St Thomas’ Church in Charlton will host a concert in aid of the Greenwich Winter Night Shelter on Sunday January 26th, featuring ‘popular classics for cello, voice and piano’.
The Winter Night Shelter provides dinner, safe overnight accommodation and breakfast to homeless people over the winter months from mid-November to end March in seven venues across Greenwich borough, including St. Thomas’. You can read our report about the group’s work from last year here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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”.
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.
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.