The Olympic Games authorities have announced the temporary closure of another key section of off-road cycle route that would have allowed the cycling public easier access to the Olympic Park.
The news that a section of towpath along the River Lee – expressly improved in advance of the Olympics – is to close comes on top of the fact that the Elevated Greenway, another route overhauled especially for the games, is to be closed during them.
Apparently acting under police instructions, the games authorities will close the River Lee towpath between Homerton Road in Hackney and Bow roundabout in Tower Hamlets. Unspecified 'security reasons' are cited as the reason for the closures and it seems likely the closure will last from May to September, though this has to be confirmed.
The towpath is used by commuters as an alternative to nearby busy roads, so it seems likely the closure will push cyclists onto the cycling superhighway leading to Bow roundabout, where two cyclists were killed in 2011. However, Transport for London have promised a redesign of this junction before the Olympics.
The original forecast was for 385,000 spectators to attend the games on foot or by cycle and the Olympic Delivery Authority confirmed it would spend at least £11.5million on improving the capital's cycle and walking network to cater for them.
However, the £7.5million Elevated Greenway, on an embankment from Beckton in Newham to Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets, initially touted as carrying a fifth of visitors to the games, is also to close on the section that crosses the Olympic Park and immediately either side of it.
The Olympic Park’s own website travel section still claims to provide ‘a purpose-built and easily accessible centre stage for the Games. However, cyclists arriving at the Olympic Park should note that bicycles are on the list of banned items that cannot be taken into the Park area itself for the duration of the Games.
Details of the closed routes can be found here.