Diverting citizens disrespectfully

In Summer 2018 Will Norman opened the Eastern stretch of Quietway 14, which connects the Millennium Dome to the Woolwich Ferry, all along the river.

Then in Autumn 2019, the last two hundred meters had to be closed to allow the construction of a new development.

Some signs were prepared and a diversion set up.

Naturally they couldn’t resist placing their favourite sign.

So Isabelle Clements, founder of Wheels for Wellbeing, and featured in this Department for Transport ad on exactly the same Q14, would not be allowed to use it any longer.

And it gets worse. The diversion follows in parts the four-lanes “murderous Woolwich High Street” (not our words)

There is plenty of space on Woolwich Road / High Street to take a lane out, move the bus stop 100 metres back and create a new temporary cycle lane.

But that was too revolutionary in pre-Covid times.

And so nothing was done and people walking and cycling had to share a cramped pavement.

Then in May 2020 Sadiq Khan announced TfL’s Streetspace programme of reallocating space for active travel. But this is a backwater, not sexy enough for fancy photos like Park Lane. Will Norman has probably forgotten about it and TfL probably does not have a system to mantain the network of Quietways/Cycleways.

And so the active citizens of Woolwich are still confined to a narrow pavement.

The tyranny of space: everyone crammed into 1.5 meters, so that a few can drive at speed.

The building work was expected to end in October 2020, but hey, we know that these are empty promises. The path is still closed.

So, to summarise: lots of time was spent to make fancy videos of the new cycle route, but no money or thought has been spent to ensure that the cycle route is fit for purpose at all time.

This is the consequence of treating citizens with disrespect.

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