Woolwich to Greenwich cycle lane to remain – though changes are coming

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.

Bus lane doubles as cycle 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.

Looking towards removed bus stop in east Greenwich

A major east Greenwich junction will be reworked again.

Changes at junction and bus stop reinstallation

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.

These wands now removed for two-way lane over the road

I took an in-depth look at the project back in 2019. We do still retain some excellent elements.

Pocket park a big improvement
Competing priorities

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:

Charlton temporary cycle lane. Cycle lane to be narrowed here

No lane was constructed when new retail sheds constructed – nor any passive provision made. Instead “dead” space was created in places:

New development in Charlton – space for cycle lane not evident

There are examples in other places for installing new lanes when new-builds are constructed. This is Abbey Wood:

Lane installed alongside new supermarket

This lack of forward planning from Greenwich to Woolwich is also evident in plans recently approved, including Morris Walk estate:

Green verge leaves little space for cycle lane alongside a bus lane.

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:

No safe cycle space alongside development

We’ve also seen it at new towers from Berkeley Homes in Woolwich recently completed:

Base of tower close to road leaving no space for cycle lane

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:

No cycle lane along busy, wide road

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:

No segregated cycle lane evident avoiding busy bus stops outside Woolwich Exchange

Raised planters and landscaping prevent sustainable transport options. Here’s another proposal to reduce usable space over the road:

Space for dedicated cycle lane reduced

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:

Flats proposed at Speedy Hire site

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.

TfL finances

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.

Greenwich allocation from S106 and CIL up to 2022/23

While Greenwich allocated £208,000 over three years, boroughs like Hounslow allocate £3.3m.

Hounslow allocation

Then there’s Hammersmith & Fulham which really shows the gulf, who allocated £60m from parking revenue and £27m from new developments towards transport projects.

H&F annual spend


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.




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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.

6 thoughts on “Woolwich to Greenwich cycle lane to remain – though changes are coming

  • I note that nothing substantial is being done about the very dangerous floating bus stop outside the M&S store.

  • “the bus lane between Charlton and Woolwich changing from 24/7 to 7am-7pm.”

    This is deadly. Its going to be extremely scary cycling home in the evening and this is such a step backwards for safe cycling. Horrendous and the council will have blood on their hands – I genuinely hope it’s not mine.

  • @Chris L: ‘dangerous floating bus stop?’ I have got off at that stop on several occasions and don’t know what you mean.
    @Matt w: again, I don’t see the problem. Bus lane operation returns to pre-pandemic conditions where all traffic was allowed to use the lane.

  • If it isn’t a problem why have they introduced on bus announcements warning people to be careful getting off the bus? Who would expect cyclists approaching at speed from both directions? Did you see the mum waiting at the stop with one child in a pushchair and a toddler who was missed by inches by a racing cyclist? I did.

  • Well the real winners here are the Council’s preferred contractors who will have yet another go at making this work – anyone else remember the 10-day bus stop removal opposite the Greenwich Centre which then got dug up and relocated back to its original place? Much as I agree with the re-instatement of the bus stop outside the Post Office, the removal of which has caused major inconvenience for bus users, I do not understand how it is possible to narrow the pavement on this busy stretch. And why are we still looking at a terrible junction with no yellow box at Blackwall Lane and Trafalgar Road? Above all, why is TfL so insistent that Cycleway 4 should go along the main road? When I’m cycling I always go down quiet and wide Tunnel Avenue where there are no dangerous side roads opening into my path. The only successful element so far has been the pedestrian/cycle crossing of Angerstein roundabout – something the Council could have installed anytime since the 1970s.

  • @Chris L: ‘Did you see the mum waiting at the stop with one child in a pushchair and a toddler who was missed by inches by a racing cyclist?’ No because she wasn’t on my bus, but I would expect anyone getting off a bus particularly someone with children to take care. Not everything is someone’s fault.


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