Controlled parking zones could be brought in across Greenwich borough as part of the council’s new transport strategy, a draft version of which was published this week.
The strategy was promised in the wake of the fiasco over the west Greenwich low traffic neighbourhood, which was scrapped six months ago despite the Labour council’s highways committee recommending it stay in place.
Despite campaigners for active travel pinning their hopes on the strategy, there is little new in the paper, which largely restates past policies of encouraging more cycling and walking and is short of concrete proposals on how and where this should take place.
On the low-traffic zones, Greenwich says it will “work with local communities to understand where traffic management schemes and low-traffic neighbourhoods could best be delivered across the borough”, and promises to deliver an active travel action plan by 2025.
But the council is more forthcoming about plans to bring controlled parking zones (CPZs) to all parts of the borough, an aspiration first outlined in its climate emergency strategy, which had cross-party backing last year. That states the borough should cut car use by 45 per cent by 2030.
Only 30 per cent of the borough’s streets are in a CPZ – mostly in the northwest of the borough or near railway stations. This figure includes areas such as parts of Charlton where a zone has been laid out but parking remains free in some streets.
Greenwich says it will bring in “an accelerated programme of CPZ expansion borough-wide, with the intention of borough-wide CPZ controls to help control and manage car ownership”.
That may be easier said than done – CPZs are often difficult to implement as councils have to go through extensive consultation and prove that there is an overwhelming demand for parking.
The council will need to win round drivers who do not see any benefit coming from the charges. It has been done elsewhere – all areas of Hackney are covered by CPZs after a lengthy process of consultation.
In the past, Greenwich has clashed with neighbouring Bexley over schemes designed to combat commuter parking for Falconwood station, which lies just inside the Tory-run borough. Old Bexley & Sidcup MP Louis French is already campaigning against new plans to restrict parking in that area which tie in with proposals to build new housing there.
A hierarchy of road users and uses will be established to prioritise “kerbside needs”, starting with those with mobility issues, followed by pedestrians. Cyclists follow, then public transport, freight and servicing, taxis and minicabs, ambulances and electric charges and non-essential local users, with non-essential, non-local users at the bottom. It is not stated how “local” is defined.
Making drivers of more polluting vehicles pay more to park is also in the strategy. Emissions-based charging was introduced by neighbouring Lewisham two years ago.
A workplace charging levy is also under consideration. A scheme in Nottingham has been hailed as a success at cutting congestion, with the proceeds helping to expand the city’s tram network. All money from schemes which charge drivers have to be ploughed back into transport.
However, the strategy contains little data on who is driving where in the borough – the only data of where commuters drive to is for Greenwich residents who also work in the borough, rather than those coming from outside or heading somewhere else.
The council says it will also “consider a borough-wide 20mph limit” – Greenwich is one of only a few inner London boroughs not to have such a limit – as part of a plan to crack down on road safety.
It will also investigate a permit scrappage scheme, where residents are incentivised to give up their vehicle in exchange for car club membership.
Greenwich also says it will introduce more segregated cycle lanes – less than five months after plans for routes in Kidbrooke and Eltham were scrapped – and press for an expansion of TfL’s cycle hire scheme to the borough.
The council also says it will work with other London boroughs and operators “to establish how best to safely deliver an expanded dockless cycle hire network in the borough”. Hire bikes from Lime have once again become a common sight around Greenwich, Blackheath and Charlton.
Averil Lekau, the council’s deputy leader, said it was “an ambitious transport strategy that will make Greenwich a cleaner, greener, safer and healthier borough”.
She added: “Transport is the second biggest source of climate change emissions in the borough. It’s vital we have an accessible, sustainable transport network which enables people to choose more active and healthy transport options, as well as cutting air pollution. Our new strategy is a key part in helping us reach our target to become net zero carbon emissions by 2030, in line with the council’s carbon neutral plan.”