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How would you improve Greenwich town centre for pedestrians?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rob, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. rob Administrator

    Greenwich Council dropped plans to partially pedestrianise the town centre a couple of years ago. But during the Olympics, Greenwich Church Street was closed to cars with traffic instead sent along a one-way High Road and along Norman Road. There was some speculation afterwards that this might prompt the council to look again at a pedestrianisation scheme, which is something I asked Chris Roberts about before Christmas.

    He said:

    Do you widening pavements would improve Greenwich town centre and where woud you do it? Any other ideas that could improve the experience of getting about Greenwich as a pedestrian?
  2. One area that I find difficult as a pedestrian and also as a driver, is the junction between Creek Road and Greenwich Church Street. There are often hoards of tourists milling around having emerged from Cutty Sark tube and debating whether to go to nearby restaurants or the Cutty Sark etc. I don't object to this of course, but the pavements simply cannot cope with everyone at that juncion.

    Overspill drifts in a leisurely way onto the traffic island and right into the path of traffic. Cars on Creek Road are often going at quite a pace and I'm surprised there hasn't been an accident, especially late at night when pedestrians are less..err...co-ordinated!

    I'm not sure how it would be done to allow room for two lanes of traffic, but the pavement definitely needs looking at here!
  3. Roz New Member

    From the article covering plans are being shelved, there is no mention of what the actual argument is to shelf it... I believe that whatever solution you propose, it will be decrimental to motorists (unless we tunnel underneath greenwich market). It is very simple to conclude that any change will worsen the situation for motorists, but it will improve the situation for pedestrians who are there to visit the shops, restaurants and museums. This will then improve the situation for these shops and restaurants, something that can't harm in the current financial climate. Additionally, the Olympics have learnt us that people can addapt. Greenwich town centre was lovely during the Olympics and I did not notice any traffic trouble when driving around town.
    And lets not forget that these roads should be used for local traffic only. Parallel to closing the two roads for motorised traffic, one should consider optimising the A2 in order to divert traffic away from the town centre.
  4. If Greenwich gets a pot of money I don't think west Greenwich should be priority number 1. I would much prefer money spent on improving east Greenwich streets. Heading east to Trafalgar Road past the Navel College towards the old hospital site there is a sudden change to poor quality cheap paving, as well as lots of street clutter, signs and railings. Many authorities across London and the UK have taken huge strides in improving streets and removing clutter in recent years. Greenwich Council lags far behind. Junctions are a mess of guard rails. Street lamps are cheap, utilitarian and ugly. The junction by the new 'Heart of Greenwich' site is a complete blot. Masses of ugly railings. Following that road for miles east throughout the borough reveals ugly street after ugly street, and the councils poor understanding of how to manage and improve their streets.
    Darryl likes this.
  5. Darryl Member

    Throughout SE10, and the wider borough, there's beautiful streets that are ruined by the council's lack of understanding of how to create an attractive urban realm. There's streets in Charlton and Woolwich which once housed army generals which now look dreadful, yet with a little bit of work, would look like attractive places to live. (think Brookhill Road in Woolwich or Victoria Way/ Wellington Gardens in Charlton). Even streets in East Greenwich like Pelton Road could do with the same work which West Greenwich gets. See what Southwark Council has done in areas like Peckham and Nunhead for an example of what I mean.

    Focusing back on the town centre, the main problem, as I see it, is the decision of where to pedestrianise. Do you pedestrianise College Approach and King William Walk, as the council wanted to do, which creates a clear way down to the river, but is largely residential? Or do you pedestrianise Nelson Road for the shops and bars, but making traffic do an awkward route round the market? The other problem is where you put the buses which terminate there (extend to Deptford Bridge might be one idea) - with TfL notorious for its lack of co-operation with local councils.

    Overall, though, we need to reduce the traffic levels through Greenwich - and that's something that can only be solved on a London-wide basis with some form of congestion charging. Sadly, the mayor who took on the dominance of the car is now a fading memory.
  6. Jezebel Member

    I don't have a problem with the town centre, it's just busy. For me the worst place traffic wise is Royal Hill, it is sometimes impossible to cross by the butchers, especially if one of the shops has a delivery you can't see past them.
  7. Pelton Pirate Member

    Darryl, can you give an example re: your thoughts above about Pelton Rd?
  8. Darryl Member

    Yup - oversized lamp posts, stuck up in the 80s.
  9. Pelton Pirate Member

    Oddly, having lived there for two years I can't honestly say I've noticed, but as you've mentioned it I shall pay it some though. I could think of better ways to spend scarce resources though tbh. It also doesn't appear to be harming property prices which have risen 10.6% in 2 years.

    Back to the town centre. I don't really think it *needs* pedestrianisation per se. That'll just create more traffic chaos elsewhere. What would help is a rethink of pavement size on the roads around the market, and of crossings. There's simply not enough room for everyone to move around safely & in comfort, which damages trade.

    Consideration to allow the market food stalls to move permanently to the plazas near Cutty Sark or into the gardens of the ORNC where the temporary boat ticket offices were, would create more space in the covered markethall. Let's face it, its too crowded and that probably doesn't help stallholders.

    I would like to see rates lowered for small, local businesses, and the national chains paying a bit more to subsidize. We don't need any more coffee shops, Italian foods or noodle bars, what we need is more diversity.

    An extension of the Boris bikes network to Rotherhithe, Deptford & Greenwich would be great and is overdue.
    paulg and sony wolf like this.
  10. Darryl Member

    Well, it was an observation more than anything, and there are far worse streets in the borough than Pelton Road - but I did want to cite an SE10 example on an SE10 site. There's always cash available for this kind of thing through TfL's Local Implementation Plan, which is where the money for the original Greenwich pedestrianisation scheme was going to come from (it ended up being diverted to General Gordon Square in Woolwich, which looks rather swish these days).

    You're right on using taxation to bring about a proper mix of town centre businesses - and yes, the refusal of TfL to bring Boris bikes any further south-east of Kennington and Shad Thames is just daft.
  11. BobH Member

    I agree that there are probably better ways to spend scarce taxpayers’ money (or indeed, to leave the money with those taxpayers and let them spend it how they see fit, not how our politicians do.... ) but on the assumption that this thread is about ideas rather than a discussion of local government funding, here goes...

    I thought that the experiment implemented during the Olympics showed that there are options for looking at traffic movement through the town. The Olympics were obviously a one-off, not least because of the overall reduction in traffic across the area, and I wouldn’t argue for the same system to be implemented on a permanent basis. However, it was nice to be able to walk through Greenwich without having to continually walk on the road to avoid clumps of (predominantly tourist) pedestrian traffic, blocking up pinch points such as the exit from the DLR onto Church Street or the College Approach entrance to the Market. Hence, I would be supportive of enhancing the pedestrian realm in central Greenwich in order to improve safety. I also suspect that in doing so you could add to both commercial and tourist draw for both locals (I fit within this camp) and tourists alike.

    I actually like the idea of pedestrianising from the junction of Creek Road and Church Street, through College Approach and up King William Walk until the junction with Romney Road. This would require a T-junction to be implemented at the junction of Romney Rod and Church Street. (I can’t see the point of the the proposed gyratory, which seems like a poor solution to the traffic volume issues.) I would couple this with reduced speed limits in the approaches to Greenwich centre. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the route through Greenwich town centre shouldn’t be a major through road into Central London – that’s what the A2 is there for.

    (I also wouldn’t toll the Blackwall Tunnel as that would be a disaster. [I would build a bridge at Gallion’s Reach as a priority, and I wouldn’t be averse to additional tunnels at Blackwall as long as they’re in addition to the bridge and not instead of.])

    I think that a pedestrianised College Approach could be used for overspill from the Market, e.g. to allow the food stalls to move outside and stop blocking up the thoroughfares, and / or as an alternative site to the Clocktower Market. Hence, the fact that the street is largely faced by residential property on its Northern side shouldn’t really be an issue.

    Although I accept that this would be the more natural approach on paper, to try to pedestrianise Romney Road and Church Street where the majority of the existing shops and restaurants are would appear to be a complete non-starter looking at the existing road plan. Hence, I’ve discounted this.

    Other areas that I would consider are worth improving are:

    1. The railway cutting between Greenwich High Road and King William Walk – this looks like an opportunity to create a pedestrianised area, thus providing an alternative route from the train / DLR station towards the Maritime Museum and the Park. This could relieve some of the foot traffic from the roads around the Romney Road junction.
    2. The area in front of the Co-Op and Sainsbury’s on Greenwich High Road opposite the Royal Hill junction looks really bad and isn’t helped by the buildings to the western side of the car park. Improving this area – possibly by creating a small park area – would vastly improve what is currently something of an eyesore.

    This isn’t a pedestrianisation issue but it does have a bearing on the provision of parking in town, and could make up for the loss of parking outside of the Co-Op, but in looking at the roads around Greenwich on Google maps it looks like there’s a huge area of unused land bordering the railway track between Greenwich Station and the Co-Op. I don’t know if there are any alternative plans for this land, but if not then a one-way entry / exit system could be implemented such that traffic feeds in / out of Greenwich High Road. It also has the advantage that it would keep any car park largely out of sight as you enter Greenwich from the West.
    Helen, Darryl and rob like this.
  12. Pelton Pirate Member

    Interesting info Darryl, I didn't know that, thanks for explaining.

    Re: central Woolwich. I certainly wouldn't want to see that kind of development in Greenwich. Whilst the centre of Woolwich has been tidied up, it smacks of a grandiose 'cathedrals in the desert' scheme, where that bit looks nice but many other areas remain decrepit and rundown.

    'Royal Greenwich' seem transfixed by big vanity projects rather than smaller-scale localised investments (which as you've highlighted) can bring improvements in other productive ways.
    paulg likes this.
  13. Pelton Pirate Member

    Some good food for thought there BobH!
  14. Darryl Member

    YES. The Greenwich Society has proposed the railway cutting idea before (Greenwich Phantom, March 2011) but I think it was just ignored by the council. I certainly don't remember any public acknowledgement of it. The West Greenwich CARA group also posted some ideas in the summer of 2011.

    A little park where the crappy Co-op parking lot would be great - who owns that empty land by the station?
  15. Pelton Pirate Member

    That's a great idea (railway cutting), but I fear too brave for "Royal Greenwich".
  16. curlywurly Member

    I agree that East Greenwich seems to get continually overlooked for investment by Greenwich council. As the Heart of East Greenwich building gets underway we're more than overdue a bit of council funding up this end of town.
  17. GORN Member

    Better, easier and free car parking (including drop-off/pickup-up facilities) on the eastern (Romney Rd) and southern (GHR) approaches to the town centre, with pleasant, short walking routes in, would help, I think. I suspect a lot of the traffic in the OWS is people driving round a couple of times trying to find somewhere convenient to park, and it might be good if we could siphon most of that off before it reaches the centre.

    I do also wonder if it might be possible to make GHR one-way westwards and Creek Road one-way eastwards, both as far as Deptford Church Street, and have GCR and Nelson Road revert to two-way, thus freeing College Approach and KWW of traffic. I suspect the problems with that would be (1) the right turn for traffic from Creek Road from GCR into GHR, and (2) the 2-lane right turn from GHR onto the A2 at Deptford bridge. It might be possible to use Norman Road to alleviate that, I suppose.
  18. Mary Member

    Dear Curly Wurly - or anyone else interested in east Greenwich. Please get in touch - I am interested in anyone interested in East Greenwich. Mary marymillsmmmmmm@aol.com
    (local Labour councillor)
  19. rob Administrator

    How long before a crazy developer suggests rebranding it as Greenwich Midtown or something equally silly, I wonder.
    sony wolf likes this.
  20. Mary Member

    Rob - that - I'm afraid - is only too likely!! or worse!! And some developers having made their suggestions and had them turned down just carry on with them!! Others though are very good and ask for suggestions for names for blocks of flats and so on. But ..........................!!

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