Local Elections – Call your Candidates!

Here’s what we’ve written to the leaders of all the parties in Richmond’s up-coming elections.

Can you contact your candidate and ask them? Use this link!

And if you’d like to know more about what a great Liveable Neighbourhood is, LCC & Living Streets have put these excellent documents together.

Liveable London banner

Dear Councillors and candidates,

London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets are urging you to support better walking and cycling in our borough.

The borough already has some of the best stats for ‘people who at least cycle occasionally’ in the whole of London, as well as a good modal share of cycling (at 7%), compared to many outer London boroughs. You may also have seen the recent data from TfL showing just how many journeys are walkable or cyclable, based on their distance.

For too long, we’ve focused the borough’s energies on making it easier to drive a car – we think it’s about time the focus became ‘easier to walk and cycle’. The ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ ask from LCC and Living Streets is that we commit to a bid which does this. It’s all TfL money, so it’s not even something we need to pay for – but the only way we get the money is by showing real commitment.

To our thinking, almost as important as the fact that we don’t need to find this money ourselves in these tough times, is the strong emphasis from TfL that public consultation is crucial. The TfL Liveable Neighbourhoods plans include a specific allocation for public engagement, and for making the case for walking and cycling.

But as well as the Liveable Neighbourhoods bid, we’re asking you, as prospective councillors, to speak out about all the benefits of walking and cycling. We know from more than five years of consultations in this borough and across London that projects like this struggle badly if local councillors and officials don’t understand or don’t support measures for walking and cycling.

Great cycling facilities enable everyone to cycle, so please take the time to look at the documents LCC and LN have prepared, and think about how you can help make our borough a better place for everyone.

Sincerely.
Borough Coordinator, Richmond Cycling

Rides for Explorers : Surrey Heathland : Sunday 8th April

Fairoaks

Meet Twickeham Riverside by Eel Pie island bridge 10.30.

We head up the Thames to Chertsey  and then up into the hills as far as Chobham Common. We have lunch at the “Hangar Cafe” at Fairoaks Airport before enjoying a downhill section to Weybridge and so home.

35 miles and a bit hilly.

Route

Nine of us met up on a cloudy Twickenham Riverside. By the time we were going through Hampton the rain started and continual light rain fell on us essentially all day. To be positive the rain washed out any pollution out of the atmosphere and the fresh air and exercise were a lot better than sitting indoors looking gloomily out at the rain.

The Hangar cafe provided excellent coffee and sandwiches and yummy cakes. We didn’t hang about and were back in Twickenham by 2.30.

Rides for Everyone : Park and Riverside Saturday 17th March

ham 006aMeet Teddington Station west side 10.15.

We go through Bushy Park to Hampton Court – watch out for Daffodils  and then follow the Thames back to Teddington . More than half the ride off-road but decent surfaces. Coffee break en-route. Flat 8 miles so back by 12ish depending on how long we spend over coffee.

Route

Snowed off in March !!

If interested please email Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Quietway Consultation Response

This is our response to the Ham Quietway (QW1) consultation
Y
ou can see the drawings in this PDF. We urge you to make your own response: you can fill in the questionnaire, or email the council team directly at highwaysandtransport@richmond.gov.uk

Richmond Cycling Campaign generally supports the changes proposed in this consultation, but we have specific concerns which we think need to be addressed in order to maximise the appeal of this route to people who cycle now, or who are considering it.

Taking the individual sections:
Ham Gate to Upper Ham Road
At 2.5m this is probably a minimum width to be shared between walking and cycling, and we predict that on busy days there will be conflict between the two modes because of the width.
The entrance to the park is also a potential area for conflict, as the design seems to suggest cycling joins the main road at this point.
The priority for this path over the driveways and crossings on the route is a very welcome change for the borough, and should benefit both walking and cycling.

At the traffic lights at the end of Ham Gate Avenue, we feel this is a poor experience for people cycling and walking. The design offers low capacity for these movements. It also requires someone cycling from the park to make two movements, whereas a driver needs only to make one. The design to then join Ham Common provides a very real likelihood that waiting traffic will block this junction, making it even harder to cross the road.

Fundamentally, if Ham Common is good enough to cycle on, then so is Ham Gate Avenue. If Ham Gate Avenue isn’t appropriate for cycling, then neither is Ham Common.

Even if we accepted the proposed movement, the designed turn from Ham Common onto the cycle route has extremely low capacity if – as is likely – someone arrives with a family, a cargo bike, or any other larger cycle. Again, conflict is being designed in if this route is used by the volumes we are hoping for.

Once on Ham Common, we welcome the change in design at Martingales Close, which provides a significantly better pedestrian experience. We are concerned that there are no parking changes on this road, however, because the volume of traffic here and the parking on alternate sides makes for a needlessly complex cycling environment which will especially deter less experienced and younger cyclists.

Risks around traffic volume persist on Lock Road. Although potentially suitable by volume and designed speed (20mph), this has some features – such as the speed cushions and build outs – which have a likelihood of causing conflict: we’d like to see some more analysis of how to make sure cycling gets clear priority in this area.

We applaud the proposed changes to the Broughton Avenue / Hardwicke Road crossings, as likely to make this significantly more inviting to cycling.

Similarly, the widening of the more obvious crossing is also a welcome change which we think will make a real difference to people cycling in the area.

Cycling Liaison Group – An Emasculated Quietway?

Richmond is going to get dockless hire bikes, but won’t get the full planned quietway. 14 separate roads are being lined up for contraflow cycling, North Sheen station will get a cycling channel on its bridge, the A316 quietway-or-superhighway-or-something-else isn’t going to happen any time soon, Twickenham Stadium will clean up their act on cycling signage on match and event days, and an improved design for Cross Deep junction to make it safer for cycling has been sent to TfL.

And every new transport scheme should now go in front of the cycling officer, so we’re hopeful that we will see fewer designs which go to great lengths to discuss car parking, but consistently fail to provide cycle parking, let alone anywhere nice to actually cycle …

Will this get some improvement?

Dockless bikes

The council seems to be running this a bit like a procurement exercise, even though they’re not planning to part with any cash. This has been in analysis for months, and we heard some slightly surprising things about what the council is worried about: bikes not being very nice, how good the apps are, and so on.

There are reasonable questions too: how do we try to keep pavements clear? How do we ensure bikes are picked up if left in places where no-one wants them? The good news is that Councillor Buckwell, the Cabinet Member for Transport, undertook that at least one company would be in trials by April – keep those eyes peeled!

Quietway

The quietway plans managed once again to dominate the meeting with, in our opinion, appalling manners shown to the councillors and officers. The route was ridden by Will Norman, the walking and cycling commissioner, late last year, and he has refused funding for the Teddington High Street portion – according to the meeting this was essentially because he felt it was not good enough to be a quietway.

However, the council has persuaded TfL to go ahead with the other two parts of the route: from Richmond Park’s Ham gate to Ferry Road, and from …. to Bushy Park. While we would like to see a complete route, and we think Teddington High Street should be an important section, the scheme has basically foundered on NIMBY local opposition.

You may think we’re harsh to say ‘NIMBYs’ with such a broad brush, but it’s quite clear that neither the Teddington Society nor many of its members are overly interested in having people cycling along their High Street if that means they can’t drive or park. This is a shame, as it’s directly in contradiction to the Mayor’s stated goals around healthy streets, liveable neighbourhoods, and air quality improvements.

When we read things like this from members, though, it just reinforces our determination to make the case for good, safe, cycling through Teddington itself, for locals and for visitors. One member from Ham wrote this:

“I tried to cycle with my son to his swimming lesson at Teddington Pool on Saturday.  We gave up just beyond Ferry Road and (sadly unable to teleport) we walked, with our bikes, on the narrow pavement to disgruntled looks from pedestrians.  I can imagine that most people would resort to the car at this stage, which means going via Kingston or Richmond or not patronise Teddington’s shops and services.  We will walk but it will take twice as long and makes Teddington a less appealing destination than it would otherwise be. “

Contraflows

A total of 14 streets are in safety assessment for contraflow cycling. We hope they’ll come to consultation in March or April. Each of these will only be a small project, but we believe that building a proper network for safe cycling across the borough is going to need dozens of small schemes like this, all of which eventually link together.

The A316

This has been mooted for far too long, and we don’t have good news on it. There’s no schedule for when things are likely to happen, and we know already it’s been downgraded from a potential super highway to a quietway. We do know proposals are still being developed, so will be keeping our eyes open.

New transport schemes

For a long time, the council has been producing consultations where they seem to have either forgotten cycling, or stuck it in as a band aid afterwards – East Twickenham, Star and Garter [Richard Reynolds], and now East Twickenham.

As a direct result of Richmond Cycling Campaign lobbying, every scheme will now go before the cycling officer before it comes to consultation. Some of what we hope will result is:

  • Cycle parking considered as a matter of course
  • Better and more realistic analysis of ‘shared space’
  • Reducing conflict between walking and cycling

The RFU & Twickenham

As many of you will know, Twickenham and Richmond get very busy on match and event days. To deal with these, there are road closures, crowd barriers, and various other changes.

For some months we’ve been trying to persuade the RFU that they need to be better at managing traffic on event days – that they shouldn’t be using ‘cyclists dismount’ signs, that there are other barriers and layouts they should consider, and that they should be more actively supporting and thinking about cycling as a way to deal with some of the transport issues on event days.

Thanks to persistence by local members, the council is meeting the RFU, and has promised to share a proper traffic plan before the next event.

Cycling Channels

These allow you to get your bike across footbridges without having to physically lift them. We first asked for these under the previous cycling champion, the utterly useless Katherine Harborne. With the help of the cycling officer, these are finally being fitted to more and more bridges, and the next one will be the footbridge over Manor Road, at North Sheen station.

Towpaths

We’re told that part of the towpath along the Thames around Petersham is going to be upgraded. While this isn’t going to be the full improvements we’ve been asking to this for a number of years (details here) it’s a small step in the right direction.

Remember, things only happen when we ask, so we need your help to do so. 

Rides for Explorers : Sunday 14th January : Box Hill

Box Hill Jan2018

Meet Twickenham Riverside – by Eel Pie bridge 10.00.

Our traditional post-turkey jaunt but a bit later to avoid clash with Kingston.  On/off road quiet and scenic 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.

Six of us set off from Twickenham and made good timing with paths less muddy than usual (modified route) and some glimmerings of light in the sky. Due to the large numbers of groups of cyclists on the return leg half the group got detached (oops! , embarrassment )  but both halves were back in Twickenham by 3ish.

Route

 

East Twickenham Consultation – another poor scheme from Richmond

This is the response of Richmond Cycling Campaign(RCC) to the council plans for East Twickenham. (https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/richmondecs/east-twickenham-2017/)

RCC represents London Cycling Campaign members and over a thousand supporters in the borough. We campaign for walking and cycling provision for everyone, so that these are transport modes available to all.

With some minor exceptions we oppose the proposals for East Twickenham and will be urging TfL not to fund them. This is because the plans fail to provide meaningful improvements for walking and cycling, in defiance of both council and Mayor of London policies which call for support for active travel.

The section of Richmond Road involved in this consultation will soon be home to a primary school of over 450 children, It also provides a route currently busy with cycling, and identified in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy as a key corridor for improving cycling. Despite fairly high volumes of pedestrians – obviously likely to increase significantly with a new Lidl and new school, the plans offer little for either mode of transport.

The road design in its proposed form has a poor general score (around 23/100) and multiple ‘critical fails’ using TfL’s ‘Cycling Level of Service Tool’. In continuing proposals for 1.5m (or less) cycle lanes the council is seeking to double down on useless designs installed in 2011 (see here).The design could also include ‘Copenhagen style’ side crossings as used in Waltham Forest and other boroughs, to prioritise walking and cycling, and should have better designs at the end of Richmond Road – removing cyclist/pedestrian conflict rather than maximising it.

We think this scheme should also be the subject of a Healthy Streets analysis (see the toolkit here): it is our suspicion that the road already scores poorly, and that the changes in this scheme will only result in marginal improvements.

  • The design includes a total of seven new car parking spaces, with no justification provided for why these are more important than walking and cycling provision.
  • The pedestrian crossing on Richmond Road appears to have no traffic light or pedestrian control on one side, and requires pedestrians to cross in two movements, whereas vehicles only require a single movement at any part of the junction.
  • The left turn from Richmond Road towards Twickenham unaccountably includes shared space markings for part of the area, with no explanation as to what route is supported by this.
  • On all parts of this design, cycling has no priority with the sole exception of the short contraflow lane from Rosslyn Road. Failure to provide priority will ensure that cycling will continue to be unpleasant in this area, and the TfL proposed route from the Mayor’s Transport Strategy is unlikely to come to fruition.
  • No explanation is provided as to why this area is being looked at or consulted on: is there a wider strategy it will feed into?
  • The shared space which the contraflow cycling lane feeds into is also inappropriate – adding pedestrian / cyclist conflict
  • The design for cyclists feeding from Rosslyn Road is very poor – the shared space ends before the cycle lane markings on Richmond Road, effectively ensuring a neat segue from one type of conflict for cyclists to another
  • 1.5m wide cycle lanes which are unprotected and not mandatory do not qualify as acceptable cycling facilities
  • Although there is clear analysis offered for parking of cars, there’s none for parking bicycles, whether analysis of required capacity of possible location
  • The council has policies which talk about improving air quality, yet this appears not to be under consideration in this consultation
  • A stated objective of the consultation is to ‘improve traffic flow’ – we feel that (especially with a new school opening), the goal of any changes in this area should be to actively discourage through traffic, which in most circumstances should be using the A316