By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter
Foothpaths around Greenwich town centre have been widened in the first actions to accommodate what travel will likely look in a post-lockdown London.
The local authority began installing barriers on Friday after naming the town centre a priority for work due to its narrow pavements.
It will enable residents to safely walk along the town centre’s one-way road temporarily, in a measure aimed at helping locals maintain social distancing protocols as the UK works its way out of the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes as the Mayor’s Office and Transport (TfL) for London brace for a mass change in habits post-lockdown, with London’s public transport capacity potentially running at a fifth of pre-crisis levels – forcing millions on to foot or bicycles.
Greenwich council also pinpointed other areas for work, including Woolwich and Eltham town centres.
“Our plans for Woolwich are mainly focussed on tackling pinch points on Calderwood Street, Thomas Street, Wellington Street, Woolwich New Road, Vincent Road and Willmount Street.
Woolwich is the fourth busiest bus hub in London, with 18 bus routes, and presents a big social distancing challenge,” the authority said in an update.
Eltham town centre could see footway parking suspended to make the most of the wide footways and create space to queue at shops and walk along the street.
The authority said it will close off the footway parking with barriers, except for disabled bays and necessary loading bays.
Protection for cyclists will also be added to the cycle lanes on the high street.
The council is preparing a funding bid to TfL to finance further works to accommodate walking and cycling in the borough.
“Whatever measures we put in place will be focused on limiting the spread of the virus and helping all our residents travel safely around the borough.
“We’ll be prioritising walking and cycling while public transport capacity is limited,” the authority said.
Among the bodies responding to the news was the East Greenwich Residents’ Association (EGRA), which said although the work was a “great start and a huge boon to pedestrians,” cyclists would still be “condemned to sharing a very narrow space with vehicles in the town centre and Romney Road”.
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