The Independent London Newspaper

 

Letters: Walkers not trespassers

Published: 4 July, 2013

• MODERN history has been repeating itself every year at City Road Basin. Utilisation of the public park and walkway between the boat club and City Road is so pitifully low that Leo Chapman has been compelled to write yet another letter on the subject (Another summer without a walk in park by the canal, June 28).

Things have improved very slightly since last summer, but progress has been excruciatingly slow. At long last, gates are being unlocked at agreed times and the hoardings now include pedestrian signs at each end, but these actions have failed to trigger any increase in pedestrian numbers.

Why are walkers so reluctant to use this traffic-free waterside route? The most plausible explanation is that they are deterred by the unwelcoming entrances and ambiguous signage that seem designed to make the public feel like trespassers.

It is far from obvious to passers-by that they are able or entitled to walk through the Angel Waterside security gates if they push them hard enough and there are no signs whatsoever to indicate that they may do so.

The security gadgets and signs purport to deter criminals but their real effect is to deter well-behaved citizens from using this park as a destination or a thoroughfare.

If we can’t afford to wait for the council or developers to publish or install legible maps and signs then perhaps our best course of action is to leave it to the Tribune and word of mouth to promote the public realm.

IAN SHACKLOCK
Chair, Friends of
Regent’s Canal

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