A 5 km running track, coined the P5K, is proposed for the perimeter of the Greenwich Peninsula. Developer Knight Dragon is working with placemaking agency FutureCity, whose work includes the Slipstream sculpture at Heathrow and the Crossrail Culture Line, to develop a monumental, sculptural running track concept. In partnership with engineers Price and Myers, branding guru Andrew Missingham and Nike Foundation, the team tested the idea of a sculptural ribbon, which would entwine in and around the new Peninsula development and in some cases soar out over the Thames.
The track, much of will wrap around the Thames Path, is outlined in concept in Greenwich Peninsula's 2015 Masterplan, which received outline planning permission in September 2015. P5K is featured as a landmark landscape feature in its own right. A network of parks and riverside spaces will create routes for walking, cycling and jogging along the 'sculptural' running track.
An international renowned artist will take a lead role to champion the conceptualisation, design development and fabrication of the proposed track and associated features. It will create a distinct ‘freeflowing’ circuit connecting key assets and forms part of a network of public spaces including the extended waterfront and central park.
The concept is perhaps best realised in Knight Dragon's most recent CGIs (published February 2016) of the Upper Riverside development, which show a partly elevated track running along the riverside past North Greenwich pier. The section shown below runs through the proposed Waterfront Square, which will extend the existing Peninsula Square towards the riverside. This section of the Thames Path is likely to be redeveloped by 2020, when construction of the five Upper Riverside buildings is scheduled to complete. Waterfront Square will form part of a multi-layer riverfront promenade that includes a new, sculptural shaped, free-standing ticket office for the Thames Clipper.
It's not clear where the P5K track might be elevated, other than the NE-SW section where it is likely to cross the new landscaped bridge that is proposed to cross Millennium Way. It will also span the southbound A102 and Tunnel Avenue and will link Greenwich North Underground/Bus Station with New Meridian Quays Park to the west.
Parts of the track are said to be elevated and are most likely inspired by New York City's Highline and Chicago's Bloomingdale Trail (The 606). The 606, currently under construction, is a multi-use recreational trail and park along an elevated, unused rail line. The renders below show show running and biking paths, alongside seating and park space, on The 606.
During consultation with stakeholders, prior to submission of the 2015 Masterplan, the Design Council (CABE) questioned how the proposed running track would be achieved in practice, saying they "do not think running track is buildable in a convincing fashion without inelegant support devices and clunky railings". Greenwich Peninsula responded saying: "full details of the design of the running track are not yet submitted and the comment is carefully noted for subsequent Zonal Masterplan phases where this detail design issue arises".
It remains to be seen how developer Knight Dragon and its partners intend to create the complete running track in a sleek and unobstrutive way. Where and how will it be elevated? How will pedestrians, runners and cyclists - and driverless pods - compete for space in an increasingly dense development site?