Spend any time in Greenwich borough and it quickly becomes apparent the authority have a long standing issue with a dysfunctional Highways Department.
This is often manifest in decades-old design thinking around streets. Yet even they should know that since 1974 vehicles cannot block pavements in London.
However for years it appears not. Various excuses have been given over the years for failing to enforce. One old favourite used to be it was down to a private company they’d outsourced to.
Recently yet another has popped up as an excuse to do little while pedestrians are hampered in various areas.
“We made it exempt” they now claim. OK, well in London if that’s the case lines must be marked on paving.
Marked bays are required so vehicles stay within lines and people still have a chance to pass. Greenwich are not doing so.
Firstly in Abbey Wood this is fine we are told.
Today they’ve claimed it’s allowed in Woolwich.
— Nicola 💙🏃🏼♀️🚴♀️🇺🇦 (@Thackers_78) March 24, 2023
In effect this means people in wheelchairs, parents with buggies and those with mobility frames cannot use pavements on bin day. Or other days if a car parks without leaving adequate space. Greenwich Council won’t do anything.
Anywhere could now be exempt. No one knows. Highways and Parking departments have been asked, and given baffling replies. They won’t provide a list. They certainly aren’t making it evident on the street itself for drivers or pedestrians.
Free flow of pedestrians doesn’t matter.
This lack of action then has the follow-on effect of numerous bits of street furniture installed costing thousands of pounds. Most is ineffective if they fail to act on pavement parking either side.
This is a classic example:
Much street furniture is simply ugly dragging down the feel of areas and doing nothing for civic pride. Abbey Wood is apparently a place where parking off the road is now fine, and so naturally what follows is nasty railings being installed all over the town rather than enforcement.
Many of Greenwich’s recent strategies around healthy living and transport are nullified by an arbitrary and secretive process which is anti-pedestrian.
Time and again they’ll commission a report, spend thousands and ignore what it states through action such as what we are seeing.
The Parking Department also sees millions lost each year through failing to act. That income can do wonders for improving towns and streets across the borough – and is being lost. Then the same departments blame outside bodies and state TfL must fund improvements as they have no money.
Try doing your job, maybe?
And where are many councillors on this? When asked they seem to buy into the nonsense replies that Officers and Departments tell them. Leadership is absent.
Then weeks later some will pop up proclaiming active travel and making streets safer for pedestrians.
All while little happens to improve matters on the ground.