Transport for London’s proposed Woolwich cycle route revealed

Applications for major changes in Woolwich town centre this week have revealed the favoured route for dedicated cycle lanes through the town centre to feed into the wider network.

Cycleway 4 is intended to run from Tower Bridge through Greenwich and then eventually end at the Woolwich ferry.

Turquoise line shows dedicated, segregated route. Dar blue are existing routes that share space

There has been no public plan however to connect to parts of Woolwich town centre nor to cycle lanes running from Woolwich to Plumstead.

TfL’s proposed plan includes lanes running from the ferry roundabout along Powis Street then turning left at MacBean Street before taking a right at Beresford Street.

Woolwich ferry roundabout can be extremely busy

TfL’s plan was featured in two planning applications this week covering £21 million in public realm work in Woolwich.

However those projects barely cover the proposed cycle route area and would not pay for installation.

Cycle lane would head down western end of Powis Street

It’s currently unfunded with Greenwich Council opting not to use incoming funds from a number of large developments in Woolwich town centre including two approved in recent weeks.

Cycle lane would head past Lidl

One such development was substantial blocks around Woolwich Tesco with 712 homes approved.

TfL asked Greenwich Council for £944,000 in developer contributions to assist with cycling improvements. Greenwich opted for £150,000.

Extract from report

A couple of weeks later another major development was to be decided for a new leisure centre and nearly 500 homes.

TfL sought 700k for improving cycle links for those reaching the centre and forthcoming residents. Greenwich went with just £50k.

The council also neglected to give Network Rail a penny for station access improvements.

Cycle lanes from MacBean Street would meet Beresford Street here

Greenwich Council regularly like to state the developer wouldn’t contribute, but discussions conducted before planning meetings are held and decisions made decide where incoming funding is allocate. Greenwich do somehow always manage to find substantial funding for their favoured areas.

The NHS, rail access and sustainable travel are three areas overlooked in the past month.

Future development

Any cycle lane would head along Beresford Street where a major development was rejected, but it’s almost certain a revised scheme will be back.

Previous plans showed no such cycling space on the road.

No safe cycle space alongside proposed development. TfL want that to change.

TfL’s proposed lane would continue past other sizable developments such as an approved student housing block at the Catholic Club site.

That site too saw Greenwich planners ignore some of TfL’s guidance, with Greenwich officers stating: “on the sought contribution to healthy streets officers noted to TFL that given how accessible the site such a contribution should not be sought and be targeted to other contributions.”

Ample space for lanes in some areas with wide paving and large central reserve

The proposed cycle route would then head towards a very wide area of Plumstead Road which could accommodate lanes quite easily.

Over 800 homes were approved here Woolwich Exchange in this area. No cycle lanes were planned or funded here when approved.

Wide paving = space for cycle lane. Opportunity not taken at recently approved Woolwich Exchange

The plan includes landscaping which makes cycle lanes harder to implement.

Planters at busy spot narrows pedestrian space beside bus stops and hampers possible cycle lane. Note cyclist in road

Finally there’s yet another major development at Armourers Court.

This again ignores the chance for any cycle lane on that side of the street.

Space for dedicated cycle lane reduced by landscaping. Again note cyclist in busy road

A further view shows limited paving space with a lack of forward planning.

No cycle lane along busy, wide road outside proposed Armourers Court

Much of Woolwich is in effect a blank slate given the scale of development.

Developments will happily includes details of thousands of cycle spaces for residents, but overlook how cyclists reach those developments safely.

Transport for London appear to now have a plan though Greenwich Council appear unsupportive.

Whether it be failing to allocate income from a multitude of new developments, or failing to ensure those new developments include passive provision for future lanes, it’s all contributing to a cycleway that ends at a busy roundabout and fails to link to the town centre.

Existing cycle lanes to east of Woolwich town centre

Failing to plan ahead or assist with funding also ensures no direct link to cycle lane east of Woolwich town centre.

At least concrete evidence is emerging that TfL do plan to link disparate schemes though Woolwich town centre and provide safe routes for shoppers visiting and residents living in the centre.

Now it needs culture change at Greenwich Council to enable change to occur.


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J 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.

One thought on “Transport for London’s proposed Woolwich cycle route revealed

  • Hopefully in the long run they’ll turn the A206 into three lanes in places so it can have a dedicated cycle lane.


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