Little Heath and Hillreach road safety measures planned after 1,100-strong petition

Back in November 2014, we covered a 1,100-name petition being handed into Greenwich Council demanding road safety improvements on Little Heath, Charlton and Hillreach, Woolwich, after newsagent Ash Patel was run down and killed outside his shop.

The area has long been notorious for speeding traffic, but it finally looks as if some action will be taken, with speed cushions planned for this stretch of road. We’re grateful to neighbour Jane Lawson, who brought us news of the original petition, for this update on the story.

Little Heath and Hill Reach, on the Charlton/Woolwich border

I attended a meeting with the Borough Engineer to update on the progress of the measures to calm traffic on Hill Reach.

As you know, TfL have refused a request for average speed cameras to be installed, despite that request having the support of the police. The policy states:

“The criteria for the implementation of a speed camera is that there must have been a minimum of four KSI (Killed or Serious Injuries sustained) collisions in a three year period within one kilometre of the proposed camera site and two of these must have been as a result of speeding.”

So there you have it. Not enough deaths.

However, the Borough does have authority to implement other measures and the plans for these will go to consultation shortly.

In brief, there will be speed cushions added, double yellow lines around the bus stop, a traffic island added with a wider refuge and two additional speed indicators.

Richard explained that the factors that had to be considered were the width of the road, the fact that it is a bus and emergency vehicle route and, further westwards on Little Heath, the spacing and position of the trees. That means that a pedestrian crossing cannot be placed as the sight lines would make it dangerous.

The department has carried out average speed checks and the results show that on the Little Heath stretch the average speed is 34/35mph and on the Hill Reach stretch average speed is 38mph, which is very high.

Commendably the department analysed data for a ten-year period to yield the patterns of deaths and RTCs – a pattern which would not have emerged in a shorter period of time.

The work is likely to be done in July and August during the school holidays, when traffic will be lighter. The road will probably need to be closed for a short time and diversions put in place.

So, it’s not quite the result we had hoped for, but the Borough has done a good job within the limitations of its powers, and it does show the impact of a local petition with hand written names and addresses.

At well over a thousand signatures the depth of local feeling was very clear.