Deals Gateway: The Latest Instalment

Some of you might remember this, over 2 years ago now,

We made a couple of videos at this junction to prove to TfL just how dangerous their decision to make Deal’s Gateway share a green light with oncoming traffic from Greenwich High Rd was.

Traffic turning right from Greenwich High Rd just didn’t seem to be aware that they needed to give way to traffic moving straight ahead across the junction from Deal’s Gateway. The Highway Code seemed not to exist as one crossed the stop line here.

Deal’s Gateway is a small road tucked back off the junction which lessened its presence on the junction. This effect was dramatically heightened by the other “improvements” TfL had made. As well as removing the dedicated green, the ASL was moved way back from the junction, ostensibly to allow bus traffic more room to turn into the bus stand beside the Gateway. It was impossible to reach the middle of the junction before a steady stream of right turning traffic from the High Rd had established an impenetrable and dangerous barrier across the A2, leaving Deal’s Gateway traffic at best battling for space to clear the junction in one piece, at worst, stranded in the middle of one of London’s busiest roads when the lights finally changed back.

So we mounted our campaign. We weren’t alone. Car drivers, pedestrians, everyone agreed these latest changes to improve “traffic flow” as we were told, were a disaster for local people.

But TfL were tightly committed to that doctrine of “improving traffic flow”. No way could we have the dedicated green back. The A2 would snarl up, all the way into Central London, the city would grind to a halt, there would be the motoring version of Armageddon. Well, we were told at least one of those things would happen.

We were offered a few things which made slight improvements. The stop line was moved nearer the junction. A slight delay was placed on the green from Greenwich High Rd. Slightly helpful, as long as you were quick off the mark when the lights went to green. But if you approached the junction when it was already green, you still had big problems. So they put in a right turn elephant foot for Deal’s Gateway. Some traffic from the High Rd noticed it, drove round it giving a fraction more time and space to Deals Gateway traffic. Most ignored it, so it made no real difference.

To be honest, we had almost given up. Then this notification of a new consultation on Deals Gateway arrived. And, amongst some other welcome changes, what do we find? The good old green light dedicated solely to traffic from Deal’s Gateway is there.

 

So what’s changed, TfL? When we asked for this nearly 3 years ago, it was impossible. A lot of time and money has been spent since, and now, suddenly, it’s possible.

I guess we should be pleased. And, we are, as long as the consultation approves it if course. But, there is this little, niggling angry voice inside wondering why this huge organisation, with all the skills, resources, technology it presumably must have at its disposal, given it runs the transport system of one of the greatest cities in the world, should take over two years to agree it made a little mistake on just one tiny road, despite being told this over and over again, with video evidence, not just verbal complaints, by the people who actually use that road.

4 comments

  • Matt Barker

    From what I can see in the proposals, while signalized crossings and dedicated phases on Greenwich High Road and Deal’s Gateway are welcome, even better would be simultaneous green phasing for cyclists so they are separated from motorized vehicles in time and space. In addition, it also looks backward to remove the protected eastbound right turn. Really, it would be better to copy the Netherlands, and have nearly all turns protected as they do. In the Netherlands, nearly always if you get a green signal you may go

    • Jane

      Thanks for your comments…please reply to the consultation and tell TfL what you think too.
      However, a dedicated green is probably enough here…Deal’s Gateway itself is not a busy road. But, of course, cyclists attempting to negotiate this junction from other roads and the much busier junction a few yards further west, definitely need more radical solutions to make their journey safe.

      • Matt Barker

        I will do Jane. I can see that Lewisham Cyclists has been working hard to try to improve the situations, and if you like, I will CC you into a letter I want to write to Boris Johnson, Andrew Gilligan, TfL’s Surface Transport team and London AMs regarding sustainable safety. I believe the ideas will be valuable and useful

  • Jane

    Yes, thanks Matt…that would be helpful.. And thanks for coming to the meeting and for your further offers of help and support…most welcome.