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.