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How would you improve Greenwich town centre for pedestrians?

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

  1. Ian Worley New Member

    The Olympics clearly demonstrated that the reduction of traffic to a single lane along College Approach is not detrimental to traffic flows, particularly if traffic is encouraged south to the A2 rather than through Greenwich Town Centre. As a parent with children, I am a strong supporter for the radical pedenstrianisation of the town centre to both enhance the quality of the town as well as enhance the safety of pedestrians as well as improve footfall for shops in the town centre.

    The pavements on both sides of College Approach are small and dangerous for children, as well as adults when it becomes easily overcrowded on weekends. The sensible thing to do is to remove all residents parking, widen the pavements on both sides, reduce the centre to 1 lane and cobble the street. It also makes sense to then widen the pavement on King William walk on both sides as well, reducing the street to 2 lanes (one for busses at the stations and one for passing cars). Residents should be granted parking spaces in the parking lot under/next to the cutty sark.

    The route along Nelson Road should also have the pavements widened (there is room for two lanes even with pavements being widened) with a crossing at King William Walk and Nelson road mimicing the X crossing now in effect at Oxford Circus to eliminate the pedestrian jams along the edges.

    The reduction of traffic flow would discourage driving throught the centre while still encouraging people to drive TO the centre to park in the underground car park or the parking lot on Park Row (though it is clear that a destination of such significance as Greenwich is in need of further public parking - perhaps we should learn from the parisians here and bury it under the lawns of the Naval College and/or the Maritime Museum.

    The pavements along King William walk running up to the Maritime Museum and the park entrance should also be widened, reducing the road to one lane with parking for residents, and the cobbles reinstated throughout.

    While we are widening pavements, tree planting would also be a good idea along the major routes through town to improve the visual appearance of the town as well as to help with the greening of london that is desperately needed.

    As an ex urban designer and architect...i am more than happy to draw these proposals up for anyone interested.

    The bottom line is that Greenwich is a National Historic Treasure and World Heritage Site. It is both deserving and in need of radical thinking about the role of traffic in the town centre and how to improve pedestrian access for the good of the town and the good of the local economy. There are loads of examples in Britain and world-wide of how to do this well...what is needed is a bit of courage and vision.

    And when while we are sorting out west greenwich...I have also done quite a bit of thinking about how to improve the East of Greenwich...which seems woefully under-represented in regeneration plans, but again, desperately needing and deserving of some attention...particularly given the current development (and plans for further development) along the riverfront.

  2. Dazza Member

    "perhaps we should learn from the parisians here and bury it under the lawns of the Naval College and/or the Maritime Museum."

    Nice idea Ian, but there's already a railway line/tunnel going under there!

    Pity we couldn't use a Park And Ride from North Greenwich Car Parks.....Oh, wait , we lost half of them as well.
  3. Md78 Member

    Some good ideas on here. Re West Greenwich I think public realm improvements in the town centre, pavement widening, removal of railings, relocation of bus stops would make Greenwich a much nicer place to visit/shop. It doesn't have to cost the earth either I wouldn't have thought.

    The easiest way to improve the seriously ugly Trafalgar Rd through East Greenwich would be to de clutter it entirely. The Council or whoever is in charge should insist on the removal of all unnecessary signage, advertising hoardings and 'to let/for sale' boards and raise their expectations for this important entrance to a World Heritage Site. It currently resembles a dogs dinner. Additionally they should force/work-with retailers to use decent looking signage not back lit plastic boxes and nasty cheap signage and just get these companies who have a vested interest in the success of this street, to raise their game. At present absent landlords and disinterested retailers are just too lazy to bother, and with a little proactive imagination to Council could transform this sows ear of Greenwich.
    paulg and Paul T like this.
  4. Mary Member

    Hallo - Member - and Ian. I agree about the signage on Trafalgar Road - and you might be interested to know that 12 or so years ago we went through the whole exercise and got it all cleaned up and changed - shops had grants to do up their fronts, street furniture was renewed. However that was all done when there was money from a regeneration agency which was time limited. Since then the local resident body which monitored it has stopped meeting and the staff support we had has been cut. I'm very happy to work with residents who have ideas. Please contact me and we can at least talk.
  5. Scperi New Member

    Following on from some of Ian's comments I have attached a quick drawing to show my thoughts. I generally agree that the current roads are to wide and lanes need to be reduced. The main change here for me is Greenwich Church st area. this could be a shared space, and before you reply please watch this video, Most people didn't this would work but the video shows that it does. It took some guts to go ahead with that scheme and I don't see why Greenwich can't do the same. It will slow the cars down but because the lights have gone there is no real impact to travel times. The best bit is pedestrians can move about more easily which is what we need here.

    Attached Files:

  6. Md78 Member

    Yeah that's a great example of what can be achieved. Prioritising the pedestrian and actually speeding up things for motorists as well. And the junction in that video is much busier than most in Greenwich by the looks of it.

    But I know high quality public realm improvements require a LOT of money. It would be great if they could just do what the can for now on the cheap and make some short term gains. I wish the Council didn't have their hands tied with red tape, and they could just send a few workmen out and yank up all the unnecessary signage, railings, poles etc...; phone every estate agent with a board up and say no more; remove other street clutter like park benches on main roads (who uses these?); and just set some new standards for the area like from now on new shops signage must meet a certain standard to be allowed. Additionally they could ask current retailers to help, its for their benefit, and sort out their shops appearance. In America they use local volunteers a lot, shame Greenwich cant get a bunch of volunteers out to help paint unloved walls, power wash grubby pavements or whatever, anything to tidy the Trafalgar Rd up in an economically restrained era. Or maybe I am dreaming that things are this simple.... :)
  7. I agree Md78 - a lot of that de-cluttering would be a quick win. It shouldn't require much time or cost to remove guardrails and unnecessary signage, poles on paving etc. It would make an immediate difference. The volunteering idea is good. Also, in the councils new budget they have allocated more money for cleansweep and are hiring more staff. It would be great if they could be used for tasks such as power washing the paving and painting neglected areas etc.
  8. Franklin Member

    The Greenwich Society (of which I'm a member) has been arguing for several years that a simple and cost-effective solution that would dramatically improve the town centre for pedestrians would be to widen the pavement on the north side of College Approach.

    This would keep the traffic that enters College Approach as just one-lane until it enters the two-lane 'filter' system on King William Walk, and significantly improve the pedestrian experience along College Approach into the ORNC. The proposal can be found here:


    As this was implemented during the Olympics and clearly worked well, we raised it again after the Olympics with the Borough's chief traffic officer as well as Chris Roberts, and are delighted to see that they are seriously considering it - and that Roberts mentioned it in his interview with Rob late last year.

    We also took a long hard look at the full pedestrianisation proposals several years ago. Although these would have been good for College Approach and King William Walk, we came to the conclusion that the large gyratory - with two lanes of traffic both heading west along the High Road from Nelson Road to Norman Road - would have been disastrous for pedestrians and buses. It would also have led to a major increase in rat-running through the residential roads around the gyratory.

    We also investigated and discovered that the trend nationally was to remove one-way systems as they simply don't work - they create major stationary traffic jams (see the New Cross one-way roundabout by Goldsmiths, for example).

    The Society therefore objected strongly to the proposals and again reiterated our proposal to widen the College Approach pavements, and were relieved when they were dropped - although of course that was primarily TfL's doing, rather than the Council actually listening to local residents.

    If you like this simple and inexpensive proposal, let your local Councillors and the Council "leadership" know - and consider joining the Greenwich Society to make our local voice even stronger!
    Paul T likes this.
  9. Franklin Member

    Scperi, I like the idea of shared space on Church Street. It's a very busy road but I think the shared space concept could possibly work there.

    However, I don't think making Nelson Rd one-lane would work, given the volume of traffic that it takes - wouldn't that generate massive queueing on Norman Road, half of which would be heading down to Creek Rd and half onto the High Rd?

    Also, as I said in my previous post, the Greenwich Society has been proposing to widen the pavements on the north side of College Approach as this is (or should be) the primary pedestrian route to the ORNC and NMM.

    That said, I agree that it would be great to widen the pavement on the south side (the island side) of College Approach as well, and if you removed the parking on the north side you could widen the pavements on both sides.

    Great picture, by the way!
  10. GORN Member

    I disagree. Traffic flows during the Olympics were far from typical, with many locals and regular transients abandoning any idea of a normal life for those few weeks. And the A2, to which you want to dump much of the traffic that goes through central Greenwich, was made to be just an approximation of adequate to its task by changing the timings on lights, so that all local feeder roads to it backed up horribly, even with the reduced amount of local traffic.
  11. Stalf Member

    I have been itching to say this - now that the experimental paving over of Exhibition Road has proved a success, it would be great to do the same in Greenwich. Get rid of all the traffic lights and pillars and multiple poles, pave it over on the same level and set a ten mile an hour speed limit (cars seldom go faster than that in the central area now.) What a great improvement that would be1
  12. GORN Member

    Can you explain the similarities you see between the two thoroughfares that mean we can make a simple extrapolation?
  13. Stalf Member

    If you go and have a look at Exhibition Road, it has been paved over on one level. The traffic still can go up and down and the ways are delineated in the paving. Cars are warned that it is a pedestrian priority area. As for the traffic lights, I believe (though I do not have references to back this up) that in many cases removal of traffic lights makes drivers and pedestrians more careful and significantly improves traffic flows. Can any one back this up quoting the experiments carried out in removing traffic lights? Here are some Google links: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18072259.
    Judging from the TfL web site, Greenwich is one of the boroughs which resists traffic light removal. The Dutch experiments are interesting but controversial. I guess any change like this is bound to be controversial though that is no reason why it might not be right. Do you know how much it costs to install and maintain a set of traffic lights? Add up the cost over the borough and you must be convinced that lights save quite a few lives. Is there any evidence for that though?
  14. Stalf Member

    Wow! 'Poynton regenerated' is a fantastic model. Lets start pushing for that folks.
  15. GORN Member

  16. Stalf Member

    Poynton is more relevant.
  17. Stalf Member

    Have a look at the Blog. It was posted by scperi
  18. Darreb Member

    I've got to say, despite my initial concerns about shared use (primarily regarding the safety of the young and the blind) I'm convinced. Poynton shows area of complex traffic folow. The video also shows what happens when lights fail and motorists show more courtesy. Surely it wouldn't be beyond the skill of Greenwich Council and TFL to turn off the lights in the town centre one day and see what happened.

    The message is clear, traffic management in Greenwich is directed at the convenience of those travelling through our area without stopping and that is a nonsense.
  19. Darryl Member

    Indeed. Also sums up the idiocy of piling more traffic onto the A102 at the other end of Greenwich, too.

    A Poynton-style scheme looks like a possible goer, after having seen the video.

    Incidentally, I was in Bath yesterday. Greenwich could learn a lot about managing a World Heritage Site from a trip down there.
  20. GORN Member

    Much as I like the idea, I am wary of assuming that something that works well in one place can necessarily be replicated elsewhere with the same effect.

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