Put anti-cyclist limitations at north finish of Greenwich Foot Tunnel, councillor says

Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Tower Hamlets has lengthy objected to biking within the foot tunnel

A Tower Hamlets councillor has referred to as for limitations to be positioned on the north aspect of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to cease cyclists “zooming by means of” the historic river crossing.

Labour’s Abdal Ullah made the feedback because the east London council handed a movement voicing worries about long-stalled plans to permit biking within the tunnel, which runs from Cutty Sark Gardens to the Isle of Canine.

Greenwich Council controls the foot tunnel however it’s collectively owned by the 2 councils. An identical association applies to the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, which crosses into the borough of Newham.

Each tunnels initially served south Londoners strolling to work within the docks, however the 121-year-old Greenwich tunnel has since turn out to be a vacationer attraction in its personal proper in addition to a route for buyers and people travelling to work at Canary Wharf.

Byelaws ban biking, however the most fines had been final set at forty shillings – £2 – in 1912, the wage for a talented labourer’s 56-hour working week on the time. With little enforcement and few alternate options for cyclists attempting to cross the Thames, the tunnel is often utilized by riders regardless of the ban.

In July 2017 Greenwich accredited plans to carry the ban at quieter instances, with digital indicators being examined within the tunnels. Nevertheless, the plans must be accredited by Tower Hamlets and Newham first.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Cyclists are purported to push their bikes by means of the tunnel

Peter Golds, the Conservative councillor for Island Gardens, informed a Tower Hamlets Council assembly final week that there was “big in style help” within the space for his movement calling for “rigorous” well being and security checks earlier than any ban was lifted.

“We continuously get problems with households going by means of the foot tunnel and all of a sudden discovering folks coming in the direction of them, taking pictures by means of at pace on bicycles, often blowing whistles to count on folks to get out of the best way,” he stated, including that Greenwich residents had contacted him in regards to the subject too.

Referring to a former councillor, he added: “I’m fairly unhappy Andrew Wooden isn’t right here this night as a result of Andrew, who’s a technological genius, will be capable to maintain up his cellphone and produce an image of not only a bike owner going by means of the tunnel, however one of many irritating little Deliveroo little pop-pop-pop bikes taking pictures by means of the tunnel and attempting to shoot folks out of the best way. It’s not acceptable.”

Nathalie Bienfait, the Inexperienced councillor for Bow West, stated Golds’ movement gave “unhelpful airtime to the false narrative that cyclists are essentially irresponsible and lawless” and referred to as for the Silvertown Tunnel to be was a hyperlink for public transport and cyclists.

She added: “The Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels are used day by day by tons of of commuters who’re, for probably the most half, respectful of the security of pedestrians. The concept cyclists are essentially unsafe for pedestrians is just unfaithful and must be challenged.

“Enforcement of byelaws prohibiting biking within the tunnel is certainly necessary, however the safety of a fast and handy route is one thing that I wish to help.”

However neither Labour councillors nor these from Aspire – the occasion led by the borough’s elected mayor Lutfur Rahman – supported her name.

Greenwich foot tunnel
Tower Hamlets and Greenwich collectively personal the foot tunnel, however Greenwich controls it

Ullah, who represents St Katherine’s & Wapping, stated the tunnel was “troublesome and harmful” for these with youngsters.

The councillor added: “Some suppose they’re not breaking the legislation by solely placing their foot on one pedal and zooming by means of. They suppose they’re being intelligent. It’s nonetheless breaking the legislation.

“If we put limitations alongside our path, hopefully Greenwich will observe go well with in placing up limitations that will cease folks zooming throughout from one finish of the tunnel to the opposite. So I might actually urge that we, as a council, write to the related folks in Greenwich and say, look, meet us midway.

“It’s not an assault on cyclists, though one killed my father I’ve no grudges towards cyclists. However it’s harmful, particularly now with increasingly more folks carrying headphones you can’t hear the noise. You’ll be able to’t hear the bell.”

The councillor additionally referred to as for volunteers to work within the tunnel lifts. Attendants had been eliminated in 2010 when the tunnel was refurbished.

One other Labour councillor, Mufadeen Bustin, stated that views in her Island Gardens ward had been cut up on permitting riders however stated the “pleasure” of utilizing the tunnel was “taken away when a bike owner whizzes previous nearly knocking you over”.

Kabir Ahmed, the cupboard member for regeneration, referred to the rows over low-traffic neighbourhoods within the borough, which Rahman has pledged to take away. “I feel this can be a severe subject,” he stated. “I’m fairly shocked how a movement concerning harmful cyclists zooming throughout pedestrianised areas all of a sudden turns into an assault on all cyclists. That’s not the case.

“If cycles must be taken, they will stroll with the cycles of their hand and carry it alongside similar to all the opposite pedestrians. Now for me, it feels just like the shoe is on the opposite foot as a result of so many instances we’ve had help concerning LTNs and blaming all drivers for harmful driving and dangerous drivers. And now the shoe is on the opposite foot. We’re speaking about harmful cyclists working folks over.”

Ahmed claimed that the dying of Ullah’s father was “an actual life instance from somebody on this chamber”. Alhaj Jain Ullah died in 2009 whereas crossing the course of the London Triathlon in Wapping. Organisers and a subcontractor had been later fined for breaching well being and security laws after it was discovered limitations had not been erected and workers had not been educated.

The tunnel has been the topic of gripes from each pedestrians and cyclists since 2010 when a botched refurbishment programme ran years late and hundreds of thousands over price range, leaving the hyperlink with lifts that often broke down.

A customers’ group for each tunnels was disbanded two years in the past, with members annoyed on the lack of progress in resolving the biking subject and the carry issues. Final yr the heavy glass doorways had been changed with half-glass doorways within the hope that they might be extra dependable.

Greenwich Council has been contacted for remark.


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