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London's waterfront to be opened up to cyclists as part of South Bank regeneration

Stretch from Vauxhall to Battersea is next up for regeneration

A 'New South Bank', featuring green space and cycle paths across the river, is central to the development plans for the stretch of the river Thames near Battersea and Vauxhall.

Nine Elms, the area between the two districts, is under development as the final part of the regeneration that brought the Oxo Tower restaurant, the Tate Modern and the Royal Festival Hall in the centre of London.

Including the Battersea Power Station, and expected to cost £10bn and take 12 years to complete, the area is currently industrial wasteland in parts, and developers hope to include mixed-use paths for walkers and cyclists, as well as parkland.

It's an idea that's gained popularity in Paris, with the removal of a 1.5-mile section of urban motorway from the south riverbank, creating what's hoped will be a walking and cycling paradise.

But it's a first in London, where traditionally the river has been ignored as a pleasant place for urban dwellers to get fresh air and exercise. But in May this year, Vauxhall was selected by the Mayor of London as one of the first places to benefit from the Love London, Go Dutch campaign, and these plans, should they come to fruition, would fit the bill perfectly.

At the time, Lambeth Cyclists co-ordinator Charlie Holland said, "We welcome Vauxhall becoming a flagship 'Go Dutch' project and can't wait to see the thousands of primary and secondary children at the schools adjacent to the current one-way system cycling in comfort and safety from their schools across Vauxhall Bridge, along Nine Elms Lane, or along the Albert Embankment."

An extract from an article in the Financial Times about the plan goes into more depth about the riverside plans:

Nine Elms Lane – the main road that passes through the Nine Elms development site – has a reputation as one of London’s most feared cycle routes. But plans are under way to create a safer and far more extensive cycling terrain as part of the regeneration project, writes David Firn

“A new network of cycle paths and walking routes will be created that will be almost entirely shielded from traffic,” says Ravi Govindia, council leader and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership. “This will include a brand new stretch of the Thames riverside path and a linear park running continuously from Battersea Power Station to Vauxhall Cross.”

A mile of London’s waterfront will be opened up to cyclists and pedestrians, which will connect to Battersea Park, and cycling and pedestrian routes will be created under the railway arches that dissect the district.

There are also plans (yet to be approved) to build a bridge from near the site of the new US embassy over the Thames to Pimlico, bypassing Vauxhall Bridge and providing an easy link to Westminster and Victoria. “A foot and bike bridge would be a real help,” says Danny Williams, a publisher who cycles to work in the City and author of the Cyclists in the City blog. “Cycling over Vauxhall Bridge is extremely intimidating and the north of the river feels really inaccessible as a result.” The findings of a feasibility study for the bridge are expected later this year.

Lambeth council, meanwhile, is looking at re-engineering the roads at Vauxhall Cross, the busy junction and transport hub at the north end of the Nine Elms development, making it safer and more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate too.

For more information on the Nine Elms development, click here.

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