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.

ride london 032a

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

Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

London Sightseer Audax 100K ; 7th September

There will not be a Ride for Explorers in September as the co-ordinator is away. This ride is being organised by a local member and looks very interesting.

The London Sightseer 100km starts in Hampton Hill Middlesex and mainly using established cycle routes, river paths and park roads where possible takes you to the O2 Arena (Millennium Dome) and back via many of London’s most spectacular sights.

For more details see.

2014SundaySightseerdetails

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

Rides for Explorers – 1st June- Surrey 50

Half the distance of the Surrey 100 – and probably half the pace – it is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so might as well look at it. It is quite hilly.

Route

Meet Bushy Park fountain car park 10.00. Use back roads to Brooklands for coffee then put up with some main road to Byfleet before turning off for Pyrford and the North Downs. After an interesting descent Lunch at the Compasses Inn at Gomshall .

The main road into Dorking isn’t too trafficky and we soon get to Box Hill from where we take my favourite switchback descent to Kingston and so home.

Just 2 of us met up despite the ideal weather and a few miles in my gear cable snapped. A diversion to Walton (Thank you Surrey for marking bike shops on your excellent cycling maps ) produced a replacement and we got back on track with a coffee before tacking the North Downs. ( The road across the Wey valley was closed to motor vehicles by bridge work – this is the ideal way of making cycle facilities)  The Compasses produced excellent baguettes and salad by the bank of the Tillingbourne and we powered through Dorking and (more slowly) up Box Hill. (thinking how long before I need an e-bike for this trip). Back to Kingston about 4 after a really scenic ride. Where was everybody ?

Paul – rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Rides for Explorers – Norbury Park – 6th July

Meet Twickenham Riverside 10.15.

We head South via Kingston and Tolworth before heading away from the traffic along the Hogsmill and then through Horton Country Park and Ashstead Common. Emerging in Leatherhead we pass through the Mole gap before climbing to Norbury Park – Southern England’s best approximation to an alpine meadow. A Track takes us to Brockets Farm for lunch and our return journey features a foot/cycle bridge across the Mole , Oxstead Common and Claygate woods.

This has been done on a fixer but not-over-narrow tyres would be comfortable. Route

Again we had only two riders – Please tell me what would get you to come along.

Paul  rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

‘Ward Asks’ for Council Elections

Do you want Space for Cycling in your area? Email your local election candidates now!  Visit http://action.space4cycling.org/

The 2014 council elections are on 22nd May.  This is a ‘once in 4 years’ chance to challenge the would-be council candidates on their commitment to cycling provision; and to make cycling an important issue on the election agenda.  The local authority (LBRUT) are accountable to our elected councillors; and between them they control the vast majority of roads in the area; and decide what road and cycle improvements are made where (if any!).

This year every borough group has been asked to nominate one cycling infrastructure issue in every ward (a ‘ward ask’) for inclusion in the London-wide Space For Cycling campaign aimed at every election candidate.

Read on below for a summary of the issues local RCC members have raised…

Our Ward Asks are now all on Cyclescape and linked below.

East of the river:

Centre of the Borough:

South West of the Borough:

Don’t forget!  To ensure your voice is added to our campaign, please use the Space for Cycling website to raise these issues with your local election candidates now!  Visit http://action.space4cycling.org/

The ‘ward asks’ are a great way to raise awareness of cycling issues with your local election candidates – but the campaign is limited to just one issue per ward.  In many wards we have plenty of other issues we are tracking – for the full list in each ward visit this page and do please contact us to get involved.

Finally, for further information on how we log these issues,  a detailed guide to how RCC use CycleScape is available here…. and if, like me, you are never quite sure what electoral ward is where – this handy zoomable map shows the boundaries of all wards in London:  http://ukdataexplorer.com/census/london/