Greenwich Foot Tunnel will stay open this weekend after several weeks of closures during the coronavirus lockdown.
The tunnel, which runs between Cutty Sark Gardens in Greenwich and Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs, closed suddenly on 5 April because of crowds of people in the tunnel.
It has been closed every weekend since then, with barriers fencing off the whole of Cutty Sark Gardens added in recent weeks.
Now the tunnel will “now stay open at weekends for essential journeys”, Greenwich Council – which operates the tunnel – says. Cutty Sark Gardens will also be reopened.
“Footfall will continue to be monitored using CCTV and if safety becomes an issue, we will review the decision to keep the tunnel open,” the council says on its website.
With large numbers of visitors cramming into Greenwich Park on bank holiday Monday, keeping people apart in the narrow space could prove a challenge for the council. The park will stay open until 9pm from Monday, while the path through the Old Royal Naval College will reopen during weekdays only from 8 June.
People trying to walk through Greenwich have come off badly during the lockdown, with Greenwich Park closing at 7pm, the Naval College being completely closed, and the Thames Path in front of the college also being closed. The river path closure will remain in place. Cutty Sark Gardens closures have also forced walkers to divert through the Meridian Estate.
Cyclists are able to use the Docklands Light Railway – even at peak times – to keep away from pedestrians in the tunnel, according to a letter from the mayor’s office to the Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels. Cycling remains technically prohibited in the tunnel, with Tower Hamlets Council reluctant to accept a proposal from Greenwich to change bye-laws governing the tunnel.
Woolwich Foot Tunnel has remained open through the pandemic, with a one-boat service operating on the Woolwich Ferry.
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