Greenwich Low Traffic Neighbourhood to be removed

The Hills and Vales Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Greenwicvh looks set to be removed this week when a traffic order expires on 25 February.

A report states the council will not officially adopt buy instead look to draw up another – but this is not imminent and there’s no guarantee.

In terms of wider changes, it states: “…Overall the monitoring exercise shows that since the West Greenwich LTN was implemented in August 2020 cycling has increased in the local area, collisions with pedestrians and cyclists are showing signs of having reduced and buses have seen an improvement in weekend journey times.

These positive effects must be weighed up against increased traffic flows on neighbouring north-south corridors such as Maze Hill and some worsening of bus journey times on weekdays. However these effects are not just down to the LTN itself, but also:
• The more fundamental changes people have made to how they travel following the pandemic and
• Key road schemes like the CS4 extension and
• Developments in the local area.” 

Since being adopted the project was revised to open up in the mornings and allow black cabs through – though not disabled drivers with blue badges as Lewisham agreed at the Lee and Lewisham LTN.

The council initially used physical barriers with emergency services complaining of a lack of communication from council officers. This is from the NHS in relation to ambulances:

“No information, graphic or design included”

Despite that, they council state in the report: “We have liaised closely with representatives from all three emergency services and have also participated in pan-London working groups with them, to identify ways to incorporate their access needs into traffic reduction schemes”.

The use of physical obstacles for the LTN in west Greenwich was undertaken as the authority didn’t possess the option to use cameras at that time. Greenwich was one of the very last councils in London to authorise using CCTV for traffic offences despite powers being available since 2005. They still hadn’t adopted it by 2020.

Taken from Greenwich Council document in Feb 2019

While the Hills and Vales project has been talked about long before COVID measures, they both saw poor communication from the authority and a lack of transparency.

Greenwich were continuously refusing to engage with the public or authorities on various plans in 2020 – and it took Freedom of Information requests to gain information as councillors and council officers kept silent. Many other London boroughs made reports and funding bids public.

The authority have now published a report based on a selection of responses to consultation (though not all) and recommend Option 3 (Option 1 was adopt the scheme, Option 2 was remove) which is to start from scratch:

“Option 3 involves the same as option 2 as set out in paragraphs 6.2 above [remove the scheme] but it is open to the Cabinet Member to authorise Council officers to begin the process of developing an alternative LTN traffic scheme for West Greenwich.

Under this option Council officers would begin the process of preparing the scheme and publishing and consulting on the proposed scheme under the statutory process for making a permanent TRO. Council officers would work up the details of the proposed alternative scheme in consultation with the Cabinet Member, drawing upon responses and the experience of the existing experimental West Greenwich LTN.

If following publication and consultation there are significant and substantial or material objections received, Council officers would report the objections and representations received to the Cabinet Member for consideration and a decision as to whether the TRO for the scheme should be made.”

Cllr Sarah Merrill (Labour – Shooters Hill) is now extremely likely to follow that route.

East Greenwich

The removal of the Hills and Vales project also follows officer’s recommending a planned east Greenwich Low Traffic Neighbourhood be abandoned which Greenwich Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Sarah Merrill agreed to.

East Greenwich has seen a large increase in dangerous driving recently with vehicles heading the wrong way down streets. Greenwich’s response was plastic barriers which blocked pedestrians from crossing the street.

In recent weeks the Cabinet member for transport also intervened to ensure parking enforcement is not undertaken in parts of the borough.

Over the past year the council have also asked Royal Parks to reopen Greenwich Park for traffic, and a cycle lane on Shooters Hill also saw wands removed without communication with the public.

Despite aspirations to reduce car usage by 2030 and many reports advocating active travel there appears no wide ranging plan to achieve that goal. The problem of congestion doesn’t appear to be going anywhere given the number of cars registered in the borough increased by almost 7,000 from 2013 to 2020. That’s one of the highest growth rates in London. Silvertown Tunnel is also expected to lead to a large increase in vehicles entering the borough as two tunnels converge on the existing road network south of the Thames.

Traffic is due to increase across Greenwich borough according to TfL. Red dots indicate increased congestion post Silvertown

Many new builds approved in recent years include sizable amounts of car parking alongside a continuing issue with ignoring investment in improved walking and cycling links.

As we now head towards Silvertown Tunnel opening and more housing with car parking coming alongside distribution hubs being proposed (see a post from just yesterday) Greenwich Council appear to lack any real strategy to reduce car usage.

 

 

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John 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.

16 thoughts on “Greenwich Low Traffic Neighbourhood to be removed

  • February 22, 2022 at 9:58 pm
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    If I were Sarah Merrill. I would resign forthwith. There isn’t a hope in hell of RBG coming up with a plan which will achieve the results required in terms of green transport alternatives & net zero by 2030, or 20 anything. They are running scared of vote losing. It’s a scandal, and if Sarah is a true environmentalist (as the title given her should suggest) her conscience would not allow her to continue working within a council in which the only relationship with zero is ‘zero action on anything environmentally green or futuristic’. RBG already had the fewest LTN’s through it’s residential streets before this further backtrack I believe? The air quality meanwhile also leaves a nasty taste in ones mouth. The traffic pollution along and close to Trafalgar Road is palpable. And more and more cars are still to come and join the massive construction pollution from 36 story towers and a tunnel for HGV’s. OMG! And from which we don’t even reap the benefits of community infrastructure improvements. A regime change is desperately required.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 8:27 am
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    RBG is a shameful in how they adopt or come up with any sort of socially useful initiatives. Even when they’re given one on a plate. I’ve been enjoying the LTN zones as a new parent, considering the condition if most of the sidewalks around us. Well, thanks RBG.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 9:43 am
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    I doubt the claim of increased cycling and lower accidents. Seems highly unlikely.

    There is no point worrying about traffic pollution when the car fleet is being electrified.

    And Greenwich has done nothing to route busses up the hills which are very steep.

    There’s nothing they can do without ruining quality of life. The whole project is a nonsense.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 1:16 pm
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    There’s too many old farts in power in Greenwich borough and in council positions living in the past (many of whom live in the south in places like Eltham) who are at odds with modern cities and the reality of ever more people moving into new homes in the north of the borough without cars and younger people not driving. Its a massive and growing gulf.

    This is a great chance for other parties to knock Labour off their perch in places like Greenwich Peninsula and Woolwich. Only trouble is Thorpe and his cronies will probably double down as they remain or flee to safe seats. That and Greenwich Labour cllrs who live in the modern world tend to be based in the north of the borough so they are on the line.

    Many Labour members and councillors in the centre and south of the borough who control decisions would really be more at home in Tory Bromley. They need sweeping out.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 1:58 pm
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    Further evidence that RBG is the most useless Labour council at delivering improvements for people walking and cycling. Compare this to Lambeth who have implemented three excellent LTNs that are delivering benefits, and consulting on more.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 10:50 pm
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    Excellent news and long overdue. The naive thinking of closing roads and expecting traffic to sort itself out is over. They never achieved their aim of reducing traffic and simply displaced it and so should be scrapped as a failure, and a frustrating one at that

    Reply
  • February 26, 2022 at 6:40 am
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    Wear and tear from brakes, tyres and road surfaces will soon overtake car exhaust fumes as the leading source of fine particles released into the air by road traffic. Heavy vehicles with long-distance batteries could compound the problem even as they slash emissions from engine exhaust. Shame on RGB for rolling back the LTNs which are very much needed to get people out of their cars in light of the climate emergency and air pollution effecting our community. Let’s build a new tunnel, next to schools and new housing, to encourage more vehicles to drive through the borough instead.

    Reply
  • February 26, 2022 at 10:56 am
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    @Andy: I pretty much agree. However, there are passive measures that can help to take some traffic off the roads, and that is the introduction of more residents only parking roads. I live very close to the junction of Burnt Ash Road and a five minute walk away from Lee station. During the week, half of my road fills up with commuter drivers who park for free all day. Looking out of my window today (Saturday), I see long stretches of car free space and the difference is marked. I keep emailing my ward councillors asking for controlled parking, but all I get are promises of consultations that have yet to happen.

    Reply
  • February 26, 2022 at 11:10 am
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    I have been emailing my ward councillors for nearly three years about introducing controlled parking, but keep getting fobbed off. The pandemic is now proving to be the excuse that keeps on giving: it has prevented plans for a consultation on two occasions now. 🙄

    Reply
  • February 28, 2022 at 10:11 am
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    This is a shameful U-turn. Feedback from consultation showed that the vast majority of residents IN the affected areas within the borough are in favour. Also that the majority outside of the LTNs are against.

    We are adversely affected by noise, pollution, safety on our streets, whereas commuters have just had to add some time on to their journeys.

    Where is the encouragement for drivers to get out of their polluting cars? Where is the care for the safety of our children?

    Reply
  • March 1, 2022 at 7:15 pm
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    @Cromwellsbrain: there have been winners and losers in the LTN schemes. Whilst those on some roads are able to enjoy quiet, safe streets, others such myself who also live within in a scheme, have seen an increase in traffic bringing nose to tail queues and the smell of exhaust fumes. There is also the longer response times of emergency vehicles.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2022 at 8:47 pm
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    Indeed; no surprises it was popular within the scheme as it moved the traffic elsewhere.

    More importantly these schemes have now expired as of 25 Feb and yet RBG still hasn’t removed the planters and bollards – there is zero authority for them to remain in-situ currently. It’s disgraceful.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2022 at 2:16 pm
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    As reported elsewhere by Murky, Lewisham has decided to make the Lee Green LTN permanent, with a few tweaks that won’t make a lot of difference.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2022 at 2:49 pm
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    @Andy & @anonymous201481

    Completely understand the annoyance of residents, who have been adversely impacted by the shift to traffic flows. We NEED to encourage drivers out of their cars; we live just off A2 (as we all do, I assume) and it saddens me to see the huge number of single-driver cars commuting through our choked and polluted borough. We are lucky that we have had nearly 18 months with lower pollution and greater safety for our children BUT we can now expect to return to an environment, where it has taken me 20 minutes in the past to travel 300m along single track Westgrove.

    Sorry that I can’t be as jubilant as others on such sad news – but well done Lewisham for sticking to your principles.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2022 at 11:38 pm
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    Totally understandable, but these restrictions demonstrably do not force residents out of their cars. For failing to meet their principal aim alone they should be removed.

    The LTNs are addressing a symptom and not a cause. If you want to force people out of cars then introduce road tolling and other such restrictions that hit people in the pocket; of course that’s not palatable so instead naive and ineffectual measures such as this were introduced.

    Reply
  • March 24, 2022 at 2:55 pm
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    How was it socially useful to the residents of the council estate off Blackheath Hill? I’m sure lots of West Greenwich residents (bourgeois section) like to live a mock up of the Cotswolds but the rest of us are realistic about living in travel zone 2 of London and don’t enjoy being cut off from the wider neighbourhood. If you have the leisure to walk or cycle everywhere, good for you. Some of us need to move ourselves, our aged parents, children, goods, shopping around and don’t have the luxury of pootling around.

    Reply

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