The West Greenwich Traffic Management Scheme inevitably caused traffic displacement to overburdened roads on the edge of the area. But a shock effect was the queues that have clogged Maze Hill since the beginning of the scheme, and led to the foundation of the Maze Hill Action Group. There are also increased volumes of traffic on Westcombe Park Road, Vanbrugh Hill, Ulundi Road, Humber Road and Dinsdale Road. Maze Hill traffic attempting to enter Trafalgar Road is frequently prevented by congestion on the main road. The Council claims that the Maze Hill phase on the light system has been lengthened to reduce queuing. It reality, this fails to allow more vehicles the break into stationary Trafalgar Road traffic.
The Council believes that displacement ‘evaporates’ as drivers engage in further displacement elsewhere or re-time their journeys. As LTNs are introduced in hundreds more locations in inner London, it’s possible that saturation is being reached.
Lieve Reckers of Maze Hill Action Group writes:
It's late August 2020, and Maze Hill residents have a look at their Whatsapp group which has been so helpful in the recent lockdown. One resident alerts us to the latest news: in the coming week, Crooms Hill and Hyde Vale are going to be closed to through traffic - and that after the road in Greenwich Park has already been closed by Royal Parks! The obvious question is: so where will the local traffic go? Another obvious question: who decided this, and how? How come we were not even told, let alone consulted? It seems surreal.
Fast forward a few more weeks. The messages on our Whatsapp group are getting more and more desperate. “Have you seen the traffic? It's up all the way from Trafalgar road to well beyond Vanbrugh Castle!”
“What has happened to our lovely hill?”
“I just saw a car do a three point turn to back out, several bikes on the pavement and motor bikes going down the hill on the wrong side of the road.”
“My car was parked in the road and someone has driven into it.”
“I have to walk my children to school in that polluted air!”
“This cannot go on, we must do something!”
So we did something. We formed the Maze Hill Action Group.
We conducted our own survey of gridlock traffic during morning peak time. We collected statistics and questioned drivers. It was clear that most people had no alternative but to drive, for example going to work with tools in their vans, or visiting different clients as a care giver.
We set up a petition (at the moment over 2700 signatures online, plus several hundreds signed on paper in local shops and pubs), we wrote to the Council. We engaged with our ward councillors. All of them, Labour and Conservative, were supportive. We managed to get a Zoom meeting set up with them, as well as Sizwe James, Chair of Environment Sustainability and Transport, and Graham Cox, head of Greenwich Transport. They listened and agreed to come and see for themselves one morning at 8am. They even brought Council Leader Danny Thorpe along. We truly appreciate the time they took to listen to us, but we still have a long way to go to convince them that the Hills and Vales scheme is a big mistake, and that our problems won't be resolved until that scheme is reviewed as part of a global approach for all of Greenwich, on both sides of the Park, with due concern for Trafalgar Road and Blackheath Hill.
So we continue with our action. We have submitted a public question at the last Council meeting, and plan to do so again as soon as Council meetings are resumed. We will present our petition to the Council leader. We have contacted local press, and are considering a public demonstration.
We also discovered that far from everybody in the “Hills and Vales” area is happy with the scheme, it is not what the majority of residents in West Greenwich voted for during consultation, and we were encouraged to find out that in West Greenwich too, a petition is circulating to have the scheme revoked. We are happy to support Greenwich Gone Too Far, which like us believes that we need a united approach for the whole of Greenwich, instead of the current divisive piecemeal approach. It is time for proper consultation and effective democracy.
Both petitions remain open for signing, regardless of where you live.
East Greenwich change.org petition: http://chng.it/Sq2wFDPhqs
West Greenwich: https://www.change.org/p/matthew-pennycook-mp-reverse-the-west-greenwich-road-closures-hills-vales-petition