Cycle lane plan for Greenwich’s Trafalgar Road

It’s another secret Greenwich Council consultation! This one’s about putting cycle lanes on Trafalgar Road in east Greenwich – which I’m actually not so sure about. The road’s so narrow, I’m not sure motorists will respect the lane anyway; if safety’s the issue, surely raised tables at the traffic lights would slow traffic down at the few times it’s not at a snail’s pace anyway. I can’t help thinking these are just token gestures. You may disagree – so take a look at the questionnaire and the drawings, tell the council what you think – oh, and where you saw them.

(9.45am update – hopefully these links to the documents will now work…)


  1. The links point to the Blackheath Standard consultation. Is the questionnaire so secret it doesn’t exist?

  2. No, it means I’ve cocked it up and uploaded the wrong ones. I’ll try to fix the links later.

    In the meantime, here’s some music.

  3. As a regular cyclist on this road I generally find it wide enough and relatively safe for such a busy road. So to add a cycle lane in the areas where they can fit one won’t make any difference to me.

    The real problems are where there is not enough space for a lane. In these areas, such as opposite the BP they are not going to bother with anything at all which is exactly the area that should have something done.

    They are going to add new traffic islands either side of the pedestrian lights near Lassell st which is madness. This narrows the road for all users and only results in larger vehicles such as buses moving over into the cycle lane to avoid the traffic island. I don’t see how these things add any safety the road for either pedestrians or cyclist.

    Lastly none of it worth anything if they continually allow people to park outside the shops on this road, which means parking on the cycle lane. It is particulary bad in front of Tesco where the parked car takes up nearly the entire lane. Putting a cycle lane in front of Tesco will only encourage people to park there.

  4. It all feels a bit like “we’ve got some money to spend, but we don’t know how to spend it”. And closed consultations like this don’t help matters.

    If anyone’s still getting Blackheath Standard documents, by the way, refresh the page.

  5. I suppose this is a slight step forward – I agree with Scott in as much as non-mandatory cycle lanes without double yellows are pretty toothless- although I disagree in as much as I find the road pretty dangerous as it is and would welcome clearer demarcation. It’s too bad they don’t suggest removing the Eastbound bus lane (which is so short as to be pretty worthless) and keep the turning lanes, which mean the cycle lane is not continuous where it’s needed most.

    I’ve been in touch with the consultants concerned regarding the Standard consultation and there’s a sense in which I am encouraged by some of what they’re saying – they are seeking to be a little bit proactive in their work improving infrastructure – although too much of it is on compromise measures like ASLs.

    However, I think it should be possible to get hold of this information, comment and push on the quality of designs (and their locations) more easily – and (as far as I know) in the absence of any local cycle campaigning group, we are slightly in the dark here. How could we advocate more effectively and get a ‘seat at the table’ with the council and its designers.

  6. The big problem between Blackwall Lane and Maze Hill is the constant stream of articulated lorries that deliver to the supermarkets. The new lanes are going to be pointless unless there is proper parking enforcement or delivery times are altered. I’d almost go as far to say the worst part of my bike commute is getting from East Greenwich library to Deptford Creek bridge.

  7. We need a revolutionary solution here that separates cyclists, buses, pedestrians and cars/trucks. We don’t need a painted band-aid that will just be ignored anyway (as existing markings are already), and possibly make things more dangerous as cyclists assume that the path marked out for them is actually safe and not take the precautions they might if the path were not marked out.

  8. Harry – there is a local campaigning group, Greenwich Cyclists, and it’s from their Yahoo! group I’ve taken these documents.

  9. Why is RBG spending money on this now? TfL will be coming up with Cycle Superhighway proposals for this route soon which (judging by their previous efforts) will cost £2-4million per mile. Why not wait and let TfL do it?

    I hope the Cycle Superhighway designs are better than Greenwich’s efforts. I really can’t see that there’s much to benefit cyclists here, whether experienced or beginner. If the council really want to do something for cyclists here they should concentrate on improving the junctions (where most accidents occur) and introduce a 20mph speed limit, rather than paint in a few narrow, discontinuous, advisory cycle lanes.

  10. From the consultation letter talking about one of the purposes of the proposals: “[…]legitimise undertaking slow moving or stationery traffic which otherwise is a breach of the Highway Code”.

    Now I’m happy to stand corrected on this but I’m not aware of any limitations in cyclists filtering left (“undertaking”!?).

    In fact the only mention of it I can find is rule 211 of the Highway Code which says: […]It is often difficult to see motorcyclists and cyclists, especially when they are coming up from behind, coming out of junctions, at roundabouts, overtaking you or filtering through traffic. Always look out for them before you emerge from a junction; they could be approaching faster than you think.”

  11. Hi Chris, I’m not sure what section of the code it is in but it is technically illegal for cyclist to undertake vehicles as cyclists are treated as vehicles. However the code contradicts itself by saying that cyclist should enter the ASL from the left.

  12. scperi: “I’m not sure what section of the code…”

    Well here it is: You find it for me; I certainly can’t?

    It seems to me you’ve fallen into the same trap and those who wrote the consultation letter. “Undertaking” and “Filtering” are different things.

    Undertaking involves vehicles passing each other in two or more lanes. Filtering involves a small vehicle, such as a push-cycle, or a motorcycle utlising the space between traffic (or traffic and the edge of the road).

    The highway code does make mention of filtering in section 88 (though only for motorbikes) and says:

    “[…] when filtering in slow-moving traffic, take care and keep your speed low.”

    You’ll note that if you read the whole passage that there is no mention (and so no restriction) on filtering on the left.

    So unless you can show me where in the code it says that filtering on the left is prohibited, I’m afraid I must doubt your assertion.

    The closest I can find is 151 (applies to all vehicles) which says: “In slow moving traffic you must not change lanes to the left to overtake.”

    But this doesn’t really cut it. Cyclists filtering on the left (or “undertaking” for sake of argument) are generally already on the left hand side of a single lane. So no change of lane is occuring. Thus the code isn’t breached. QED.

  13. Chris 2, it seems that we are both correct, sort of. So if traffic is moving you can’t undertake in a normal situation but if the traffic is stationary or slow moving we can undertake. What constitutes slow I don’t know.

    Anyway, I’m no expert I, along with millions of others that come from another country and have never read the highway code. Yes that’s right, there are loads of people driving around out there that have never even seen the highway code. And you wonder why people drive, ride the way they do.

    I would also like to put a call in to say no to some peoples proposals to slow the road to 20mph. I would hate to drive that slow (when the traffic is good that is) and also I can ride faster than that as can many others.

  14. Regarding the 20mph limit:

    I often cycle home from work quite late at night, reaching Greenwich at about 11pm. I’m neither the slowest nor the fastest cyclist, and can manage speeds of up to about 18mph along Trafalgar Road.

    If I clock the cars around me when entering Greenwich on Creek Road, I invariably see the same cars around me at the Trafalgar Road/Blackwall Lane junction, 1.5 miles later. Even at night, when there’s no traffic congestion, being in a car doesn’t make you any faster than being on a bike, due to need to stop at red lights (and I stop at every red light, whether driving or cycling).

    My conclusion is that a 20mph limit wouldn’t make anyone’s journey take significantly longer than it does now, due to traffic signals and congestion. However, it would make our roads more pleasant places to be for pedestrians and cyclists.

  15. I have problems with a 20mph speed limit – it is frustrating rather than pleasant to have to cycle, skate or drive this slowly. 25 mph would be ok – actually very efficient fuel-wise as in 3rd gear this gives a good rpm rate and doesn’t require frequent gear changes. The sort of wavy, discontinuous cycle lanes proposed here would cause hazards – cyclists need to move out to overtake parked cars in good time like all road users. Roads are dangerous, yes. Pedestrians are unlikely to be injured unless they don’t pay attention to this.

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