First things first


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Greenwich Town Centre Traffic

Transition Greenwich and Transition Lewisham
Greenwich Town Centre Traffic.
Tuesday 20th July 2010, St Alfege’s Church Hall

Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley residents, businesses and traffic officers were invited to this meeting about traffic in Greenwich Town Centre. 35 local residents and businesses attended. Statements were received from Len Duvall GLA member for Greenwich & Lewisham, and from James Cleverly GLA member for Bexley & Bromley. No reply was received from Nick Raynsford M.P., or from Greenwich Councillors. Exploratory conversations were had before the meeting with officers concerned with traffic in Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley, and they sent apologies. Comments were received from Greenwich Hospital and the Greenwich Foundation, as well as the Greenwich Society’s official objections to the scheme.
The background to the meeting is the long-standing question of how to improve the traffic situation in Greenwich Town Centre, in light of Greenwich Council’s current consultation on its pedestrianisation proposals. The London Mayor’s Guidance on the Local Implementation Plans, which Boroughs have to submit by December 2010, specifies that local Boroughs should work together to reduce transport’s contribution to climate change, and to integrate it with wider economic, social and .environmental objectives at a local level.
Working as a plenary group and in smaller groups, the meeting agreed a statement:
“Local residents and businesses oppose Greenwich Council’s proposals for a new gyratory system. This is a flawed scheme which is not good in any aspect for Greenwich Town Centre.”

· The narrow advantage to two pedestrianised streets is far outweighed by the wider disadvantages to West Greenwich, to those living inside the proposed gyratory system and to the shops on the streets that are not pedestrianised. The shops in Nelson Road and Greenwich Church Street would die economically as a result of pedestrianising the two streets in Greenwich which have few shops on them – King William Walk and College Approach.

· There would be disruption to many of the bus routes through Greenwich, with longer journeys, longer waits and longer walks because of the loss of the bus stand in King William Walk, which is the natural dropping-off point for the town centre.

· A new long gyratory system would be against the national trend, and Transport for London is trying to reduce them. Traffic, including buses, would have to travel much further, increasing the tendency to speed, and adding pollution.

· More drivers would rat-run through residential streets with the proposed scheme.

· The new scheme would divide the 500 homes and school inside the proposed gyratory from those outside, splitting the community. There would be long detours for drivers living inside or visiting inside the proposed gyratory system.

· Cyclists are against the scheme due to Increased traffic speeds (therefore risk of injury) and the lack of a contraflow cycle lane on the gyratory roads.

· There appears to be no allowance for the extra vehicular traffic generated by the proposed 100-bed hotel in Greenwich Market.

· Instead of a scheme which (contrary to the Council’s policy of promoting the more sustainable modes of transport) worsens conditions for both buses and cyclists, we believe the most effective way of easing traffic problems in the town Centre is through a general reduction in traffic. We therefore urge LBG to explore with neighbouring boroughs ways to reduce overall traffic by 10%.

Proposals for a 10% Traffic Reduction
The meeting also explored how Greenwich Council and Transport for London could bring about a 10% traffic reduction through Greenwich Town Centre, using part of the £3.5 million saved by not doing the pedestrianisation.
It is well known that congestion is responsible for not just air and noise pollution, but also for extra delivery costs especially for small businesses.
The disadvantages of congestion charging are that it is expensive and causes traffic distortions outside the chosen zone. But several low-cost proposals seem technically feasible in the current financial climate of austerity. They also avoid a proliferation of ‘Big Brother’ vehicle recognition cameras recording car movements.
· The first proposal is for two electronic toll-gates, one on Romney Road (by the University of Greenwich) and the second on the A2 (near the General Wolfe Road intersection). These would allow local vehicles to pass without charge, and charge only those whose vehicles are registered outside L.B. Greenwich.
· The second proposal is for through vehicles to be required to display London Travel Cards, with a fine for those found to be without a valid one.

Proposals for Greenwich Town Centre with 10% traffic reduction:

· L.B. Greenwich should instate comprehensive cycle lanes in the existing road layout of Greenwich Town Centre, with other pro-cyclist measures as detailed by the London Mayor's Guidance to Boroughs. There should be block paving on road surfaces to slow traffic.
· L.B. Greenwich should investigate Sunday pedestrianisation of Greenwich Town Centre. Street parking should be made available on Sunday for market traders who have to arrive by vehicle.
· L.B. Greenwich should investigate instituting a short and reliable circular local shuttle bus service between Greenwich Town Centre, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, East Greenwich and back to Greenwich Town Centre.
· L.B. Greenwich should promote lower car usage by all three sectors, with surveys to identify unnecessary car trips such as the school run and education to get people to slightly modify their travel habits.
· L.B. Greenwich should discuss with Greenwich Hospital how to ensure that market stalls and shop leases are given to a balanced range of useful providers of goods and services for all the local community, as well as to specialist personal traders with novel, unusual or unique products. This will involve differentiating between rental levels to bring in desirable tenants who cannot afford the ‘market’ rent. The sum total goods and services of Greenwich shops and markets should make most day-to-day items available for local people so they need to travel less for essential shopping, while also having a changing range of new products to attract visitors.

Taking forward the proposals for a 10% traffic reduction.

This Transition Greenwich & Transition Lewisham report will be sent to all who attended or wanted to attend the meeting, and further comments will be invited. The technical aspects of the 10% traffic reduction proposals will also be taken forward with traffic officers in Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley. Please keep sending in your further comments and information, and these will be included in further updates on progress.

It is important that you email your own views to Greenwich Council’s consultation, which is open until August 1st.
By email:
Or by post:
Jeff Horsman, Directorate of Regeneration Enterprise & Skills, Town Hall, Wellington Street, London SE18 6PW
Please forward this email to friends.

1 comment:

Paul Webbewood said...

Thank you for posting notes of the meeting.

Wouldn't the proposed electronic gates just divert through traffic to other routes such as Lee High Rd and Eltham Rd (near where I live)?

We need to look at this strategically and not just try to move the problem to someone else's back yard.