Sunday 7 February 2021

Pathways in crisis - an appeal for action

In the year of the Covid lockdowns, we’ve seen walkers and cyclists  take to the many motor traffic free paths of Merton in unprecedented numbers in search of fresh air and exercise. But they’ve found their way hampered by overgrown vegetation, poor surfaces and bottle necks.

This issue was highlighted as early as 2012, and went unheeded by the Council, creating a crisis un-der Covid where motor traffic free public pathways offering the promise of physical and mental well-being are made uninviting by lack of maintenance and neglect. 

So that the full potential of existing motor-traffic-free shared-use routes can be fully unlocked and exploited Merton Council must start to prepare pathways for Spring 2021 now. MCC have prepared a report for Merton Council on the current state of some key paths, calling for action to be prioritised to make these pathways accessible to all for the welfare of all under Covid in 2021. The report has not highlighted the effect of obstructed pathways on the mobility impaired and vulnerable and the target must be that all public pathways are accessible to all.

To maximise the use of paths for promoting active lives for as many people as possible requires

  • Vegetation cut back 
  • Surface maintenance 
  • Surface construction 
  • Alleviation of bottlenecks 

With good husbandry, and good management from the beginning of 2021, public expectations can be met with attractive, clipped, clear, comfortable, coherent paths which meet the Council’s Policy commitments to Active Travel and promote an active life through cycling and walking.

How you can help 

Submit examples of overgrown vegetation, poor surfaces or bottlenecks to Publicspace [at] or for routine operational matters contact the maintenance service provider, idverde:  slwpenquiries [at]

Write to your ward Councillor with the same examples asking them to make sure that the Council takes action to ensure that everyone can safely share the space available to cyclists and walkers and make more journeys in these covid-secure ways. You can find your ward Councillor here. 

Cycle Buddies

 Our Cycle Buddies program is now live!