Greenwich town centre, 9 August 2012

Nearly six months after Boris Johnson first announced it, the tiniest detail has emerged about the mayor’s vague plan to have a pro-cycling scheme somewhere in Greenwich, to Dutch design standards.

It comes in the Christmas edition of the London Cycling Campaign‘s magazine, London Cyclist, which interviews Transport for London executive Ben Plowden. He says:

We are now looking a how we an represent the Go Dutch principles, as far as we are able… In the case of the ‘flagships’ [Vauxhall Cross and Greenwich], the critical question is making sure that we choose locations where other things will be happening on a large scale anyway.

Asked when something will happen, he says…

That will depend partly on when these other changes take place. I know the Greenwich local authority has ambitious plans for its town centre and I think it would be sensible to align the cycling changes with the other changes, rather than doing something quicker then having to modify it.

So, a plan announced by Boris Johnson within days of his re-election ends up relying on Greenwich Council to help kick-start. It may well be news to them. At least we now know it’s the town centre, rather than the (horrifying) Woolwich Road flyover. But what are Greenwich’s “ambitious plans”?

We’ve been here before, of course. In 2010, Greenwich proposed pedestrianising College Approach and King William Walk, but the plan collapsed after Transport for London objected to its other plan to create a gyratory system around Norman Road.

So what happens next?

This summer saw Greenwich Church Street temporarily pedestrianised during the Olympics, which may have given more food for thought. But that still relied on a gyratory around Norman Road – so what what these “ambitious plans” are is anyone’s guess. Perhaps the plans to create a cycle superhighway by 2015 will focus minds – or give Boris the excuse to cut it short at Deptford.

Funnily enough, when Greenwich canned the pedestrianisation/gyratory scheme in 2011, Chris Roberts referred to “a wide range of traffic proposals” for the local area from… Transport for London. Is there real discussion going on, or just buck-passing?

In the meantime, the nearest cyclists might get to Dutch-style cycling in Greenwich town centre centres around often-mooted, never implemented plans to create a cycle contraflow up King William Walk, to make accessing Greenwich Park easier. While I’m not sure it’s exactly a high priority, it’d be a welcome and symbolic gesture from a council that’s not really quite got cycling over recent years.

PS. The consultation into the truncated Victoria – New Cross Gate cycle superhighway (with token concessions down the A20 to Lewisham) is now on the TfL website.

PPS. I’m going to ask about this at next week’s council meeting, assuming I remember to send the email. You want to ask Greenwich Council a question about something that’s bugging you? Drop a line before noon on Wednesday – find out more details here. Like I always say, don’t expect someone else to do it for you – the results might surprise you.

4 replies on “Boris’s Greenwich ‘Go Dutch’ cycling scheme left to the council?”

  1. It was interesting to me that during the Olympics and the one-way system being in place that somebody (I assume Greenwich council) had installed strips that measure traffic flow across almost every road leading away from the one-way system. Almost as soon as things went back to normal then the strips were gone.

    If Greenwich council was going to continue to pursue their plan of going ahead with pedestrianising Greenwich town centre then they would certainly use the results of these traffic flow surveys to ease the concerns of residents. Not sure how it would help talk around TfL though.

  2. The London Assembly’s recent cycling report ‘Gearing Up’ makes the following recommendation:

    “We think it is important that TfL takes action to prioritise the removal of gyratories and complex junction systems in the review. One-way gyratory systems can present particular risks to cyclists as they offer little or no protection to cyclists from fast-moving motor vehicles. We welcome the action that TfL has taken to remove some gyratories and complex junctions – such as at Elephant and Castle southern roundabout, and Brixton – and we urge TfL to continue to prioritise the removal of gyratories through the Junction Review”

    It’s hard to see how this fits with the original (and daft) plan for a bigger gyratory than the one that’s there at the moment.

  3. Alex
    I don’t think that any traffic flow measurements taken during the Olympics could be of any use in predicting “normal” traffic flows. There was hardly any traffic through Greenwich during that period.

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