Cycling Liaison Group – Time to Get Back to Basics?

The Cycling Liaison Group meets on 26th January at 7pm (details here). 

Delivering cycling on our borough really needs the council to work hard at it, so please come along if you can!

It’s been quite a while since we praised the tone of the new team, but also quite a while since very much happened. So this meeting we’ve got a bit of a shopping list of questions, and requests for information. 

Cycling Strategy

This one’s been brewing for over six months. Other boroughs have produced excellent strategies which reflect the importance and utility of good cycling to a borough [Sutton? Others] And a recent consultation on borough policies suggest that the new cycling strategy is going to include a proposed route network. 

Now having a strategy is really important, and we’d really like to see one that has some real meat. But we shouldn’t be waiting for it before we get on with things. 

Twickenham Riverside

The new plans for the Riverside don’t appear to have been very well received, based on some of the comments we saw. And it is rubbish for cycling. It really isn’t clear why the council is still putting together proposals that spend more time and space talking about parking cars than anything to do with cycling. 

We’ll be asking why this is the case: if the council honestly thinks that active travel should be a priority, then it needs to plan for this in the beginning of all these consultations, and not leave it as an afterthought. 

Parking

There’s already ample evidence that the borough lacks sufficient cycle parking. From Kew Gardens to Richmond Park, from Richmond town centre to Twickenham and Whitton, there aren’t enough spaces to park bikes. Even if you do decide to go by bike, your chances of finding somewhere safe and unobstructed to park can be terrible.

We’ll be asking why parking is not just an ongoing activity – it’s not like it’s that hard to identify where it’s needed. After all, we’ve given the council enough suggestions in the past. 

(And we’ll also be asking why bike parking isn’t in every new plan that comes out of the council, and always gets offered “will be included in detailed planning”.)

Money

We know the council doesn’t like spending its own money on cycling – it has to ask TfL for this (through thing like the LIP programme). Instead, councillors keep trying to voncince us that money spent on roads maintenance has a substantial benefit for cycling.

While this is true – because no-one likes cycling through potholes – we should be very clear that not a single road in Richmond has been resurfaced or repaired just to make cycling nicer.

Trials

We keep asking the council if they’re going to try any trials. Other boroughs have demonstrated clearly – as at Tavistock Place [others] that for a small amount of money it’s possible to trial new ideas, to establish whether they’re going to be beneficial for the borough. Indeed, two years ago, Richmond was lined up to try an ‘all ways green’ junction. Which still hasn’t happened. 

What’s Going On?

Every time the council touches a road or a pavement, that’s a chance to do something to make the borough a better place to be on a bike. Whether it’s fixing a dropped kerb, improving an advanced stop line, or making a corner more forgiving. Yet we’re passing up these opportunities again and again. 

Quiet Routes

This isn’t one we asked about directly, but now features in their agenda. We suggested some detailed material for this a while ago, so we’ll be interested to see what the council has managed to put together.

And just for fun, we’ve asked the council if they can tell us what they think they’ve done for cycling in the last five years. Because we don’t think it’s very much … a few cycle stands, some new cans of Dulux on re-surfaced roads … 

Ride that Olympic Legacy! (Or “Don’t, actually.”)

We’ve been asking members what to talk to the council about at the Cycling Liaison Group. And since it’s an Olympic year, one member has asked us to investigate just what the legacy has been.

He wrote:

“We should remind the councilors that we are now in an Olympic year, and four years after cycling went through our borough there has been NO OLYMPIC LEGACY.

Don’t let them fob us off with blah-blah about educating children etc. My children won’t dare cycle in central Richmond. There are NO new cycling lanes in the centre of the town.

They will talk about Twickenham – as they have in emails to me – but Richmond has had nothing, except a dead cyclist on the A316.

It’s an utter disgrace, as Central London forges ahead with cycling lanes and designated, protected routes.

We should make them understand that Richmond’s children are not safe on Richmond’s roads, and the failure to protect kids (rather than protect bus routes and cars through the town centre) will bring multiple consequences, not least on our health budget, as our kids choose NOT to cycle.

But really, we must nail them on the lack of an Olympic legacy. On some of the very streets the cyclists rode on there are no cycle lanes.

And when there are? Look at the road going over the railway lines at the back of Richmond station –a road with a cycle lane that is 18 inches wide at one point.

Shame. And I’m a car driver, as well as a cyclist.”

 

You can see this post from our Rides coordinator, written just after the Olympics, hoping for a legacy. And with a bit of digging you can find the lacklustre ambition to make 7.5% of journeys in Richmond by bike when we get to 2026 (see p92 of the ‘second Local Implementation Plan’, hosted on this page). Based on current progress, we probably won’t even reach that poor target.

Rides for Explorers – 10th January – Box Hill

Meet Twickenham Riverside – by Eel Pie bridge 10.00.

Our traditional post-turkey jaunt. On/off road quiet route to Box Hill then a steady climb to the viewpoint and lunch in NT Cafe at the top (as the pub we used to patronise is now a trendy wine-bar). Enjoy  a switchback descent taking us most of the way home. About 40 miles in total. Better bring lights but expect to get back before 4.

Route

Looks OK for Sunday but there has been so much rain recently that the commons will be very muddy. May have to grit teeth and go out by Hook Rd (back by normal route).

IMG_20160110_122433040Both the people who said they were coming cancelled and no-one turned up on spec but as it was a decent day I did the ride anyway.

Hook Rd isn’t too bad , on a Sunday morning anyway, and I got to the top of Box Hill by 11.30. The usual bicycle crush. On the way back checked the refreshment van on Headley Common ( second instalment of lunch ) – will be operating every Sunday so may be a useful lunch stop. Back in the Borough by 1.30.

Paul – rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

 

Hampton Hill Proposal – a local writes …

Local Jo Stead, who works in public health and active travel, wrote this excellent response to the council’s Hampton Hill proposal:

I would to take the opportunity to respond to the draft plans for the Hampton Hill uplift

As you will be aware the greatest issue that the High Street faces is the poor behaviour of individuals who choose to drive and park with little consideration for those who are walking and cycling. This is particularly terrifying for those of us with young families trying to bring them up to be active and environmentally responsible.

I was disappointed to see the on-pavement parking in the plan – failing to leave room for door opening risking the life of people riding past on their bikes. Having this parking is going to lead to ongoing poor behaviour of people queuing to use this parking and driving erratically and dangerously to get a space, rather than encouraging people to use the mainly empty car park behind Tesco. I also couldn’t see anything about bringing in parking charges for on street parking or the car park by Bushy Park.

I was extremely disappointed to see that the very narrow pavement outside the row of shops (by Snellers) is not being widened – currently it is not possible for someone with a buggy or young child on a scooter/ bike to safely pass another person as the lanes are so narrow,with wing mirrors over hanging the pavement. I can’t understand why you haven’t proposed a single carriage way with a bike lane and wider pavement. By having the traffic lights phased for individual streams of traffic (4-way) would stop any issues with people turning right and would likely make the traffic flow through faster. In addition to vastly increasing the quality of life for those of us trying to encourage our families to travel actively.

You will also continue to perpetuate the issues with the right turn onto park road where cars/delivery trucks park on the yellow lines back to the lights so buses etc can’t get through – if you also made that section of park road where there is on road parking single carriage way (with the traffic light phased as a 4way) then buses and the many HGVs could get through without backing traffic up the High Street.

I would like to bring my daughter up in a community where I am happy with her cycling/walking/scooting to school, the shops and around the community, which I am not at the moment. When I talk to other families that is what they would like to. They drive because it is easy, convenient and because they are afraid to let their families cycle etc. It is so disappointing that the council isn’t proactivelylooking to change this behaviour by making it easier and safer for families to travel actively.

Studies show that changing design to change transport modes towards cycling and walking increases local retail custom rather than decreasing it. In additional to the overwhelming evidence that it is being better for community cohesion and health.

Also you don’t appear to have considered the impact on local roads – Burtons, Park, Windmill and others all need to be 20mph, have better crossings (Park in particular) and have residential parking to prevent people parking on road ends and making it more dangerous for people walking cycling.

Working in public health nationally this short sightedness makes me so cross. It’s contrary to all the evidence of what needs to happen.

I hope very much that you will take these issues on pavement width and the need for making it safer for cycling on the road (currently teenagers are cycling on the pavement even the very narrow ones to and from school to avoid the roads.)

I look forward to seeing updated plans and your response. I hope that the council is able to maximise this opportunity for our families’ future.

Our stance on Richmond Park

We had a lively meeting in November to discuss where RCC stand on Richmond Park.  This is the output which represents RCC’s desires for the Park.  RCC will campaign for this since we believe it will improve the park for all vulnerable users.

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  • Recognise park users should have priority as follows.  Pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, motor vehicles.
  • Encourage all to respect wildlife.
  • Promote responsible cycling, whether as a mode of transport or for leisure.
  • Campaign for the reduction of through motor traffic with the aim of creating safer and more comfortable conditions for pedestrians and bicycles.
  • Recognise that there is adequate space for cycling with current park infrastructure if it were shared more equitably.  (reduce through motor traffic)
  • Campaign for pedestrian and cyclist priority at all points where the Tamsin trail crosses roads.
  • Campaign for more dedicated space for cycling across borough roads, recognising that this will reduce pressure on the Park’s resources.

Hampton Hill Uplift – £1.8m paving slabs.

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After a rather vague public consultation LBRUT have come up with a not very cunning plan. The public were concerned about traffic and the condition of the footway but the council gone for the easy part and put in lots of granite paving slabs.

On the plus side there will be a 20mph limit , parking bays will be inset ( so cyclists don’t feel obliged to go in and out around parked vehicles and access to the park will (somehow) be made easier. There will be a toucan crossing but with no links to anywhere. Cycle parking is a detail to be added where there is room.

I have put together a response – Response to Hampton Hill Uplift

I am happy to amend this in the light of your comments but need to send it in later this week.

Also feel free to put in individual responses.

Paul

Plan my village!

The council is consulting on the Village Plan ‘Supplementary Planning Documents’ for St. Margarets, Richmond, and East Twickenham. As usual, cycling is not being treated as a mode of transport, but as – at best – recreational activity. 

Richmond Cycling Campaign would like to see the village plans include clearly stated requirements for cycle parking provision in all new developments. The London Plan (see here) includes clear guidelines around cycle parking and new developments, and we believe this should be included in the village plans. 

2013.08.09-LB-Hackney-Mowll-St-1-6-Cleveland-House cars parked on street londonneurWhich one looks better to you? Images from @londonneur and @cyclehoop

We also believe that emphasis needs to be given to modes of transport other than the car. The village plans should seek to encourage people to walk and cycle around their villages where possible, rather than driving, and should actively consider key routes through any village that could better support cycling as an option. 

Off-road parking is clearly a significant concern in almost all the village plans. We believe that one option to combat at least part of this i to provide families, in particular, with less need to have a car so close by at all times. This is not an ‘anti-car’ proposal, it’s a pro-choice proposal. For too many journeys in the borough the basic choice for getting around is by car. Yet children tell us again and again they want to use their bikes, and evidence from across the Channel in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, we know that families can happily choose to cycle, where a suitable place is provided to do so.

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Can’t we have more of this?

And the parking of cars on front garden spaces, and removal of front walls to do so, is discouraged throughout the village plans. One of the key (and entirely reasonable) grounds is that it is deeply unsightly. Yet the village plans fail to observe that, perhaps, residential roads where one can barely access pavements due to parked cars are just as unsightly. Even persuading one household in 10 to travel around the borough by bicycle and foot would make a massive difference to this.

Better support for cycling delivers against a range of development goals for the council, and these should be recognised with the village SPDs – supporting residents to lead a healthier lifestyle, lowering the volumes of air-borne pollution in the area, and making our roads quieter, safer places. 

How to find a way not to do something

Twenty’s Plenty for Barnes

20mphRoundel100x100The council is planning a 20 mph consultation in Barnes.  It is worth opening the consultation (here) to have a good laugh at the outrageous hurdles the council puts in place in an attempt to get away with doing nothing. Here’s a flowchart one of our members made a while ago – it looks like they’re following it to the letter. No 20mph for Richmond

 

Traffic speeds are already sufficiently low to allow 20 mph to be put in place eh?  What a cop out?  Surely 20 mph should be put in areas where speeds are too high!   51% of people that live on the street have to agree.  Our elected officials know how hard it is to get 51% of the vote – none of them can manage it even when there’s a general election on the same ballot paper.

It feels like these hurdles have been set so that they can get away with doing nothing.  Let’s prove them wrong by responding, even if you don’t live in the targeted area it is important to show support from across the borough, if this scheme goes through it will be contagious and we’ll be on the road to a 20 mph borough where walking and cycling journeys are safer and more pleasant.

Zac's survey 'Why don't you cycle?"

In Zac’s cycling survey many people said they wanted to cycle more but won’t because it does not feel safe.  20 mph makes areas feel safer and it makes them actually safer, at 30 mph 1 in 5 will die in a collision.  At 20 mph 1 in 40 will die.

We think that the area targeted should be made 20 mph even if 51% of the vote is not achieved.  More than a quarter of roads in London are already 20 mph with that number increasing all the time.  In Richmond it’s less than 5%. Does Richmond council care about making our roads feel safer?  Write and ask them.

tfl-outlines-new-sites-for-potential-20mph-speed-limits

Nearby Hammersmith and Fulham recently had 71% support via consultation for a borough wide 20 mph scheme.  Richmond upon Thames is really starting to look like it is stuck in the 1970’s a 30 mph island in a 20 mph sea.  The Mayor gets it, he wants 10 000 fewer road casualties by the end of the decade and that will be achieved in part with TfL’s 20 mph zones.  It doesn’t seem like RUT want to contribute to that reduction, because they make it so difficult to get 20 mph streets.

Our response is below- please write to the council and tell them to make this happen!

  • The area targeted should be made 20 mph even if 51% of the vote is not achieved.  >25% of roads in London are already 20 mph with that number increasing all the time.
  • The area should be expanded to include Lonsdale Road.  There are several schools on this road, it is a popular cycle commuting route to Hammersmith station and car speeds are typically closer to 40 mph than the stated 30 mph.  Make it 20 and make people stick to it.
  • Washington Road – RCC welcome the consideration to protect cyclists from right turning vehicles, this is a step towards a creative scheme to reduce rat running traffic, but why not make it cover the entire consultation area.  Investigate how vehicle movements planning can be combined with filtered permeability to make the entire area more liveable and encourage short journeys on bicycle.  Design the streets so that they can be accessed by all but not used as a rat run. There is an existing filtered permeability treatment at Boileau and Lonsdale which could be used as a model for the rest of the consultation area.
  • Many Richmond parents drive their children to school as they think it’s too dangerous for them to walk or cycle, this is a great chance to link the schools of Barnes and use this as a model for the rest of the borough

Filtered permSo please head along to the consultation page here, and tell the council that 20′s plenty. You can also email them directly at highwaysandtransport@richmond.gov.uk