Greenwich Council has admitted that a £4.2m stretch of segregated cycle lane in Deptford will not open until the summer – despite works having finished in May.
The stretch of Cycleway 4 along Creek Road has remained fenced off because of delays to work to replace the decking on Deptford Creek Bridge, which marks the end of the route, just a few hundred metres from Greenwich town centre.
Work on the bridge was meant to coincide with the cycleway works, but the two projects became separated during the pandemic because of TfL’s financial problems.
In September, Greenwich’s cabinet member for transport, Sarah Merrill, said she anticipated the works – which would take 14 weeks – would be finished by March. 853 first revealed the reason for the delay last August.
Last night, she admitted to Greenwich councillors that works would not be finished until the summer – and that the issue had become a “thorn in my side”.
In a response to Greenwich West councillor Aidan Smith, she said that funding had finally been agreed with TfL for the works on the bridge – but that there was still no start date for the work.
Many cyclists have been using the route regardless by cycling around barriers, but full-length obstructions have recently been put in place to push riders into using the narrowed main carriageway.
“As it has been for you this has been a real thorn in my side,” said Merrill, whose husband, Neil Robertson, is a leading figure in Greenwich Cyclists, the local branch of the London Cycling campaign. He asked a similar question at last night’s meeting, but was not at the town hall to further question his wife.
“I get it at home constantly – it looks stupid, there’s this this bit of cycle lane, it seems perfectly suable, and it’s blocked off,” she said. “I completely get it.”
Merrill said that the route – a two-way track on the north side of the road – had to remain closed because it was unsafe to join and leave it at either end. The route stops at Deptford Church Street – the borough boundary – with no signals to control access.
While it had been suggested that cyclists could cross Creek Road on foot, TfL had said “you can’t guarantee cyclists are going to do that”, she said.
“We could just remove the barriers, as Greenwich, but the if there is an accident, the responsibility is ours, and it’s TfL’s cycle lane. It’s a thorn in my side and that’s what the situation is.”
A Greenwich Council spokesperson told 853 on Thursday morning that the town hall was expecting to receive the funds from TfL shortly.
TfL allocated a budget of £250,000 for the works to the bridge, according to an answer given to 853 under freedom of information laws last September. The cost of the route along Creek Road was £4,248,004.
The Creek Road section now seems likely to open at the same time as the section along Evelyn Street, in the Lewisham borough part of Deptford, which is currently being built. Eventually, it is meant to form part of a continuous route from Tower Bridge to Woolwich.
While Merrill has found the issue a thorn in her side, 853 has found getting answers from her council a challenge too. It took eight days for the council’s press office to supply an answer to a press query sent on Wednesday January 19, despite having been asked for a response by Friday.
853 is also awaiting a comment from Transport for London.
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