Greenwich aims to spend £3.1m of its own and TfL money on a combined Low Traffic Neighbourhood across East and West Greenwich. There's no evidence justifying the plan, which is made up of barriers and restrictions that have been rejected in the past by thousands of local residents. In May the council said the money was for improvements to pedestrian and cycle infrastructure, and lower traffic speeds. But the 'Stage 2' consultation aims to bring in drastic vehicle prevention over a wide area, forcing huge numbers of drivers seeking access to homes and businesses to use overburdened boundaries. (See our masthead pic of Blackheath Hill during the 2020-22 West Greenwich LTN.)
Misleadingly divided into two schemes and dubbed 'Neighbourhood Management', the plan claims to combat 'serious congestion and safety problems'. None of the Commonplace references to 'collisions and congestion' inside the 'neighbourhoods' have been substantiated (but remain in online material, despite being dropped from current output).
Greenwich and Lewisham businesses and residents living and operating on boundary roads experience serious congestion, additional pollution and lack of safety, but were excluded from information and consultation about the plans. Boundary road residents are being ignored, even as 'serious congestion and safety' are being deliberately made much worse for them.
Traffic from large areas of the huge terrain in East Greenwich south of the railway line, will be forced into Charlton, where residents and businesses knew nothing about the plans until GGTF circulated leaflets.
The 2019 Local Implementation Plan recorded the highest active travel rates in the borough in West and East Greenwich. It is not clear why the area, already under severe traffic pressure has been intensively singled out for the LTN treatment.
The plans are openly admitted as making it more difficult to drive with the aim of making residents' lives 'happier and healthier' via active travel such as walking and cycling. But the impetus for the scheme from local amenity groups was originally to counter peak hours traffic in the affluent 'Hills and Vales' area where house prices regularly top £2m.
There has been no joined-up thinking on the future of our overburdened 'boundary' roads, or on the accessibility and efficiency of our bus services on which so many depend. Traffic generated will greatly increase boundary road journeys in comparison with the 2020 scheme.
The move reverses the abandonment of LTNs across the north of the borough from West Greenwich to Woolwich, which were strongly opposed by residents and councillors - one describing the combined schemes as ‘the perfect storm’. The only LTN to have been implemented, in West Greenwich, was removed in February 2022, due to displacement impacts and unfairness to boundary residents. Boundaries, already carrying 15,000 to 25,000 vehicles per day, plus our buses, will be expected to take the strain of diversions for drivers needing access to the huge new traffic-excluding area.
A ‘first’ stage consultation, earlier in the year, showcased traffic-calming measures such as raised road
areas and similar. A council press release said that the money would also be used for 20mph speed
limits, controlled parking zones and school streets, emissions-based charges and ‘sustainable’ travel
– including improvements to pedestrian and cycle infrastructure.
None of these measures is in the new package. Councillors deny they can enforce 20mph limits, despite plans to install up to six ANPR cameras across the area to fine drivers for breaching barriers. The Commonplace consultation now admits that the barriers are intended to discourage people from using cars. What's not admitted is that barriers and fining are coercive, arbitrary, and take no account of genuine needs in the community for vehicles. Scroll down to our report on the January 2022 Transport for All workshop on provision for disability, in which council staff were warned that strategies involving “education” and “coercion” were least effective, and lacked active participation from citizens in the design process.
The council is putting forward five new road blocking ‘options’ stretching across East and West Greenwich in a ‘second stage consultation’. The ‘consultation’ is rushed. It began in late August and was originally planned to end on 29 September - responses to the new consultation must be made early October. The ‘options’, do not include leaving things as they are, or improving pedestrian and bike access in genuinely effective ways.
As we reported, promised community 'partnership' was ditched by Greenwich when plans for a new LTN were put in hand with consultants PJA a year ago. (Scroll down the Home page to RBG rejects borough-wide transport review in favour of drastic 'traffic reduction' project).
Any combination of options will cause long southerly detours from the Sun and Sands roundabout to the notorious Blackheath Hill junction with Greenwich South Street and from the Angerstein roundabout to Greenwich Town Centre. Detours will increase mileage and congestion.
The giant scheme threatens to restrict vital journeys over a wide area, and cause repeated and disabling gridlock when the A2, Blackwall Tunnel approaches, and A206 (Woolwich Rd, Trafalgar Rd, Greenwich High Rd and Greenwich South St) are affected by accidents, road works and other
emergencies. See ‘What’s in store for the community’ to find out how the proposals could affect you.
Greenwich has not evaluated or anticipated impacts, including traffic generated by the Silvertown Tunnel. But the transport strategy document admits there will be increased traffic generated by planned 'last mile' delivery hubs in the Peninsula area. And council consultants have already highlighted big box retail developments, such as IKEA, all council promoted and consented, as the source of increased East Greenwich traffic.
Private car use is already in long term decline. The impact of ULEZ is yet to be fully assessed: but evidence is emerging of reductions in pollution. LTNs are becoming a toxic brand everywhere – cause community division between privileged internal streets, and people living on the boundary roads designed to receive displaced traffic. The Department of Transport decided in May that LTNs ‘do not benefit the community as a whole’. All LTNs were blocked from the Department’s recent fourth round of Active Travel Fund payments.