Posts Tagged ‘thames path’
Amazing news, and not an April Fool – the Thames Path through Greenwich has now completely reopened for the first time in six years, after the path around Delta Wharf was quietly brought back into use. If you want an Easter Monday stroll or cycle, wrap up warm and go for it.
It means the riverside pathway from Wood Wharf through to Angerstein Wharf is now completely open again, from one end of Greenwich to another, for the first time since demolition work on Lovell’s Wharf started in 2007. (Here’s a few snaps of Lovell’s before work started.) That link reopened earlier this year, and now contractors have finished rebuilding the footway just south of Drawdock Road, at the end of Tunnel Avenue, which shut in August 2011.
Of course, while contractors had aimed to get the walk reopened by Easter, in a cock-up that’ll be familiar to anyone who uses the path, one part of it is still partly fenced-off. Just ignore the sign and keep going.
Of course, the question now is – how long will the path stay open for? How long do we have left before another prolonged diversion? The stretch that’s just reopened is already earmarked for development (more of which to come on that one…)
And with development will come a different look for the path, as shown by the introduction of a clear cycle route. How long does the anarchic, old-style east Greenwich riverside walkway have left? Enjoy it (and the work of the Guerilla Knitters) while it lasts.
The other big question mark lies at Enderby’s Wharf, where developer West Properties – despite being allowed influence over Greenwich Council transport and tourism policies – still hasn’t lifted a finger on the cruise liner terminal site it was given permission to build over two years ago.
We may have got our path back – and just as you enter Charlton, there’s a new information sign to round off the happy news. But the path should never have been subject to such lengthy closures in the first place without proper information and consultation. Hopefully lessons have been learned – and that we’re all a bit more vigilant now than we were six years ago.
It hasn’t been the best of weekends to enjoy it, but the Thames Path is one of the best things about this part of London. If you take the borough as a whole, Greenwich borough has the longest riverfront in London, and as well as a walking route, it’s a designated cycle route too.
A scrutiny panel of councillors has been looking into ways of improving it as a cycle route, and officers have come up with a report – you can read it here (4MB PDF). It features some good ideas, such as sorting out the irritating cobbles at Greenwich Millennium Village, changing signs so they read “North Greenwich” rather than “Blackwall Point”, and (yes!) installing cycle stands outside the Pelton Arms pub.
Councillors are meeting on Tuesday night to discuss it – and the public’s welcome to come along and ask questions if they want. A lot of attention will be on plugging the gap between the Thames Barrier in Charlton and King Henry’s Wharf in Woolwich, something which would dramatically change the way the path is seen – as well as helping people access the fantastic Second Floor Arts facility at Warspite Road.
That said, hopefully there’ll be room for my own gripe to be addressed – sticking some signs up to get pedestrians out of the cycle path by the cable car (and cyclists out of the pedestrian bits), where markings were worn away by the cable car contractors and not reinstated, while the pedestrian bit was never marked.
I’ve seen some sights commuting along the path over recent months, and sooner or later someone is going to come a cropper – or prompt someone else to come to grief – some day for paying more attention to their iPad than their surroundings.
My other gripe is that it doesn’t do much about improving access to the path – but this seems like an encouraging start.
One of the first big barneys on this site was over the closure – well, destruction – of the Thames Path at Lovell’s Wharf in Greenwich, and the council’s subsequent grovelling to developers after that.
Of course, the developers then downed tools after finishing the first phase, leaving a flooded hole in the ground where the future developments promised by the council’s propaganda weekly should have been.
But work’s recently recommenced, and nearly three years after the fences came down and people realised the path had been destroyed, Durkan Homes has finally replaced it. It actually opened on 11 January, and huge credit must go to local councillor Mary Mills, who cut the ribbon that day.
Looking back at the original May 2010 post, mind, it’s striking just how many of the complaints – of poor communication and council arrogance – still ring true now, particularly in light of recent events. And that was just after an election…
Further up the path, there’s some dramatic progress along the remaining closed section of the path, between Delta Wharf and Drawdock Road, just next to the Dome…
The whole thing’s being rebuilt – including the river wall, and the slipway at the end of Drawdock Road. Might be a while yet. And before you ask, there’s still no sign of Delta Wharf turning into a beach for the 2012 Olympics…
But at least now most of the path is now open, except for that short section – should you be walking or cycling it westbound, keep a very close eye for the pathway that takes you back onto it (just beyond the oddly-pointless traffic lights at the top of the Blackwall Tunnel escape ramp).
All of which gives you the chance for a proper walk or cycle along the Thames, and to enjoy the work of the secretive Greenwich Guerrilla Knitters. Their creations are holding up well, despite the winter.
9.15pm update: A committee of councillors will be discussing a report into cycling along the Thames Path (that’s along the whole borough, from Deptford to Thamesmead) at 7pm on Tuesday 12 February, at Woolwich Town Hall.
Now spring has arrived, you might be fancying a stroll along the Thames Path. But, yes, great chunks of it around the Greenwich Peninsula are still closed. So here’s a very useful Greenwich Council map which details what’s closed and when it’s reopening (1MB PDF).
Of course, useful info like this isn’t on the council’s website, so instead I’m happy to bring you news the section by the cable car works should be open again next month, and almost all of the walkway will be back in use by July – just in time for the Olympics. It’s all on the map. Fingers crossed this comes to pass.
But there could be more disruption to come – major plans to build student accommodation and shops to the south-west of the Dome include “changes to the adopted alignment of the Thames Footpath”. Unfortunately, there’s no further details on the council’s planning website, but it sounds ominous.
Warning: post contains mild terror.
A nice surprise at the weekend was to discover that most of the Thames Path along the west side of the Greenwich Peninsula has re-opened once again.
From what I could tell, it looks like the river wall at the site of the old Tunnel Refineries plant has been shored up with concrete.
The path’s now open from Banning Street right the way up to Delta Wharf, although it’s not exactly difficult to slip past the barriers at either end and do a complete run all the way up the peninsula.
One catch, though, is that most of the street lights remain switched off. Lighting’s a problem on all the path, but it looks like some of the lamps have either broken or become disconnected throughout the lengthy closures of the path.
Of course, not all of it is lit anyway, if you pass through the aggregates yard by the Blackwall Tunnel then you’re relying on the lights from Canary Wharf.
It makes for an eerie journey – and one which was downright terrifying when I did the same ride again in the fog on Sunday. Needless to say, bring a torch if you think you’ll be caught out by nightfall if you’re walking round this way.
Here’s some views from Sunday’s fog – I gave up halfway along the path out of a genuine worry that I’d end up cycling into the river…
And here’s some views from Saturday:
So that means the only closed bits of the path now are the short stretch at Lovell’s Wharf (destroyed by London and Regional Properties), Delta Wharf (safety works) and just south of North Greenwich Pier (cable car works). Add to that list a short closure of the path around the Thames Barrier, starting today for a fortnight, to complete security works by the Environment Agency.
One thing the reopened section of path betrays, though – no sign of any work at all on the cruise liner terminal at Enderby’s Wharf, approved by planners nearly 10 months ago. What is going on there?
PS. For an overview of the entire Thames Path, take a look at this website by Leigh Hatts.
The Thames Path close to the Millennium Dome will stay closed for another year, cutting off a link between the Olympic venue and Greenwich town centre during the 2012 Games.
Developers are to construct a new path and river defence along the west side of the Greenwich Peninsula, on the stretch leading south from Drawdock Road, by the O2′s service entrance – adjacent to the site of the Peninsula Festival’s proposed beach and a section that closed without warning in August.
A part of the walk further south, at Morden Wharf – the old Tunnel Refineries plant – is expected to re-open in mid-November after work on the river wall.
The path around the peninsula is currently closed between Banning Street and Drawdock Road, forcing pedestrians and cyclists to use the pavement at the Blackwall Tunnel entrance, and at the site of the mayor’s cable car project just south of North Greenwich Pier.
The Thames Path closure makes it the first Greenwich infrastructure project to fail to meet the deadline of July’s Olympic opening ceremony, and denies spectators the chance to take the riverside walk between the Dome – which is staging gymnastics and basketball competitions – and the town centre.
But uncertainty surrounds work on Greenwich Foot Tunnel – and its sister crossing at Woolwich – after Greenwich Council conirmed they would now not be fully reopened until next year.
Cutty Sark Gardens remains largely closed for rebuilding work, while the ship itself is due to reopen in April after a troubled restoration project.
Last week, Transport for London executive Mike Brown said he could not guarantee the cable car to Royal Victoria Dock would open in time for the Olympics, but said the path would open “as soon as possible”.
Now the rain’s starting to clear, how about a bank holiday bike ride? In the year I’ve been cycling, I’ve discovered two words which no cyclist obeys. “Cyclists dismount”. Nine times out of ten, it’s usually there instead of a more sensible instruction like “slow down” and “pedestrians take priority”.
I saw this at the Thames Barrier last night. One of the footpaths there has been inexplicably closed off for a couple of weeks, with pedestrians directed to the cycle path. No big deal, pedestrians usually use the cycle path anyway. At a tight corner…
What’s behind it? A big trench that make the path impassable? No, another sign. Which reads…
So cyclists on a designated cycle path are supposed to get off, walk four metres, and then get back on again, instead of being instructed to slow down and watch for people on foot.
Did the person at the Environment Agency who installed these signs really expect this to happen? Did they really expect normal cyclists to do this, never mind the idiots and children it’s presumably aimed at? No wonder why “cyclists dismount” is the most ignored street sign that I know of.
(See also the plan to create a permanent anti-cycle chicane at Deptford.)
Yet another blockade of the Thames Path began this week, as workers building the new cable car finally closed part of the riverside path near the Dome. That means there’s now three separate closures around the Greenwich Peninsula, two west of the Dome, one east of it, plus the destroyed bit at Lovell’s Wharf.
But, a couple of miles further west, Greenwich Council is now planning a permanent impediment to getting along the path that’ll affect you if you cycle, jog, use a wheelchair or push a buggy. It’s planning to install a chicane on the path leading into the Millennium Quay development at Deptford from Borthwick Street – which, according to the plans, look similar to the barriers preventing cyclists from using footpaths and subways.
The plan’s a response to a number of burglaries in the development, where the perpetrators are said to have made their getaway by motorcycle along the Thames Path. So, because the police are failing to catch burglars – who are presumably caught on the private estate’s CCTV system you can see at the centre of the photo – everybody else has to suffer an inconvenience, and one of London’s best-known cycle paths gets blocked. The council’s consultation letter even admits the measure won’t stop all motorcycles and mopeds.
While it says buggies and wheelchairs will be able to get through, surely the idea of the Thames Path is to make the riverside easy for everyone to enjoy, not deter them from walking or cycling along.
If I’d had my stuff nicked by a toe-rag on a motorbike, I’d probably want the path landmined, never mind made more difficult to traverse. But this really isn’t the answer – for the burglars will just find somewhere else to steal from. It’s a law and order problem, not a traffic problem.
If you click on the image above, you can download the full PDF of the council’s plans, drawn up by Hyder Consulting – the company behind last year’s botched plan to pedestrianise Greenwich town centre, which ended up being rejected by Transport for London for its insistence on turning much of west Greenwich into a gyratory system.
What’s the point of having a cycle path if you’re going to block it? Mind you, elsewhere in the Millennium Quay development, traffic engineers have also been doing their best to mess around with cycle lanes. This probably seemed a good idea before someone put the bollards in.
For more details on the plan, e-mail email@example.com by 2 September.
The good news is that the riverside path isn’t yet closed where works are taking place on the cable car.
The bad news is that another section has closed, this time without warning – the section around Delta Wharf. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone that’s followed the numerous Thames Path closures on this blog, since it’s been mentioned before in passing in the comments that more work needs to be done to secure the river wall. It’s also the site of the proposed “beach” for the Peninsula Festival.
So with the exception of the small section through an aggregates yard by the Blackwall Tunnel, the path is once again closed between the Cutty Sark pub and the Dome. Happily for cyclists, Greenwich Council has at least resurfaced the treacherous diversion via the north end of Tunnel Avenue, so there’s no need to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid deep potholes. Unhappily for walkers, Thames Water works have taken out most of the pavement on another part of the diversion. Hey-ho.