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:
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.
The good news is work will finally get underway at the notorious Angerstein roundabout below the Blackwall Tunnel approach flyover after years of delay.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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:
What work was carried out was often pointless in prior years. See this cycle “improvement”:
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.
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:
Roads are wider here with more scope for measures to be installed.
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.
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.