Barriers in parts of Greenwich town centre were being removed this morning by council staff.
The plastic barriers cost £119,130 in Greenwich town centre alone when installed in 2020. God knows where that all went.
As a pedestrian I found them a complete pain. They had the negative effect of guardrail in forcing pedestrians on detours to cross at limited points.
The idea of people keeping distance from others was lost as people funnelled to limited crossing points.
You also had to clamber over them to cross if you didn’t want to be led to inconvenient crossings. It was vehicle-first design under the guise of helping pedestrians.
Cyclists complained as they were funnelled into narrow road space with buses and general traffic.
A dedicated cycle lane was featured on plans submitted to TfL from Greenwich Council – but didn’t appear.
Greenwich refused to release plans in the public domain, with it taking Freedom of information requests to gain them.
In fact cyclists were barely a consideration of all, which is odd when a permanent cycle lane was under construction nearby.
They also looked a bit of a mess.
Clearly Greenwich town centre needs work to alleviate congestion and a £5.4 million pedestrianisation scheme is in the works (or at least it was) but this measure should never have cost a ridiculous £119,130 and lasted so long without changes.
A few weeks as an emergency measure was perhaps justifie, but then more attractive and permeable street furniture could have been installed, such as this in Beckenham which replaced plastic barriers.
Those wooden planters and greenery replaced plastic of the type seen in Greenwich:
That may have justified spending £119,130. Attractiveness and people-friendly design wasn’t on the agenda in Greenwich.
So while it now appears some is going, what’s coming next? Nothing anytime soon it appears.
The removal of the one-way system was announced almost four years ago now.
Greenwich Council have been contacted for comment.