London Greenways is a project that aims to increase green circulation in the city before the beginning of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, by improving and multiplying walking and cycling routes through the capital's parks, green spaces and non-congested streets - thus developing an entire network of green routes.
Articulated and funded by Transport for London as well as other bodies like Sustrans, The London Boroughs and The Olympics Delivery Authority, the project started in 2005 and was virtually completed this last October 2011. Eight green routes have been improved, all connecting the Olympic Park to other nodes of the city including Lee Valley Regional Park, Epping Forest, Beckton, the Isle of Dogs, Limehouse Basin, Islington, Finsbury Park, Hackney and Greenwich and all making their way through green or green-friendly spaces. In addition, 7000 parking spaces have been created for bikes in the Olympic Park. The project comes as an answer to the expected one million commutes that will be made every day to attend the games, by encouraging commuters to travel by foot or bicycle towards the venues.
Although the original purpose is to allow better circulation during the Games, the project has the more general intention of creating long-term green commuting for Londoners as well. Greener ways are expected to be taken on a daily basis to go to work, school and shopping stores among other activities of daily life. In fact, in addition to the Olympics-related green routes, over a hundred plans were made to develop cycling and walking routes across London. These include improvement of signage, paving, junctions, road surfaces and other engineering enhancement works as well as the creation of new routes, signalized crossings and cyclist and pedestrian bridges. The findings gathered so far by the developers are that there has been increasingly more people who, although do not usually walk or cycle, started taking up those green routes to move around, including to go to work.
Inspired by the athletic energy of the Olympics, the 10-million-pound project will create a whole network of healthier commute for Londoners and at the same time save the environment, reduce motorized traffic and decrease overcrowding on public transport.