Greenwich councillor to hold online meeting on walking and cycling plans

Victoria Way
No social distancing here: This route to Fossdene School in Charlton sees pedestrians penned into narrow pavements and cyclists facing speeding traffic

A Greenwich Conservative councillor is to hold an online meeting on Wednesday to discuss the borough’s plans to make it easier to walk and cycle in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

With capacity on public transport sharply cut, London boroughs have been told to make major changes to streets to give more space to pedestrians and to allow people to cycle with less fear of being run down.

So far in Greenwich, the only visible sign of change has been work to provide more pavement space around Greenwich Market. However, Greenwich Council says it is also working to make changes in Woolwich and Eltham, and to bring forward plans for a cycle route between Greenwich and Woolwich as well as the part-pedestrianisation of Greenwich town centre.

It also plans to expand its school streets scheme, where roads are closed at drop-off and pick-up times, and – in what could be the most dramatic change – to create low traffic neighbourhoods where side streets are blocked to prevent rat-running. However, it wants TfL to fund the schemes.

Eltham South councillor Matt Clare – who is the Conservatives’ spokesperson for transport – is hosting the meeting at 6.30pm on Wednesday, and is asking people to sign up via Facebook.

Temporary work has been done in Greenwich town centre

The decision to hold an online meeting comes after Nigel Fletcher, the new Conservative leader in the borough, launched new “Greenwich Opposition” social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to highlight the work of the nine non-Labour councillors in the borough in scrutinising what the town hall does.

Notably, the accounts downplay the councillors’ Conservative membership. Eight of the nine opposition councillors represent wards in Eltham, with the Tory brand largely toxic in much of the north of the borough.

However, Clare has long been an advocate for better cycling and walking facilities in the borough, and unlike neighbouring Lewisham and Southwark, which have launched online maps so people can point out trouble spots, Greenwich has not canvassed residents for ideas beyond a couple of social media posts.

Decisions on the “streetspace” proposals are currently due to be made by cabinet member Sizwe James in the middle of June, according to council documents released on Friday.

Story amended to reflect that the Streetspace scheme isn’t due to go before the council’s cabinet.

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