All that expense for nothing. Still no cycle track!
A bus negotiates the sharp bend and tries to avoid mounting the pavement.
I noticed that some road works at the junction of Abbey Road and Knee Hill
had been left half completed for a month or more so I dropped off an enquiry via
the councils website as I had always been intrigued by the green cycle track
that goes along the middle of the road there. Why are you wasting yet more
money restricting the road width underneath the flyover at the boundary with Greenwich?
13 days later on 16th March 2008 I received a brief reply from Andrew Bashford,
Team Leader (Traffic Projects). The purpose of the scheme is to
improve safety for cyclists and to reduce vehicle speeds in this location. The
route along the length of Abbey Road and on towards Greenwich is part of the
London Cycle Network Plus network of key cycle routes in London. The completed
scheme will enable cyclists to use a designated portion of the widened footway,
and so not risk being hit by passing motorists, and then allow them to get
across the road and continue along this cycle route. As well as providing for
cyclists, the changes will also provide safer and clearer facilities for
pedestrians. The road surface will be improved throughout the junction and,
although the road will be narrowed slightly, it will not affect use by vehicles
other than to encourage slower speeds at this busy point.
This was not hugely unreasonable unless you think that spending money on a very
small number of cyclists is unwise for a Conservative council claiming to be
looking for savings. London Cycle Network Plus is a group of cyclists who have
banded together to form a pressure group. Their mission statement is to
influence decision making.
I replied immediately, Thank you for your explanation. The cycling arrangements
at that junction have been laughable for several years and I have often held
them up as an example of Bexleys prize buffoonery (the
track in the middle of the road) in the road traffic planning
department. I shall have to look for another one. I can appreciate the need to
slow traffic but surely the problem lies with the long straight section
alongside Lesnes Abbey that seems to encourage many to speed? If your speed
detectors along that stretch record peak speeds Im sure you will have seen
several over 70mph. Worse are those that travel at similar speeds on the wrong
side of the keep left bollards.
Later the same day Mr. Bashford said, Thank you for your reply. I should add
that, as the length of Abbey Road forms the cycle route, we also have plans to
make changes to this road. Whilst these are unlikely to deter those that go the
wrong side of the keep left bollards, it should cause some reduction in general
speed, but again is mainly aimed at making the route safer for cyclists. This
work is planned for later in the year. I appreciate that this will cause
further disruption to the area, but should be worthwhile in the end.
The formal submission to the Cabinet Member for Transport, Peter Craske, dated 13 October 2006
was The proposals in this area allow for widening of the footway to accommodate
both cyclists and pedestrians. The proposals also include for (sic) improvements to
the pedestrian crossing facilities an (sic) all arms of the junction area.
The on-pavement cycle track which was
Mr. Bashfords justification for spending money on the Knee Hill junction has,
18 months later at the time of writing, never been installed, nor is it shown on current plans.
Neither has the crossing been improved, except that the road it crosses is
narrower. The original proposal is no longer available on the councils website
but none of the anticipated improvements saw the light of day, so the
whole scheme was a glorious waste of £67,500s worth tax payers money. Again!
The above nonsense proved to be merely a precursor to the enormous sums wasted (and for
similar reasons) on the disgracefully mismanaged vandalism of Abbey Road,
Belvedere that has been on-going throughout 2009.