Space for Cycling in Richmond – more councillors sign up.

More and more councillors are writing to us and to local residents to support the ward asks we chose before the election. s4c asks Since the new administration was elected we have had confirmation from Peter Buckwell, Geoff Acton, Jean Loveland and Penny Frost that they support the specific ‘asks’ in their wards of Ham Petersham and Richmond Riverside, South Richmond, and St Margarets and North Twickenham.

Also, we’ve heard from Brian Marcel, who we also met last week, about his support for a safe route from Sheen Gate to Mortlake Station. So we’re hopeful that cycling in the borough is looking up this year.

And a new cycling champion has been appointed – Councillor Jean Loveland, who has already come along to a ride organised to look at the ward ask in Ham, to create a safe route from Ham to Richmond. Finally, Richmond Cycling Campaign met councillors last week to discuss how we can move forward in a more productive way than with the last administration. All of this is still just words on a page, but we’re hopeful that at a time when more avoidable deaths and injuries are happening in London and in our borough, we can start making Richmond a great place to cycle.

If you haven’t seen it yet, pop along to the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain to see a post on what we agree a great cycling facility should look like

An open letter to Darren Johnson

On Friday, Darren Johnson is coming to Richmond to see what cycling is like here, so we’ve put together an open letter to him about using a bicycle in our borough.

Dear Darren,

Welcome to Richmond. Ours is a borough of extensive green spaces – like the marvellous Richmond Park – and we straddle the river Thames.

This is how we ride in Richmond ...

This is how we ride in Richmond …

But despite the green spaces, the busy town centres, and the significant growth in primary school numbers, we’re still a borough who don’t really like to encourage cycling by providing somewhere safe to do so.

And the recent, tragic death of Henry Lang, at Richmond Circus, is a reminder of just how far there is to go. This happened at a section of road and cycle way which is emblematic of cycling conditions in the borough. If you were driving along the A316 from just before Pools on the Park to Lower Mortlake Road, then you’d have to stop at up to three separate junctions. If you were choosing to use a bicycle, and the cycle lane, and were on the same route, you might have to stop on ten separate occasions to travel the same distance. (And that doesn’t include a junction we’ve previously called ‘the most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond’.)

Richmond Council will tell you that the A316 is part of the ‘Transport for London Road Network’ (TLRN) and is therefore not something that can be sorted out by borough engineers. If they say that, you could always ask them why Mini-Holland bid money was spent on the A316 rather than – for example – making the two lane highway through the centre of Richmond a nice place for families to arrive by bike.

You could also ask them why the last time they did anything for cycling, it involved a big pot of Dulux and a ruler, and the statement that “There are many examples where advisory cycle lanes of less than 1.50 metres [that] provide a safe and convenient facility for cyclists” (pdf) to create a laughable cycle lane which ends just before you need it, crossing Richmond Bridge.

Families ride together in Richmond. On the pavement, of course.

Families ride together in Richmond. On the pavement, of course.

But if you really want to know about cycling in the borough, just look at how much effort has gone into Twickenham – and how much TfL money – for some wider pavements. Richmond Cycling has spent enormous effort to try to help councillors and council engineers understand what might encourage cycling, but our appeals have fallen on deaf ears:  Twickenham is going to carry on being a great place to drive through, and a terrible place either to arrive by bike, or to get through by bike.

How we use the A305 cycle lane. Or 'spot the bike'

How we use the A305 cycle lane. Or ‘spot the bike’

So, Darren – welcome to our borough, it’s a real shame that there’s so little positive news we can offer you.

Sincerely,

Richmond Cycling Campaign

Kew Road could get a toucan, what about Kew Green?

What do you do when you’ve got a zebra crossing where pedestrians don’t get injured, but the traffic goes too fast, and you’ve got a busy junction further along with lots of incidents of all types?

Well obviously, you plan to spend £125,000 on a new crossing for the pedestrian junction where people drive too fast. That’s what Richmond is about to do. Engineers are proposing to spend this on changing the Lion Gate Gardens zebra – whose accident stats look like this (DfT page is here)richmond-upon-thamesand there’s no plan to deal with the much less pleasant junction with the South Circular, where all sorts of things seem to be going on (the blue numbers show there are too many incidents in one space to show each one …)

South Circular incidents

 

The council has been consulting back and forth on this since January, yet doesn’t seem to be asking basic questions like:

  • Which junctions are most dangerous?
  • For whom are they most dangerous?
  • How can I make this a pleasant place to be a cyclist or pedestrian?

We think this consultation is flawed, the process behind it is flawed, and the analysis that leads to spending such a large sum of money on something that is statistically likely to make very little difference to the people involved is poor.

Will the decision get through cabinet? Maybe so, but we’re probably not the only organisation in the borough who could think of better ways to spend £125,000 on making things better for walking ….

Rides for Explorers – 1st June- Surrey 50

Half the distance of the Surrey 100 – and probably half the pace – it is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so might as well look at it. It is quite hilly.

Route

Meet Bushy Park fountain car park 10.00. Use back roads to Brooklands for coffee then put up with some main road to Byfleet before turning off for Pyrford and the North Downs. After an interesting descent Lunch at the Compasses Inn at Gomshall .

The main road into Dorking isn’t too trafficky and we soon get to Box Hill from where we take my favourite switchback descent to Kingston and so home.

Just 2 of us met up despite the ideal weather and a few miles in my gear cable snapped. A diversion to Walton (Thank you Surrey for marking bike shops on your excellent cycling maps ) produced a replacement and we got back on track with a coffee before tacking the North Downs. ( The road across the Wey valley was closed to motor vehicles by bridge work – this is the ideal way of making cycle facilities)  The Compasses produced excellent baguettes and salad by the bank of the Tillingbourne and we powered through Dorking and (more slowly) up Box Hill. (thinking how long before I need an e-bike for this trip). Back to Kingston about 4 after a really scenic ride. Where was everybody ?

Paul – rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

‘Ward Asks’ for Council Elections

Do you want Space for Cycling in your area? Email your local election candidates now!  Visit http://action.space4cycling.org/

The 2014 council elections are on 22nd May.  This is a ‘once in 4 years’ chance to challenge the would-be council candidates on their commitment to cycling provision; and to make cycling an important issue on the election agenda.  The local authority (LBRUT) are accountable to our elected councillors; and between them they control the vast majority of roads in the area; and decide what road and cycle improvements are made where (if any!).

This year every borough group has been asked to nominate one cycling infrastructure issue in every ward (a ‘ward ask’) for inclusion in the London-wide Space For Cycling campaign aimed at every election candidate.

Read on below for a summary of the issues local RCC members have raised…

Our Ward Asks are now all on Cyclescape and linked below.

East of the river:

Centre of the Borough:

South West of the Borough:

Don’t forget!  To ensure your voice is added to our campaign, please use the Space for Cycling website to raise these issues with your local election candidates now!  Visit http://action.space4cycling.org/

The ‘ward asks’ are a great way to raise awareness of cycling issues with your local election candidates – but the campaign is limited to just one issue per ward.  In many wards we have plenty of other issues we are tracking – for the full list in each ward visit this page and do please contact us to get involved.

Finally, for further information on how we log these issues,  a detailed guide to how RCC use CycleScape is available here…. and if, like me, you are never quite sure what electoral ward is where – this handy zoomable map shows the boundaries of all wards in London:  http://ukdataexplorer.com/census/london/

Rides for Explorers – Olympic Park – 11th May

Meet Richmond Little Green, by Richmond Theatre, 10.00am.

We will cycle into London and then take CSH 2 to the newly opened Olympic Park. After lunch on site we return using CSH 3.

Please let me know if you intend coming in case of last minute changes.

Paul :    rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

 No one has expressed an interest so ride postponed.

 

Getting on a bike is just the best thing.

(Written as a quick response to Rachel Aldred’s excellent ‘the bicycle is human scale‘) 

This morning my daughter and I went to her class. She wanted to cycle, so we sent most of the journey on the pavements.

And it was great. We wobbled across the level crossing, said thank you to the man delivering papers who’d moved across for us, and smiled at the other Dad who was out cycling with his son.

The lady at the bus stop smiled at my daughter as she went by, and the drivers approaching the zebra crossing saw her standing there and waited patiently as she crossed all four lanes. And the Dad with a small baby strapped to him said ‘That’s brilliant’, as he let her make her way past.

While we were cycling along Manor Road, Zoe asked me what the beeping had been, and I could tell her she and I had crossed the level crossing just as it started beeping. When we got to the Carrington Road junction she told me, excitedly, “Daddy! My school is down there!”

Then, along North Road, we saw another local family and they shouted ‘Hello Zoe!’ as she cycled past and we waved.

Cycling with your children is just the best thing ever!

Zoe on North Road, using the area marked for parking …

Here’s our approximate route (Google Maps link). We left home at 9:30 and cycled over 4 miles.

Time for 20mph in Richmond

(Updated below – see the local 20′s plenty group, here.)

We think 20mph is plenty for our borough. Richmond has few roads where you ever really want to be doing 30mph, and the national (and international) evidence is mounting up.

You don’t think Three filmed this on a 30mph street, do you?

More and more, we’re hearing from other London boroughs, other areas of the UK, and from throughout Europe, about how slower speeds in residential and populous areas is a good thing for everyone involved.

But the council aren’t keen at all. Despite the Twickenham Action Plan including a 20mph limit, they’ve rejected a number of attempts to have specific roads go 20mph. Until recently, what you needed to do was this:

  1. Ask all the people in your road if they wanted a 20mph zone.
  2. Show the council that you had a majority – bearing in mind that anyone not answering is obviously a ‘no’.
  3. Have the council come round and consult again.
  4. And then get everyone to respond. And I mean everyone - because again, if they don’t reply, then the council will count that as a ‘no’.

So, you’d either need 51% of the voters to turn out, and every single person to vote for you, or if they all turned out, you’d need 51% of the voters.

Compare that to the council’s Heathrow referendum in 2013. On a 41% turnout, they had 72% against a third runway. If that had been a 20mph consultation, it would have failed. but here Lord True said “The people have spoken”. (Have a look at the lengthy discussion at the time on Twickerati, if you want to celebrate just how hard they made it.)

We think cycling needs somewhere safe, pleasant and calm, and if you read London Cycling Campaign’s ‘Space 4 Cycling’ pages, you’ll see how 20mph zones are a key component of this.

So take a moment and tell the council that you want 20mph using one of the consultations going on:

Want to know more about 20mph? Try the 20’s Plenty site, read a paper from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, find out why Bristol is going 20mph, and Camden, and Islington

Oh, and here’s what Transport for London says:

 And an update: pop along to Richmond’s local 20′s Plenty group, and sign their petition.