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Plans for new cycle routes along Regent’s Canal welcomed

13:00 17 December 2012

Regent's Canal towpath.

Regent's Canal towpath.

Archant

Cyclists and walkers have welcomed plans to ease congestion along Regent’s Canal by creating alternative cycle routes.

The canal’s towpath has become crowded because of the growth in commuter cycling with up to 500 cyclists per hour at hotspots during the daily commute.

Now the Canal and River Trust, which looks after the canal network, plans to provide safer and greener cycle routes as an alternative to the towpath.

The trust has appointed Rosie Tharp as strategic cycle routes coordinator who is responsible for creating new east to west routes similar to the route of the towpath and will work with Camden Council and neighbouring local authorities.

She said: “London’s canals are havens, a place to slow down and escape the noise of the city.

“At peak times, however, it gets very busy and some pedestrians and cyclists are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of commuter cyclists.

“I will be working with local boroughs and cyclists to develop better, safer road routes for commuters so those wanting to go fast can have a safe and attractive alternative to the towpath.”

James Brander, a committee member for Camden Cyclists, said: “We recognise that there are too many people trying to use the towpath.

“There are many cyclists who feel the towpath is too popular and if there were decent routes to act as an alternative, I think we would welcome that.”

Walkers who regularly use the towpath have also welcomed the trust’s plan.

Camden Market trader Narisa Potichaiya, 30, said: “Sometimes, it is a problem because the bikes can go really fast. Sometimes they go behind you and it is dangerous if they don’t ring their bell, as you don’t know they are coming.

“But where else could the cyclists go without causing a problem?”

Beautician Taylor Rakham, 19, added: “They nearly ran me over one time. I was looking in my bag for something and all these bikes came speeding up so I had to move onto the grass – it was dangerous.”

Cyclist Jaheeb Green, 30, a market trader, of King’s Cross, said: “It’s not a problem. You just ring your buzzer and it’s fine.

“It’s a walking and cycling passage, so we cyclists have to ring our bell and inform the people that we’re coming and then it’s not a problem.”

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