Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cycle path plans revealed long after work started

We reported on the cycle path improvement works back in July, and now they are almost complete twelve weeks later. Whilst the actual pavement works finished sooner than this and new (red) tarmac was laid at the main entrance to the estate before the end of September, there are still a couple of items to complete – and there appears to be no sign of the project's finishing touches being applied in any hurry.

Railings and gates are yet to be installed to replace those which were removed. Guard rails were also removed from the pavement outside the gate. Some safety conscious residents are now concerned that the new opening, whilst very convenient for cyclists, is dangerous for children who may run excitedly out of the estate and directly into the road.

In July we requested a copy of the plans for this project from both Lewisham (the road is in the borough) and Greenwich (who were doing the work). We finally received these rather belatedly from Lewisham on 23rd September after a reminder. There was no response at all from Greenwich.

The following illustration shows how the entrance was proposed to be modified (click on the image below to enlarge). 

The intention was to "take down and reconstruct pier [pillar] with same bricks and coping stone. Procure and fix new wrought iron gate and hinges". In typical planning cock-up stylee, this drawing was Photoshopped by someone who hadn't actually been anywhere near the proposed area and therefore didn't take into account the fact that the wall on the right – that they suggested should be "reduced in height to relocate existing railing" – is actually supporting a railing on the other side of the wall, which borders the garden area behind the wall and runs alongside the path into the estate (see the photo at the top of this post taken from inside the estate).

Meanwhile, on the plan we were sent (marked "not to be used for construction"), the entrance is shown as being widened on either side to a width of 3 metres:

This would have involved taking down both pillars and re-constructing them wider apart after removing the railings either side of them. Those railings (and low walls they are embedded in) would then have to be cut down in order to fit them back into smaller gaps. And a gate "double in width" 'procured'.

When it actually came to construction, only one pillar was taken down and reconstructed (as per the first illustration), and only one railing needs cutting down and re-installing, albeit a shorter width than in the illustration. A new gate (or pair of gates?) is yet to be 'procured' and fitted. In addition, the grey metal guardrail between pavement and road (the 'baffle') is to be "replaced with 6 metres of new 'visi-rail' panels". How long will it take for all these to be fitted?

Of course, the real completion of the project will be when the signs go up. If the time it took to put up the one-way signs in Deptford High Street after the new paving works is anything to go by, we've a long wait.

1 comment:

  1. The railings have not been removed for the convenience of cyclists. If you look around London, you will notice that many railings are being removed.

    There can be safety issues with cyclists and turning vehicles, predominantly at left turns involving construction trade vehicles and cyclists (HGVs make up 5% of London's traffic yet account for 95% of the Killed or Seriously Injured cyclists) but as there is no left turn on that side of the road, cyclists' survival is not the reason for their removal.