New bus lane installed between Woolwich and Charlton

A new bus lane between Woolwich and Charlton is being installed with paint appearing in recent days along the A206.

The lane is a severe downgrade on earlier plans for a dedicated cycle lane acting as an extension of Cycle Highway 4 from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, rather than what is now a “short term” measure to link into substantive changes to the west in Greenwich.

Original plans

As usual, social media is awash with incorrect claims about the project. What is being done is not a dedicated cycle lane but a bus lane. It may be dressed up by some as a cycle lane but it isn’t.

I have real doubts it will be of much benefit to cyclists, as the whole idea of recent measures is to encourage people to ditch cars for short trips, but who will do that with a bus breathing down their neck on this stretch that serves numerous bus routes?

Charlton Dual carriageway

It’s also of little use to bus passengers, as this was one stretch that was always free flowing regardless of time of day. Expect frustration from bus passengers towards cyclists as they now share a lane. Many drivers will of course blame cyclists too without thinking this scheme does little for them. If it did, they may have less other people in cars to contend with.

It looks like a typical case of “doing something” as real investment goes on to the west in Greenwich. The biggest impact is probably ever increasing hostility between different road users – which is all we need.

Woolwich High Street. Parking is common, increasing danger for cyclists and other road users

What would actually help in the short term for cyclists is wands installed along existing cycle lanes in Charlton where cars regularly park – but that doesn’t appear to be happening.

Existing lane in Charlton – no protection.

Work on a stretch of road outside Waterfront along Woolwich High Street would also help, where parked cars continue to block buses and make cycling unsafe, but again, nothing is happening there.

Woolwich High Street with new build on left

A number of new developments here would ideally have seen income used to improve this stretch, but it hasn’t to any real degree.

Recent spending merely just replicated what was already there, such as a roundabout at Beresford Road and Woolwich High Street.

Shops will face Woolwich High Street and Beresford Street – but no substantial street upgrades

One problem with both the stalled segregated scheme, along with the bus lane replacement, is that it throws cyclists into the Woolwich ferry roundabout rather than link into segregated lanes heading to Plumstead.

The hope is funding to actually fulfil those original plans through Charlton towards Woolwich ferry will arrive – though given TfL’s finances whether happens now is up in the air. If it doesn’t, don’t expect many to give cycling a go when sharing a bus lane without protection -and doing nothing to help protect them where it’s cheap and easy to do so.



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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    22 thoughts on “New bus lane installed between Woolwich and Charlton

    • Are these bus lanes actually operational yet because there’s no signs telling motorists what time of day they are live? I think this means they’re still not fully functioning until those signs are installed.

      • No not operational I believe though many drivers not using them

      • The irony of these lanes is that without them, the traffic on both lanes flowed very well, there was hardly any congestion or traffic jams (unless there was an accident of course) pretty much any time of day outside peak times. Buses and cars both moved without delays or incident. But now its an absolute mess, long delays regardless of the time of day. I for one will have to avoid shopping in the Charlton retail park, as I’m sure many others will also. How does driving down business help pedestrians, cyclists, local residents, businesses or the local council.

        The council are idiots.

        • You are absolutely right. Before it took me 55mins to reach woolwich from work now 1h20 and i don’t drive just bus and Jubilee

    • Thanks for highlighting this – i was getting confused riding home over the last few days. Any word from ye olde council what is happening?
      As a cyclist i think this will be beneficial as bus lanes are now live 24hr so it will be safer to ride along the road. Its especially important near the ferry which doesnt even attempt to have a cycle lane and ye olde council have closed the river path without any consideration to people on bikes whatsoever, so you end up riding up against lines of HGVs.

      It would of course be great if ye olde would get on with wands, better signage, fixing broken street lighting for night riding, a 20mph speed limit and generally giving a flying duck, but why start now?

      • Little word as ever. If today is any idea you’ll still be dicing with numerous cars blocking the new bus lane throughout the stretch, with buses queued up

      • Seems to me there are 3 issues and none can be solved without disadvantaging the other 2….I have been on buses recently where cyclists were in the bus lane and the bus has had to slow etc while overtaking or letting the cyclist move on….The issue is the width of the road in this whole area….if you have 2 lanes but you make one a bus/bike lane single file traffic will be more traffic queues….no where to park so people park where they can….blocking the free flow of traffic. I realise the Council want everyone to walk..cycle…or catch a bus and cars are the enemy but far as I can see the Planning staff should move to Mars and employ people with common sense who try and solve a problem not create a bigger one.
        Abysmal options on Parking helps no one and everywhere in Greenwich its a problem…stupidity…

    • It has become really dangerous trying to turn into Jigger or Mizzen Mast House you have to turn left cutting into cycle and bus lane which pauses just for that gap. Its extremely difficult to see what is coming towards you in the new bus and cycle lane at night and when it’s raining. Accident waiting to happen. Also those wanting to take ferry turn off and in a car will not be able to que and join the left lane until right near the turn off. This will cause major congestion in the right hand lane and a build up of traffic.

    • Following on from my Comment…I can fully understand the accent on cycling…but as is obvious to everyone cycling and heavy traffic don’t mix.
      The Govt devolves many issues down to a local level Planning Parking etc but rather than being constructive and openly work with the local voters we have a Council that sets its own Agenda…thinks it knows best…never innovative…regards the car as an enemy and a damn nuisance….and always makes any situation worse

    • The bus lane isn’t yet operational but it was being treated as though it were this morning.

      I cycle each day (I also own a card and drive, but not to commute) and the lane instantly made that section feel safer being on a bike. No motor vehicles getting too close or driving over the speed limit less than a foot away from me and the other people riding bikes.

      Roy, this is progress for many, especially in the borough. For too long anyone other than a motor vehicle owner has had to put up with dangerous road conditions. Things are changing in favour of those not able to, or not wanting to have a motor vehicle.

      If they (TFL/Greenwich Council) could stop people parking in the cycle and bus lanes and enforce the 20mph limit then even better.

    • Having just driven from Charlton to Woolwich it is apparent that most of the bus lanes are in addition to the cycle lanes (which will need to have new lines)

    • A completely useless, expensive, time consuming and dangerous Half assed project. Bus lanes all the way from the ferry roundabout to the Makro in Charlton.

      It will create huge traffic, dangerous left turns and fixes nothing.

      This is as bad the original fluster cuck back in the early 2000s when the duel carriageway in Plumstead was reduced to one lane ans traffic backed up all the way to bostall hill.

      When will someone hold these foolish incompetent people to account.

      I won’t be using the shops in Charlton / Greenwich anymore

      • The traffic was queuing back over the junction this afternoon leading to quite big queues. The lights changed four times before I could cross from leaving Sainsburys! A distance of 300 yards or so. The queues were delaying buses coming down both Bugsbys Way and Woolwich Road, negating what little benefit the lanes provide. Essentially a problem has now been created where there was none in the first place.

        The main problem on this stretch is the nutters who park further down. Murky has highlighted this on many an occasion.That should have been stamped on ages ago.

      • I couldn’t agree more, Greenwich and Charlton are no go areas in a car now especially at peak times.

    • It is absolutely ridiculous. Traffic all the time and bus lane are not even on use

    • All these bus lanes have achieved is to slow traffic down during peak times with Queues from Charlton to Woolwich, the need for a bus lane wasn’t required as the road was free flowing, if anything the new bus lane have had the reverse affect as there is congestion roundabouts and junctions when two car lanes are reduced to one, one further affect is most likely to increase pollution.

    • Even the bus ride takes longer, they should wait for the Crossrail. Wrong people on the wrong place

    • This is one of the worst decisions made by Greenwich Coucil. The road was functioning perfectly, no traffic, buses were running fine without issues and instead cars are now in standstill creating more pollution! Who ever thought of this idea to reduce the double lane to one needs to live in the area before making decisions like this!

      It normally would take me 15/20 mins to drive from plumstead to charlton and now it takes me a minimum of 45 minutes (off peak) as the traffic is so bad. The road layout needs to be put back to how it was.

    • What is the point of reducing 2 lanes into 1.
      please can the people responsible explain this madness to the people who live and work in the borough
      Have the designers /project managers returned to see the complete mess they have created
      What is the impact on the local air pollution as 100s cars not moving with engines still running
      Why do this when the number of people actually using the buses has fallen by 70% due to covid
      The people responsible need to rectify asap
      The residents do not pay you to make our lives more complicated and stressful and perhaps a day of action by the local community against this awful decision

    • I have lived on the corner of Charlton Lane since 1983 I cannot believe what has happened who decided this would be a good idea it has created a huge congestion problem that wasn’t there before now the traffic is at a standstill on both sides with
      traffic trying to avoid this doing u-turns in Charlton Lane causing more conjestion cars turning left has caused gridlock in both directions cars turning left onto Woolwich Rd cuts off bus lane its causing chaos everywhere everyone at a complete standstill a 2 minute journey to Sainsbury now takes 25 minutes. I wish I could attach a picture it’s ludicrous the increase of fumes from traffic at a standstill must have increased 100% is there anything we can do about this.

    • I agree, I came on here to find out if anyone else was as frustrated at the congestion now blocking what was a great, free flowing road. The pollution levels must now be off the scales and I really think we as a community should do something. I just have no idea what. I feel so powerless 😦


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