A segregated cycle lane running from Greenwich to Charlton is set to remain in place with alterations made along the route.
The lane was installed in 2020 and followed long-standing plans for Cycle Highway 4 from Tower Bridge to Woolwich – which was later cut back to Greenwich.
The extension to Charlton was a low budget alternative – with the stretch to Woolwich no more than cyclists sharing a bus lane.
Alterations are proposed in Greenwich to reinstall a bus stop eastbound on Trafalgar Road opposite Iceland taken out of service for the cycle lane, alongside the bus lane between Charlton and Woolwich changing from 24/7 to 7am-7pm.
A major east Greenwich junction will be reworked again.
Additional traffic lanes will be installed, though at the expense of pedestrian space.
For many months after the lane was installed, it lay half finished with barriers strewn:
This latest change for additional traffic lanes ensures the removal of some landscaping, which further removes measures installed less than three years ago.
I took an in-depth look at the project back in 2019. We do still retain some excellent elements.
The new cycle lane has caused controversy in places as buses lacked space to overtake others stopping. This in part was due to a lack of forward thinking, as new developments built close to the existing streetline hampering future installation of a cycle lane:
No lane was constructed when new retail sheds constructed – nor any passive provision made. Instead “dead” space was created in places:
There are examples in other places for installing new lanes when new-builds are constructed. This is Abbey Wood:
This lack of forward planning from Greenwich to Woolwich is also evident in plans recently approved, including Morris Walk estate:
This is also apparent at various Woolwich housing proposals which propose building so close to the edge of plots they leave little room for paving space and a cycle lane.
This is Beresford Street:
We’ve also seen it at new towers from Berkeley Homes in Woolwich recently completed:
There’s space for a layby – but not a cycle lane:
At the tail end of last year another large development in Woolwich (on TfL land no less) did the same. This is Armourer’s Court:
That then ensures inevitable conflict between cyclists and bus users, let alone general traffic.
Even where wide paving currently exists which could accommodate a cycle lane, various development propose limiting usable space. Here’s Woolwich Exchange aka Spray Street:
Raised planters and landscaping prevent sustainable transport options. Here’s another proposal to reduce usable space over the road:
This leaves cyclists dicing with various buses pulling in and out of stops.
The number of new builds all along the potential cycle lane from Plumstead to Greenwich should ensure very healthy usage in time – but it’s crucial to think ahead and include space for them.
Proposals for developments along the route continue, with the latest being housing at Speedy Hire in east Greenwich:
Bus stop locations to the east of here will also be relocated in May under new proposals.
To view the range of changes proposed, click here. To view Greenwich Council’s reports, click here. Work is due to be undertaken in May this year, with further public engagement later in the year before the project is again studied in 2023.
One major obstacle is TfL’s parlous finances. In much of London boroughs are now stating they will use their own Community Infrastructure Levy or S106 income to mitigate any impact from TfL’s budget issues, but Greenwich continue to avoid doing this.
This example is in relation to cycle parking, with Lewisham Council stating that Section 106 would be used when TfL funding is unavailable.
Other boroughs such as Brent spent £3.3 million in CIL income on public realm projects in 2019/20:
The consistent line from Greenwich Council has always been with a multitude of projects and in various reports that it’s TfL involvement or nothing. That’s even with funding ringfenced to transport spending, such as revenue from parking fines. One core factor is they sit 31st out of 32 London boroughs for utilising income from developers to supplement annual TfL income via the Local Implementation Plan which funds transport.
While Greenwich allocated £208,000 over three years, boroughs like Hounslow allocate £3.3m.
Then there’s Hammersmith & Fulham which really shows the gulf, who allocated £60m from parking revenue and £27m from new developments towards transport projects.
And thus we see why Greenwich claim TfL must do so much. One example of that is rejecting a new pedestrian crossing in Falconwood after 476 people requested it. All down to TfL they said.
With TfL in real trouble, what the future holds remains to be seen.