A draft cycling strategy commissioned by the London Borough of Lambeth has called for stricter enforcement of a ban on cyclists riding their bikes along a stretch of the South Bank running from the Oxo Tower to the London Eye.
The report, entitled ‘Draft South Bank and Waterloo Cycle Strategy 2010 – 2012’ and compiled by the South Bank Employers’ Group (SBEG), acknowledged that “The debate about cycling on the River Walk,” which includes landmarks such as County Hall, the London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall and National Film Theatre, “is polemical,” and identified a polarisation in attitudes between local residents and the capital’s cyclists.
“Opinions volunteered were fairly evenly divided between local residents and their representatives who wish to see cycling on the riverside prohibited and London-wide cyclists who wish to see it permitted,” the report’s authors said. “The River Walk is not a designated cycle route and private landowners in the study area recommend that a ban on cycling in this location be enforced,” they continued.
One of the chief recommendations of the report is that Southbank Centre and Coin Street Community Builders, the landowners of the stretch of riverfront in question, should “support enforcement of no cycling rule on the River Walk between Oxo Tower Wharf and London Eye.”
The authors, representing businesses and organisations including the British Film Institute, Guy's & St Thomas’ Hospital Foundation Trust, ITV and Shell, add that “should no enforcement support be agreed with police,” landowners should instead give their support to Lambeth Council for implementation of a signage plan to encourage cyclists away from the River Walk onto the nearby designated cycle route along Belvedere Road and Upper Ground.
The stretch of path in question is popular with cyclists, providing a quick, traffic free route along the South Bank together with an attractive riverscape backdrop, and includes a section under Waterloo Bridge where London Critical Mass meets on the last Friday of each month. However, it can also become thronged with pedestrians, particularly at evenings and weekends.
Other recommendations of the 100-page report, which can be downloaded here, include improvements to local designated cycle routes, consultation on the introduction of a 20mph zone, improvements to cycle parking and initiatives to reduce cycle theft in the area.
Lambeth Council is now inviting comments on the report, which can be emailed to cycling [at] lambeth.gov.uk, with a deadline of 10 September 2010.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.