Help us ask for Russell School to be the best of the best!

Another school in the borough is up for expansion, and goes to planning soon. We don’t think the council does enough to support schools to get children walking and cycling to school, so this Friday we’re doing a petition at the Russell School in Ham.

The Russell is moving to three form entry – another 210 children when it’s full – and is being extensively remodeled to support this. We think that what the council has done at two other schools recently to support additional children shows clearly just how little they’re really prepared to do to support active travel.

For example, the Vineyard School has recently started its build to add an additional form of entry, bringing it to a peak of over 600 children and dozens of staff. When the school appeared in front of the planning committee, their key concern was around the effects that school drop off will have on traffic in the area, and they therefore required school staff to spend valuable time supervising drop-offs and pick-ups.

And more recently at Stanley School – also significantly expanded – the council removed the cycle lane altogether, forcing children to walk and cycle in the same small space at peak times. Whilst the old cycle lane at Stanley might have been less than ideal, it didn’t create conflict by having children cycle past buggies and families.

When schools do expansion, the council seems not to think about how it might improve the environment around the schools to make active travel a nicer option.

We think schools in the morning should look more like this

Cycling to school, Dutch style (from “A view from the cycle path”)

and less like this:

Perhaps not the most typical school run …

We think that council officials need to see this all a bit more holistically: when you’re re-modelling the school, you should think carefully about how to make the school an easy place to get to, and what needs to be done to the environment around the school. A school has a huge part to play in trying to persuade children and families to choose options like walking and cycling. But we can’t ask primary staff to encourage cycling to school when that means asking children to share busy roads with large vehicles. It isn’t the school’s responsibility to design its own roads and transport! 

So in Friday we’re going to be asking current parents at Russell School to sign a petition to Richmond Council to make sure that the new school site is a great place to walk to and to cycle to, and not just build yet another school site that people only cycle to because they’re prepared to try to shepherd their loved ones on a busy road.

Come along and join us, or drop us an email 

Rides for Explorers – 5th October – Woodlands to Polsden Lacy

A variant of our favourite Bookham ride as the pub there has become less welcoming.

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Meet at Twickenham Riverside 10.00. We head out across Bushy Park and through Thames Ditton to Littleworth Common and Ardbrook Common to reach Cobham. Crossing the Mole we follow lanes to Bookham Common and up to to NT cafe outside of Polsden Lacy. On the way home we add Oxshott Common and Claygate woods.

37 miles mostly away from the traffic.

Route

If interested email Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Rides for Everyone – 18th October – Crane and Hanworth Parks

 

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A favourite park and a new (to cycling) park.

Meet Strawberry Hill station 10.40.  We take our usual route to Crane Park,  which should be showing the first of the autumn colours, but after passing the Nature Reserve cross to the Airparks Leisure Centre for coffee. We then explore the newly created shared use paths across Hanworth Park before returning to the station through Hampton Hill.

About 8 miles , flat and mostly off-road.

Route

If interested email Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Rides for Everyone – 16th August – Apple Picking

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Garsons Farm has new season Discovery Apples for picking. This makes a pleasant 40 minute ride in each direction. Thinking of leaving from Teddington station 10am but could do an afternoon ride if people prefer.

Just 2 of us again but an enjoyable ride on a bright day. As an attempt to promote utility cycling – fail.

If interested email Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Space for Cycling in Richmond – more councillors sign up.

More and more councillors are writing to us and to local residents to support the ward asks we chose before the election. s4c asks Since the new administration was elected we have had confirmation from Peter Buckwell, Geoff Acton, Jean Loveland and Penny Frost that they support the specific ‘asks’ in their wards of Ham Petersham and Richmond Riverside, South Richmond, and St Margarets and North Twickenham.

Also, we’ve heard from Brian Marcel, who we also met last week, about his support for a safe route from Sheen Gate to Mortlake Station. So we’re hopeful that cycling in the borough is looking up this year.

And a new cycling champion has been appointed – Councillor Jean Loveland, who has already come along to a ride organised to look at the ward ask in Ham, to create a safe route from Ham to Richmond. Finally, Richmond Cycling Campaign met councillors last week to discuss how we can move forward in a more productive way than with the last administration. All of this is still just words on a page, but we’re hopeful that at a time when more avoidable deaths and injuries are happening in London and in our borough, we can start making Richmond a great place to cycle.

If you haven’t seen it yet, pop along to the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain to see a post on what we agree a great cycling facility should look like

An open letter to Darren Johnson

On Friday, Darren Johnson is coming to Richmond to see what cycling is like here, so we’ve put together an open letter to him about using a bicycle in our borough.

Dear Darren,

Welcome to Richmond. Ours is a borough of extensive green spaces – like the marvellous Richmond Park – and we straddle the river Thames.

This is how we ride in Richmond ...

This is how we ride in Richmond …

But despite the green spaces, the busy town centres, and the significant growth in primary school numbers, we’re still a borough who don’t really like to encourage cycling by providing somewhere safe to do so.

And the recent, tragic death of Henry Lang, at Richmond Circus, is a reminder of just how far there is to go. This happened at a section of road and cycle way which is emblematic of cycling conditions in the borough. If you were driving along the A316 from just before Pools on the Park to Lower Mortlake Road, then you’d have to stop at up to three separate junctions. If you were choosing to use a bicycle, and the cycle lane, and were on the same route, you might have to stop on ten separate occasions to travel the same distance. (And that doesn’t include a junction we’ve previously called ‘the most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond’.)

Richmond Council will tell you that the A316 is part of the ‘Transport for London Road Network’ (TLRN) and is therefore not something that can be sorted out by borough engineers. If they say that, you could always ask them why Mini-Holland bid money was spent on the A316 rather than – for example – making the two lane highway through the centre of Richmond a nice place for families to arrive by bike.

You could also ask them why the last time they did anything for cycling, it involved a big pot of Dulux and a ruler, and the statement that “There are many examples where advisory cycle lanes of less than 1.50 metres [that] provide a safe and convenient facility for cyclists” (pdf) to create a laughable cycle lane which ends just before you need it, crossing Richmond Bridge.

Families ride together in Richmond. On the pavement, of course.

Families ride together in Richmond. On the pavement, of course.

But if you really want to know about cycling in the borough, just look at how much effort has gone into Twickenham – and how much TfL money – for some wider pavements. Richmond Cycling has spent enormous effort to try to help councillors and council engineers understand what might encourage cycling, but our appeals have fallen on deaf ears:  Twickenham is going to carry on being a great place to drive through, and a terrible place either to arrive by bike, or to get through by bike.

How we use the A305 cycle lane. Or 'spot the bike'

How we use the A305 cycle lane. Or ‘spot the bike’

So, Darren – welcome to our borough, it’s a real shame that there’s so little positive news we can offer you.

Sincerely,

Richmond Cycling Campaign

Kew Road could get a toucan, what about Kew Green?

What do you do when you’ve got a zebra crossing where pedestrians don’t get injured, but the traffic goes too fast, and you’ve got a busy junction further along with lots of incidents of all types?

Well obviously, you plan to spend £125,000 on a new crossing for the pedestrian junction where people drive too fast. That’s what Richmond is about to do. Engineers are proposing to spend this on changing the Lion Gate Gardens zebra – whose accident stats look like this (DfT page is here)richmond-upon-thamesand there’s no plan to deal with the much less pleasant junction with the South Circular, where all sorts of things seem to be going on (the blue numbers show there are too many incidents in one space to show each one …)

South Circular incidents

 

The council has been consulting back and forth on this since January, yet doesn’t seem to be asking basic questions like:

  • Which junctions are most dangerous?
  • For whom are they most dangerous?
  • How can I make this a pleasant place to be a cyclist or pedestrian?

We think this consultation is flawed, the process behind it is flawed, and the analysis that leads to spending such a large sum of money on something that is statistically likely to make very little difference to the people involved is poor.

Will the decision get through cabinet? Maybe so, but we’re probably not the only organisation in the borough who could think of better ways to spend £125,000 on making things better for walking ….

Feeder for Ride London ; 9th August.

This summer’s Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle on Saturday 9 August offers a brilliant opportunity to get the whole family together to experience the fun and freedom of cycling around an 10-mile traffic-free route in central London. The route features many of the capital’s world-famous landmarks, from Buckingham Palace in the west to the Tower of London in the east via the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s. London’s greatest sights will create an inspiring backdrop for a memorable day of cycling.

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We ride to the ride meeting Richmond Little Green at 9.30. A team of experienced marshals will shepherd less experienced riders through Putney and Battersea Park to Parliament Square returning from the same place at 3.00 pm.

Route

We had a sizeable contingent if not, perhaps, the 150 who had registered. All were safely delivered to Parliament Square at around 11.30 – slow average speed is what happens with large groups. A smaller group cycled home at 3 but all had enjoyed the bright breezy day. There were a few problems – for which I bear responsibility – but we all got safely home thanks to the efforts of the team of volunteer marshals.

Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Rides for Everybody – Saturday 14th June – Osterley Park

Palaces of West London

Meet Richmond Little Green by theatre at 10.00am.

We Cross the Thames and pass through the grounds of Sion House before heading up the Grand Union Canal to Norwood Green. A country lane takes us into the wide spaces of Osterley Park where we enjoy coffee in the stables before passing the mansion on the way home. About 10 miles, quiet with some slopes. Should be back around 12 ish.

osterley 001osterley 002Just 3 of us enjoyed this ride and were surprised by some unusual cladding at Brentford.

route

It would be useful if you could let me know if you are thinking of coming,

Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk