Social distancing far from easy in Woolwich even during lockdown with cluttered paving

In recent weeks some studies have begun to link increased pollution, subsequent health issues and the current virus.

Opportunities have been missed and there’s little sense of urgency. In weeks and months to come what’s the betting many will say “we didn’t see it coming” and “well, with hindsight”. It’s not hindsight. It’s missing a crucial opportunity.

 

1 Comment

  1. CDT

    I agree Greenwich Council must do more to get businesses to remove uncessary street clutter so people can pass each other safely. The photo of shops on Woolwich New Road is a prime example of some businesses cluttering pavements with signage. Which is making social distancing difficult at the moment.

    This is an excellent article as always highlighting many of the problems with our streets and pavements that needs to be address to make our roads and pavements safe for all,

    Including the elderly, disabled,,partially sightred, wheelchairs users and parents with children and or buggies.

    I also agree car usage will be up for more people choosing to use the car local journies rather than taking the bus.

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