Consultation Watch – Cole Park Road / A316

Junction of Cole Park Road and the A316, a notorious rat run

Post Updated – 13 October 2013
We reported in our 6 August update below that despite overwhelming support for closure of this notorious rat run, TfL had decided to proceed with a partial closure. We were aghast, and many of you joined us in writing to TfL to share your feelings. Well, we can now happily report that TfL have decided to go back to the original proposal and implement a full closure. A great result and in no small part down to the many of you who emailed TfL.

Dear sir or madam,

We wrote to you on 17 July and 5 August about this proposed closure and the consultation we have conducted. Generally there was strong support in the consultation for some action to prevent rat-running along Cole Park Road (backed by almost ninety percent of responses), but opinion was divided on whether a full or partial closure would be preferable.

Since August we have assessed options for a partial closure. Compared with full closure, this would have significant safety disadvantages for pedestrians and cyclists on Chertsey Road. We have also looked into the possibility of testing a temporary closure before making permanent changes to the road layout. However, this would cause problems for large vehicles such as refuse collection, which would have to reverse for a considerable distance.

We have discussed these findings with the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, and the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene has agreed with the other Ward Councillors that we should close the junction completely on a permanent basis.

We are now continuing with the detailed design of the scheme and preparation of the necessary traffic orders, and aim to start implementation of the scheme in Spring 2014.

Yours sincerely,

Post Updated – 6 August 2013
After feeling good that after significant support a notorious rat run that cuts across the A316 cycle lane and causes many near misses would be closed off, we were brought down to earth when TfL announced that after consulting with LBRUT they would only implement a partial closure, leaving those cycling along the path at risk to left hooks from vehicles exiting the A316 into Cole Park Road at speed.

You can see the TfL letter and our responses below, we’re asking everyone who cares about this important route for mums and dads to cycle to school with their children to email TfL to object as soon as you can STEngagement@tfl.gov.uk

Email from TfL

Dear sir or madam,

I wrote to you on 17 July to report on the consultation on this proposed closure.

Following the consultation, discussions with the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames and further investigatory work, we propose to implement a partial closure of the junction, with a left turn in (entry only) permitted for eastbound vehicles on the A316. This was proposed by 24 respondents to the consultation. The detailed designs are being finalised in preparation for a safety audit, with a view to implementation of the scheme in Spring 2014.

Yours sincerely,

Luke Howard
Consultation Specialist
Transport for London, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ

Response from Paul, local CTC representative and RCC Committee member

Dear Mr Howard

I would protest in the strongest terms at this design however detailed. A “left hook” is known to be a major cause of cycle casualties and an eastbound vehicle travelling at speed along the A316 swinging across the cycle track here, probably coming from behind an unsuspecting cyclist, is the worst manoeuvre that you could allow to happen. Counting respondents does not guarantee a safe choice – the original proposal showed more evidence for professional judgement.

Regards

Paul Luton

CTC Representative for Richmond

Response from Tim, RCC Campaigns Coordinator

Dear Mr. Howard,

I write concerning your recent letter about the Cole Park Road consultation, and the apparent decision – in consultation with LBRUT – to abandon the decision to make this a safer junction for pedestrians and cyclists, and a more pleasant road for residents.
The original proposal, as per page 9 here – http://is.gd/WsWt9e – would have provided:
1. A safe place for cyclists to continue their journey, after the still very sub-standard London Road roundabout
2. A safe place for pedestrians to continue their journey – they and cyclists would not need to play chicken with cars taking the current apex at the high speeds usually seen on this road.
3. A quieter road for residents.
Over half of the respondents gave at least partial support for full closure, and the vast majority sought action on rat-running. Yet you’ve now cooked up an idea with LBRUT which would effectively render the scheme pointless There’s really no reason for this road to egress onto the A316 at all, because only in the very worst of peak periods traffic would people need to take this as an exit to the main road.
It’s a matter of very great disappointment to Richmond Cycling that TfL and LBRUT are once again prioritising the movement of motor traffic – and often high speed motor traffic – over the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. To be honest, it also renders this entire consultation process an expensive and pointless exercise if you’re going to ask for views and then mostly ignore them, don’t you think?

Sincerely,

Tim Lennon
Campaigns Coordinator, Richmond Cycling.

Email from Twickenham resident Aniello

Dear sir or madam,

My name is Aniello and I commute to work every morning on my bike.
I do not see myself as a cyclist. I see myself for what I am: a person on a means of transport. Same way as people driving a car or a motorbike. I don’t drive, I ride and that’s where all differences stop.

Still, I feel, no, I correct myself, I am SURE that you are
prioritizing and making the road safer ONLY to people who are already safe in their car, surrounded by huge amounts of steel and loads of research to help them make safe while using an unsafe means of transportation.

Even when TfL and the Mayor of London are pushing for safer means of sharing the roads among ALL the users (people walking, driving, riding) you clearly are still aiming at making the roads unsafe to everyone just for the sake of “smoothing traffic” (which, however, you are totally failing to do).

Last morning I was riding my bike to work, I was 1 minute away from my destination, and yet I was close to NOT making it to the office or even back home alive due to a person driving her car thinking (as you suggested her) that the road is all her. She sped past me on the right (despite me riding fast in a primary position, i.e. at the center of the lane so to discourage drivers from passing in that particular stretch of road in Chiswick), with her “left” light blinking and as soon as she passed me, she cut me on the left to make a “left” turn on a road (which, moreover, was busy due to a vehicle maneuvering). I had to force my brakes to avoid hitting her or, worse, being caught up under her car.

Now I hear that there was a consultation for closing Cole Park Road to left turning vehicles from the A316 and that lots of people were happy with the solution, but still you dropped it following consultation with the LBRUT council.

I am, again and again and again, disappointed. Hugely disappointed. You keep claiming you are making our roads safer, and yet at every opportunity you create the ideal conditions for motor traffic to speed and you are actually encouraging people driving their cars into making dangerous actions that could potentially (and are actually) killing people walking or riding. You are clearly aware that the major reason people die on bike is because of left turning vehicle. And yet, you favor it. While still claiming that that is safer for all of us.

Could you please tell me why is that? Why you think that NOT closing access to Cole Park road would make it safer for people living in the area, for people walking in the area, for people riding in the area or even for people driving in the area? And could you please tell me why you dropped the original proposal EVEN IF people LIVING in the area (and thus clearly those who KNOW more about that junction than everyone else) were in favor?

At least that would be appreciated.
Regards,

Aniello, a guy on his bike.

Original Post – 1 August 2013
We reported back in our May newsletter that TfL were proposing to shut off a notorious rat run on the A316, near to London Road roundabout. Cutting across a well used off road cycle lane, it was the scene of many near misses.
TfL have now published the findings of the consultation, and we’re happy to report that aan overwhelming proportion were in favour of removing the rat run (85%). TfL will now work with the local ward councillors to decide on how the change will be implemented. Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation.

The report from TfL is worth a read, if only to see the response from the Alliance of British Motorists! Cole Park Road Consultation Report

We continue to push for improvements to the A316 cycle lane, including getting priority for cyclists across junctions, improving Chalkers Corner and sorting out the London Scottish car park exit.

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