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Time for a Low traffic Neighbourhood in East Greenwich?

Below is a copy of EGRA’s letter of 17th July to our three Ward Councillors condemning the use of narrow and unsuitable residential streets in East Greenwich to beat congestion on Trafalgar Road. In addition, the traffic barrier in Old Woolwich Road has been demolished by inconsiderate drivers yet again - costing all of us who pay Council Tax. In the last few days Councillors have hinted that they have proposals in hand to create a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in our area but without any details. We look forward to seeing what the Council has in mind for East Greenwich.

EGRA Letter to Chris Lloyd, Denise Scott-Macdonald and Stephen Brain

Dear Councillors,

I’m writing to you to highlight the problem of rat-running through East Greenwich and what we see are the benefits for all concerned of closing it down. Action on this is needed urgently as the ways we shop and travel have changed in the current health crisis.

EGRA members have expressed concern about the ongoing and unacceptable rat-running that takes place on the North side of Trafalgar Road. Vehicles currently access Old Woolwich Road via Eastney Street or Greenwich Park Street, use Old Woolwich Road, Hoskins Street, Collington Street, Banning Street, Pelton Road finally re-joining Trafalgar Road at Colomb Street, just before the junction with Blackwall Lane.

EGRA has recently been contacted by a member who lives in Colomb Street. He collected a petition from the area which was presented to the Council last year. Since then he has emailed the Council on a number of occasions with updates including photos and video evidence of vehicle damage. EGRA is anxious that this dangerous rat-run be closed down as a matter of urgency for the sake and safety of local residents. Our reasoning on this is as follows.

  • Rat-running by its very nature involves fast and aggressive driving on quiet side streets in order to beat slower moving traffic on more congested main roads.

  • The vast majority of drivers using residential streets for rat-running are not local but rather people passing through on their way to somewhere else.

  • With the closure of more local roads, the Avenue through Greenwich Park being the latest example, there will be more pressure on Trafalgar Road and that will lead to more rat-running.

  • The only access to Meridian Primary School is on Old Woolwich Road with its narrow pavements. Any driver entering the rat-run at Eastney Street drives by the entrance, usually at speed, all drivers rat-running have to turn across the pedestrian route to the school at Hoskins Street.

  • There are three schools where the main access point is at the junction of Colomb Street and Pelton Road where the Council has recently installed a School Street scheme. The current situation negates the benefits of this and compromises the safety of children and parents accessing the schools by encouraging fast, aggressive driving on the school route.

  • Quieter local streets will allow the council to promote the route from Greenwich Town centre via the ORNC and Old Woolwich Road as an alternative cycle route, taking some pressure off the often blocked cycle lanes on Trafalgar Road.

  • Allowing drivers to dodge off Trafalgar Road when it is blocked down narrow side streets compromises the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on Trafalgar Road where a continuous footpath and an unprotected cycleway have been installed.

  • Azof Street and Mauritius Road at Blackwall Lane and Christchurch Way at Telcon Avenue are already closed to through traffic. Closing Colomb and Whitworth Streets at Trafalgar Road is going to be an easy and relatively inexpensive fix. Both streets are already narrowed at Trafalgar Road and have had expensive continuous footpath installed as part of the Low Emission Neighbourhood scheme.

  • During the planning process for the high-density riverside developments at River Gardens and Enderby Wharf the additional vehicle traffic was obviously considered and the existing access points at Christchurch Way and Lassell Street were deemed to be adequate. The rat-running that is now endemic cannot have been foreseen but it is a problem that needs rectifying. Closing Colomb and Whitworth Streets will not adversely affect local traffic patterns and could even allow local traffic to move more freely.

  • Closing this rat-run will be of benefit to the health and wellbeing of local residents, your constituents. We only have to look at the results following the closure to through traffic of Park Vista and the area accessed by Woodland Crescent on the other side of Trafalgar Road to see what can be achieved.

  • Lastly, most of the above points apply equally to Colomb Street and Walnut Tree Road on the other side of Trafalgar Road, another notorious rat-run blighting the lives of East Greenwich Residents.

As well as being of great benefit to the residents of the areas affected, stopping these rat-runs will allow Greenwich Council to create a Low Traffic Neighbourhood, one of the main aims of the TfL Safer Streets initiative in response to the current Covid-19 crisis.

Your help and support in implementing these changes will be greatly appreciated and EGRA members would like to hear your thoughts and suggestions as to how these proposals can be taken forward quickly.

Yours Sincerely

Patrick Ives


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