Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

Still no action from Greenwich Council on street changes as numerous boroughs announce plans

Narrow paving and wide road

We’re now coming up to seven weeks since lockdown was introduced in the UK with no projects announced in Greenwich borough.

The UK was generally slow to respond to a world where public transport use was off-limits to many. However over recent weeks a huge number of councils across the UK have announced projects.

Guardrail forces pedestrians into close proximity

In the past 30 minutes I’ve just heard that in Manchester £5 million is to be spent on footway extensions, one way streets, removing through traffic, adding cycle lanes and removing barriers on pavements”.

Shortly before that Camden Council announced “pavement widening works for Kilburn High Rd, to be complete by 16 May This is a busy location with narrow pavements and queuing for supermarkets—so we need greater space for social distancing”.

There’s things to keep an eye on though. Some boroughs have simply put continuous lines of barriers which limits the ability to cross and acts just like guardrail in hindering pedestrians and speeding up traffic.

Elsewhere today (6th May) and as covered this morning, TfL announced projects across London including sped up cycle highway 4 measures, though they end almost as soon as they reach Greenwich borough.

Deptford High Street

Lewisham Council are looking at work in variety of area such as Deptford High Street with a dedicated page looking for feedback. The same site is asking the public for suggestions across the borough.

Meanwhile just east in Greenwich borough there’s almost nothing announced. On Twitter the authority asked people in a pretty informal way and that’s about it so far. The tweet actually mentioned action after rather than now during lockdown.

That so far is about it.

Elsewhere in London Hounslow council have announced “parking to be suspended on Turnham Green Terrace, rat run to be blocked on Wellesley Rd, dangerous bridge on Duke’s Meadows to be filtered in first tranche of traffic measures to improve safety for pedestrians and people on bikes.”

Tower Hamlets are not normally too enlightened on street design, and had previously said they would removed measures taken by local people to create more space outside busy supermarkets. Yet some projects have commenced there:

Here’s more in Hackney:

And on it goes across numerous authorities.

I suppose the lack of urgent action in Greenwich borough should be of little surprise. This is the same authority that has allocated zero income from parking and developers this year towards street improvements via TfL’s Local Implementation Plan – and are almost alone in doing so across the capital.

It’s the same authority that has seen a parking income deficit of over £12 million in recent years as weak enforcement permitted drivers to park on pavements and cycle lanes unhindered in many areas.

The trouble is who in power is willing to change that culture?

10 Comments

  1. Greenwich Park Fan

    Why have they asked for feedback on Twitter if they aren’t going to reply to any of it?

    They asked for feedback on Commonplace last year – still no reply to any of it:

    https://greenwichtowncentreproposals.commonplace.is

    • Michael Tucker

      The talk of removing safety rails in order to widening pavemets sends shivers through me as I have visions of a free for all to cross busy roads whenever the need arises. Such areas as Creek Rd Greenwich for example where we have a School with the pavement about 4feet approx, where I feel such a scheme would cause great concern for the safety of the children who would be able to cross this busy road without safety in mind. Any proposals to action such a scheme would surely put more pressure on parents and the elderly throughout this Borough.

      • fromthemurkydepths

        Railings have been shown to cause more deaths and injuries in the majority of places they remain. When removed injuries and deaths tend to reduce. It may seem counter productive but drivers feel enticed to speed where they remain.

        Having said that, Creek Road is gridlocked on many normal days. Getting more people out of cars for short trips especially parents driving kids to school would do far more for children’s health than keeping railings everywhere.

        This is not to say they have no place anywhere, but far more limited in scale than now. Alongside other design and behavioural change, there can be far safer and livable streets without them. Most are a sign of car dominance from 1960s to 1990s.

        Creek Road is one of those places where there is no easy answer. Once Silverton Tunnel opens it will be gridlocked as drivers head towards Rotherhithe to avoid tolls on Blackwall.

      • fromthemurkydepths

        Ah, also regarding when the need arises, it’s shepherding pedestrians like cattle to defined crossings that often makes walking a hassle with indirect routes. The very thing that turns many to car usage for short journeys.

      • CDT

        Removing railings by Schools does concern me as well as people have so little respect for each other when crossing roads etc.

        Some drivers and indeed cyclist ignore people crossings the road. Even when your on the actual zebra crossing some cyclist still do not stop and then have the cheek to abuse you for being on the crossing.

        Especially when it comes to children the elderly and disabled who are so often ignored by society

  2. Ashley

    Formidable change is desperately needed to make us Pedestrians safe. Just pains me to why Labour Greenwich are unwillingly helpless in there ability for change in developing or adapting to schemes designed for Pedestrian safety.

    Not forgetting dangerous outdated design which led to a large amount of street furniture such as Guardrails and bollards. lengthening or even replace swaths of footpath which in foremost left in disrepair could easily make a difference to our Public Realm.

    How about asking for public suggestions?

  3. JFP

    The east side of Kilburn High Road is Camden and the other side of the road is Brent (you’ll see it on any bins etc), so it’s even more shameful that Greenwich can’t do alone what others have doing in cooperation.

  4. Matt

    Greenwich has a tried and tested policy of let it rot and throw money at terrible contractors. If this fails, which it always does then try again, it’s only taxpayer money.
    You can expect all wide paving that has been around for decades to be proudly labeled with “Greenwich, keeping you safe” signage even though nothing was done. It’s how they handled the Olympic legacy

    • Graham

      Matt you are so right they have no regard for tax payers money do they !!

  5. Graham

    To be honest as it is public money Greenwich council is spending. More public consultations should be carried out before any decisions are made on projects and improve schemes.

    Consultations do not need to be long drawn out things. Just a couple of weeks to allow residents and business owners in the Boroughto give their views.

    If the Councillors listen though is a completely separate matter. The Silvertown Tunnel being one example of this,

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