Pedestrianisation Proposals

We talked about the possible part-pedestrianisation of the town centre just before Christmas, but Helen thought it would be worth having another discussion now that at least some of us have been able to look at the proposals in a bit more detail. If you didn’t make the blink-and-you’d-miss-it consultation, you can get the basics here.

Pedestrianisation is certainly no new thing – as this proposal from 1970 shows:

It just seems to be the pedestrianisable area that’s changed. And to be frank, the new one seems more likely to get footfall.

I did manage to get along to the consultation and, despite it being during the pre-Christmas hurly-burly, it appeared to be well attended (it also gave me the chance to have a poke around what turned out to be a very boring, corporate-looking Davenport House.)

I can’t help feeling that what it boils down to is whether or not you’re a driver living near or regularly passing through the giant one-way Ring of Doom proposed as an alternative to using the covered market as a roundabout. If you are, then you’ll probably be very grumpy about it all. If not, it might seem rather appealing.

There are two basic options proposed by the council, but from what I can tell, the council itself really doesn’t have any preferred ideas – they genuinely seemed to be asking for thoughts from the public when I was there. I’m guessing they fancy the idea in principle but don’t really know how to go about it.

Certainly Option One – which is where they would just close off College Approach and the north end of King William Walk but do absolutely nothing else – is clearly useless. Even the guys at the consultation openly admitted that it would create utter chaos.

Option Two and its variants – sundry versions of a large one-way ring road with bus/cycle possibilities – seems better. Nothing’s going to stop congestion (short, perhaps, of a Greenwich congestion charge, a whole other subject – or maybe not…)but it merely being a pain in the proverbial to get round the centre of Greenwich might make people who currently just rat-run between Deptford and the Blackwall Tunnel take a different route.

Andrew Gilligan’s not happy at all and he has some valid points. Certainly buses have a hard time of it under the current ideas – working through the plans so that buses would have a clearer passage seems like a good idea to me; even at the expense of some of the council’s ‘boulevard’ dreams. If your aim is get rid of cars by making it physically hard to drive round, it’s essential to make the buses – and cycle provisions – as attractive as possible instead. And yes – something would need to be done to prevent more rat-running between Circus Street /Royal Hill / King William Walk.

But I’m not sure I buy everything he’s saying. I don’t think that pedestrianisation would necessarily make Greenwich even bleaker than it already is late at night on weekends, for example. We can’t just count on cars as some kind of Darwinist method of getting rid of Saturday night drunks; separate measures (probably to do with licensing) need to be looked at to counter that particular problem.

I also can’t see people making the effort to rat-run through the park. Once you’re as far as the park on the A2, you might as well take the pain and finish the job across the heath.

I agree that congestion is an issue – as it is now. And yes – it might get worse. But it also might not. It could end up as no worse – or not much- worse, with a net gain. I’m not convinced I agree with him that “the status quo remains the least-worst option.” I’d like to learn what the results of the consultation come up with, and see some modelling done on the best suggestions.

What do you think?

4 Comments to “Pedestrianisation Proposals”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know how/have any ideas how the new congestion proposals would affect Greenwich South Street?

  2. Will says:

    I think all the above points are valid but I don’t see anyone representing the views of Norman Road residents here. I do not see any benefits for the permanent residents and businesses of Norman Road and Haddo Street. Traffic, noise, pollution and congestion will all increase.

    The area within the proposed gyratory is described by the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2007 as being in the bottom 20% for England. I hope that we are not simply shifting these undesirable environmental impacts to an area inhabited by those already suffering the most deprivation. Surely that’s quite immoral.

    If this proposal goes ahead, I suggest that some explicit benefits to the residents of Norman Road and Haddo Street are made clear. I will look forward to the environmetal impact assessment and keep a keen eye on the proposed beneficial impacts for the residents and businesses of Norman Road and Haddo Street.

    Car ownership in the Creekside area is low, with approximately 57% of households across the area not having access to a car, with many people relying on walking or cycling to travel around the local area. Therefore pedestrian walkways and cycle paths are highly important. It therefore seems ironic that they should host all of Greenwich’s traffic.

    There has been a proposal for a pedestrian footbridge across the Creek linking Greenwich Train Station with the Laban Centre. In fact money has been taken by the council from the developers of Creekside village for this purpose. If this footbridge was built as a way to compensate for the increased traffic then this could be a reasonable compromise. The council needs to think carefully how the increased traffic on Norman road will impact the “usability” of this bridge.

    Also of interest is that Norman Road falls within an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). This proposal must therefore seek to minimise increases in traffic pollution. In addition, Deptford Creek is fortunate to be home to one of the country's rarer birds, the Black Redstart, (at least 40% of the London population is found along Deptford Creek and therefore a place of national significance and an essential place for the bird's future survival). Many of the industries and businesses along the Creek provide this bird with an environmental refuge. This pedestrianisation project must work to enhance the wildlife of the Creek and improve public access to this social amenity.

  3. ME says:

    As a Deptford resident who’s child crosses Norman Road every day to get to school – along with parents and children from at least 4 primary schools and 3 secondary schools – I was shocked and dismayed by this proposal. Many of my complaints have already been picked up by others – but I would like to raise one incredible development.

    I wrote to councillors and to the council to object and was ultimately refered to a man called Brian Hanson whose title is ‘L B Greenwich Commission Director’ and whose employer is Hyder Consulting – the people who will, most likely, be invoved in building the gyratory system. At best – this is the tail wagging the dog, at worst, well, you fill in the blanks. Mr Hanson patronisingly told me that I had probably only seen the old plans (let me tell you – it isn’t that straight forward finding the relevent place to comment online) and that most of my complaints had been covered by recent updates – though he fails to answer any of my complaints specifically.

    Most of the parents at my daughter’s school had not heard of these plans as of the 12th of July 2010 and at tleast 90% live right in the middle of the scheme. Funny that. Those that support the scheme support the lovely-ness of small respite of pedestrian area – the beneficiaries of which seem to be tourists, residents of that small area and patrons of Rhodes Bakery… While the regular folks like me who take their kids to school, ride their cycles to work or take buses have been completely left out of the equation. I guess that makes me a Nimby… go figure…

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