Greenways mean go for a staycation summer

Greenways mean go for a staycation summer in London

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Now that the school holidays are well underway, people in London are being encouraged to explore the city using a brand new network of greenways, which are family-friendly walking and cycling routes in and around green spaces in London, linking up local attractions.

Carl Pittam, Director of Sustrans in London, said: “London is a short journeys city where the average trip is just three-and-a-half miles, a distance which can be easily walked or cycled by most people if there is a safe and attractive place to do it in, like the new greenways network.

“Increasing cycling levels in London is vital for tackling congestion, reducing carbon emissions from transport and addressing the health problems associated with inactivity. But cycling needs to be made accessible to people of all ages and abilities if more people are to be encouraged to travel by bike.”

The greenways are quiet routes ideal for those who are new or returning to cycling, families with young children or anyone who feels particularly vulnerable on busy roads.

Recently opened greenways include a route along the attractive Ravensbourne River within the wildlife, woodland and wetland haven of Beckenham Place Park.

Elsewhere in London, a new greenway allows people to cross the Hogsmill River in the borough of Kingston upon Thames, there’s an improved route for walkers and cyclists through Hounslow Heath nature reserve and earlier this month a new greenway opened at Happy Valley in Redbridge.

They are already making a difference to the daily lives of Londoners. Mother of two, Michelle Young, who lives and works in Kingston, says “My cycle to work has been improved no-end by the new bridge over the Hogsmill. Previously it was such a hassle negotiating the narrow paths and barriers, but now it’s my favourite part of the route. The kids love it too, we regularly go the playground next to the bridge at the weekend.”

London Greenways is a collection of projects that seek to create a network of attractive and functional routes for walkers and cyclists, and aims to improve access to and through green space across the capital.

London Greenways has been developed and funded by Transport for London (TfL), Sustrans, the Olympic Delivery Authority, the London Boroughs and others over a number of years and incorporates schemes delivered through the TfL Greenways Programme, the Mayor’s Great Outdoors programme and Sustrans’ Connect2, National Cycle Network and Greenways for the Olympics and London (GOAL) projects

There appears to be one serious problem though. Finding a list and maps of the routes – without trying to get cycle maps from Transport for London – seems to be a nigh impossible task.

I have tried in more that one place and they just cannot be found online and that is where they should be.

There should be a downloadable PDF file of each of the routes available somewhere but, it would appear, no one even has thought about this. And this, in my view, is a serious shortcoming. If those maps exist maybe some could point us into the direction of them...

© 2010