Murky Depths

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Greenwich

Visiting the “Greenwich High Line” walkway – aka The Tide

This post has been brewing a while but kept getting pushed back. Thinking about it I suppose it’s because I’m in two minds about just what The Tide in Greenwich turned out to be – a rather short elevated walkway that opened last month on the east side of Greenwich Peninsula.

Angles. All about the angles

A lot of that is my own fault. For whatever reason, I expected it to be more extensive than it actually is despite following progress since the beginning and writing up on it numerous times.

In reality it’s really quite limited in scope and offers none of the drama of New York’s High Line – though that was never a fair comparison.

More of that in a bit, but firstly a look at a real positive of the wider scheme that includes the walkway. The entire project went by the name P5K – with The Tide only one element of a five kilometre running track not yet finished.

It could be because I had that 5k figure that I expected the walkway to have a longer elevated section. But anyway, the riverside path has seen public realm upgrades and they are a real success in places.

These benches were empty when I took this snap but granted it wasn’t the best time. A very heavy shower was just about the soak the area and winds were gusty. When the sun is out they’ve been well used.

Developments around Canning Town seen from the river’s edge

Unfortunately a car and coach park is to be built directly next to this site which wont help your lungs whilst watching the boats float on by.

Two factors are behind this; developer Knight Dragon have pretty much halted starts on any new homes planned in this area so this spot will be vacant for some time. Secondly, Silvertown Tunnel construction is to take over part of the current car and coach parking and it’ll be moving here. Yay.

Head past this section and we reach the cable car which was out of action due to winds, then towards the main square outside the o2 and onto The Tide.

All very grey

By this point the rain had started with big summer dollops of water coming down. Almost everyone scarpered. I walked towards the river’s edge past a lift that had already broken.

The walkway heads through Jubilee Line vents

What is it with new lifts?

The walk passes through ventilation shafts so anyone who fancies a whiff of Jubilee Line can head here and indulge.

This entire project came in for a battering in The Guardian in an article titled “London’s answer to the High Line? You must be joking” and in comparison it is lacking – though it was always going to.

I was lucky enough to go on New York’s High Line almost a decade ago after stage one was completed and work ongoing for further phases. It was wonderful.

New York – unfinished when I visited

You could visit it 100 times and not tire of the walk as it weaves under, over and through all manner of urban life and spectacular views and buildings.

Viewing area on NY High Line

In Greenwich one visit is enough for most. When it becomes part of the running track the they’ll be repeat visitors but only as a place to jog through rather than stop and relax.

But again I’m comparing it to New York which is unfair given the varied and dramatic urban layout already in place.

Knight Dragon blocks – dull

Still, even comparing contemporary architecture surrounding the area in Greenwich, Knight Dragon’s dull blocks are nothing compared to New York’s new builds:

Spot the similarity to One New Change. Jean Nouvel’s equivalent in NY

That could all change when the Design District opens which will bring colour and variety.

And hopefully it will, as even removing those New York comparisons it doesn’t really do anything or offer a great deal.

Ultimately The Tide in Greenwich is nice enough. No more than that. It’s OK. Far from spectacular. Nowhere near interesting enough to enter tourist guides of things to do in London. And yet it feels like it could have been.

And another thing that could have been spectacular was Santiago Calatrava’s new transport interchange – but Knight Dragon pulled the plug on that last month.

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1 Comment

  1. tony g

    I’ve been on it… it is very strange I think there’s something odd about an elevated walkway that elevates you above a pedestrianised zone? Also the statue at the end is ghastly. Seems a bit of a mess there now

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