The West Greenwich traffic management scheme scrapped due to traffic displacement and lack of local support
Final decision by Greenwich Council points to significant social concerns
A final decision on 25 February by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to allow the experimental traffic scheme to expire, was the result of "significant levels of concern about the scheme" and the opposition, during two consultations, of a majority of respondents. 53% of local residents opposed the scheme in the Greener Safer Greenwich consultation, and 5,000 online petitioners opposed the scheme from its inception in August 2020.
A Streetspace consultation opened in 2020, without open access, indicated high levels of concern about the lack of permeability of the area. This portal did not ask for views on the future of the scheme, even though Council officers were later asked to guess, from responses, whether respondents were 'for' or 'against' the scheme (producing a variety of confusing results).
Following a modification of the scheme in August 2021 the Council posted a 'Greener Safer Greenwich' open access consultation, attracting more than 2,000 contributions. This survey was self-selecting, and asked whether the scheme should be scrapped, leading to a majority of responses against the scheme.
The decision was one of a series of cancellations of projected experimental 'low traffic neighbourhood' schemes across the north of the borough after traffic experts found that the build-up of displaced traffic would cause congestion and additional mileage over a wide area.
The Council's earlier decision not to go ahead with the East Greenwich scheme meant that if the West Greenwich 'LTN' continued, traffic displacement would continue into East Greenwich, Woolwich Rd Trafalgar Road and beyond.
The Cabinet Member for Environment, Sustainability & Transport, Cllr Sarah Merrill also took the decision on the basis of statutory criteria in the governing legislation, as well as local opinion and petitioning.
A GGTF petition from 422 residents living on 'boundary' roads (Blackheath Hill, Greenwich South Street and Trafalgar Road) called on the Council to acknowledge that the consultation itself "does not directly address major problems, including hardship arbitrarily inflicted on residents who depend on vehicles: blue badge holders; those with urgent or long-term conditions needing care and support from key workers, relatives and friends; people with disabilities; those who rely on public transport or trade vehicles; parents of small children; and school pupils."
Last August's experimental ‘modifications’ to the West Greenwich Scheme failed to make any difference to congestion on boundary roads and in East Greenwich.
Cllr Merrill has indicated that the way is open for a review of borough transport strategy.
Since it was installed in August 2020, the Scheme has increased the daily vehicle tally of 28,000 on Blackheath Hill, causing life-threatening additional congestion and pollution. Scrapping the scheme will help reduce the nightmare of overloaded boundary roads. Government traffic figures show that while pandemic traffic reduced vehicle numbers everywhere, there was no change on Blackheath Hill and heavy goods vehicles increased by 17 per cent.