Since our last post on the subject of the Twickenham Town Centre proposals in October a lot has been going on in the background. There was the council cabinet meeting on 15 November and then we met with council officials on 23 November. So we felt it was worth putting up an update. For a reminder on the history of the changes have a look at this post.
Council Cabinet Meeting – 15 November 2012
Having found out from the council’s own safety audit states that the proposed changes changes were likely to lead to “an increase in cyclist/vehicular collisions or cyclist/pedestrian collisions” we went to this meeting determined to get the council to listen. There was a big turn out of cyclists at the meeting, many bringing placards to get across their frustrations. At that stage, there was still limited specific detail on what the council was actually proposing but there was an indication that the council was softening its position and that existing cycle lanes would be retained and new ones added. The most enlightening element of the meeting was that Cabinet Chair, Lord True, was genuinely shocked to hear that we were not allowed to discuss infrastructure issues at the council’s Cycling Liaison Group meetings. The council’s Cycling Champion was not in attendance at the cabinet meeting to explain why.
Meeting with Council Officers – 23 November
Perhaps prompted by the cabinet meeting, the council invited us sit down with the Principal Transport Planner on 23 November. This was a productive meeting and we came away with the following commitments:
- Any cycle lanes now present will be preserved
- Any bus lanes removed will be replaced by cycle lanes
- Cycle lane width will be in addition to, not part of the motor lane width
- Cycle lanes will be a minimum of 1.5m width
- A push to provide proper crossings for pedestrians and cyclists on the A316 London Road roundabout (a long running campaign issue – http://is.gd/aszjUm)
We emphasised that safety at junctions still needed to be addressed and that we would need to see the firmed-up proposals before the go-ahead is given. No official minutes were produced of the meeting, but here are the notes that we took down and shared with the council after the meeting. It is a vast improvement of where we were at the start of the summer when all cycle lane provision was going to be removed.
Since November, we haven’t heard any more on the subject and our concern is that decisions are being made in the background without our knowledge. Perhaps we’re worrying without cause but our experiences with the council to date haven’t helped. We will continue keep the pressure on the council to stick to these commitments and look for opportunities to further improve the scheme.
What can you you?
There is a danger that despite everyone’s efforts, this will fall off the radar. With the upcoming Rugby World Cup, changes may be pushed through that in the long term compromise the safety and viability of Twickenham town centre for those that visit and work there. Contact your local councillors, the council’s Cycling Champion, Kat Harborne, the chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor Chris Harrison and the Principal Transport Planner Ben Fryer to make sure they haven’t forgotten and to get their commitment to the changes discussed in November.
Contact details for below:
Ben Fryer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Katharine Harborne – Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk (Council Cycling Champion)
Councillor Chris Harrison – Cllr.CHarrison@richmond.gov.uk (Chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor)
List of Ward Councillors and their contact details – http://is.gd/QFOttI
If you’re writing to your Councillor, feel free to cc us via email@example.com and we’ll keep a note of it.