Letter to the Mayor

Dear Mr Johnson
We are a group of local residents, cyclists, families and walkers who use the Lea towpath on a regular basis, and are campaigning against its closure for over 2 months this Summer.

We would like to draw your attention to the following:

1. The communciation about the closure has been desperately inadequate. There is no information whatsoever about the closure on the heavily-promoted “Get Ahead of the Games” website. In addition, the TfL cycling planner still directs cyclists to use the closed part of the towpath. Personally, I discovered the closure whilst half way to work one day (which, as you can imagine, did not go down well). Many local residents I have spoken to are totally unaware of it, and those that are aware are furious.

2. The closure appears to be totally unnecessary. There was never any plan to close the towpath originally – hence a huge amount of money being poured into renovating it this year. A last minute change of plan has clearly occured, for reasons as yet not communicated by LOCOG or the Met, despite questioning by the Press. There is already an £80m, 6-metre high electric fence and CCTV in place along the perimeter. In addition, there has been absolutely no explanation of why it was deemed necessary to close the towpath on July 3rd, a full 23 days before the Opening Ceremony.

3. LOCOG and the Met have behaved with astonishing ignorance and arrogance towards those of us who rely on the towpath. Many people depend on it to get to work every day; this campaign has been co-ordinated by two such people. We don’t believe any such decision would have been made about a road. The Lea towpath is not just a pretty place where people go for walks at the weekend: it is a busy, heavily-used ‘green lane’ through East London, already coping with increased usage due to the Greenway closure.

4. There is no direct, safe, alternative. There is a diversion in place which is significantly longer (described by the London Cycling Campaign as ‘tortuous’), and considerably more dangerous. It passes the notorious Bow roundabout, where two cyclists were killed in a single month last year. Such road diversions are already forcing less-confident cyclists and families with young children onto already-stretched public transport.

5. This is all in direct contravention of the Olympic spirit of promoting physical activity, and also of the marketing of the Games as ‘green’. The London 2012 Olympic Games are supposed to leave behind a permanent legacy and transformation for the people of East London. However, there is increasing concern amongst local residents, walkers and cyclists and shared by the London Cycling Campaign, that the opportunity to create world-class walking and cycling facilities will be squandered.

Posters and adverts exhort us to ‘walk or cycle’ instead of using public transport. All over London this is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous due to short-sighted decisions.

As Mayor and cyclist I very much hope you can support us in our campaign


Ruth-Anna Macqueen, Hackney resident, mum, junior doctor and cycling commuter

Steve Wakeford, local engineer and cyclist

Dee O’Connell, local resident and business owner


Prof Trisha Greenhalgh, Barts and the London School of Medicine & Dentistry and Medical Officer 2012 Olympics

James Eagle, Leytonstone resident, Hackney Wick worker, cycling commuter

Hazel Potter, local resident

Mr Marc Burden, E10 6LL

Vicky Taylor, Bamboo Court, E5 9GJ

Elisabeth Downe, local resident

Dafydd Williams, local resident and cyclist

Caroline Day, local resident

Zerrin Kellam, local resident

Neil McGoun

Kevin Mark Moody

Esther Adelman and Gideon Corby, local residents

Ceri Williams, Tottenham resident and cyclist

Rosanna Gould , local resident, cyclist and runner

Pedro Reyna, local resident and frequent user of this route

Dr S Wilmore, Hackney resident, junior doctor, cyclist commuter (with no Olympic tickets)

Jack Fortescue, cycling commuter and local resident

Gareth Hays, local Resident & cyclist

Andolie Marguerite, Kamile and Claude Gowan, Local residents and cyclists

Catherine Kenyon, local resident

Mike Foulkes, local resident

Jono Kenyon, local resident

Tabitha Tanqueray, local resident

Felix Kenyon, local resident

Paddy Looney, Meadow Close resident

Paddy Prendergast, local resident

Adam Thompson, local resident and Cycle shop owner

Juanjo Ruiz Martin, local resident

Suzy Fogg, local resident

Adam McAlavey, local resident

Gerry Matthews, local resident and Campaigns Officer, Tower Hamlets Wheelers

Simon Hughes, local resident

Michael Alexander, Ferry House resident

Lisa Gowland, local resident

Shahron Shah, local resident

Ian Hodge, local resident and regular user of this path

Roswen, runner on the towpath, Bow E3

Caroline Staines, local resident

Steve Dowding, regular cyclist between Hackney and Three Mills (I’ll be using the A102(M) instead meanwhile)

Natalie Clarke, live and work in Tower Hamlets

Katie Hames, regular cyclist

Christina Curry, regular cyclist

Tom Davies, Walthamstow resident

John Mulvey, regular cyclist

Lydie Greco, local resident.

Carolyn Deby, local resident, cyclist and regular user of this route

Andrew Graves

Graham Freer, Tottenham resident and regular user of the towpath

Mandy McCartin, Artist with studio in Stratford -used to cycle there from Dalston until the safe quiet bits were blocked off….

Bastien Bourdeaux, local resident

Stephen Broadhurst

Kriss Lee, local resident

Chantelle Le Poidevin, local resident

Amy, Sebastien and Tyler Le Podevin, local residents

Emma De Mornay Davies, local resident and cyclist

Susanne Parkhouse, resident of Forest Gate, cyclist

Meghna Gupta, Hackney resident, cyclist

Anna Kidd, Hackney resident, cycle commuter and this was my planned route for my Gamesmaker volunteering

Alastair Murray. Deputy director Housing Justice (Christian housing and homelessness campaign charity). Tower Hamlets.

Paul Treloar and Angie Fenn, N16 and regular users of the tow-path

Malcolm Coles, Hackney resident – use the towpath every day to commute by bike to Canary Wharf

David Fathers, author of ‘The Regent’s Canal’ London N12

Kerry Johnson, E11

Andrew Macgregor, Fish Island

Kerena Fussell, Forest Gate, PA & voluntary Towpath Ranger

Graham Wheeler, cyclist towpath user

Rachel Wooldridge, cyclist and towpath user, N1

Tom Harding, cyclist, N1

Richard Williams, Haringey cyclist resident and regular towpath user

Martin Togher, local resident, walker

Bill Foster, Walthamstow, runner, walker, cyclist and marsh lover

Bhavesh Hindocha, E5 resident, cyclist commuter

Hilary Guedalla, local resident

Veronica Pasteur, cyclist

Laura Goodman, local resident and cyclist

John Tumbridge, local resident

Ian White, local resident and business owner

Malcolm Macqueen, E5

Keith Flett, Secretary, Haringey TUC

Robin Samson, Hackney resident and cyclist

Nick Rau, cyclist and regular towpath user

Alice Widger, Hackney resident, cyclist and regular tow path user

Julian Cheyne

Emma O’Connell, E9 resident

Petra Francis, cyclist

Ros Banks, local resident, frequent towpath user and cyclist

Luke Johnson, Cyclist, Runner and local resident

Vivian McClew, Cyclist, London resident

Massimo Alessio Zeppetelli Cyclist, Walthamstow resident

Annie Nichols local resident in Hackney Wick

Keir Philip, cyclist

Arnab Ghosh, Local resident, regular towpath user

Tom Manning, local resident and cycling commuter

Mick Cairns, Homerton resident, cyclist, runner with Victoria Park/tower hamlets AC, walker

Sarah Janes

Steve R, local resident, keen cyclist and frequent towpath user

Ian Godfrey

Nick Mason

Damien Weighill, E17

David Beadle, Enfield resident, River Lea towpath user

Paul Findlow, Edmonton – cyclist and walker, regular towpath user

John Grew Regular towpath cyclist and inconvenienced local. N16

Julian Walker, former Hackney cyclist

Cate Boyle, cyclist and regular towpath user

Matt Purver, N5, regular towpath user

Anna Kenyon, local resident, towpath and marsh user

Jonathan Mayes, regular cyclist/runner along towpaths

Glen Mehn

Justin de Deney , cyclist, N7

Bronya Deutsch, N16 cyclist and runner on the path

Alan Perryman, local resident and towpath user

Rachel Stevenson, N16, towpath user

Olivia Hoare, local resident

Cheryl Jenkins, N17 Cyclist and river walker

Andy Reetz, local resident and towpath user

Tessa Robertson, local resident, towpath user

Jennifer Haydon, cycling granny who has used the towpath regularly

Matthew Wyatt, cyclist and physiotherapist

Steven Kealey, E17

Zaki Dogliani, local resident and cyclist

Peter Carruthers, Haringey resident and cyclist


99 Responses to Letter to the Mayor

  1. Please add me – Zaki Dogliani, local resident and cyclist

  2. Andy Northwood says:

    Andy Northwood – Resident Millfields E5 regular user of the towpath from Lea Bridge to Limehouse

  3. thebluepixie says:

    Please add my name too – Helen Stacey, local resident and cyclist

  4. Tony Roelich says:

    Please add my name to the letter: Tony Roelich, cyclist
    . My family and I recently visited London on our bikes and wanted to travel this route but were dismayed to be sent onto the road instead. Poor reflection on the Olympic ethos.

  5. Andy says:

    Please add my name to your list. Adrian Morcinek, local resident and disabled cyclist.

  6. Ruth Alderson says:

    Please add my name to the letter. Ruth Alderson, Local resident (E11) and nervous cyclist.

  7. Please add me too. Damian Rafferty (E9)

  8. Gavriel Hollander says:

    Please add me:
    Gavriel Hollander, local resident, cyclist, runner, journalist

  9. Tom Bowker says:

    Tom Bowker, river-lover and occasional tow path cyclist

  10. Robin says:

    I TRIED to cycle from Finsbury Park to the Olympic Park on Sunday. No sign posts anywhere (except contradictory “Cycle Hub” signs) Got lost. Twice ended up on dual carriageways. Not a single “guard” was able to offer suggestions. Even Google Maps couldn’t help me. Joined the Towpath protest briefly before admitting failure and went back home. Ludicrous!

  11. James Dixon says:

    Please add me. James Dixon, E3 2PD

  12. Will Stewart says:

    Please add me. Will Stewart from MadeGood.bikes (E8)

  13. Sophie Talbot says:

    Sophie Talbot, King’s Cross Community Projects, N1 9UA. http://www.kccp.org.uk (our aims include improving access to public amenities)

  14. Rachel Aldred says:

    Please add me. Dr. Rachel Aldred, local resident and transport researcher.

  15. Mark Morreau says:

    Please add me: Mark Morreau, towpath cyclist and walker

  16. James Woodcock says:

    Please add me James Woodcock, Hackney cyclists and physical activity researcher, E5

  17. Jocasta says:

    Jocasta Allwood, Poplar resident, Hackney Wick worker, cycling commuter

  18. Scott collins says:

    Please add me. Scott collins.

  19. Kate Underwood says:

    local resident and cyclist

  20. Vienna Man says:

    Vienna Man, E8 2HE

  21. Siobhan MCDonagh says:

    Please add my name, I’m a local resident, cyclist and runner E9

  22. Tilly Hemingway says:

    Tilly Hemingway, local resident, towpath cyclist and runner

  23. Tom Parker says:

    Please add my name. My lovely friend Jocasta deserves better Boris!

  24. Nadia Malone says:

    local resident, runner and cyclist

  25. Nina Allwood says:

    Please add my name: A very worried mum of a cyclist who cannot get to work without crossing dangerous road junctions

  26. Add me too: Samantha Smith, bike rider and wanderer

  27. Annisa says:

    Please add me: Annisa Chand, N19, cyclist and co-founder of Radiant Riders bike club.

  28. Zoe says:

    Please add my name – Zoe Allwood, Local resident

  29. Steph Gerrard says:

    Please add my name, local commuter

  30. Ann Philby says:

    Local resident, cyclist and walker

  31. Johanna Kieniewicz says:

    Please add me. Local resident (E9), runner, cyclist

  32. Steve Hargreaves says:

    local resident and cyclist between E17 and E1

  33. Jon says:

    Heck yes:
    Jon Reades E9 (regular cyclist and runner… [when not being stopped by security barriers])

  34. Crisrabel Horne says:

    Please add me.

    Cristabel Horne – frequent towpath cyclist

  35. Laura says:

    Laura Fountain – runner, cyclist E1 resident

  36. Guna Dubrovska says:

    Please add me.

  37. Steve Knattress says:

    please add me,

    as a frequent cyclist in London, I am getting very fed up of the cycle lanes and routes that are being closed on a whim, with no (or little) advanced notice, or suitable safe diversions when TFL’s web site says we should all consider cycling


  38. Nigel Winn says:

    Please add me Nigel Winn to the letter.

  39. Hilda Kean says:

    Please add Dr Hilda Kean historian and local resident

  40. Tina Johnston says:

    Please add us, Tina, Tim and Andrew (13mths)) Fish Island Resident it was our route to walk to Tesco’s, The DLR, our Allotment and to visit our friends, now we have to take the bus, which adds 30 minutes to our journey, and costs money!!, When the Olympics start, it will add possibly 50 – 60 minutes to our journey!!!! DISGRACEFUL

  41. Mike Newman says:

    I’d be grateful if you’d add me. I requested this on the Facebook page but perhaps it was missed?

    Mike Newman, Walker

  42. Kevin Cooper says:

    Please add Kevin Cooper RM11 2BD
    Regular commuter that was using the greenway, then forced onto the canal towpath diversion as the only remaining safe route and now since its closure forced onto the highly dangerous Bow Roundabout and having a 20 minute longer commute from Stratford High Street to Victoria Park.

    How many more lives are going to be lost on Bow roundabout before they take notice of the deaths they have caused by these closures.

  43. Please add me to your support. E9. Daily cyclist and runner. Being told cycle, and then having the best places to cycle taken away by people who have clearly never cycled before is hard to take.

  44. john cox says:

    add me to i frequent towpath cyclist

  45. Emily Richards says:

    Please add me..I used to use this route to cycle to work AND for leisure – just as we are being encouraged to do – and this closure is totally against the Olympic spirit as well as against normal Londoners! It does nothing for “the legacy”, our health, safety or enjoyment of London!

  46. Tim Swanwick says:

    Am in total agreeement with many of the comments on here… I live in Wapping with my 8 year old girl – we cycle everywhere – but the olympics are a nightmare for many of our daily routes…. The overground service has banned bikes for the summer (including children’s bikes) – and many other of our regular journeys through east london have been closed (including the towpath). The games are supposed to be encouraging a legacy for young people to enjoy sport and exercise – but would seem to be limiting this possibility by the heavy handed approach being applied to their delivery.

  47. Gabrielle Jones says:

    Please add me. Cyclist and regular user of towpath

  48. Dr. Andreas Tauer says:

    Please add me
    Local resident and regular user of the towpath

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