Greenwich Council recently adopted a Masterplan for Charlton Riverside to downgrade Woolwich Road between the A102 and Charlton Church Lane. By proposing an access point to a 700-space car park for the proposed new Sainsbury's and M&S from Woolwich Road (as well as Bugsby's Way) the recent planning application by the developers LXB will increase, not reduce, traffic in that stretch of Woolwich Road, which is meant to be a residential road with buses. This will have a significant impact on air quality, noise, road traffic accidents and the amenity of local people in Woolwich Road and adjacent residential roads to the south.
The impact on air quality (already poor) should be considered on Woolwich Road, and the Council should bear in mind its affect on neighbouring roads (which the supporting documents to the application admit could become “rat runs”) and children attending Fossdene School. The impact on noise pollution is measured in the supporting documentation to the planning application to at least one decibel (that is 10% more). Surely a strong case to review the junction on the Woolwich Road?
Significant additional traffic will be generated by a Woolwich Road entrance/exit to/from the car park of 700 cars, and much of this will be on Woolwich Road as things are currently configured. The road currently has no traffic calming measures on it, and is the only road signed by the Council/TfL for eastbound access from the A2/A102 to Charlton Football Club and the Woolwich Ferry, and westbound to the Blackwall Tunnel and Greenwich Town Centre. This stretch of Woolwich Road is a Road Traffic Accident blackspot. The last fatal accident there was in December 2007. Allowing cars to go straight ahead from Charlton Church Lane to Anchor & Hope Lane and Bugsby's Way would make far more sense in terms of access; treating the entrance to Woolwich Road so it is earmarked for access only.
Bugsby's Way can absorb the additional traffic; the junction of Bugsby's Way and Gallions Road is well planned and the bus lane is to be welcomed, although there will always be an issue with the resilience of the whole road network with “exceptional” events such as the Blackwall tunnel blockage, Charlton Athletic matches, and “only one Woolwich Ferry” in operation.
The Gallions Road/Woolwich Road junction for the new development should be altered. The Council should undertake a review of the entire length of Woolwich Road between the Antigallican and the A102 to come up with a plan – potentially funded from the S106 funding that will be attracted by this application – to downgrade the road and direct through traffic along Bugsby’s Way. As well as a reworked Charlton Church Lane junction this would enable the following to be considered:
(a) A bus friendly road “lip” at the fire station/Hardman Road junction – thus not affecting the operation of the fire station adversely but forcing slower traffic at a bend in the road when it appears to be a regular occurrence that speeding cars veer into the wrong lane, and in the last few years a number of gardens have had their front walls rebuilt due to accidents.
(b) A mini roundabout at the Woolwich Road/Victoria Way junction – incorporating a revised exit for the Travelodge. The developers, LXB, have agreed that this would be within the scope of their plan and would have no objection to this change to their Travelodge scheme. It would be in line with TfL’s “no new traffic lights” objective, and it would also ensure slow down traffic as well as assist local traffic to turn in and out of the Victoria Way junction.
(c) New signage – directing through traffic away from the Woolwich Road and down Bugsby’s Way.
(d) A 20 mph speed limit enforced by traffic cameras and/or “watch your speed” digital signage.
(e) A revised Charlton Church Lane junction (as outlined above).
These traffic calming measures should be considered regardless of the Council’s planning decision in this application, but to not link these explicitly would be to deny the significant affect on traffic that this new M&S/Sainsbury’s will have in an already congested area regardless of any move to direct traffic away from Woolwich Road. As the residential link, it makes more sense to make the vehicular access to the new M&S/Sainsbury’s solely from Bugsby’s Way and to reserve Gallions Road for cyclists and emergency vehicles. This would then enable the Woolwich Road to become more pedestrian friendly, encouraging local residents to walk to the stores and being a friendly way for bus and rail passengers to enter the development.