Open Our Towpath

Protestors spell out their message. Photo © Lucy Pearce

The Lea towpath from Homerton to Bow has been closed from July 3rd (ie 23 days before the Opening Ceremony!) until September 10th as a so-called “security” measure for the Olympics. This is a heavily-used green lane through East London and there can be no rational reason for it to be closed this far ahead of the games, or even during them.

LOCOG and the police claim, despite 6m high electric fences and cameras, that the path is closed for security reasons. This is forcing cyclists onto busy roads, denying local residents access to recreational space and sending out a hypocritical Olympic message.

50 local residents, cyclists, walkers, families and commuters turned out in the driving rain on Sunday 8th July to protest against the closure. See ‘Demo Sunday 8th July’ above for a report and photos.

You can see our letter to the Mayor by clicking on ‘Letter to the Mayor’ above. To add your name, contact us on Twitter or Facebook, or add a comment.

@OpenOurTowpath

http://www.facebook.com/groups/147913112012877/

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7 Responses to Open Our Towpath

  1. Also please contact Boris Johnson, LOCOG, and the local MPs (Rushanara Ali, Meg Hillier and Diane Abbott) to let them know what you think about the closure!

  2. MJ says:

    Classic case of NIMBY. While I sympathise I also think about the bigger picture. I think it’s better to be safe than sorry and a change of routine can be good.

    • ‘A change in routine’ is certainly one way of describing the hair-raising experience of cycling the Bow flyover. I wonder why they didn’t close the roads which come equally as close to the perimeter fence?

    • It’s not just locals. Cyclists commute to Canary Wharf along there and on a weekend it’s packed with joggers and walkers. It’s a major resource for lots of people.

      Granted, it’s been cleaned up a lot and that may or may not have happened without the Olympics; but there’s a big irony in that an event that is supposed to promote/symbolise sport is restricting real grassroots local sport in this and several other instances, like the whole Hackney Marshes complex.

      There is already a 6m-high electric fence; CCTV; security guard patrols on foot and by boat. Does it need to be closed so far in advance?

      I understand your NIMBY comment, but we’re losing amenities and having the military on our doorstep (the towpath is patrolled by squaddies now). At best, it looks like a prison. At worst, the entrances resemble a Green Zone. Who would really want that on their doorstep?

      And don’t forget, just further up this towpath, part of Leyton Marsh has been built on, despite the 1,250 names on a petition and lots of local protest. If, as a Londoner, you’ve paid council tax towards the Games, then you’ve surely a double right to protest at the loss of valuable parkland and walkways where you live?

      See: http://hackneytours.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/sport-suffers-by-the-lee-as-olympic-security-zone-expands/

      Respectfully,
      Hackney Tours

    • dezzie says:

      I’m not a nimby, it’s not in my back yard, but it is a designated pedestrian and cycle route to the games. And many cyclists I know and have met there would not go on the roads. And we got the games on a green ticket. All the tfl emails I get suggest cycling to give the public transport infrastructure a chance of surviving it. They’ve shot themselves in the foot (and pedal) with this one.

  3. Alan Burkitt-Gray says:

    That’s a reassuring sign: “We are not terrorists.” That’s all right then, people who hold up signs denying they are terrorists are in fact not terrorists. Sounds simple. Why didn’t MI5 and the Met think of that?

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