Charlton to appear on the Tube map for the first time

Thameslink class 700 trains
Thameslink is back on the Tube map, bringing Charlton with it

Thameslink will be temporarily added to the Tube map to give customers more options during the pandemic – putting Charlton on the map for the first time.

Services within Zone 1 and Zone 6, as well as Dartford and Swanley, will be reintroduced to Tube maps from next month to aid social distancing on public transport and reduce the number of car journeys in the capital, Transport for London confirmed this morning.

The service will also provide alternatives during the planned closure of the Bank branch of the Northern Line during 2021 while upgrades are completed.

The two SE London Thameslink routes (to Rainham and Orpington/Sevenoaks) appear

Julie Dixon, Head of Customer Information and Partnerships at TfL, said: “In light of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, and next year’s Northern line closures required to complete the Bank Upgrade works, Thameslink services have been temporarily included on the Tube map to help customers move around the city.

“This has been a complicated addition to make to the map, but one that we feel will benefit Londoners as part of our work to promote safe, clean and reliable public transport use across the city.”

The temporary change is expected to be in place until December 2021, but there are already calls to make the change permanent given the step-free access availability at many stations on the service.

Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said there would be “long term benefits” to showing Thameslink services on the Tube map.

Pidgeon said: “At peak times Thameslink’s frequency is set to reach 24 trains an hour, offering a similar service to most London Underground lines. The stations, with the exception of Elephant and Castle, are also fully accessible for disabled people throughout central London.”

Alison Moore, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, echoed this sentiment, calling the change an “essential addition” to the Tube map.

Moore said: “The Transport Committee recommended that Thameslink be added to the Tube map to help Londoners with disabilities because these trains are designed for accessibility first and foremost. It is time for TfL to keep Thameslink on the map permanently for better accessibility across the city.”

Although the updated Tube map will provide more options for travelling around London, people are still being advised to only travel when necessary, given the rise in Covid-19 infections and London’s move into Tier 3 restrictions.

Both TfL and Thameslink are reminding customers to plan ahead and travel at quiet times when possible.

Central London Thameslink services appeared on the Tube map when they were introduced in 1988, but were taken off in 1999.


LDRS logoJoe Talora is the Local Democracy Reporter for City Hall. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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Talk to TfL and council officers about Charlton’s new cycleway and other Streetspace schemes

Cycleway 4 extension end
This is where the cycleway ends…. for now

We’ve not been sent any information about this (engagement, eh?), all we’ve seen is a little-noticed tweet from Greenwich Council, but it’s worth flagging up – TfL is holding an online event on Monday 14 December to explain and discuss its plans to create a cycle route between Greenwich and Woolwich.

The first section, which begins at Old Woolwich Road and stops at Farmdale Road, right where Greenwich becomes Charlton, is due to be finished by next week after being delayed for about two months. A second section, through Charlton to Anchor & Hope Lane, is due to follow soon after. A third section, to the Woolwich Ferry roundabout, is currently being covered by wider bus lanes until funding can be found for cycle lanes – which have led to some traffic problems as drivers adjust to only having one lane rather than two.

The cycle route is part of a wider plan to create a continuous cycle route between Tower Bridge and Woolwich.

TfL analysis showed that Charlton and Woolwich would benefit most from low-traffic neighbourhoods (darker scores are higher, see the full details)

The wider Streetspace scheme also includes the blocks on through traffic in west Greenwich and new proposals for streets around Maze Hill. There is nothing for side streets in Charlton, despite rat-running problems here, and TfL advice that suggests that streets between the A102 and Woolwich town centre would benefit most from measures to to block rat-running – advice based on factors including traffic and casualty levels, cycling potential, schools, population density, deprivation and low car ownership.

Here’s chuck-out time at Fossdene school – hardly a conducive and friendly environment for walking and cycling, with pedestrians penned in and cars dominating what should be a residential road.

Plenty, then, to discuss. You can sign up using this form for the meeting, which runs from 6pm to 7.30pm.


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TfL ‘monitoring’ effects of widened bus lanes through Charlton

Woolwich Road
Transport for London says the widened lane improves safety for cyclists

Transport for London says it is monitoring the effects of widened bus lanes between Charlton and Woolwich after over 2,000 people signed a petition calling for them to be removed.

The lanes have been widened between Anchor and Hope Lane and the Woolwich Ferry to assist buses and improve safety for cyclists, cutting the ordinary traffic lanes down to one in each direction.

In January TfL consulted on plans to build a segregated cycleway between Charlton and Woolwich, which would have had a similar effect, but after the coronavirus pandemic the route between Greenwich and Charlton was prioritised instead. Eventually TfL hopes there will be a continuous cycle route between Tower Bridge and Woolwich.

Bus lanes were widened as an interim measure – and introduced to Woolwich Church Street for the first time – to speed up services and to add some extra safety for cyclists. However, they have been blamed for increased congestion on Woolwich Road and Woolwich Church Street.

A petition created three weeks ago by Gagandeep Singh says there are “vehicles queuing up all day and evening”. By Thursday evening it had gained 2,359 names. One signatory claims it took them 90 minutes to travel between Woolwich and Charlton; another said: “It’s impossible to get out of the roundabout at Warspite Rd. Traffic jams are terrible all day long.”

While there has been a huge jump in traffic since the end of the first coronavirus lockdown, there has been congestion where drivers attempt to filter from two lanes to one at the junction with Anchor and Hope Lane. While the wider bus lanes – which replace narrow cycle lanes on Woolwich Road – allow cyclists to overtake buses at stops, they are not continuous. This means riders still have to take their chances with HGVs and other fast-moving traffic at roundabouts – despite the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on the route.

Woolwich Road
Two lanes merge into one at Anchor and Hope Lane

A Transport for London spokesperson told The Charlton Champion the widened lane had been introduced as part of its Streetspace programme “to create more space for people to safely walk and cycle”.

He added: “The bus lanes push general traffic and HGVs further away from cyclists; making this corridor a much more pleasant and less intimidating route, and provide a link from Woolwich into the Cycleway that is currently being built between Greenwich town centre and charlton. These lanes are an interim measure while we work on the permanent scheme that was consulted on earlier in 2020, and which would provide a two way segregated cycle lane taking people from Woolwich all the way into Greenwich, and eventually into central London.

“Bus lanes protect buses from congestion and ensure journey times and intervals between buses are more reliable. Bus lanes will help guard against a damaging car-led recovery by improving bus journey times and safety for Londoners making journeys by public transport and the increasing proportion travelling by bike.

“Changes made as part of the Streetspace programme are being introduced on a temporary basis under temporary traffic orders, and will be monitored after implementation to ensure they deliver the expected benefits. Monitoring along the A206 corridor will include reviewing cycle flows, perception of safety, collision rates, general traffic flows and bus journey times.”

Woolwich Road
The widened lanes do not run across junctions

He continued: “We are reviewing the operation of the bus lanes with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and the data we are collecting is helping to inform these ongoing discussions. Where appropriate, adjustments to the scheme will be made if they aren’t performing how we expected. The new measures will be in place for up to 18 months, after which the monitoring strategy will form a key part of discussions between TfL and the council as to whether the scheme should be removed or made permanent.”


CYCLEWAY 4 PROGRESS

Woolwich Ferry to Anchor and Hope Lane, Charlton: Bus lanes as interim measure, funding for cycle route not yet certain

Anchor and Hope Lane to Farmdale Road, Greenwich: Work yet to start

Farmdale Road to Old Woolwich Road: Due to open early December

Old Woolwich Road to Old Royal Naval College: Uses existing routes

Old Royal Naval College to Norway Street, Greenwich: Awaiting funding application

Norway Street to Rotherhithe Tunnel: TfL in discussions with local councils, plans due in coming months

Rotherhithe Tunnel to Tower Bridge Road: Complete


Work is continuing on the cycleway between Old Woolwich Road and Farmdale Road, which will see a safer crossing put in place for riders at the Angerstein roundabout. It is due to open in early December – about two months later than planned.

The TfL spokesperson said: “This is later than originally anticipated for a number of reasons, including delays in our supply chain for temporary materials, issues with ducting identified when on site and a recent design change to Vanburgh Hill bus stops to assist bus operations.

“We are currently finalising plans for the section of cycleway between Charlton and Anchor and Hope Lane and will announce our proposals and construction timescales shortly.”

A small section of Cycleway 4 is already open between Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe Tunnel; TfL said this week that plans for the section through Deptford would be announced “in the coming months”.


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