Cycling Liaison Group – Time to Get Back to Basics?

The Cycling Liaison Group meets on 26th January at 7pm (details here). 

Delivering cycling on our borough really needs the council to work hard at it, so please come along if you can!

It’s been quite a while since we praised the tone of the new team, but also quite a while since very much happened. So this meeting we’ve got a bit of a shopping list of questions, and requests for information. 

Cycling Strategy

This one’s been brewing for over six months. Other boroughs have produced excellent strategies which reflect the importance and utility of good cycling to a borough [Sutton? Others] And a recent consultation on borough policies suggest that the new cycling strategy is going to include a proposed route network. 

Now having a strategy is really important, and we’d really like to see one that has some real meat. But we shouldn’t be waiting for it before we get on with things. 

Twickenham Riverside

The new plans for the Riverside don’t appear to have been very well received, based on some of the comments we saw. And it is rubbish for cycling. It really isn’t clear why the council is still putting together proposals that spend more time and space talking about parking cars than anything to do with cycling. 

We’ll be asking why this is the case: if the council honestly thinks that active travel should be a priority, then it needs to plan for this in the beginning of all these consultations, and not leave it as an afterthought. 

Parking

There’s already ample evidence that the borough lacks sufficient cycle parking. From Kew Gardens to Richmond Park, from Richmond town centre to Twickenham and Whitton, there aren’t enough spaces to park bikes. Even if you do decide to go by bike, your chances of finding somewhere safe and unobstructed to park can be terrible.

We’ll be asking why parking is not just an ongoing activity – it’s not like it’s that hard to identify where it’s needed. After all, we’ve given the council enough suggestions in the past. 

(And we’ll also be asking why bike parking isn’t in every new plan that comes out of the council, and always gets offered “will be included in detailed planning”.)

Money

We know the council doesn’t like spending its own money on cycling – it has to ask TfL for this (through thing like the LIP programme). Instead, councillors keep trying to voncince us that money spent on roads maintenance has a substantial benefit for cycling.

While this is true – because no-one likes cycling through potholes – we should be very clear that not a single road in Richmond has been resurfaced or repaired just to make cycling nicer.

Trials

We keep asking the council if they’re going to try any trials. Other boroughs have demonstrated clearly – as at Tavistock Place [others] that for a small amount of money it’s possible to trial new ideas, to establish whether they’re going to be beneficial for the borough. Indeed, two years ago, Richmond was lined up to try an ‘all ways green’ junction. Which still hasn’t happened. 

What’s Going On?

Every time the council touches a road or a pavement, that’s a chance to do something to make the borough a better place to be on a bike. Whether it’s fixing a dropped kerb, improving an advanced stop line, or making a corner more forgiving. Yet we’re passing up these opportunities again and again. 

Quiet Routes

This isn’t one we asked about directly, but now features in their agenda. We suggested some detailed material for this a while ago, so we’ll be interested to see what the council has managed to put together.

And just for fun, we’ve asked the council if they can tell us what they think they’ve done for cycling in the last five years. Because we don’t think it’s very much … a few cycle stands, some new cans of Dulux on re-surfaced roads … 

One thought on “Cycling Liaison Group – Time to Get Back to Basics?

  1. Richmond Council has done the sum total of nothing as far as I can see in terms of taking steps to improve the roads for cycling in the borough over the last 5 years.

    My current bugbear is the fact that for the last 3 or 4 weeks, the mandatory cycle lane on the southbound section of Mortlake Road (by the cemetery) heading towards Chalker’s Corner has been blocked by cones and (to add insult to injury) a “Cyclists Dismount” sign. I have never seen anyone trying to fix whatever drainage issue needs sorting at this point in the lane.

    They would never allow this kind of long-term inconvenience if it was a lane for motor vehicles, so I do not understand why they think it is acceptable to leave this rubbish blocking one of the few routes that is set aside for people on bicycles without getting on with the necessary work.

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