Work is about to begin on making the notorious Angerstein roundabout in east Greenwich safer for cyclists – eleven years after rider Adrianna Skyrzpiec died at the traffic troublespot, sparking demands for the junction to be improved.
Preparatory work is to begin this week on making the junction safe as part of a new route that it is hoped will eventually extend to Woolwich.
Four cyclists have died while trying to navigate the A206 in the past 11 years. Skyrzpiec, 31, was killed at the Angerstein roundabout in May 2009. Edgaras Cepura, a 37-year-old software engineer, also died under the flyover in May 2019; the same month as Oliver Speke, 46, died on Romney Road. Stella Chandler, 66, was killed at the junction of Vanbrugh Hill in December 2009.
After Cepura’s death, Greenwich Council’s deputy leader David Gardner called the Angerstein roundabout “not fit for humans”.
Rather than run along the A206 all the way, the route will take cyclists through the Old Royal Naval College and into Old Woolwich Road – which is already filtered to prioritise cyclists – before following the A206 Trafalgar Road and Woolwich Road to the flyover, with work then starting on extending it to Anchor and Hope Lane in Charlton.
While Greenwich Council issued today’s announcement, the route is being designed by Transport for London. Detailed plans have yet to be published, but a TfL spokesperson told 853 this evening that the route will include “a signalised cycle track that safely takes cyclists across the central reservation” of the roundabout.
“This first stage will finish just east of Angerstein roundabout but the construction will be continuous all the way to Anchor and Hope Lane so there isn’t a pause in the build. It will have light segregation all along the A206,” the spokesperson added.
However, there remains a question mark over whether the scheme will reach its intended destination of Woolwich. Bus and cycle lanes will be extended along this final section as a temporary measure, but the TfL spokesperson said: “Bus/cycle lanes will be part of this phase and a more permanent scheme will be subject to funding. We are unable to confirm timescales at the moment.”
When TfL consulted on the most recent set of plans for this route last year, the Charlton to Woolwich section was due to be built first, while planners wrestled with how to deal with the roundabout and significantly narrower road.
One issue at the west end of the route is its use of the Old Royal Naval College. This has only been open from 7am-7pm on weekdays since mid-June; TfL says it is discussing “longer term options” with the charity that runs the site.
The announcement that work is due to start brings an end to years of prevarication which has seen work on the route announced then delayed. The coronavirus pandemic, which has cut the capacity of public transport, has finally forced the issue, with TfL hoping that the route will encourage people to cycle into central London rather than use trains. Work on the rest of Cycleway 4, from Tower Bridge to Deptford Creek Bridge, has resumed after stopping during the pandemic.
Plans for a cycleway along Trafalgar Road and Woolwich Road first appeared in 2010 when Cycle Superhighway 4, from London Bridge to Woolwich was planned. That was later cut back to run from Tower Bridge to Deptford Creek Bridge; but revisions made since the pandemic could see the route run to its full length again, if funding is made available to extend it from Charlton to Woolwich.
Greenwich says it is applying to TfL for funding to create a route through Greenwich town centre to link Deptford Creek Bridge with the Old Royal Naval College. At present the town centre is full of barriers which are extending the pavements for pedestrians, but reducing room and access for cyclists.
Money is already being spent on developing that route together with a link through Greenwich Park as part of a route to Eltham which will see cyclists be able to use King William Walk to enter the park – another change which has long been promised but has not yet been delivered.
Greenwich cabinet member for transport Sizwe James said: “We very much welcome this extension to Cycleway 4 in Greenwich. The area includes one of southeast London’s most dangerous junctions – cyclists have sadly died at the Angerstein roundabout – so this will provide an overdue safer cycling route into London.
“The S106 funding contribution from the council was earmarked for the permanent extension to Cycleway 4 but I’m pleased that it’s been brought forward to create the precedent for a permanent two-way cycle track on this busy and in-demand route.”
Heidi Alexander, the deputy mayor for transport, said: “I’m delighted that work to extend Cycleway 4 has been brought forward to help make it safer and easier for people to walk and cycle, especially at the Angerstein roundabout. Enabling more people to walk and cycle is more important than ever as our city recovers from coronavirus, so I’m pleased that temporary changes will be made while the work to create a fully segregated route is carried out.”
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