Charlton to Woolwich cycleway plans finally revealed

Anchor & Hope Lane junction
Charlton’s notorious “junction of death” would see new crossings

Transport for London has revealed the first phase of its plans to create a segregated cycleway along the Woolwich Road – but only on the dual carriageway between Charlton and Woolwich.

Greenwich, Charlton and Woolwich were due to be linked by Cycleway 4 when proposals were first unveiled under the mayoralty of Boris Johnson. However, those plans were later dropped and the route shortened to run only as far a Deptford Creek Bridge. A very short section of Cycleway 4 has already opened at Tooley Street, Bermondsey, with more opening later this year.

The dangerous conditions for cyclists along the A206 meant TfL and local politicians came under huge pressure after the deaths of two riders in the space of two weeks in May 2018, including one man under the Woolwich Road flyover, where another cyclist was also killed in 2009.

Now TfL is asking the public for views on the first phase of its plans to revamp the road to create a segregated cycle lane – but this first phase only covers the section from Anchor & Hope Lane in Charlton to the Woolwich Ferry roundabout, where a wide dual carriageway means there should be plenty of room for a cycle route. Initial plans to remove the roundabout underneath the Woolwich Road flyover have also been released.

TfL says it is waiting for Greenwich Council’s plans for Greenwich town centre before coming up with plans for the rest of the route.

With no firm plans yet for the area west of Anchor and Hope Lane, the segregated route from Woolwich may struggle to attract cyclists if they know they will simply be dumped into normal traffic heading west through Charlton and into east Greenwich.

Trafalgar Road
No plans for Trafalgar Road as yet

What’s in the proposals?

The main proposal is to put in place a two-way cycleway on the south side of Woolwich Road and Woolwich Church Street, keeping riders out of normal traffic and enabling them to easily get around the three roundabouts on the route.

One lane of general traffic in each direction would also be removed and turned into a bus lane – however, and rather oddly considering the huge weekend retail park traffic, the bus lane would only run from 7am to 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays.

Six new pedestrian crossings would be put in place, including outside the Stone Lake retail park and at the Warspite Road roundabout. A series of “raised tables” would be fitted at road junctions to slow traffic down and make it easier for pedestrians to cross.

The huge road junction at Anchor and Hope Lane – built when the eastern end of Woolwich Road was converted into a dual carriageway in the early 1990s – would gain a pedestrian crossing on its eastern side. The poor facilities for pedestrians at this junction, an important spot for bus users heading to North Greenwich, have led to it being locally nicknamed the “junction of death”.

Just as in the original Cycleway 4 proposals, this route ends at Woolwich Ferry roundabout. However, this does leave a gap through Woolwich town centre before short stretches of segregated cycle lane – installed by Greenwich Council in the past three years – resume again to Plumstead station.

Frances Street plans
TfL’s plans for the junction with Frances Street

What about the rest of it?

Proposals for the Woolwich Road/ Angerstein roundabout may be the eagerly-anticipated part of the consultation – but TfL has only released a set of early ideas. It is considering removing the roundabout, and cutting traffic access between the A102 and the Woolwich Road to reduce the number of vehicles. More on those proposals here.

Creating a segregated route along the rest of Woolwich Road and Trafalgar Road will be significantly more challenging – the road is narrower and is frequently congested, seven days a week, with the growth in retail barns in the area adding to traffic levels.

Greenwich Council consulted last year on early plans to pedestrianise part of Greenwich town centre, with the next stage of consultation due in the spring. Plans for the rest of the route through Charlton and Greenwich will wait until these are finalised.

This consultation was delayed by the general election, and it is possible that the next stage of the Greenwich town centre consultation will also have to wait for another election to be over – this time the mayoral election on May 7.

A TfL spokesperson told The Charlton Champion: “We are not consulting yet on the section of Cycleway between Greenwich Town Centre and Charlton because Greenwich Council’s Liveable Neighbourhood scheme, which we are funding for Greenwich Town Centre will impact traffic in the area and we need to understand that before modelling any cycleway designs as traffic modelling needs to be included in any consultation.

“Greenwich are due to consult on their Liveable Neighbourhood scheme in the spring and we’re committed to working with them on reducing road danger in the area in the interim.”

To take part in the consultation, visit: consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/greenwich-to-woolwich/

  • See also: Notorious Angerstein roundabout could be ripped out, TfL says

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    Notorious Angerstein roundabout could be ripped out, TfL says

    Woolwich Road flyover
    Two cyclists have died on the eastern side of the flyover since 2009

    Transport for London is considering removing the notorious roundabout at Woolwich Road in east Greenwich, which was condemned as “not fit for humans” after a cyclist died there 18 months ago.

    The Angerstein roundabout could go as part of plans to cut traffic on the A206 through Greenwich and Charlton, with access between the A102 and A206 restricted.

    TfL released its “initial thoughts” on the junction today as part of a wider consultation into plans for a segregated cycleway between Woolwich and Charlton, which would eventually extend to Greenwich.

    The mayor’s transport agency and local politicians came under enormous pressure to act on the junction after the death of 37-year-old Edgaras Cepura, who was attempting to cycle around the roundabout in May 2018 when he was hit by a lorry. In 2009, Adrianna Skrzypiec, 31, died there while trying to ride home from work. After Cepura’s death, Greenwich Council’s deputy leader David Gardner called the junction “not fit for humans”.

    TfL Angerstein roundabout plans

    Now TfL is considering removing the roundabout, turning it into a crossroads and removing access to the northbound A102 in an attempt to reduce traffic levels. Turning right while coming off the northbound A102 would be banned, as would turning left onto Woolwich Road from the southbound A102 and Peartree Way, except for buses. The public realm beneath the flyover would receive its first improvements since it opened in 1969. Along with the segregated cycle lane, new pedestrian crossings would also be installed. More on the rest of the consultation, about a cycle route from Charlton to Woolwich, here.

    The changes would hark back a little to the junction’s original design, which also did not feature a roundabout. When it was first built, traffic heading towards Charlton would turn left towards where Ikea is now before turning right and left to rejoin the Woolwich Road. The current roundabout was installed about a decade later, with further changes made 20 years ago that – the tight turns are a legacy of the original arrangement.

    “We are developing a concept for changes that could be made, although we will need to refine and test these over the coming months. Given the importance of the issues at the roundabout to local people however, we wanted to explain what improvements we think might be possible, to give you opportunity to give us your feedback on our thoughts so far,” TfL says in its consultation.

    Woolwich Road flyover
    Edgaras Cepura was killed at the A206/A102 junction in May 2018

    While the changes will be welcomed by many, TfL’s ambition of reducing traffic could be a challenge considering it is also planning to build the Silvertown Tunnel, which would feed into this junction. And while restricting access from the A102 fits into wider plans to downgrade Woolwich Road, they could also result in an increase in rat-running to and from the Charlton retail park strip.

    In recent years, TfL has removed one-way systems from its road network and has been removing roundabouts in other locations, such as the Elephant & Castle and Highbury Corner, with work now under way at Old Street. Across the other side of the Blackwall Tunnel, the Bow roundabout remains in place, but TfL has toyed with removing its flyover altogether – something which doesn’t feature in its plans for Woolwich Road.

    To see more about the plans and respond to TfL’s wider cycleway consultation, visit TfL’s website.

  • See also: Charlton to Woolwich cycleway plans finally revealed
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    Find out more about plans for the Charlton Park Meadow

    The field at the back of Charlton Park will be transformed into a meadow

    Last summer, we reported on plans to turn part of Charlton Park into a wildflower meadow. Things have come on in leaps and bounds since then, and now it’s your chance to find out more and have your say. The plans focus on disused football pitches at the Cemetery Lane end of the park (not the ones currently in use), and are being paid for by money from Greenwich Council’s ward budget scheme.

    According to the Friends of Charlton Park:

    Homes for Hedgehogs would turn the disused football pitches into an ecological hub with wild natural grasses, a central pond feature and mown walkways, which park users could use to walk dogs or simply marvel at the increased biodiversity – a 2016 report by Natural England argues that connecting with nature can help to reduce levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Creating such an area of wild planting would help to replace crucial lost habitat and in turn attract create suitable habitats for birds and small mammals, including hedgehogs, helping ecosystems to recover and promoting biodiversity.

    Annie Keys, the Friends group’s chair, says: “This is a once in a generation chance to have a major impact as local people on our local park. It would be great to for our children to play alongside and just get used to seeing field mice, birds of prey and solitary bees in real life, not just in pages of children’s books or when they go on a day trip. Let’s grab the chance to make the sounds of hedgehogs snuffling a real part of our daily lives. It’s great that our three local councillors have backed this project and are helping to make it happen.”

    Joe Beale, from the Greenwich Wildlife Advisory Group, adds: “This corner of Charlton Park, previously just closely mown lawn, will soon act as an important link in the ecological chain from Woolwich Common to Charlton Cemetery’s conservation area and Maryon/Maryon Wilson Parks, allowing wildlife to move between these places. Our wildlife is being lost and this is our chance to help ensure future generations can experience the colours and sounds of all sorts of beautiful creatures – from butterflies and moths, to hoverflies and hedgehogs – in their local park.”

    The people behind the scheme will be at The Old Cottage Cafe in Charlton Park on Saturday 11 January from 4pm to 5pm to outline their ideas and hear what you have to say. There are more details, and a contact address if you can’t make it, on the Friends website.


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