It’s not going to be a good couple of months to be getting anywhere around Greenwich unless you’re on foot, on a bike or going by rail. The A2 on Blackheath Hill and the start of Shooters Hill Road is closed Kent-bound for eight weeks so the carriageway can be improved – if you’ve ever seen the state of the little bit of the A2 that’s affected, you’ll see why it needs work on it. Cue terrible traffic conditions in both directions as motorists funnel through Greenwich and Lewisham town centres to get away from the closures. Hopefully the delays will ease as people get used to it – the spectacular Blackheath Hole closure of 2002 lasted seven months – but for now doing anything on four wheels around here is madness. I was in Greenwich at 8pm the other night and the traffic was still heavy then. And the traditional canaries-down-the-mine in these situation, the buses, have been suffering badly, with many turning short of their destinations. Want a 286 from central Greenwich? Forget it.
The 53 trunk route from central London, in particular, has been wrecked by the closure, after Lewisham Council objected to Transport for London using Lewisham Hill as a diversion route – denying people on the Greenwich side of the heath a bus service and simply shifting the problem to Westcombe Hill instead. Lewisham isn’t the only council to get all this wrong – the delays in Greenwich have been compounded by problems in Charlton as Greenwich Council decided to resurface Bugsbys Way, ruining journeys for motorists avoiding Blackheath, wrecking access to North Greenwich Tube and stopping people from taking the bus to the retail parks there. I saw a bus driver pull out of Charlton Church Lane this afternoon and make what appeared to be a last-second decision to divert away from his normal route to avoid blocking the junction. And that’s on a junction that’s already been screwed up by the endless Thames Water works.
It’s not good out there. Left hand, right hand… why don’t you get to know each other a bit better?