Greenwich town centre’s £120,000 barriers being removed

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.

Cost of plastic barriers
Cycle lane

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.

Cyclists were blocked from accessing riverside cycle path from road for some time

They also looked a bit of a mess.

Barriers were a paint for cyclists pushed into traffic – and pedestrians with limited crossing points

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.

Courtesy Google

Those wooden planters and greenery replaced plastic of the type seen in Greenwich:

Courtesy Google. Barriers replaced pretty quickly

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.


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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.

12 thoughts on “Greenwich town centre’s £120,000 barriers being removed

  • They helped to add to traffic congestion as well. They pleased no-one.

  • The planters are far more attractive than the ugly plastic barriers. and would look nice in Greenwich Town Centre for both local residents and tourist alike. Greenwich Town Centre is always busy whatever the time of day or night so road safety as to be paramount for pedestrians cyclist and motorist.

    The planters would also stop pedsestrians wandering in to the road which you do see if Greenwich as pedestrians pass other pedestrian.

    Ideally we need Greenwich Council to start work on removing the one way system and pedestrianised the part of Greenwich Town Centre as planned. Buses that stand on KIng William Walk by the Cutty Sark routes 129 and 286 could be re-routed with route 286 standing by Greenwich Station Forecourt and route 129 extended to Lewisham Shopping Centre as Planned as part of the Crossrail Elizabeth Line bus changes.

  • Yes semi pedestrianising the centre should be pushed higher up councils agenda, if its there at all. Also how about rather than returning ‘all’ the road space to motor vehicles as before, having a semi segregated cycle lane which emergency vehicles could cross. We should remember that the cycle route goes through the ORNC at one end and Creek Road the other end, with a heavily congested and tricky to cross centre for cyclists as it stands. For an effective cycle route it should not be simply returned to the pre-pandemic situation.

  • They were very helpful for pedestrians especially to be able to keep social distancing.

  • They were a temporary measure to allow people to socially-distance during the pandemic: which, incidentally, is still in progress. They were entirely effective in this respect; as it was impossible to distance from others on Greenwich town centre’s narrow pavements otherwise. I live in Greenwich town centre and experienced this many times. Yes, they weren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, but it’s amazing how fast people forget.

  • Whether they looked attractive to “tourists” was irrelevant, if you remember, as there wasn’t any tourists as we were in the throes of a global pandemic.

  • i know Ballard hence really why barriers should be kept in place as we are still in the throes of global Covid pandemic. Which we are going to be in for sometime to come. Another lockdown cannot be ruled out as winter approaches. As people stop social distancing and wearing mask.

    I also agree that removing the Greenwich Town Centre one way system and pedestrianising this section of Greenwich Town Centre should be moved higher up the list of highway works to be completed by Greenwich Council.

    However, I do like the the way the planters were used in Beckenham

  • Thank you. There’s a lack of objective sense at play here: collective amnesia comorbid with covid induced neurological damage possibly…

  • Another observation. Look carefully.

    The width of the pavement in those googlemaps images of Beckenham with barriers/ wooden planters, isn’t comparable to those in Greenwich town centre – it’s at least twice as wide, and the barriers don’t even protrude into the roadway/ tarmac.

  • Absolutely Ballard – These planters would not be suitable in Greenwich Town Centre due to the narrow pavements I was just saying the planters do look attractive or should I say colourful.

    I support the removal of the Greenwich Town Centre one way system and the pedestrianising of the part of Greenwich Town Centre as planned to give pedestrians more room.

    Sadly as with new developments we are seeing pavement space significantly reduced for pedestrians making it harder for pedestrians to pass each other safely.

  • So how about widening the pavements to the same width as the areas created by the now disappeared plastic barriers? This would certainly improve the pedestrian experience which is currently shockingly bad. Not only would we be able to socially distance during any future lockdown but it would be a massive improvement if we ever have any tourists again. Wasting valuable space in the historic centre on street parking is very last century. We could also rethink the terrible pedestrian crossings which completely miss the lines of desire which people want to follow. And the appalling crush at the bus stops could be sorted out before someone is killed. Seems like a win-win but it’s probably just a mad fantasy. RBG are not exactly visionary and they certainly don’t have a plan for anything except the status quo ante as with the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.


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