In a filmed report on the campaign by the Ramblers Association (with the support of Mayor Boris Johnson) to get Inner London Boroughs to produce a definitive map of all foot and cycle paths in their area, the BBC showed the rights of way between Old Dover and Charlton Roads, as an example of the consequences of the lack of such a map. Transport for London is willing to contribute to the cost of producing definitive maps.
Although the Council has repeatedly confirmed that rights of way exist on these paths, the comment of the Council on the report was that it was impossible to prove that a right of way existed on the route. Proof of the existence of such rights of way is indeed impossible without a definitive footpath map – which unlike every other borough in England and Wales outside Inner London, Greenwich has failed to produce. So the Thames Path and the Green Chain Walk are also unprotected in Greenwich.
The creation of a map would not in itself make the paths a right of way. Those who want them would have to make a case, and it would be possible for what the Council has described as the ‘illegally obstructed’ foot and cycle paths to be diverted to an alternative route quite separate from the estates, provided it was convenient and safe - for example for pupils of Invicta Primary school walking and cycling to school in accordance with Council policy; at present they are encouraged by the Council to go round the Standard Gyratory – where someone was tragically killed only last week. One possible route that has been proposed is a path cantilevered over the top of the A102M embankment. These foot and cycle rights of way have been described as 'a pivotal link' between several routes, which link the Olympic venues in Greenwich Park, Woolwich and the Dome/O2/North Greenwich Arena (as it is variously known).
London 2012 is promoting walking and cycling as key parts of its sustainable transport strategy. Encouraging and enabling spectators and workforce to walk or cycle to certain events for some or all of their trip will help to reduce the carbon impact of transport provision; provide a healthy journey option; create an additional sustainability experience for Games visitors; and assist in reducing demand for public transport in peak periods. The Olympic Delivery Authority is making investment in walking and cycling infrastructure to promote these transport modes for the Games.
What better candidate than filling the missing gap in the network between Old Dover and Charlton roads? The provision of an alternative to using the Standard gyratory would be a worthy legacy, and compensation for the problems the Olympics will bring to Blackheath.