Bid to change next year’s Docklands Triathlon route after 40,000 were ‘trapped’

Cycling in traffic-free Aspen Way, passing Canary Wharf on Triathlon Day 2

Cycling in traffic-free Aspen Way, passing Canary Wharf on Triathlon Day 2 - Credit: AJ Bell London Triathlon 2015

Fury has erupted over roadblocks in east London continually isolating 40,000 people living on the Isle of Dogs caused by cycle racing events added to ongoing roadworks.

Now a Tower Hamlets councillor is formally asking next year’s Docklands Triathlon cycle race be rerouted after disruptions at this year’s event staged two weeks ago.

Andrew Wood, Tory Opposition councillor for Canary Wharf ward, has written to Triathlon organisers AJ Bell formally requesting a route change for 2016 to avoid access to Millwall and Blackwall due to the island’s “unique geography” and limited roads.

“You may feel your event happens only once a year—but we are impacted by many annual events,” he tells them.

“Any interruption to traffic in Aspen Way, the Limehouse Link tunnel, the A13 or through Canary Wharf has a disproportionate impact on the 40,000 people who live here.

“Blockages with only two roads on and off the island effectively cuts us off, as there are no other exit routes.”

Cllr Wood lists examples in August alone—such as the Ride London weekend cycle festival as well as the Triathlon the following weekend.

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Added to this are the ongoing roadworks having knock-on effects such as Millwall Docks Blue Bridge entrance in Prestons Road which is closed for maintenance this coming Sunday, the Limehouse Link tunnel night-time closures from now until Thursday, the A12 Blackwall Tunnel southbound each night until August 27 and northbound closed nightly from Sunday until the following Wednesday.

“It’s the cumulative impact of weekend after weekend of closures,” Cllr Wood adds. “The interruptions and diversions have left many people asking for these sport events to be diverted elsewhere.

“East London is a big area and it should be possible to find other routes.”

He suggests a compromise such as “rotation” so that the annual Triathlon hits the Isle of Dogs just once in three years—that way “the misery is spread more evenly without losing the ability to host such important sports events”.