Wandsworth Riverside, the west of bridge story.
This article is an addendum to the excellent piece written by lastnotlost, regarding public cycling access along the riverside in Wandsworth. Read it here: Wandsworth Riverside, Wandsworth Bridge to Battersea Heliport
On the suspicion that such actions are more likely to be part of a pattern rather than an event in isolation, I looked a little further.
It didn’t take long to find something suspicious. Immediately to the west of Wandsworth Bridge and north of Smugglers Way is another modern development approved in the late 90’s. The riverside path is similar to that to the east and cycling is permitted, but what caught my eye were these signs on the entrance to the development.
The signs appear new, and use the non standard form of the “No Cycling” sign (the correct UK sign shouldn’t have the diagonal cross). Google Streetview history confirmed that these appeared sometime after 2012.
Fortunately, Wandsworth have the planning documents for all these developments available online. I’ll summarise the important points quickly.
The development has a section 106 order which includes a “Public Access Route”. Here it is in the definitions.
Plan B, as referenced shows the route. I’ve pushed up the colours to make the blue area more obvious. It’s the section immediately after the No Cycling signs, known as The Boulevard.
Finally, this is the agreement between the developer and Wandsworth for that area.
It’s a clear assurance that the space must provide public access by means of walking and cycling, which has clearly been ignored by someone.
Update: FOI response from 2014 found, which confirms these signs should be removed.
Does it matter?
There’s a useful tunnel passing under Wandsworth bridge, which was opened a few years ago. If approaching from the south, due to a one way road the only available routes are very indirect. I’d like to test this to see how much traffic there is as well.
The alternative route through the estate appears both shorter and quieter, and it’s quite possible the No Cycling signs appeared in response to the tunnel opening.
I don’t know whether any council officers or councillors were involved in this, or whether the estate management have simply acted alone. The council should have enforced the s106 order, but there’s no need to assume malice when incompetence is equally possible. If anyone can provide any information, please do let me know via twitter.
But the pattern of providing substandard shared use infrastructure, and then further restricting or banning cycling at a later date is a common one. Away from Wandsworth, the Elephant and Castle seems to be having the same problem right now.
I’d add that Wandsworth has recently shown plans for a new shared use walking and cycling route to Wilna Road as part of the regeneration around Garratt Lane. Can we have any faith that even these very limited proposals won’t be lost to barriers and dismount signs again a few years after they’re built.