Even though the cash still isn’t in place for Boris Johnson’s cable car – the invitation to sponsor it only went out yesterday – the mayor is pressing ahead with his big idea to link the Dome with the Royal Docks. Greenwich’s walkers and cyclists will be the first to pay the price, however.
The stretch of Thames Path underneath the where the cable car is due to be built will close from August 1st, and is unlikely to reopen until the end of the year.
A public notice in Greenwich Council’s weekly newspaper Greenwich Time states the path will be shut from North Greenwich Pier right down to the end of the London Soccerdome site (in other words, what used to be the David Beckham Academy).
The closure announcement comes just a couple of months after developers reopened an adjacent stretch of path following building works, and only a week after the sudden shutdown of another stretch of footpath on the other side of the peninsula. The diversion route runs via Peninsula Square and the O2 precinct, and under the covered walkway leading to the pier.
The prospect of a closure wasn’t brought up when Greenwich councillors approved the cable car scheme earlier this year. Further weekend closures are expected in early 2012 as helicopters will be used on the site.
So that’s yet another closure for one of London’s best walking and cycling routes – all thanks to the self-styled “cycling mayor”. Interestingly, 2011 was due to be the mayor’s “year of walking” – but the idea was dropped in February.
Trying to be constructive about all this, at least there’s six weeks’ notice of this shutdown… It was suggested to me last year that people who use the path a lot might want to form a “friends” group (similar to the ones Greenwich Council tries to encourage in parks) that would at least be consulted about these issues – and could also have a say in the planning process. It’s probably worth a separate post to discuss this properly, but if you’re angry about yet another closure of the path – now may be the time to take action.