All change! Kidbrooke Park Road traffic experiment begins – and more roadworks at the Royal Standard

Kidbrooke Park Road - old signLater this month a new traffic experiment will start on Kidbrooke Park Road, with potentially far-reaching effects which local residents will want to have their say about.

Ever since the Rochester Way Relief Road (the A2 between the Sun-in-Sands and Eltham) was built in the late 1980s, traffic has been banned from turning right from Rochester Way into Kidbrooke Park Road. This was part of a package of measures to deter traffic from rat-running through Eltham and Kidbrooke whenever the new road was gridlocked.

The problem is that a lot of vehicles ignore this rule, or else turn left and then perform dangerous u-turns in one of the cul-de-sacs off Kidbrooke Park Road just to the south of the junction. Since Thomas Tallis School was rebuilt a few hundred yards north of its previous site, these u-turns are taking place where many schoolchildren cross the road to reach school each day.

Kidbrooke Park Road - no right turn sign by Thomas tallis School

Given these safety concerns, the council’s Highways Committee agreed some time ago to lift the ban on right turns here, for a trial period. The experiment will last six months and will start later in November (the exact date is not yet announced). The Highways Committee’s recent report on the matter can be found here.

Twenty-five years after the new motorway opened, it may be high time to look again at the local road network, and ask whether abolishing the ban on right turns here would make the road safer (longer term, the road network will need to be looked at very carefully if and when any new river crossings on the Peninsula are given the go-ahead, though a decision on these is some way off).

But Labour councillors want to see a careful analysis of the effects this experiment has, and proper consultation before any change is made permanent. Lifting the ban on right turns may make the road safer near Thomas Tallis School, which is important, but if it means permanent traffic jams up Kidbrooke Park Road northbound then another solution may need to be found. At the same time, I am asking the Highways department to extend double yellow lines northwards up Kidbrooke Park Road (currently they only go a little way past St John Fisher Church), due to unsafe parking there.

Please let me have your views – by email at alex.grant@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or by commenting below.

Royal Standard 2013 - 4

Over at the Royal Standard gyratory, further resurfacing work will take place overnight on Monday November 18th and Tuesday November 19th, starting at 19.00 and finishing at 06.00 the following morning. The gyratory will be completely closed to through traffic over both nights, apart from the section where you enter from Westcombe Hill and exit via Charlton Road (towards Woolwich), which was resurfaced earlier this year. It is possible, though unlikely, that further works may have to take place on the Wednesday night if bad weather delays works on Monday and Tuesday.

Read more of this post

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Is IKEA a good idea for Greenwich?

sainsbury-greenwichHow quickly do the architectural innovations of the late Twentieth century become redundant in the Twenty-First! The iconic Sainsbury’s store on Peartree Way, with its partly glazed roof, curved lines and timber cladding, is due to be made redundant once a much larger Sainsbury’s opens down the road off Bugsby’s Way in 2014.

IKEA have now put forward plans to take over the site – and knock down the Sainsbury’s building, which was nominated for the Stirling Prize and won the prestigious RIBA Sustainability Award in 2000. Until now it had been hoped that a new retailer would adapt the building, not demolish it.

Tony Duckworth, one of the Environmental designers of the Sainsbury’s store, predicted last year that the most likely outcome was its demolition (see a blog post from 2012 here). I’m sorry that it seems he has been proved right. Read more of this post

“For one night only”? – the Royal Standard one-way system gets resurfaced overnight

Royal Standard roadworksI had a look at the Royal Standard earlier this evening (June 10th) as the roads were being closed for resurfacing work: overnight, much of the one-way system here is being resurfaced, completing a programme of improvements that began in March with a safer pedestrian crossing at the junction of Charlton Road and Westcombe Hill, and new paving on both roads.  This was followed by work nearby to make it safer for merging traffic on the westbound stretch of Charlton Road.

This busy one-way system, with Batley Park and its fine trees at its centre, is much cherished by the community. It is a sort of Clapham Junction of local bus routes (served by eight of them – the 53, 54, 108, 202, 286, 380, 386 and 422) and as a result the police would not agree to a daytime closure of the roads, or a nighttime closure on a Friday or Saturday night, for the resurfacing work. Read more of this post

Don’t believe what you read about millionaires in Council Houses

CIMG1500Superb piece on the Red Brick blog last week about the latest absurdities of Tory Housing policies.

The proposal, trailed in the Guardian earlier this month, to cap “rent subsidy” at a household income of £60,000, (which would mean that a couple on £30,000 each could see their rent rise by about £70 a week) is seriously flawed for three reasons.

Firstly, it would disincentivise work, and discourage anyone in social housing from getting on in life.

Household income of £60,000 may seem like quite a lot (it is certainly more than my household earns in a year), and may seem like a sensible threshold for rent subsidies to be cut off at. However, a family with Mum and Dad both working on average London earnings of about £25,000 each would only need one grown-up child living at home and earning £10,000 a year (working part-time while studying, for example) to hit that threshold. Such families are not, by any stretch of the imagination, rich. But under the Tories plan they would either have to take a pay cut, move their earnings into the black market – or abandon their council home if they can no longer pay the higher rent. Read more of this post

Values, Commitment and Energy

StJohnsWell, what a week.

Few parts of the ward untouched as we aim to knock every door during the course of the election campaign – just as we have knocked every door in the year before and every year. This is what Labour is about – on people’s side and getting things done.

On Thursday,we had an excellent evening in Vanbrugh Fields and Vanbrugh Hill with a surprisingly positive response. As the 16 of us gathered today at the standard to it the streets, we were very heartened by the passers’ by wishing us well and somewhat sympathising with us (no doubt due to national factors). In any event, Nick Raynsford and Pat Boadu-Darko had an excellent reception on the stall while Alex Grant and I ventured with the team onto Shooter’s Hill Road, Kidbrooke Park Road, Kidbrooke Park Close (again!) and Kidbrooke Grove. While many people had taken advantage oft he May Bank Holiday weekend there were stlll plenty in for a chat. I surprised one voter who was flirting with the Conservatives by talking about financial services policy issues – where the Conservatives would be totally ineffective as they are sidelined in Europe where the real decisions are made – and another on my involvement in the anti-apartheid campaigns of old and how ordinary people can make a difference. It was really good to get some plaudits for our safer Neighbourhood Team who are seen to have been very helpful on burglaries in particular.

It was good to see the new Thomas Tallis well underway and the 286 service looking more reliable. There were really very few local issues that people had. I canvassed a woman who had taught Alex at Invicta some 25 years ago (hasn’t he done well!) and we tried out Boris’s special nine- second crossing (or is it now an 11-second crossing) over the A2 Shooter’s Hill Road and just got over given our relative fitness. But the time allowed to cross is ridiculously short for those that are a bit slower on their feet or struggling with children or bags etc.

Then after a drink and lunch with helpers at the Royal standard, off to Marks & Spencer’s for our dinner party provisions for this evening and home for the domestic chores and to catch up on some phone calls. We saw the Conservatives around leafleting but not talking to people. We have not seen the lone Green or the Lib Dems anywhere in Blackheath or Westcombe Park. I am told the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate went to the pensioners’ hustings to complain about the worse train service on the Westcombe Park line (little does he know about the improvements) and apparently did not know that charlton and westcombe Park were on the same railway line.

So we’re serious about being effective champions for the ward – we have been clear about our values – for educational excellence; a sustainable environment; economic prosperity for all and tackling poverty and for strong and safe communities. WE have shown our huge commitment born out of sa sense of public service and wanting to make a difference and that we will leave no stone unturned to get things done for the communities in Blackheath westcombe and individuals. We will keep going to thursday in getting this message across, but win or lose, we will carry on campaigning for and with the great people of Blackheath Westcombe.

David L Gardner