March 8 2014 Latest news:
Robin de Peyer
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Ambitious plans for an elevated cycle route along Regent’s Canal have been dismissed as “potty” by users of the waterway.
Inspired by New York’s ‘Highline’ park, architects have come up with the proposal in a bid to alleviate congestion along the popular three-and-a-half mile stretch of towpath from Angel, Islington to Victoria Park.
Antony Nelson, of landscape architecture firm Design International, said: “We were looking for an interesting aspirational project to work on to do with transport and cycling.
“I always notice the towpath is really congested with cyclists and pedestrians and it’s not really fit for purpose, and there are constant clashes between pedestrians and cyclists.”
The firm will carry out a consultation on the plans during the summer to gauge the views of canal-users, before considering whether to submit formal proposals to either Transport for London or London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office.
Designers insisted they were keen not to disturb boat users - but the plans were met with criticism from cycling groups and canal users alike.
A spokesperson for waterways charity the Canal and River Trust said: “We love innovation, but this is just plain potty!
“Many boaters cruise the Regent’s Canal and this design would plunge them into darkness, as well as calling for some pretty perilous navigation.”
Gerry Matthews of Tower Hamlets Wheelers cycling group, was equally sceptical about whether the plans represented the best way to improve cycling conditions in the area.
“We welcome sympathetic improvements to the towpath in places, but the canal should preserve its character and remain a tranquil zone”, she said.