Monday, 21 November 2011

The riverside walkway under Lea Bridge Road

Back in the Spring, we did a posting about the work British Waterways were then about to do on the walkway under Lea Bridge Road to replace and upgrade it in time for the London 2012 games [Walkway upgrade]. As part of that work, British Waterway (BW) put LED lighting into the handrail. However, the walkway remains in darkness (we're not sure it ever worked). We think BW did a really good job improving the walkway, but it is a pity the lighting on the handrail isn't working, particularly as the nights are much longer now. It would certainly improve safety for both pedestrians and cyclists using the path in the evening / early morning. We've written to British Waterway to try to find out what the problem is and when it can be rectified. We'll let you know when we get a response.

Image credits: James Newton Photographs / DW Windsor Lighting D W Windsor Lighting


  1. LED lighting in the handrails is good in designating walkway/canal boundaries.But it still looks spooky to me as the walkway esentially remains in darkness. Surely in the interests of pedestrian safety and sense of security- and the Olympic experience - approach lighting at either end + overhead lighting under the bridge must be considered as part of the upgrade.

  2. The installation of illuminated handrail was a joint project by British Waterways and LB of Hackney, funded from the Olympic pot. Whilst pedestrian access along the towpath was a major consideration, so were the local bat population and wildlife on the river. The handrail overhangs the towpath to one side so it is right over the water. An asymmetric lens was used to ensure that light spill in to the water is limited as much as possible. The lens blocks light going to one side and redirects it to the area that you need it. Not only does this direct the light onto the path to make the route safer for pedestrians, it has much less impact on wildlife, including the nesting moorhens that have already made the new towpath their home. Equally important are the local bat population, feeding off the little bugs that come out close to the water at night. Anything above the handrail had to be in darkness so that it maintains a dark corridor for the bats to use the tunnel for their feeding route.


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