Sunday, February 04, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: The Greenwich Congestion Charge Zone

If you're lucky enough to be invited to take part in the "consultation" process into Greenwich's congestion charging don't expect to be asked for your opinion on congestion charging in principle. That matter already appears to be settled.

Instead you will only be asked to comment on which of two proposals you think would be more suitable. We can now exclusively reveal what those options are, and we have a feeling some people might be a little shocked by at least one of them.

Plan A - Essentially, if you're planning on buying a house in Westcombe Park, don't.

Click for large version
Plan B - As with Plan A, Westcombe Park gets hit, as well as Shooters Hill road, and, unbelievably, the entire Tunnel Approach from Sun in the Sands. That means if you want to cross the river, in either direction, you are going to have to pay for it.

Anyone who's seen the Tunnel Approach in the morning on both sides will know that such a scheme would make an absolute fortune every day. Considering Blackwall is the only viable river crossing in the Borough (the Woolwich Ferry is a nightmare) it's outrageous that there should even be a proposal to charge for it. The nearest other options are Dartford (miles away),Rotherhithe (single lane), or even worse Tower Bridge (inside the main Congestion Zone).

We almost forgot, the charge for this proposal will be charged every time you enter the zone. So businesses should probably work out their delivery routes in an imaginative way.

Click for large version
We politely ask that if any local newspapers use this story do the decent thing and credit us.

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Anonymous John said...

I didn't realise the plans were this advanced. Was anyone going to tell the people of Greenwich, or was it just going to be put on them?

I don't remember this being mentioned by any of the political parties, and certainly not those in charge.

1:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Blackheath Hill in the borough of Lewisham? Has anybody told them?

5:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*second look*

Indeed, Deptford Church Street and the west side of Deptford Bridge DEFINITELY isn't Greenwich council's to charge for.

Didn't Greenwich and Lewisham fall out over the Greenwich town centre lorry ban a decade ago?

And John - since when was Greenwich borough not a cosy-stitch up to make sure anyone outside the town hall (of any political hue) remained ignorant?

5:44 pm  
Blogger Indigo said...

Is this how Greenwich's elected representatives intend that the Crossrail extension to Woolwich will be paid for? That is to say, have they gone and decided this without reference to the people of Greenwich. Behind our backs.

Residents are not going to be exempt from this charge, as I understand it. The decision yet to be made, it seems, is whether residents (who may never go anywhere near the Crossrail extension) will pay 10 per cent or 100 per cent.

7:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why such a negative response? Surely any measure which helps to reduce traffic through the heart of a World Heritage site, and also one of the most historic parts of the UK, should be warmly applauded. I hope very much that this project progresses and eventually wins public support

10:50 pm  
Anonymous Fred said...

But trying to charge for the Tunnel Approach?? Even Mayor Ken left a run up Park Lane free for people just passing through! It would be madness to charge people for using the tunnel and just increase pressure on the other crossings - I cant see the other boroughs being very pleased.......

11:25 pm  
Anonymous andrew said...

I agree with 'anonymous'... this isn't all bad news. Anything that can cut the stream of traffic through our borough, particularly on our more minor roads, is to be applauded. Through-traffic brings nothing but pollution to Greenwich.

However one would also tend to agree with fred. This is likely to be merely the first strike in an arms race between boroughs which will leave motorists with no choice whatsoever.

7:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was struck by the amount of traffic out on the roads last Saturday and Sunday, the weekend after the IPCC report on climate change had just been published.

I hope they charge 7 days a week.

A car-owning Westcombe Park resident.

9:03 am  
Blogger Indigo said...

Dear "car-owning Westcombe Park resident", are you aware that you would be subject to this congestion charge as well, 7 days a week? Have you ever driven to Lewisham, or perhaps Bluewater, for shopping? That'll be 8 quid (rising, of course, in future years). Have you taken the car for a trip to Woolwich or to watch Charlton Athletic? That'll be 8 quid. Every time, not per day.

This congestion charging proposal does not mean lovely empty roads and oodles of parking space for Westcombe Park residents. Dear me, no.

9:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another stealth tax, bloody useless Labour govt. and their money grabbing ways. You can thank Blair and his cronies for this new introduction as money is needed for the every increasing Olympic project, NHS management, “Climate change” (global warming was so last year!), I could go on.
I get up at 5am every weekday to get into London to avoide the traffic, if this is introduced (and another scheme to charge to you drive into London, not even the Congestion Zone!) I don’t think that I will work and just claim off the dole like the chavs that have it easy and have every benefit under the sun. I somewhat wonder if this is now a communist country. With public transport not an option where i live, i have no choice to drive in to London.
Greedy Bar$tards the lot of them!

10:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why would someone take their car from Blackheath to watch Charlton play, indigo?

I agree that car drivers should have to pay their way, but can't see how this would work without just forcing the problem elsewhere.

2:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Communist country? You take a commodity of which there's a limited supply (road space) and control demand through pricing. It doesn't get much more capitalist than that! It's almost Thatcherite!

3:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm more worried about getting to Sainsbury's

3:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...this is a tricky one. There's a small part of me that thinks a small charge is a good make people think twice before they jump in the car. But £8 is too much...and the charge should only be in place Mon-Fri, so we can get out to do the shopping at week-ends! (It's all very well to suggest people take the bus, but with two children under school age, carrying large bags of heavy shopping home is just not feasible...)

6:26 pm  
Anonymous inspector sands said...

Our anonymous friend above (bloody Blogger comments system) misses the point.

While a local congestion charge isn't the brightest of ideas, why should people doing their shopping at weekends, clogging up east Greenwich, get off while people who commute through central Greenwich don't?

7:41 pm  
Anonymous Plumstead Boy said...

As afar as this congestion zone is concerned, now that Ken Livingstone is behind it we will see it steamrollered in, regardless of residemts views.

A;though there is a part of me that thinks that Chris Roberst os just doing this to get back into Ken's good books, after Ken slated him last year.

8:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Livingstone isn't behind it, so calm down:

Mr Livingstone said: "Greenwich Council came to me months ago and said the traffic around Greenwich town centre was a nightmare, and could we look at it."

He said a decision could be made by the end of spring, but added: "We don't want to do it unless people want it locally."

9:33 am  
Anonymous andrew said...

Lots of people very upset about this. This proposal seems to be designed to achieve two objectives:

- to manage traffic along the Trafalgar Road.

- to bring air pollutants on the Trafalgar Road to an acceptable level.

It does seem that making people pay each time they drive in roads in the area will reduce the amount of traffic, thereby reducing the number of pollutants.

If you want to defeat the proposal, there are maybe three causes of action:

(1) Prove that the proposal won't lead to the desired objectives.


(2) Show that there is a much better way to deliver the desired objectives.


(3) Demonstrate that, although the proposal will lead to the desired objectives, those objectives aren't in fact desirable.

So, which is it?

10:29 am  
Anonymous Gina Murray Resident said...

This is a ridiculous idea.... it's the frequency of the traffic lights at the junction at the end of Woolwich Road and the Blackwall Tunnel approach road that causes a back-log of congestion in the mornings.
Why doesn’t Ken and Greenwich council explore other alternatives to help traffic flow more fluidly through this area. Congestion charge will not help this problem - this is just another stealth tax courtesy of Ken.

I doubt very much this £8 tax will be invested back into Greenwich & Blackheath either.

And just to point out to one of the ‘anonymous’ writers Shooters Hill Road is the A2, Blackheath and not regarded as part of the World Heritage site of Greenwich.

If there’s going to be a congestion charge at all Ken should limit it to zone one, as originally promised. Soon we won’t be able to drive in any area of London (apart from Cricklewood where Ken lives) without being charged £8 for the rivilege.

I’ll be signing any petitions against this introduction.

1:33 pm  
Blogger CharltonParker said...

Oh Joy, another thing promising the world and when you scratch the surface of it looks a bit ugly! Sure I agree with Andrew it will reduce traffic within the boundary regions, but is this actually improving the situation elsewhere? Fine Build us a proper roadnetwork and bypass with proper transport system that actually serves the greenwich borough not just the tourist areas and somewhere in the marshes in North Greenwich! Then I'm sure the whole borough will be cheering them on! But not giving anyone viable alternatives just looks to me, like a cash cow! (Maybe I'm being harsh and cynical?) I also wonder how much they have spent on this "consultation" process and whether the public paid reports are available to the public this time around?

I support what Gina says about the traffic lights, I think they were originally designed to put people off using Trafalgar road, but instead has caused traffic to stand around with their engines idling thus "Adding" extra particulates and pollution into the atmosphere of Trafalgar road, due to poorly burned fuel!

3:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gina murray - so because Shooters Hill Road isn't in a "world heritage zone" it can get stuffed, then?

4:32 pm  
Blogger Indigo said...

Hmmmn - was this Part II of a NuLab scheme to generate revenue from the Dome?

Part I: give supercasino to Dome (remember how surprised Tessa Jowell was to hear that Manchester was getting it?) and enjoy proportion of Kerzner's profits for ever more - profits gained from hurrying poor chancers into destitution.

Part II: catch said poor chancers in third congestion charging zone and squeeze even more money out of their growing addiction. (I bet that at the last minute, before finalisation, the zone boundaries would be moved to include the Dome.)

Labour used to be about taxing the rich and about redistribution of wealth, not exploiting poor people. There's no political party now that stands up for the working person. Not Labour, anyway.

So, what's Part III?

9:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My fiance is a primary school teacher. We live in Brockley, and she works in Plumstead. Since there are no trains that would get her to work in the morning early enough (in any case, she'd have to go IN to London Bridge, and then back OUT to Plumstead to do so), she drives.

Driving from Brockley to Plumstead takes about 30 mins on a good day (at around 8am).

Her route goes right through the middle of this proposed congestion zone, since it is the quickest and most direct way. Sure, the traffic's awful but there are no other alternatives short of moving closer to work (not feasible - I work in Oxford Circus, so we're living halway between the two).

Should key workers such as teachers really be expected to rely on shoddy public transport to get them into school at 8am in the morning? If they did, they would be late 4 times out of 5, I'd wager.

And are teachers' salaries enough to pay a congestion charge just to get through the greenwich bottleneck? Of course not.

Sign...what a proposterous idea.

11:29 am  
Anonymous Kidbrooke Guy said...

Trafalgar rd is no worse than Jamaica Rd, Old Kent Rd or New Cross Rd for congestion yet these roads are in so called 'undesirable areas'. Since Red Ken has been in the number of traffic lights have quadrupled and therefore giving the impression all major roads are at a standstill. Stop starting traffic actually pollutes more than moving traffic. More Road humps and traffic lights add to the problem. If this charge comes in, I for one will be selling up and moving on. I was born and raised in SE London and it pains me to say that I am being forced out.

1:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catch a 122?

12:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earliest train service from Brockley to Plumstead gets in a 0625. That seems quite early to me. But yes, it does involve a change and a wait at London Bridge.

10:14 am  
Blogger Indigo said...

It is said that the Council has put out an official statement but I can't find it on the Council web site. (No surprise there.) So here is what I have received from a Peninsula Ward councillor:

Chris Roberts: "The issue of traffic congestion has concerned many residents for as long as most of us can remember. As derelict former industrial sites are regenerated they bring with them uses which will to some degree generate additional traffic use. While it is our hope to constrain this as much as possible, it nevertheless means there is likely to be yet further pressure on the A206 through east and west Greenwich. Of all the issues raised with both myself and my colleagues, none is mentioned as repeatedly as that of the volume of traffic. It is therefore important for us to address this problem and to that end we have with the support of Transport for London bid to secure resources from the Department of Transport to consider options for reducing traffic through the A206 corridor. This will include traffic modelling of potential options including charging which can then inform a thorough debate and discussion which needs to be had with local residents and businesses. This includes a survey of local residents and businesses.
It is important to stress that the Council has made no decisions and will not do so in advance of understanding the impact of any proposal on local businesses and the views of local residents. We urge everyone to engage in this discussion which is designed to address what many have told us is the single most significant problem affecting the quality of life for people in SE10."

A statement from Ken Livingstone's office "There is no 'third' congestion charging zone. The only planned extension of the zone is the 'Western extension', which will go live on 19 February, relieving congestion in one of the worst effected parts of the UK. Greenwich Council approached Transport for London in 2005 to ask for advice on cutting the traffic congestion that they feel is having a detrimental effect in their borough. Transport for London have been assisting Greenwich Council to look at ways to cut traffic growth and deter unnecessary journeys. This has included asking local residents what their travel patterns are, finding out what traffic conditions exist, and gauging reaction to different methods of reducing congestion. There is no commitment to any scheme at this stage. The decision on the best way to reduce the effects of congestion in Greenwich would be taken by Greenwich Council, and will take into account all of the views of the local community."

Those assertions above, about Greenwich Council being "approached", and about Transport for London "assisting" the Council, need to be read in context: eg another councillor has written on his blog of his shock at reading about this project for the first time on-line (ie not being informed by the Council itself).

8:58 pm  
Blogger Indigo said...

I've heard that people living or working in SE10 may be in for a shock when they see the draft road closure/traffic restrictions planned for the summer of 2012.

9:00 pm  
Blogger Irene said...

It was a shock to read the proposal for congestion zone in Greenwich which include the Blackwall tunnel. I can understand there will be an exemption for the resident who living within the zone. But then how about the resident who just living less than half mile of the boundary of the zone and using Blackwall Tunnel route for going to work? Do I have to pay 100% charge of the congestion even though I am still in Greenwich Council Borough?

11:02 pm  
Blogger Inspector Sands said...

Nobody knows, because the council won't tell anyone.

Because the council's forgotten who pays its wages.

12:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

think this is disgusting i live in charlton myself,my children go to school in greenwich,it seems that this congestion charge is TO FUND THE OLYMPIC GAMES,i think we pay enough in council tax,permit parking,car tax ,i think you get my point.How can people cover their exspeses,the council disgusts me ALL I CAN SAY IS THEY MUST BE ON EXTREMLY HIGH WAGE PACKETS,HOW DO THESE PEOPLE SLEEP AT NIGHT!!!!!!!!!

1:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps if more children walked or cycled to school we'd have less congestion on the roads. The kids might get fitter as well.

Also, all under 18 year olds in full time education get free bus travel.

4:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is important to note that if this congestion charge system comes into greenwich and basically blackheath, either plan a or plan b, will not work in terms of traffic congestion. the a2 is the main road from kent to london and whatever happens people will pay as there is no other option. But at the same time this will cause more pockets of traffic around the outside of the proposed area which will mean eventually there will be a good reason for ken to EXTEND IT! which is what is actually going to happen in about a year just like the one in london has been streched further west...its going to keep growing! the only way to stop it is to get rid of ken and abolish this system which in my eyes, this system is making us more like cattle and taking our freedom away... next we will be paying for air..its getting out of control.

11:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is complete poo, it will not better the traffic system as anonymous stated above. The A2 is the direct link between London and Kent, and users will inevitably be using this link road. POO I SAY, COMPLETE POO!!!

4:02 pm  
Blogger Inspector Sands said...

Couldn't you take the train from Kent?


10:42 am  
Blogger Dave said...

I think I'm losing the plot here. Is TfL trying to combat congestion, reduce pollution or simply raise funds to subsidise public transport? TfL want us to use public transport but as anyone knows transport links in South East London remain inadequate. We do not have the benefit of the bus, tube, rail, DLR, taxi network that exists north of the river.

Whilst rush hour congestion can be a problem at the few hotspots in the borough, in general our roads are fairly free-flowing throughout the day. Try driving anywhere north of the river and you will notice the difference immediately.

I regularly use the A102 to get to the north of the borough and a congestion charge will force me (and countless others) to use residential roads instead.

9:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has greenwich Council ever heard of the "Compact" a specific government initiative that recommends "consultation" with local communities etc? How can they do this when some of the proposed area is actually in lewisham? i think there might be some mileage in pointing out to them that the compact is meant to be adhered to for public consultation etc??

1:48 pm  
Blogger Jitterbug said...

It's time to take definitive action. Set up a Facebook group and get people joining it! The social network site has already had political successes, with HSBC going back on their decision to scrap interest free graduate overdrafts.

They can't push this through slyly - we need to speak up, because I bet they will introduce the C-charge on weekends in Greenwich (as that is the key traffic time) then we'd never be able to drive anywhere. The C-charge will only push traffic further out, soon the whole of London will be hit by this stealth tax.

10:09 am  
Blogger Jitterbug said...

I've get up Facebook group - 'Say No To the Greenwich Congestion Charge'. Come and join the group if you agree with the sentiment.

12:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live bang in the middle of the proposed zone and say "bring it on"! Like the CLZ, I will likley be expected to pay only 10% of the charge for the privelege of much quieter roads. Superb! Should do my house price no end of good as well. Hurrah!
Please can someone setup a campaign FOR the charge and stop people driving through my area.

5:14 pm  

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