Will Charlton road changes give you the hump?

Greenwich Council 20mph zone map

Big changes are on their way to a big chunk of Charlton’s back streets – if they affect you, what do you think of them?

Hundreds of homes were sent consultation packs last week about making the area between the A102, Charlton Road, Charlton Church Lane and Woolwich Road into a 20mph zone. If you got one and it came as a surprise, you weren’t the only one – it’s understood local councillors weren’t aware of the plans, either. (If you haven’t had one, call the council on 020 8921 3804.)

“The Victoria Way area has been identified as a priority,” says the accompanying letter, citing 21 accidents in three years, one causing a serious injury.

Furthermore, work is planned for the railway bridge on Victoria Way to protect the narrow, weak footway from vehicles mounting the pavement.

The documentation is supposed to be on the council website, but – surprise, surprise – it’s not on there. I’ve asked when it’ll be uploaded and will link to it when it is.

Here’s what’s planned for the Victoria Way 20mph Zone

Speed humps on nearly all roads within the area (apart from the no-through roads and those that already have them).
– Installing 20mph roundels at key points, and removing existing road hump warning signs since they won’t be needed.
Repainting faded road markings.
– Giving northbound traffic priority on the Victoria Way railway bridge, adding a new 7-foot width restriction south of the bridge, introducing a 3-tonne weight limit (it’s currently 6 tonnes) and installing guard rails and raised kerbs between the roadway and the pavement.

20mph zones are slowly being adopted by London boroughs – indeed, streets around Charlton Lane, as well as in Blackheath and east Greenwich were made 20mph zones some years back. More recently, Greenwich Council has become keener on the idea and plans gradually to make all residential roads 20mph zones. The key reason’s safety – if you’re hit at 20mph, you’ve a better chance of surviving. But 20mph zones tend not to be actively enforced by police, who say the surrounding measures mean they tend to be “self-enforcing”.

Another concern is the speed humps themselves. Humps with shallower rises are promised, providing a smoother ride for both motorists and cyclists. But with the humps also affecting streets on the 380 bus route, has Transport for London been consulted? (Existing humps on the bus route section of Victoria Way are more like raised tables.) And will residents have to put up with the scrape of speeding cars’ exhausts as they bash against the humps?

On the other hand, is this just too weak a solution? You could dispense with speed humps and cut rat-running by closing off short sections of each road to all except pedestrians, buses and bicycles – something that’s been done successfully in the borough of Hackney.

As for the works on the railway bridge – would a guard rail add to clutter?

Lots of questions, and I suspect there’ll be a variety of answers. What do you think?