Have your say on canal improvements

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The Canal and River Trust (successor to British Waterways) is inviting feedback on proposed towpath improvements between Great Western Road and Gasworks Dock, near the Sainsbury’s store at Kensal Rise.

Grand Union Canal near Wedlake Street
Possible improvements include widening the towpath in places like this, to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to share it.

You can find details of the measures the Canal and River Trust are considering, and a survey for your comments, at http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us/consultations/current-consultations. Please note that the consultation period ends on Friday 8th February.

The main elements of the Canal and River Trust's strategy are:

  • A surfacing strategy to provide visual cues to make the towpath safer. This will include physical calming measures in some places.
  • Improve safety, visibility and connections to the towpath at entrance points, including , using distinct materials along the route to define access points.
  • Improve signage at strategic points to inform and encourage the option to use alternative routes for cycling on nearby roads.

The growth in the popularity of cycling, the attractiveness of the canal and the lack of attractive alternatives all mean that the capacity of the canal to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists safely is likely to be exceeded unless suitable measures are taken. The Canal and River Trust is also looking for alternative routes in the Camden, Islington and Hackney areas, where the safe capacity of the Regent's Canal could be exceeded at peak times.


I am posting with my suggestions for LCC Westminster group's response:

I think first of all we should be clear that LCC does not support cyclists who cycle inconsiderately, go too fast for the conditions, or break the rules. Sadly there will always be a minority of bad cyclists, in the same way that there will always be a minority of bad car drivers on the roads. The LCC Westminster website carries the message to 'Share the Space, Drop your Pace', because we want cyclists to be welcomed on to as much of the canal network as possible.

We welcome the localised proposals to reduce the grass verge and widen the narrowest sections of towpath. There are currently a minority of towpath sections that are approximately 1.6m wide, and bringing these up to the width that is typical for Kensal Town will help reduce conflict between towpath users.

We ask that the Canal & River Trust considers whether evidence from other sites supports the use of standalone low profile speed humps as a cyclist speed reduction measure. We think these humps can play a valuable role alerting cyclists to a forthcoming pinchpoint or low bridge, but will not be effective in slowing a cyclist who choses to ride inconsiderately. We strongly support the landscaping proposal adjacent to Sainsbury's, which uses attractive seating as a cyclist speed reduction measure, and enhances the canal for all users.

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