Petersham Road is closing – but not to walking and cycling …

During August utilities works will close the Petersham Road to motor vehicles through Petersham village.  This will affect both the 371 and 65 bus service, however the local councillors have advised that access will be maintained for pedestrians and cycle users.

(The 371 will operate a split service to either side of the highway works enabling passengers to walk between the two.  The 65 service will be diverted through Twickenham and Teddington. If it operates in the same way as last time, it will allow passengers to alight on the Middlesex side of the Teddington footbridge to access Ham.)

For current and potential cycle users there is currently no dedicated cycle route between Kingston, Ham and Richmond but here are some options:­­ (see the map below for the numbers shown by each option) 

  1. The Petersham Road

The Petersham Road is the only carriageway between Ham/ Petersham and Richmond and the sole public transport route making this a significant closure for residents and visitors. Allowing cycles to pass during the works will make this the fastest way to Richmond and beyond.

Other potential routes for cycle users are primarily footpaths/ shared paths.

  1. Thames path

The river tow path has recently been resurfaced between River Lane and Ham House.  The Petersham Meadows stretch remains rather rough going for small wheels and thin tyres.  The end of River Lane and some of the Petersham Meadows section floods at high tide.  Check tide tables here as it can be a long detour if caught out.

  1. The Ham Avenues

The Ham Avenues are level paths, frequently used by cyclists, pedestrians and dog walkers, however the loose gravel surface finds its way into the chain and mech when wet.  They join the Petersham Road where the roadworks are located.

  1. Richmond Park

The shared cycle/ footpath along the west boundary of the park can be used to bypass the roadworks between Kingston & Ham Gates and Petersham Gate.  The inclines are relatively shallow but there is loose gravel on some parts.

  1. Teddington footbridge

Pushing the bike over the bridge and cycling along the road parallel to the river gives access to Richmond through Teddington, Twickenham and St Margarets.  The road has an advisory cycle lane in parts or you can opt for the riverside path beyond Orleans House.

  1. The Hammertons Ferry

The Hammertons Ferry takes bikes for an additional charge.  Crossings are not scheduled; waiting times vary.

Routes from Ham to Richmond

Bushy Park – Will Common Sense Prevail?

Both Richmond Park and Bushy Parks should be havens for considerate cycling by all, yet the Royal Parks seem able to fix neither of them.

The latest mess involves Duke’s Head Passage in Bushy Park, where the Royal Parks appear to have decided without consultation that it should no longer be possible to ride along it.

Image by Jonathan Cardy via Wikimedia

Image by Jonathan Cardy via Wikimedia

You can see what the ride is like, courtesy of this simple video from one of our members. It clearly shows him proceeding happily down the path, and able to interact with dog walkers, children and other users.

Yet the Royal Parks, in correspondence with other members tell us:

“Our highlighted notification of the Regulations (… that have always been present though not enforced as the cause was previously not great enough) is done to carry out our responsibility serving everyone best.”

They carry on:

“No one is excluded from using the route. Walking a cycle for about ten minutes at the very most and keeping a dog on a lead are very small compromises …”

You can see other comments on the changes on the Richmond and Twickenham Times article and the Hampton Ning, and local MP Tania Matthias has weighed in, too, apparently very supportive of banning cycling here.

It’s probably no surprise that Richmond Cycling Campaign isn’t happy about another route for cycling being blocked, and it’s also no surprise that the changes seem to be being largely ignored by users of the route. We’ve already been contacted by a number of members. Things they’ve said include:

“I can now only walk with two sticks because of a back problem [a friend] has a blue badge and can definitely not walk that far… we can both cycle pain-free for 6-10 miles and enjoy getting our fresh air and exercise that way.”

“I have cycled along this passage hundreds of times since 1967, and it has been part of cycle route 168 ever since we started putting safe cycle routes on maps.”

“Dukes Head Passage is a very important and safe cycle route between Teddington and Hampton, used by commuters and school pupils during the week … ”

“I can’t see that pushing a bike is any better as that takes up more width … it is not a speedy thoroughfare … ”

“I have cycled in the passage for years to get into the park or to ride to Kingston. I cycle with care and consideration towards other users. In my experience, cyclists, dog walkers and runners have got along quite happily without this enforcement. Clearly there must have been ‘an incident’ but I am sure this was an exception rather than the rule. In fact the only raised voices I have ever heard was after the signs went up – and that was people complaining to each other of the unreasonableness of the enforcement! Are we to expect regular police patrols in this leafy little passage? What a waste of resources!”

“Before the ban I cycled with my 6 year old from Ham to Hampton Pool, and also to friends in Hampton. For a child, this extra walking distance makes a real difference. Even for adults this move does the opposite of making cycling a travel choice that is comfortable and easy.”

We’d like to see these signs removed, and the path made suitable for all users – clearly narrower paths like this require pedestrian priority, and we actively support this, but pedestrian priority does not mean making it useless for others.

If you feel like us about this, then write to the local MP, or to the Park manager, or local councillor Gareth Roberts. Feel free to copy us in (info@richmondlcc.co.uk) or drop us a line and we will collate all the responses.

Get yourself some on-street parking!

Richmond has its first BikeHangar installed, so we’ve put together a simple kit to help you ask for your own.

2013.08.09-LB-Hackney-Mowll-St-1-6-Cleveland-House

This Dropbox folder contains:

  • A set of instructions on what to do, and what to expect. (MS Word – link)
  • A simple petition form (MS Word format – link) which you can add your road name to
  • An A5 leaflet (MS Word – link) which you can edit with your road details, for giving to interested neighbours

If you want to  get started, have a look at the instructions (link) and drop us an email – info@richmondlcc.co.uk) if you have any questions, or would like some help. .

Better cycling is a public health issue

We’ve written to the Directors of Public Health in Richmond. We think – and Public Health England agrees – that providing for cycling in our borough is a very important service that we expect our local Public Health representatives to support.

To the Director of Public Health, Richmond upon Thames

Dear Ms Bryden and Ms Raleigh,

It will not have escaped your notice that Public Health England have published a paper  “working together to promote active travel”.

As local cycle campaigners we clearly have an interest in the subject and have been frustrated that some councillors do not seem to be aware of the health implications of failing to prioritise walking and cycling. When we pointed out, for example, that even the Department of Transport advises that 20mph limits make people feel safer when cycling, the response was that they wouldn’t allow transport decisions to be made on health grounds unless their health experts made such a case.

Now Public Heath England has specifically called for Local Authorities to “support 20mph speed limits in residential areas” (p22), we hope that you will make it clear to councillors that public health considerations make it imperative that the council takes effective action, if only because “Evidence suggests that switching active travel for short motor vehicle trips could save £17bn in NHS costs over a 20-year period, with benefits being accrued within 2 years for some conditions.” (p11).

Some of the recommendations on p 22, e.g. the idea of a movement hierarchy,  may be uncomfortable to some Richmond councillors and would be dismissed when coming from an interest group.  We hope that you can make it clear that they represent informed scientific judgement.

As local cycling campaigners we have been trying to promote active travel in Richmond and we would be very happy to cooperate with you to achieve the Public Health England objectives.

Regards

Paul Luton

Cycling UK http://www.cyclinguk.org/

Richmond Cycling Campaign. http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/

 

What the paper says …

Key tasks – policies:

  • active travel should be enshrined in transport policies
  • ensure that safe, convenient, inclusive access for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users is maximised and is prioritised over private car use in the movement hierarchy
  • focus on converting short car trips to active travel and public transport
  • ensure that policies and budgets demonstrate how maximising active travel can benefit health, the economy and the environment
  • encourage new developments (and retrofits) to maximise opportunities for active travel with appropriate infrastructure (eg cycle lanes, cycle parking)
  • ensure that travel plans for new developments (including schools) prioritise and support active travel over car transport as part of designing safe and attractive neighbourhoods

Key tasks – implementation:

  • consider how to minimise car parking as a way both to support local economies (eg local high streets) and to promote sustainable modes of transport
  • ensure that new developments don’t adversely affect capacity and safety of surrounding cycling networks
  • support 20mph speed limits in residential areas, and promote road safety in urban and rural settlements to complement school policies on safe and active travel
  • promote local ‘street play’ initiatives
  • ensure monitoring and evaluating the use of travel plans

 

Hampton Court Palace would prefer you to drive, rather than cycle.

While the rest of London is making real efforts to be nicer for cycling, Hampton Court Palace seems to think that cycling is more of a danger to its visitors than driving.

One of our members has asked why it is possible to drive into the palace (to access the car park), and yet if you arrive by bicycle, you’re forced to dismount at the gates. We were very surprised to learn that:

As cars can be heard they are considered less of a risk to the general public than cyclists.

You might be asking ‘It’s not a hardship to push your bike, is it?” and for many people, it’s fine. But if you’re a small child, or if you have any sort of mobility impairment, or if your bike is heavy or unwieldy, then you definitely don’t want to be pushing that bike.

So we also asked why cycling might not be permitted on the paved areas where driving is allowed, they responded:

[that cyclists] could potentially damage the grass and garden areas.

If this were a completely pedestrianised area, with no motor traffic, then we might have some sympathy for the view of Historic Royal Palaces on this one, but they’ve not even put cycle racks anywhere near the entrance, nor made any other particular concessions to encourage people to cycle instead of drive, so we’re asking them to fix this bizarre policy pronouncement.

You can drive a ton of motor car in, but please don't endanger us with your bicycle.

You can drive a ton of motor car in, but please don’t endanger us with your bicycle.

hcp03

A big car park … no cycling. Can you see any irony here?

Ride for Explorers – Olympic Park via the new CSHs. Sunday 8th May

Meet Barnes Green by the pond 10.30.

We head over Hammersmith Bridge and make our way to Hyde Park the Mall and probably the Strand to join the updated Cycle Superhighway 2 towards Bow before diverting through Victoria Park to to Olympic Park for lunch – probably in the velodrome.

On the way home we cut across to the improved CSH 3 to Tower Gateway where we get onto the East-West superhighway to Westminster and so back to Barnes.

Just 2 of us met up at Barnes. The Superhigways are now open and reasonably well used on a Sunday – lots of “Boris Bikes”.  Pity we don’t get to see one in Richmond. The velodrome cafe does provide sandwiches.

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