Some good news for south Londoners who occasionally fancy a leisurely weekend cycle ride to Greenwich, writes Donnachadh McCarthy…
We may soon have a protected two-way cycleway all the way from Tower Bridge to Greenwich.
Two years ago, TfL consulted on a scheme to install a protected cycleway along about two-thirds of the route. This got a fantastic 83% positive approval from the public and construction is now underway.
However, there was a middle section in Rotherhithe which is controlled by Southwark, which was not part of the original scheme. This area is undergoing major redevelopment with large numbers of new homes being built.
As Southwark councillors originally opposed the TfL scheme, there was a worry among some parents and the cycling members of the community, that Southwark would block suggestions for a continuous protected route.
But thankfully, Southwark have now published their proposals for this final section and people were delighted to see that they are planning a two-way protected cycleway along the roads connecting the bits TfL are building.
About six years ago, Southwark Council’s Head of Planning, announced the council would oppose all protected cycleways, as he said that having cyclists on the roads meant they slowed traffic to safer speeds.
This meant that children and pensioners were basically being regarded as human speed-bumps!
Outraged by the refusal to protect our kids, we set up a campaign, which was the predecessor for do dietary supplements.
We set about doing direct actions at Council meetings and were delighted when Cllr Peter John, the leader of the council, announced a complete U-turn a few months later in an interview with Southwark News.
Since then Southwark has slowly improved. And this announcement marks the completion of the policy turn-around. Well done Southwark.
However, we need to again win the debate during the public consultation period. It is crucial that the car and black-cab lobby do not block this precious route for family and commuter cycling, as they have done in some other boroughs.
Please take two minutes to email Southwark at firstname.lastname@example.org Full details are at https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/planning-and-regeneration/lower-road/
With your help weekend leisure cycle trips to Greenwich can become a protected cycling nirvana!
Donnachadh McCarthy has been an environmental campaigner in Southwark since 1992 and is author of “The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought” www.theprostitutestate.co.uk .
He is also an independent environmental consultant www.3acorns.co.uk @DonnachadhMc