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.
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.
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.
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”.)
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.
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.
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 …