Greenwich Park bike ban – is this the anti-cycling Olympics?


With construction work stepping up around Greenwich Park, Monday marks the first day it’s closed to through traffic for the Olympics period, with The Avenue (the hill down to Greenwich town centre) being shut off. Frankly, I’d like to see traffic banned from the park altogether – parks shouldn’t be used as traffic short cuts. That won’t win me any friends from the streets around the park, mind.

But something dumb has been sneaked out along with this – even cycling through the park is going to largely outlawed as of today, except between 6am-8.30am, and after 5pm. As Francis Sedgemore writes: “Cyclists are buggered whichever way you look at it.”

It’s not the first time LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority have stuck a finger up at cyclists in their haste to get venues ready – on Woolwich Common, the cycle route at Circular Way has been closed without replacement, while there’s been well-documented problems around the Olympic Park, partly down to Newham Council’s obstinate attitude.

But the Greenwich Park cycling ban feels like a legacy of the horrible polarised “debate” over the Games in the Park – the stubborn NIMBYs of NOGOE on one side, an over-eager and arrogant council on the other, and no common sense in between, leading to bad decisions, bad feeling and a lack of consultation all around.

Of course, cycling will be one of Team GB’s big medal hopes this year. If only London 2012’s organisers could show the same respect and pride the less illustrious cyclists who coast down and puff up Greenwich Park’s hill every day, who’ll now be forced to take awkward diversion routes.

13 comments

  1. John

    This all strikes me as the opposite of joined-up thinking.
    1. Greenwich was recently named as a flagship borough for the London Cycling Campaign’s “Go Dutch” policy
    2. TFL have advised people to think of alternative ways to get around during the games & have used pics & cartoons of cycles on their adverts.
    3. The TFL journey planner for cycling as of today (and at 11am so outside of the time cycles are allowed in the park) marks my route from Charlton to central London as going through the park.

  2. Darryl

    Has Greenwich really been named a flagship borough for “Go Dutch”? I didn’t know, and I’m in the LCC.

    The only “going Dutch” I can see in this borough is the stuff going on at the peninsula.

    The Get Ahead of The Games campaign has been lamentable, agreed.

  3. Darryl

    That wasn’t a borough thing – Boris simply said he wanted to do something “at Vauxhall Cross and Greenwich” which would suggest single schemes.

    My own guess is that it involves the Woolwich Road flyover, but I’ll post on that separately,

  4. Dave

    Lets hope there will be a campaign to get cyclists to use the cycling lanes provided , and not to use the pavements , or jump red lights ! Then those of us on foot will feel a lot safer !

  5. Darryl

    There aren’t any dedicated cycle lanes in Greenwich Park. Or red lights to jump.

    But there’s plenty of pedestrians walking in cycle lanes elsewhere, and plenty of car drivers who think that cyclists should be riding in the gutter.

    A campaign to make all road users treat each other with respect, though, is some way off.

  6. ned

    I see nothing wrong in cyclists sharing the inconvenience of path and road closures during the Olympics. At least peak time access is being maintained until the original closure date. And with large parts of the park being closed off, it seems entirely reasonable to me to prioritise pedestrian access.

  7. Jon

    Just go via maze or crooms hill? You have to in winter when the park shuts at 6 anyway! It’s not that much of an inconvenience

  8. Darren

    Got to say that the speed cyclists come down the hill is a danger to all (no problems with the opposite direction) that said the closure is so that heavy machinery can be used in the park and closing to bikes must be preferable to what could be a very nasty accident.

  9. Pingback: 39 days to go: Olympic countdown in Greenwich and Blackheath « 853

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