Greenwich cyclist deaths: New council leader invites City Hall chiefs to lethal junction

Woolwich Road flyover
The Woolwich Road roundabout was dropped from two safety schemes by Sadiq Khan

New Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe has invited new London transport chief Heidi Alexander to come and see the road where two cyclists were killed earlier this month after mayor Sadiq Khan cancelled planned safety improvements.

Thorpe has asked Alexander, the new deputy mayor for transport, along with walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman to join him on the A206, which saw two deaths in nine days after collisions with lorries – a 46-year-old man on Romney Road on 9 May, and a 37-year-old man at the Woolwich Road roundabout on 18 May.

Protesters are planning to hold a “die-in” protest at Woolwich Town Hall at 6pm on Thursday 7 June.

Romney Road and Woolwich Road were removed from the mayor’s Cycle Superhighway 4 scheme in 2016 – which would have provided segregated lanes and improvements to the notorious roundabout, where the A206 meets the Blackwall Tunnel approach. TfL recently consulted on a scheme that runs from Tower Bridge to Deptford Creek Bridge, rather than London Bridge to Woolwich as initially planned.

Woolwich Road roundabout in 2009
Nothing has been done at Woolwich Road roundabout since Adrianna Skrzypiec’s death in 2009

Separately, the Woolwich Road roundabout – where a 31-year-old woman also died after a similar collision in 2009 – did feature in a mayoral scheme called Better Junctions, which was launched in 2014.

But this was scrapped after Khan took office, with Norman launching a new scheme which did not include the A206/A102 junction.

Norman has since denied any scheme for the junction was cancelled.

Meanwhile, campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists has pointed the finger at Greenwich Council, which claims it has an “outrageous lethal opposition” to Cycle Superhighway 4 – even though councillors and officers have voiced frustration at Greenwich losing out on the vast majority of CS4’s route through the borough.

It is unclear whether Stop Killing Cyclists are referring to the administration of Chris Roberts, who blocked many schemes because of a personal antipathy to Boris Johnson’s former cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan, or his successor Denise Hyland, who was more supportive of cycling schemes.

Thorpe, on a tour of the borough to make his first working day in office as leader, told Greenwich.co.uk that he wanted to see action on the issue.

“I’ve asked for an urgent site meeting with Heidi Alexander and Will Norman, with us and our officers to discuss what we can all jointly do,” he said (see full story).

“I know there’s some talk with people saying things have been cancelled or not cancelled. I don’t know the details on those and my view really is that I don’t want to get in to the blame game.

“We need to do something to fix the problem. I also spoke with Greenwich Cyclists who are involved in an event next Thursday to mark what’s happened and make a call for action so we’re talking to them about how we need them to be involved as we go forward.”

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