The existing concrete footbridge links Tunnel Avenue and Boord Street is set to be demolished and replaced with a new structure encased in mesh.
To give us a glimpse of what a bridge encased in mesh looks like, look now further than replacement footbridges Crossrail installed in Abbey Wood.
Aside from how ugly it is, there’s an issue around safety – or at least perceptions around it.
Mesh covering the bridge span makes it pretty ticky to see if people are on the bridge when approaching the structure.
Preventing visibility and feelings of safety does little to encourage active travel for pedestrians and cyclists.
In Greenwich the bridge is quite isolated, and one of few crossings over the A102 from the o2 and homes on the Peninsula to east Greenwich.
Other routes to cross the A102 are pretty abysmal with vehicle dominated space.
Perhaps perspex sheets at the new Greenwich structure would prevent things thrown onto the road – given as one reason for the mesh – yet offer better visibility. This is an area some may shrug off, but it’s a big issue for others.
To be fair I may not have taken a huge deal of notice until using Abbey Wood bridges. Before, you could see who was on it when approaching and who was nearby when on it. That changed.
The Abbey Wood bridges do feature some perspex panels but a small amount which does little to lessen issues.
The wider area along Tunnel Avenue in Greenwich is also pretty dire public realm, as covered on this site last year.
There’s little to encourage people to walk or cycle, and the new bridge design looks like it could simply exacerbate that problem.
There’s the obligatory shiny renders of course from Silvertown tunnel construction company Riverlinx, but given materials to be used it would turn out anything but appealing.
And as it stands, no Silvertown mitigation funding is set to be used to improve Tunnel Avenue.
Maintenance could also be an issue. Much like new public realm around Abbey Wood station sees neither Bexley nor Greenwich maintain, the Abbey Wood footbridges see Greenwich and Network Rail squabble.
In Greenwich the current bridge is hard to vandalise. The new one less so. Can we expect Greenwich Council, TfL and Riverlinx to pass the buck in future?