CYCLING CAMPAIGNERS’ FURY AT LACK OF PROTECTION ON ROADS
BY EUAN O’BYRNE MULLIGAN
Campaigners are set to protest after a second cyclist was killed in less than 10 days on roads they claim will become more congested with the introduction of the Silvertown tunnel.
The Stop Killing Cyclists (SKC) group will hold a vigil and ‘die in’, where cyclists and pedestrians lie down in front of the entrance of a building, on June 7 at Greenwich town hall as a response to the deaths.
The most recent incident on May 18 occurred at the Angerstein roundabout, a crucial junction near the planned location for the Silvertown tunnel.
Campaigners claim the tunnel will bring further traffic to surrounding roads which, they say, will increase the danger to cyclists.
Donnachadh McCarthy, pictured, SKC co-founder, said: “Historically, Greenwich has done almost nothing to make the borough’s roads safe for people cycling, with just a tiny 1.2 per cent of roads provided with protected cycle lanes.
“Sadiq Khan’s terrible decision to proceed with the Silvertown tunnel will only add to the toxic pollution, danger and congestion plaguing residents in this part of London.”
The Department of Transport gave the Silvertown Tunnel the go-ahead two weeks ago, which will connect Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks and is expected to open in 2023.
The Angerstein junction joins to the Blackwall tunnel approach, and connects drivers from both West and East Greenwich to the planned location for the Silvertown tunnel.
The first incident took place on Romney Road in central Greenwich at around 4.30pm on Wednesday 9 May.
The victim, a 46-year-old man, was airlifted to hospital but died from his injuries two days later.
The second incident, at the Angerstein roundabout, took place at around 8.20am on Friday 18 May.
A 37-year-old man died at the scene.
Plans to improve road safety at the Angerstein junction were cancelled after Sadiq Khan became Mayor.
The interchange was previously included in TfL’s Safer Junctions programme but were then dropped from the revised list of earmarked locations.
SKC are calling for TfL to restore it to the London Mayor’s Junction Priority List.
Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook said: “My condolences to the family and friends of the cyclist killed this morning in a collision at the Woolwich Road roundabout.
“This junction should never have been removed from the two improvement programmes that had been promised.”
In a meeting called to review the Silvertown Tunnel plans, Greenwich councillors voiced their concerns about how the area would deal with increased congestion.
The overview and scrutiny committee voted two to one for the council to renegotiate its current deal with TfL in order to secure terms that will better mitigate the impact of the development.
Talking about the sum of money offered by TfL, councillor Stephen Brain said: “We all see, on a daily basis, HGVs hurtling around our ward – this sum will not account for the army of sub-contractors who will build the tunnel.
“It does not take into account the real impact of this massive civil engineering scheme in and on our area – the residents and businesses of Peninsula ward, Greenwich West, Blackheath Westcombe and Charlton.
“The funding is not proportional to the scale of the project.”
Full details of the deal have not been disclosed, but it includes £349,500 to extend the Low Emissions Neighbourhood scheme operating in the area and £136,000 for school crossing patrols.
Campaigners also claim that the council have opposed plans to extend the CS4 cycle-highway to Woolwich, which would involve a redesign of the Angerstein roundabout which would make it safer for cyclists.
As it stands, the CS4 highway will run from Tower Bridge to Deptford.
SKC co-organiser Alex Raha said: “Greenwich council is delaying the extension of the protected cycle-highway CS4 by up to 8 years to Woolwich, and they failed to install segregated cycle lanes in the Woolwich town centre project, even though original designs considered them.
“Historically, they have been one of the most anti-cycling councils in London. This must now urgently change.”
A spokesman for the Mayor’s Office said:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and fiends of the cyclists who died so tragically. Reducing road danger is a top priority for the Mayor and TfL, which is why we’re investing record amounts in building new infrastructure to make cycling and walking safer across London.
“As outlined in our Strategic Cycle Network we have ambitions to make the route between Greenwich and Woolwich Road safer for cyclists, and we will continue to work with council – who are responsible for the road – to make this a reality.”
Nigel Hardy, Head of Programme Sponsorship for Surface Transport at TfL, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the two men who sadly died after collisions with HGVs while cycling in Greenwich. We are assisting the police as they investigate the circumstances and we will work closely with Greenwich council on our plans for a new cycle route between Greenwich and Woolwich.”
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “This a matter for TfL.”
Greenwich council were unable to provide a comment at the time we went to press.
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