New Greenwich junction changes are a dangerous, congested mess

One of south east London’s ugliest and most off-putting junctions has somehow became even worse in recent weeks as numerous cars are seen driving the wrong way down Woolwich road.

Not only that, but the new cycle lane recently installed is now all but completely blocked for much of the day.

A TfL camera focused at the junctions takes video every 5-10 minutes all day, every day. You can see still images here which this afternoon show large numbers of vehicles heading the wrong way down Woolwich Road.

Eastbound lane blocked by westbound traffic on right

At first I thought maybe a vehicle had broken down, but the camera shows hours of vehicles on the wrong side of the road.

In recent weeks cars have been speeding the wrong way down the street putting pedestrians at risk on one approach to this junction at Vanbrugh Hill – and now it appears to be extending to other approaches.

Pedestrian green light phases are also extremely quick, and with vehicles blocking them at time pedestrians cannot safely cross.


Work on the cycle lane has apparently completed – though it doesn’t look like it. Why temporary barriers remain in place long after the cycle lane opened is a mystery. It all looks shoddy and incomplete. Perhaps keeping the tradition going of the junction being an eyesore.

A mess and congested for some time -this predates recent work

Better road markings are a must as some drivers still attempt to drive down the cycle lane. In addition, signage on the actual road lanes could be improved.

Finally, the yellow box needs expanding as it’s chaotic right now.

I’ve no doubt some will blame the cycle lane alone but it goes far beyond that. That doesn’t excuse people driving the wrong way down the road on a number of approaches putting people crossing at risk and blocking oncoming traffic.

Nor does it address that there seems no holistic strategy with vehicle use above pre-pandemic levels despite 500,000 people in London still on furlough.

At the moment the junction is a complete failure for all users; drivers, bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.




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J Smith

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.

12 thoughts on “New Greenwich junction changes are a dangerous, congested mess

  • And for the 5th time in just a couple of weeks the traffic jams have spread into Combedale Road, Kemsing and Ormiston Roads. The traffic has been intermittently stationary on these roads most of this afternoon (Friday).
    In over thirty years of living here this has only happened on very rare occasions in exceptional circumstances. It now seems to have become a usual occurrence.
    The air quality is shocking.

  • Earlier this week a few grands worth of railings were put in just to the east. Completely bottom of the list of priories when this junction needs attention.

    I asked and TfL didn’t want them but Greenwich insisted on them. Everything about this mess of a stretch points to Greenwich council sticking their oar in with no clue.

  • This as always been a very busy and dangerous junction which has now been made a hell of a lot worse. This will have an impact on local residents with traffic congestion and more fumes from traffic in neighbouring streets.

    The pelican crossing needs to allow more time for people to cross including the elderly disabled and parents with children.

    Sadly we are seeing an increase in drivers speeding and totally ignoring the speed limits many of which are now 20 MPH with total disregard for other road users and pedesrians.

    Our streets and pavements need to be safe or us all.

  • You don’t need a car if you live in London. The amount of physical space these people are taking needs to be stopped now. It’s clear no amount of cameras, yellow boxes, road closures or new roads will fix the problem. The only solution is no more cars.

  • What people forget is that loads of these cars are passing through on their way to the tunnel. They are not residents going for a five minute drive to the shops. Do you really think those drivers want to be stuck in traffic? Greenwich has been astride routes to London for two thousand years. The Romans marched across Blackheath, Wat Tyler’s men encamped there! Now the transients have cars rather than horses. The lower roads developed a little later but were well established by the 1700s. The tunnel has exacerbated all this.

    You can’t just magic this traffic away. RBG’s blunderings with LTNs, bus and cycle lanes have led to traffic becoming appallingly worse. Come on folks, was it ever this bad? No it wasn’t and you know it. The lower roads and A2 have never been more crowded, Vanburgh Hill, Maze Hill, Kemsing Road and the like have never been as packed more crowded (leading some motorists to turn into utter morons).

    The problem is spreading further east as well. Charlton Church Lane was rammed yesterday, due in part to a change in traffic light phasing at the bottom. Traffic was queuing back across the junction of the Woolwich Road because of the ridiculous new bus lanes, delaying buses even further. These problems did not exist before RBG stuck their oar in.

    Sure, traffic was bad before RBG’s changes — but as I say, it has never, ever been as bad as this. Until Greenwich is no longer in the way of people wanting to pass through it to go elsewhere then RBG’s amateurish efforts are in vain.

  • Chris, you have said exactly what I wanted to and I agree wholeheartedly. All the while Blackwall (and Silvertown) are the key crossings, this problem will remain and it has been exacerbated by the recent road changes. TfL & RBG have ironically given Greenwich a heart attack. These changes have completely ruined the bus service too which is spectacularly counterproductive.

    Silvertown won’t help because as Murky Depths has noted, the approaches remain a single point of failure. An accident on the A102 and you’re back where you started.

    I’m also not sure how closing the northbound on-slip at the Angerstein roundabout helps with the problem of left turns into Blackwall Lane blocking everything.

    The whole lot needs taking out and a joined up approach around getting people back on public transport rather than one that favours a narrow but noisy demographic.

  • Well said, word for word. Its the whole truth and nothing but the truth! It’s amazing to see how ma y people actually, as said yourself, think that the traffic is the residents doing, how do these people come to this equation!? As for the traffic, it enviable its going to back right up people due to the new road layout. Before you had another lane for traffic to pass towards Charlton/Woolwich way on the junction to release some of the traffic, you can’t now and your stuck when the tunnel is up, which in turn then backs up right down to the one way system and Deptford and beyond. A little change with big consequences. As for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, what a stupid name! They do completely the opposite to what there supposed to do. Locals now have to travel further adding to the congestion in order to reach where they live. To me it’s pointless for emissions, it’s creating poorer air quality because the engines are stationary for longer. If there not stationary there longer running, its like there saying why have your engine running for minimal amount of time, extend the running time for all road users! The longer the running the more carbon emissions we could put out in the area the better! Oh and because of the f up that we have done with it all, we will charge everyone for the out mistakes and put it all down to the new carbon emissions and climate change! Win, win for us fat cats!

  • Low traffic neighbourhood schemes are doing more damage than cycle lanes. They cut off feeder roads and funnel everything into the main arteries. No thought has been given to buses and emergency vehicles now caught up in the gridlock, and the signs are confusing. I have no doubt that a small percentage of drivers entering the wrong lane do so accidentally.

  • I have just had a look at the TfL camera feeds and I don’t know what the hell is going on – even the buses seem to be on the wrong side of the road.

    I shall avoid driving through Greenwich on my way to the retail parks and before anyone chimes in about public transport, bus drivers tend to look askance at people trying to board with large flatpack items.

  • Just how long before someone takes Greenwich Council to court over their ruination of the local road network and the increased pollution caused by it and the health implications from it all?

    And for what?

    So they can build a cycle route nobody can use at the moment and even with no barriers hardly anyone will use in the future.

    You can’t deliver parcels or work as a builder/plumber/electrician/carpenter on a push bike. Elderly people need to drive, disabled people need to drive. Are we to tell every policeman and woman that they have to ride a bike, get the bike ambulance to hospital or your local supermarket get their bulk delivers via a pathetic bike?
    Get real Greenwich, you’ve spent a fortune destroying the road system and for what? For why?

    I suggest you start planning ripping it all out and start developing properly thought out roads, carried out by a responsible adult who realises road transport is here to stay permanently, be it powered by fossil fuels, batteries or hydrogen…

  • @Steve: anyone taking Greenwich to court will probably lose since local authorities are implementing government policy no matter how badly.

    I live in the Borough of Lewisham and the roads are just as clogged up. At one time, I could walk into Lewisham town centre from my Lee Green home quicker than the bus.

  • The cycle path is really poor. But it has nothing to do with the mayhem that is on the roads; that’s congestion, the public not using public transport because of covid and poor transport planning over decades. Cyclists are treated equally as poorly with a very badly designed cycle path. I use it and loads of people do. You probably dont notice because we fly by with while you sit in stationary traffic. You shouldnt want to make things worse by ripping out the cycle lane thats 20 years over due so you can be smug that everyone is stuck in the same road traffic, instead focus positive energy by asking that things are improved such as better road planning and design.


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