Floating to work by bike? Ambitious Thames cycle path plans revealed

London is growing, and it is a problem. The ONS predicts that London’s population will hit 10 million in the next 15 years.

A cosy 5,285 people occupy each square kilometre in the capital, compared to just 411 elsewhere in England; and all these people are keen to move around an increasingly congested city.

Space for expanding transport systems is finite, and as Londoners endure severe Tube delays, stationery roads and rising transport costs, serious questions have arisen over how to accommodate everybody’s needs.

Enter the floating cycle path. Yes, one solution to the transport crisis is to build a £600m cycle lane floating along an eight-mile stretch of the River Thames.

According to the Standard, a spokesman for the consortium behind the concept said London needed to “think outside the box” to solve its traffic and pollution problems.

It doesn’t get much more out of the box than this when it comes to cycling path provision (though Norman Foster’s SkyCycle project gives it a run for its money).

The ambitious project envisions a space-age floating deck that would snake along the Thames’ south bank between Battersea in the west and Canary Wharf in the east to offer cyclists and pedestrians a safer route through the city.

The group behind the idea, the River Cycleway Consortium, is led by architect David Nixon and creative entrepreneur Anna Hill, along with engineering firm Arup and Hugh Broughton Architects who are also on board.

The floating deck would be entirely self-sustaining, the group says, and would operate using a combination of solar, wind and tidal energy.

Users would be charged a flat rate of £1.50 to use the deck.

The plans also include access ramps at intervals, along with stopping points with refreshment facilities.

Speaking to City A.M., Anna Hill said: “London needs to think outside the box of conventional solutions to solve its deep-seated traffic and pollution problems. One of the answers is staring London in the face. The river Thames, London’s main transportation thoroughfare from Roman times up to the 19th century, is overlooked today as a major travel artery except for a handful of passenger boats. Large stretches of water are often empty of any moving vessels. The Thames offers vast, untapped potential to ease and improve London’s infrastructure problems. What is needed is imagination to unleash it.”

The consortium is looking for a “visionary” financial backer to get the scheme off the ground (and onto the river), and believes that should it be green-lighted after a feasibility study, the deck could be operational within two years.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • WOW! As a cyclist I love it, but then ANY improvement would be welcome in a city that is WAY behind most other Western European capitals in its transport thinking. Two points though- firstly it shouldn't stop at Canary Wharf- when can we overcome the idea that London commutes stop there? Extend it further along to Woolwich at the very least, which is a huge development region. Secondly, if you have ever cycled along the riverside, it can get damn cold and windy even when it isn't elsewhere in the Capital- but most cyclists are hardy enough to suffer that if it gets them away from car/lorry/van/bus pollutants. Come on you cities great financiers- put your hands in your pockets for something REALLY worthwhile! You'll be remembered just as those extraordinary Victorian philanthropists are still. Just as those in favour of the new road traffic tunnel from Silvertown to North Greenwich will be remembered for their incredible lack of foresight and vision.

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