Murky Depths

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Greenwich, Woolwich

Greenwich to Woolwich cycle lane starting soon

After a decade of delays work is set to finally begin on a segregated cycle lane from Greenwich to Woolwich including a notorious roundabout in east Greenwich.

However, even this temporary project sees another slight delays with previous expectation of completion by the end of summer now almost certain to be missed.

Greenwich Council state that “main work to start in early September” and only cover the western end of the route at first. This map shows what is planned at each stage:

Blue = Phase one starting at Naval College exit. Green is phase 2. No confirmed segregated lane beyond

One of the more concerning elements is a possible downgrade on a segregated route from Charlton to Woolwich despite a cycle lane already existing for much of the route – though it lacks measures to protect cyclists such as wands.

Courtesy Google. Unprotected lane often sees parking. No confirmed measures here

The good news is work will finally get underway at the notorious Angerstein roundabout below the Blackwall Tunnel approach flyover after years of delay.

East Greenwich flyover

Phase one ends just about where this picture was taken. According to Greenwich Council“the second stage of the project will take the route from the Angerstein roundabout to Anchor and Hope Lane and 24/7 bus and cycle lanes will be created through to the Woolwich ferry roundabout to temporarily provide an improved cycling landscape from Charlton to Woolwich.”

That could mean no light segregation for cyclists on the stretch pictured below with bikes having to share space with buses? The lane is already there. Adding wands is cheap and simple. Surely this should happen?

No mention of segregation here despite ease of installation

If it doesn’t, that could mean no cyclist protection for those moving into new developments such as 200 homes planned near the Thames Barrier in a project I covered this week. Greenwich Council actually told the developers not to go car-free due to poor infrastructure. Yet a basic upgrade that could push some to cycle in the area may not happen anytime soon…

The announcement today also means no work beyond Woolwich ferry to link with Woolwich to Plumstead segregated lanes. That is no work on Woolwich High Street despite huge numbers of new homes here – and subsequent income derived from them to council coffers. It is regularly clogged with parked cars:

Woolwich High Street. Parking is common increasing danger for cyclists and other road users. Towers underway to rear

Delays

Delays to the overall project are the latest in a long, long line; see this 2019 post for another project date that was never met. While it is welcome to see work finally happening after many, many years of hold-ups, another delay and downgrade is sadly no surprise.

Dangerous, ugly and an all-round mess for many years

The news story today from Greenwich Council fails to mention the previous cancellation to improve Angerstein roundabout made by TfL after Sadiq Khan became Mayor. It was removed from the list of Better Junction projects. That also followed the entire removal of Greenwich to Woolwich from Cycle Highway 4.

Stage 1

This stretch will begin soon and according to Greenwich: “The first stage of the extension will be just over a mile long and will run along Old Woolwich Road and Trafalgar Road (A206) and include improvements to the Angerstein roundabout”.

Roundabout under flyover

Oddly what is coming first seems to run parallel to where a “Low Emission Neighbourhood” project was already implemented last year. An admission it was not that useful on the busy Trafalgar Road? This new plan attempts to put cyclists along Old Woolwich Road.

2019 project on Trafalgar Road

Details are generally limited on exact plans. Perhaps more Freedom of Information requests will have to go in. See also the £600k Shooter’s Hill cycle lane and town centre work in Woolwich, Eltham and Greenwich for more examples where communication has been very poor.

Woolwich town centre improvements little more than plastic fencing. Cost: £164k

Why can’t the public see what changes to crossings, junctions and bus lanes are coming?

In Greenwich town centre Freedom of Information documents revealed they spent £120,000 on a heavily criticised scheme featuring no more than cheap plastic barriers which blocked cyclists and hampers pedestrians.

Cyclcists were blocked for some weeks

Again, no detail of these projects was ever given to the public for feedback unlike that seen across London in many other boroughs.

Developer income AWOL for years

Greenwich Council have failed to spend allocated income on numerous occasions over the past decade to improve the area including this project from 2018/19:

Never spent

What work was carried out was often pointless in prior years. See this cycle “improvement”:

This is after previous improvement work

Instead of removing clutter for a dedicated lane on the roundabout exit we ended up with more paint on the road.

Photos released by Greenwich council to promote this project in news put out today were taken in an area where Greenwich failed to gain any income from TfL in recent months to improve links from east Greenwich to Greenwich Peninsula – again only revealed by Freedom of Information requests.

Stage two

After stage one from Trafalgar Road to Angerstein roundabout comes stage two from Angerstein roundabout to Anchor and Hope Lane near Charlton station. This stage ends at this junction:

Stage two ends here – some wands may appear here – but not the other side of the junction

Roads are wider here with more scope for measures to be installed.

No cycle protection confirmed for this stretch where cycle lane blocked almost continuously

What is perhaps the biggest disappointment is very little seems planned beyond that junction through Charlton towards Woolwich. This section is extremely easy to improve for much of the route given the width of the existing road. It only takes wands to be installed as existing cycle lanes already exist but have no protection beyond a painted line. It could be completed for minimal cost and installed in a night.

No light segregation through Charlton. Very easy to do without removing any road space for other vehicles

Car parking on cycle lanes is still extremely common on this stretch.

Greenwich Council will spend £500,000 of Section 106 to help fund the installation of a segregated lane. It’s welcome to see some of this funding finally spent. They have had hundreds of millions in income from S106, Community Infrastructure Levy and New Homes Bonus income in recent years from new developments.

So yep good news today and long needed. This should all have happened many years ago mind. Being dragged kicking and screaming to do basic work when money has long been there is not exactly impressive after numerous cancellations and delays. What will be impressive is if real improvements in other areas follow this such as roundabouts on the Peninsula.

 

10 Comments

  1. Paul SuperUnknown

    It seems that the disappearance of 106 funding is a sore point for Greenwich Councillors. Perhaps, a an audit of their Bank Accounts, Reimbursements, Council Discretionary Funds, and that Political Jobs Program, GLLaB should be seriously considered?

    • Graham

      PaulSuperUnknown, I could not agree witth you more.

      It would also be interesting to see how Greenwich Council’s Parking Enforecement and GS Plus lost so much money as well.

    • HK

      100% agree! I’ve said something similar to this.
      I can’t believe there council members can be this inept, sign off terrible policies and waste huge sums of our money on a regular basis!

  2. Beq

    Hmmm some strong hints of the council not really understanding problems in the area. Why put a bus lane on the stretch near the Woolwich ferry as my bus hardly ever gets held up there. It’s the smoothest bit by far from Plumstead to Greenwich/Lewisham. I’m using it twice a day and know the situation. It’s just not needed. Put in a cycle lane but no need for bus lane. Where there IS a need is beside Waterfront as you point out as well as all along Bugsby’s Way.

    Does anyone at Royal Greenwich council actually live and travel in this area? I use the term Royal loosely as it doesn’t apply to most of Woolwich and Charlton.

  3. Michael

    I have said this before, but removing the unnecessary paved central reservation along Woolwich Road would provide more road space for four traffic lanes and segregated cycle lanes either side.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Yep agree.

    • CDT

      I agree Michael. Removing the unnecessary paved central reservatiopn along Woolwich Road would provide more space for traffic and segregated cycle lanes.

      As Woolwich Road is always busy with a lot of drivers driivng at speed when the roads are clearer. Rather than trying to cross the road using the central reservation more dedicated pelican crossings should be intrroduced. along the length of Woolwich Road.

      As we must not forget pedsestrian safety either.

  4. Tim

    I’m curious to see what they do to the roundabout – the only thing I can think of is putting crossings in to the central island to reduce the numbers of lights pedestrians/cyclists have to wait for. It needs tearing up and starting from scratch though – maybe just as a light controlled junction rather than a roundabout – it’s awful in a car as well.

    • CDT

      I agree Tim. The roundabout needs removing and new sequenced traffic light signals installed so it becomes a signalled trafiic light controlled junction.

      Being in a car is just as dangerous for motorist as it is for cyclist and pedestrians.

      The notorious Angerstein Roundabout needs to be completely redesigned and made safer.

      • JB

        “Being in a car is just as dangerous for motorist as it is for cyclist and pedestrians” – Are you joking? Remind me, how many motorists have died at the junction?

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