More than 3,000 people pass through the Greenwich and Woolwich tunnels each day, and that number appears to be growing quickly. Roughly 50% of the tunnel users are cyclists, with the other half pedestrian only. As tunnel traffic grows, competition and conflict between cyclists, skateboarders, rollerskaters and pedestrian-only users will likely increase. Reducing ill-will between the different user groups should be a priority in the newly refurbished tunnels.
Both tunnels are narrow, with the Greenwich tunnel narrower than the minimum for shared use as defined in the London Cycling Design Standards. At present, a bylaw governing the Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels prohibits cycling, skateboarding and rollerskating through the tunnels. The tunnels are officially designated pedestrian rights of way.
To permit more than walking through the tunnels would require either a change in the existing bylaw, or a traffic management order issued by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. As a community group, the Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels may propose a change, if such is considered desirable. If the council were to accept such a proposal from Fogwoft, it would then be obliged to consult the public through official channels on any alteration of the existing bylaw.
As part of its community outreach, Fogwoft has launched an informal survey of public opinion on the use of the foot tunnels, the aim being to focus any proposal presented to the borough council. The options laid out in the online poll are those discussed at a Fogwoft public meeting held in January 2014.
The current situation is that, on weekdays at least, up to 80% of cyclists, as well as many skateboarders and rollerskaters, do not comply with the bylaw. This may be the result of the absence of bylaw enforcement. Whichever options are preferred by those who respond to our survey, the tunnels must be properly managed. Considerate use featured strongly at both of the Fogwoft public meetings held to date.
We ask that members of the community with a direct interest in the foot tunnels let us know their views by taking part in the survey, which will remain open until Friday 25 April 2014. They are also invited to contact Fogwoft, and tell us what they think about any other matters related to the tunnels.
The opinion poll is hosted on the Fogwoft website (http://fogwoft.com/survey), as are contact details for the Friends group.