Local campaigners celebrate new riverside walking and cycling route avoiding Wandsworth Bridge

After years of campaigning by local groups, including Wandsworth Cycling Campaign (WCC), an east-west walking and cycling link has been installed under Wandsworth Bridge.

The link provides valuable separation of cycling and walking traffic from a high-traffic roundabout, in accordance with Dutch principles of street design (please sign the petition calling for streets that are as safe and inviting as they are in Holland).

On 30 March 2012 members of WCC and Wandsworth Living Streets were present at the opening to try out the route and celebrate the removal of one of the last major blockages to the Thames Path in Wandsworth.

Local pedestrians and cyclists were quick to discover this new route, making use of the underpass to cross the northern arm of Wandsworth's York Road roundabout, avoiding the dangerous, noisy and polluted 1960s-legacy roundabout.

WCC campaigner Bob Broad said, "The new link will open up this part of London to cyclists in Wandsworth and beyond, encouraging them to explore London's fascinating riverside."

Susie Morrow, chair of Wandsworth Living Streets, said: "Much effort over many years from local sustainable transport campaigners has gone into pressing for this underpass, and it's gratifying to see it in place."

Local resident Janet said, "I both walk and cycle along the riverside in Wandsworth and this new connection is wonderful."

The new walking and cycling east-west link has been funded by St George
PLC, the developer of Battersea Reach, the 13-acre tract of formerly industrial land immediately east of Wandsworth Bridge on the south bank of the Thames.

The site to house a gin distillery, oil depot and warehouses, until the land was cleared in 1992 and lay derelict until 2002 when developers started construction.

In 1996, the site was subject to a
famous occupation by 'The Land Is Ours' group, creating the 'Pure Genius!' Eco Village Wandsworth.

Wandsworth Cycling Campaign and Wandsworth Living Streets will continue to work with property developers, such as St George PLC, as well as Wandsworth Council, to put improved provision for cycling and walking much higher up the agenda in Wandsworth.

PHOTOS Eric Ainsworth