The segregated cycleway through Greenwich and Charlton is to remain in place for now after a survey found it was being used by up to 1,400 people a day.
Greenwich Council confirmed last night that it would make a new temporary traffic order to keep the route in place, with some modifications to bus stops and to smooth out traffic problems along the route.
The route, which opened in two sections in 2020, runs from back streets from the Old Royal Naval College to Christchurch Way in east Greenwich, and then along a two-way track from there to Gallions Road in Charlton, with cycle crossings installed across the Angerstein roundabout. It was installed as part of a Transport for London programme during the pandemic with funds from central government.
TfL has long-term plans to create a segregated route between Tower Bridge and Woolwich. Only one small part of Cycleway 4 – through Bermondsey – is open and in operation, with construction work continuing in Deptford on another section. A section on Creek Road has been finished for nine months but will not open until work on Deptford Creek Bridge is finished.
However, a widened 24-hour bus lane between Charlton and Woolwich – intended to test the water for the route east of Charlton – will be cut back to run from 7am to 7pm – potentially making that route more dangerous for riders outside those hours. There had been complaints about traffic congestion with two lanes of traffic merging into one at Anchor and Hope Lane.
A survey of 1,000 residents living within 2km of the route found that 52 per cent supported it, with 32 per cent opposed.
While the decision represents a win for cyclists, riders now face another summer of construction works as changes are made to the route, which will still be protected with wands.
The alterations include restoring a busy bus stop at Tyler Street, east Greenwich; changes to the junction at Blackwall Lane; moving a bus stop at Kemsing Road back to its original location; and narrowing the cycle lane at points to allow emergency services more room on the road.
Wednesday’s decision by transport cabinet member Sarah Merrill follows the previous day’s announcement that the low-traffic neighbourhood in streets west of Greenwich Park was to be abandoned.
As with that decision, councillors have been barred from challenging the order because it has been made late – the original traffic order expires on Tuesday.
Construction work is due to begin in May on the altered route. Another consultation period will then run from October until spring 2023.
A permanent future for the cycle lane could depend on the squeeze on Transport for London’s finances. The budget for “healthy streets” schemes is at risk without a permanent settlement to rescue TfL, which has been hit by both the pandemic and the earlier loss of its government subsidy.
Decisions remain due on two proposed cycle routes between Shooters Hill Road and Greenwich Park; and between Eltham and Greenwich Park. An initial section of segregated route on Shooters Hill Road had its wands removed after a few months, while plans for traffic curbs in Eltham to help the latter route were scrapped last May.
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