Danny Thorpe, Leader of Greenwich Council speaks on proposed changes to the no. 53 bus route

Transport is a vital part of everyday life for everyone.  As we learn more about the terrible damage that air pollution can have on people’s health, we need to make sure as many journeys as possible are made by public transport, walking or cycling.

Cllr. Danny Thorpe, Greenwich council leader

The (sadly delayed) opening of Crossrail will mean parts of the borough are more connected than they used to be, but with only one Tube station and a handful of mainline stations, thousands of our residents depend on the bus as their main mode of transport.

Last Friday, I joined the cabinet member for transport, Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, and councillors from Lewisham and Southwark, on the 53 bus to talk to passengers about Transport for London’s (TfL) proposed changes to the route.

We’ve written a letter to the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport about the changes, which would mean the Plumstead to Whitehall service will run less frequently, and stop at Westminster Bridge Road where passengers will have to change buses to continue their journeys.

The consultation closes on Friday and I would urge everyone who cares about their bus services to have their say.

People need to be able to have their say on the future of this borough, so we are about to consult on our Local Implementation Plan for Transport, which sets out what we could do over the next three years.

It’s a big document, but that’s because there’s lots we want to do, like removing dangerous rat runs, installing better pedestrian crossings and creating safer cycling routes.

On cycling, I’m pleased that TfL has now agreed to bring forward the extension of the safe cycle route from Greenwich town centre to Woolwich, rather than wait five years, as originally planned.

Work is also under way to redesign the Woolwich Road roundabout, at which two people were tragically killed while cycling.

Making our streets safer for walking and cycling is one of our main objectives, so I was proud to launch our first three School Streets last week, which make the roads outside school gates safer and less polluted during pick-up and drop-off times.

Even though most children live within walking distance, the roads outside many schools are still choked with cars every morning and afternoon, which is dangerous for everyone.

The trial is a live consultation which allows us to see how the closures work and gives residents, parents and pupils six months to feed back.

I spoke to lots of parents last week and the views were overwhelmingly positive, but we will continue to listen to local residents and the schools – their views will inform our decision on whether to amend the school streets or make them permanent.

In September, we removed motor traffic from two roads in Greenwich town centre for Car Free Day.

We’re now starting to have conversations to find out what permanently removing through traffic from King William Walk and College Approach would mean for local residents in the town centre and beyond.

We want local people to help us shape our plans before we consult on a design next year.

Earlier this year we asked people to tell us what they thought about plans to create three “pocket parks” off Trafalgar Road.

We’ve been collating this feedback and incorporating it into the designs which we will also be consulting on this month.

By listening to local people and involving them at the beginning, we’ve been able to design better spaces that will improve residential streets.

I want to see this replicated across the borough, as we work to make Royal Greenwich healthier, greener and more connected.

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