The Independent London Newspaper


This looks like a gated community, minus the gates

Published: 27 July, 2012

• PEOPLE often wonder why London’s cycling facilities are inferior to those in cities like Copenhagen.

One explanation is that we have a ludicrous, yet reversible, policy to speed up motorised traffic flow at all costs.

Another explanation (or excuse) is that we are constrained by an historic infrastructure.

But what happens when town planners start with a clean sheet?

This must surely be an ideal opportunity to integrate cycle routes from the outset.

The regenerated Packington estate is a perfect example, because it sits neatly between a series of wide Victorian streets and it can offer a variety of access points to Regent’s Canal.

If the planners can integrate smoothly connected cycle routes, running between New North Road and the Islington Tunnel, then this will be a major step towards reducing congestion and conflicts on the towpath.

Is this going to happen?

I certainly hope so, and so will most of the pedestrians and cyclists in the area, but Hyde Housing’s masterplan does not give confidence that the new estate will offer east-west cycling permeability. 

Some of the buildings are packed tightly together and there are limited lines of sight.

On the land use plan it looks like a gated community with the gates missing.

I would urge cycling and walking groups to lobby the council to ensure there will never be any restricted access to this regenerated site.

Otherwise Hyde’s plans could backfire and the towpath could become a no-go zone for residents instead of a selling point.

Chair, Friends of
Regent’s Canal


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