Published: Thursday, 14th May 2020
The need to maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future and in turn, the reduced capacity on public transport will have a profound influence on how we travel around the borough.
The Mayor of London’s Streetspace plan aims to transform London’s streets to accommodate a potential ten-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased. Here’s what we’re planning to do to transform the streets of Royal Greenwich.
Summary of where we’re up to
While we wait for funding to be confirmed by TfL to enable us to make the big changes to our streets to make them safe for cycling and walking, we’ve been making plans behind the scenes. Our plans so far include:
- widening footpaths in town centres and around Greenwich Park
- filtering more residential streets to reduce through traffic but maintain access for cyclists, pedestrians and emergency vehicles
- creating more School Streets
- bringing forward plans for the Greenwich to Woolwich cycle route
What we’re doing
We’ve formed a Streetspace Taskforce to identify, develop and implement measures that can be put in place quickly and to develop proposals to TfL. We are focusing on areas we know or expect to be the busiest, for example, town centres, high streets and around green spaces.
Greenwich Town Centre
We have prioritised Greenwich because of its narrow footways and, in the short term, will widen the footways within the gyratory using temporary barriers. We're going to start installing the barriers on Friday 15 May.
We've been working with TfL on the Greenwich Town Centre Liveable Neighbourhood since 2017. In 2019, public engagement showed 76% of people support the removal of the gyratory to create more space for walking and cycling. We believe a Liveable Neighbourhood trial is the best way to ensure people can socially distance in the town centre, get there by bicycle and travel to and from central London via Cycleway 4. However, TfL will need to give us consent and provide funding for the trial before we can proceed, but we will seek to secure this as part of these plans.
Woolwich Town Centre
Our plans for Woolwich are mainly focussed on tackling pinch points on Calderwood St, Thomas St, Wellington St, Woolwich New Road, Vincent Road and Willmount St. Woolwich is the fourth busiest bus hub in London, with 18 bus routes, and presents a big social distancing challenge. We will engage with TfL to see what is possible around the heavily used bus stops.
Eltham Town Centre
In Eltham town centre our priority is to suspend footway parking to make the most of the wide footways and create space to queue at shops and walk along the street. We’ll close off the footway parking with barriers, except for disabled bays and necessary loading bays. Protection for cyclists will also be added to the cycle lanes on the high street. If you need to drive to Eltham, there are several car parks in the town centre.
These are just some of the areas where we are planning to make changes. Locations will be prioritised to ensure the maximum benefits for the highest number of pedestrians and cyclists. The measures will be essential to limit the spread of the virus, but also to give residents the confidence to use local amenities and support local businesses once again.
Challenges we face
The Council is preparing an ambitious bid for funding to TfL so that we can implement the measures we’re planning. TfL have not yet confirmed any borough funding, but we will provide more detail on specific measures as soon as they do.
You have been making some good suggestions on social media for things we can do – please keep them coming! Whatever measures we put in place will be focused on limiting the spread of the virus and helping all our residents travel safely around the borough. We’ll be prioritising walking and cycling while public transport capacity is limited.