Boris’ Vision For Cycling: Use More Towpaths

Regent's Canal, London, by PastLondon from the londonist flickrpool

Regent’s Canal, London, by PastLondon from the londonist flickrpool

London’s ancient, varied and lengthy towpaths are to play an important role in delivering the Mayor’s vision for cycling, it was announced yesterday.

Cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan confirmed that the paths running alongside sections of London’s 100 miles of city waterways will need to be improved to make the scheme work. The Canal & River Trust charity will work with Transport for London (TfL), local councils and community groups to improve towpaths, develop cycling routes and ensure London’s waterways deliver the all-important transport links in the city.

However, as towpaths are already pretty busy (stats show more people are using the towpaths than ever before), cyclists will need to share the space with boaters, walkers, anglers and more.

Brian Fender, chairman of the Canal & River Trust acknowledges the challenges of the Shared Use Scheme saying, “London’s waterways are open for everyone and support a wide range of journeys around the city, so we welcome the Mayor’s vision for cycling.

“We want to support growth, improve the quality of our towpaths, connect with new routes and enable more communities to enjoy the canals. Towpaths are shared spaces with many different users and have to be treated carefully, so cycling will only be promoted where suitable.”

Here’s more on Boris’ vision for cycling. Photo by PastLondon

See also: Plans for an elevated cycle path along Regent’s Canal

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  • marek

    This is a terrible idea, yet again trying to do change on the cheap. Inner London towpaths are already terrifying for walkers, they simply don’t have the space for safe and comfortable dual use.

    There is a desperate need for better provision for cyclists. It needs to come from constraining motor vehicles, not further limiting pedestrians.

    • gibriel2006

      Yes, that’s why central London towpaths like the Regent’s Canal will not be promoted for cycling, although still remain open for everyone and alternative routes on roads around busy towpaths will be part of the solution.

    • CreshkoffWatercolour

      completely agree, the towpaths are only suitable for cyclists who are considerate and relaxed, as there is very narrow space for passing pedestrians, dog walkers, joggers, runners

    • CreshkoffWatercolour

      how about creating safe space on the roads for cycling? slowly traffic appropriately – as necessary – where excessive motor speed threatens safe cycling..

    • BethPH

      I don’t think the towpath idea is meant to replace provision on the roads but simply provide an alternative route, should someone wish to use it.

      • Stella

        what provision on the roads? I looked and couldn’t find it.

  • Stella

    Towpaths are NOT for someone who is in a hurry. I’d much rather have a safe speedy route on the actual roads so I can head out to east London in as fast a time as is reasonable. Otherwise my employers are going to insist I take a train instead!

  • disqus_K29vzian2O

    Oh good, a small chorus of disapproval. Yes, the canal is fine for a Sunday amble, but for getting to work? Forget it.

    Make the roads safer, people in trucks less unaware.