Greenwich to block Dabin Crescent cut-through to quell criticism of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood that ‘accelerates health and social disadvantage’
Greenwich is to modify its West Greenwich Traffic Management scheme to introduce a modal filter preventing vehicles from entering Dabin Crescent from Plumbridge Street and Lindsell Street. The filter is due to be installed on 18 November. It will shut down a dangerous cut-through created by the scheme itself.
Greenwichgonetoofar.co.uk highlighted how the scheme accelerates health and social disadvantage by displacing local traffic to congested Blackheath Hill, leaving seven blocks of flats, mainly Greenwich social housing, exposed to higher pollution levels and traffic danger.
The scheme ensured that Dabin Crescent, the narrowest road in the neighbourhood, would remain open to traffic from the A2 as well as LTN residents whose streets are protected from entry from Point Hill and Blissett Street.
All seven blocks, including Dabin Crescent and Cade Tyler House, are sandwiched between Blackheath Hill and Dabin Crescent.
The two-way, three metres-width Dabin Crescent was left open by the Council’s LTN scheme, permitting a direct route to Greenwich South Street from Maidenstone Hill, Winforton Street, Trinity Grove and Dutton Street. Two-way traffic cannot pass without both cars mounting narrow, metre-wide pavements. A small play area with equipment for very young children lies unused across the street from the flats because residents of all ages face a severe danger from traffic.
The area was ignored by Greenwich Council during planning of the scheme when residents should have been given a voice in shaping the proposals. Traffic on Dabin Crescent increased exponentially following introduction of the scheme in August.
A building space extension for work on the corner of Lindsell Street and Greenwich South Street led to partial closure of Lindsell Street in October. Councillors hoped this might provide a temporary 18-month ‘fix’ for the internal rat-run. However, traffic only increased: the Lindsell Street closure forced more local traffic to take the Blackheath Hill route via Dabin Crescent to Lindsell Street and Plumbridge Street.
Read more about how the LTN accelerates health and social disadvantage.
The concentration of social housing on Blackheath Hill and Dabin Crescent is on the narrowest section of the A2, where two lanes of heavy traffic merge to a single lane all day long. Just a few metres separate our neighbourhood’s biggest permanent traffic jam from our largest agglomeration of social housing.
Ealing residents’ associations have launched an application for judicial review in opposition to low traffic neighbourhood schemes. The grounds for the claim, by representatives of the Coldershaw and Midhurst Traffic Action Group (CAMTAG) and Ealing Residents Against Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, are that Ealing Council is failing to meet its legal duties to keep road access open to premises, and to uphold the Equality Act 2010, according to Ealingtoday.co.uk.
Local councils are under a legal duty to secure and maintain expeditious, convenient and safe movement of vehicular and other traffic to provide 'reasonable access to premises' under section 122 of Road Traffic Act 1984. Exceptions to the rule are provided for to prevent excess use of the roads, for instance by heavy commercial vehicles.
The legal duty to uphold the Equality Act 2010 aims to prevent the imposition of disadvantage on people with disabilities and other statutorily controlled forms of discrimination.
In Greenwich, the Council has avoided answering questions as to its engagement with disability groups.
If you have experienced delays in receiving care, medical attention or making hospital appointments, don’t forget to inform the Royal Borough of Greenwich on its streetspace consultation:
Residents on Maze Hill had been completely unaware of the Council's plans before the 20 August implementation of the west Greenwich scheme. A survey of drivers in the daily Maze Hill queue found most were traders, local residents and essential workers - all losing time and earnings. Trafalgar Road congestion prevents progress at the lights, leading to unmanageable delays. We make common cause in demanding an immediate suspension and review, including broader and fairer consultation and steps to put right the damage done.
The ‘Hills and Vales’ is not a real place: it’s a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) or ‘traffic reduction area’ depending on town hall vocabulary. In reality, it is a triangle of affluent streets bounded by Greenwich South Street, Blackheath Hill and Crooms Hill (adjacent to Greenwich Park). In our wider, complex street network, it is part of the interconnected and vital heart of Greenwich. That is why slicing it in two has caused so much disruption.
Separated by a mile of parkland, with the river to the north and Blackheath to the south, a long-established and fragile road system is under intense pressure not only from this scheme, but also from gridlock in the town centre, substantial roadworks, and the last-minute cycle highway project.
When the scheme was installed in August 2020 no one, not even enclave residents, were consulted about it. For thousands living and working all over the area, who have justifiable expectations of information, consultation and a fair distribution of traffic and access, it came without warning. The council’s lack of transparency goes against democratic principle and breaches official guidance.
From the outset, the scheme suffered from confused objectives.
- Reducing peak-hour traffic inside the enclave.
- Forcing a substitution of walking and cycling for driving inside the area to reduce car traffic.
- Providing pandemic street level support.
None of these objectives is met by erecting a barrier right down the middle of our community.
The traffic scheme means that, added to increased pandemic-related car use and fewer seats on public transport, everyone using the roads faces long diversions, more queuing and stationary traffic. There are delays to emergency vehicles and vital services, deliveries and trades.
Traffic displaced by the scheme means crowding on the periphery and junctions. Stationary queues are more polluting that moving traffic. Life has been made particularly hard and dangerous for pedestrians: those who are older, poorer, disabled or who care for young children. Read more about the social injustice of the scheme.
Many people working in the area are losing earnings. Cyclists and walkers are not made safer just by road closures and when traffic circulates inside the area. Creating a series of long dead-ends means that in narrower streets there are dangerous turning movements and stationary vehicles are damaged.
To see a news clip about the effects of such a scheme in neighbouring Lewisham, try this link: https://www.facebook.com/127439507270196/posts/3943247289022713/?vh=e&extid=0
These effects were foreseeable. But the Council did not measure any of the claimed impacts before the scheme was imposed and is not monitoring them now.
In London, Wandsworth and Redbridge councils have already decided to abandon their schemes. Lewisham council has announced plans to change its Lee Green LTN.
If you agree it is time for Greenwich council to think again, make your voice heard.
You have the right to attend Council meetings, make representations and ask questions (see Royal Borough of Greenwich website to find out how).
Contact your local councillors in Greenwich or Lewisham and tell them how the scheme affects you and your family. (Scroll down the page to see who your councillors are.)
You can make a formal complaint to those in charge of the Council that they did not do their job properly, for instance by failing to ‘engage’ or consult well and in advance, with people who would be affected. The Leader of the Council is Cllr Danny Thorpe and the Chief Executive is Debbie Warren.
You can write as well as use email. This is the address for councillors and the executive:
The Royal Borough of Greenwich,
The Woolwich Centre,
35 Wellington Street,
Woolwich, SE18 6HQ
Add your voice to the Council’s online consultation about the scheme.
It is important to join others, so please sign and publicise these local online petitions. They put our concerns directly to the Council, the London Mayor and Matt Pennycook MP. The more who sign, the more effective we can be. These are our local petitions:
The East Greenwich change.org petition: greenwich-council-stop-east-greenwich-gridlock-end-council-traffic-reduction-trial-impacting-east-greenwich
To petition Matt Pennycook MP and other MPs about the LTNs generally:
Contact us to get updates, to let us know what you think, or to contribute to our blog at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen O’Mara: Maureen.O’Mara@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Mehboob Khan: Mehboob.Khan@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Aidan Smith: Aidan.Smith@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Blackheath Westcombe Ward (east Greenwich)
Geoff Brighty: Geoffrey.Brighty@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Leo Fletcher: Leo.Fletcher@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Mariam Lolavar: Mariam.email@example.com
Peninsula Ward (east Greenwich and Trafalgar Road area)
Chris Lloyd: Chris.Lloyd@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Stephen Brain: Stephen.Brain@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Denise Scott-Mcdonald: Denise.Scott-Mcdonald@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
The full Council meeting of the Royal Borough of Greenwich is due to go ahead this month after the unexplained cancellation of its 28 October meeting. Residents had submitted questions to the Council, including requests to know:
-what monitoring of the scheme is being conducted in East Greenwich;
-why planned local ‘engagement events’ about a potential scheme did not take place in 2019;
-whether any information was supplied, or consultation held, with residents on Blackheath Hill, Dabin Crescent or Greenwich South Street where displacement of local traffic was planned prior to bringing in any scheme at all (not simply the current scheme).
-whether the Council is prepared to listen to the body of evidence of objection, and work urgently to find an immediate solution to gridlock on Maze Hill and surrounding area during peak hours.
At the September Council meeting, East Greenwich residents and councillors had pressed the Council to review the scheme, a request that was refused.
The next Full Council is due on 25 November. You can view the meeting online (all Council meetings during the pandemic have been held remotely), or later on youtube. Local residents and taxpayers of the borough have the right to submit up to two questions in writing or by email to a Full Council meeting.
Modal filters were removed from Abery Street and Gallosson Road, Plumstead on Wednesday 4 November following an announcement by the Royal Borough of Greenwich on 2 November. The Plumstead to Abbey Wood cycle route had “proved popular” according to the Council, but that it had responded to feedback from local residents and businesses that they had found the road blocks had made it difficult for residents to use local businesses and as a result, had placed them under pressure.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Danny Thorpe said: “After a visit to Plumstead High Street last week it’s clear to me that it’s in the best interests of the area for us to remove the modal filters on Abery Street and Gallosson Road. We’ve tried something which you’ve told us hasn’t worked for residents and businesses in the area. We’re acting on your feedback, so please keep telling us what you think.”
How to help Cllr Thorpe: contact Greenwich Council’s Streetspace consultation. You can make as many individual ‘specific’ complaints as are necessary, although only one short general complaint is ‘allowed’. Link: https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/westgreenwichtraffic
Alternatively, contact your local councillor, or write to Cllr Danny Thorpe at the address on our Take Action page. Don’t forget to sign the petitions.