Richmond Cycling Campaign Letter to The Royal Parks

Dear Royal Parks,

The Covid-19 epidemic is an unprecedented crisis in London and globally in this modern age, and a difficult time for us all. We hope you and your teams are well and safe and wish to commend your actions in keeping the parks open in these difficult times and we fully understand the significant pressures that are on you and your resources. However, as representatives of those who cycle and walk both for transport and health, we are very saddened to see Richmond Park closed currently to responsible and socially-distanced cycling.

While the Government continues to support people going out for exercise once a day, we want to stress the value and importance of families being able to cycle together, and of individuals being able to ride further than they might walk or jog, and the physical and mental health benefits, vital during a time of crisis such as this, these activities bring.

We recognise that, even with the very welcome removal of motor traffic from park roads, Richmond Park was busy for cycling, and a small minority of those cycling (and walking, scooting etc.) were not observing clear rules about leaving 2+m distance.

However, we believe that a different approach from The Royal Parks to these issues is possible, involving working with nearby councils, and perhaps volunteers. We have spoken to councillors in Richmond, and believe they are open to a dialogue on this too.

We further suggest The Royal Parks should and must do all it can to avoid banning cycling in its parks and instead can do more to encourage and enforce social distancing more rigorously prior to that step. While Richmond Park remained open to cycling, but closed to motor traffic, there was clear evidence that many people were using the park that had never felt comfortable doing so prior – including families with children with disabilities etc.

New users of the park for cycling included parents with autistic children and children on mobility devices. Now, the park is closed to many of them (those who are teenagers) and those who were responsibly exercising in the park by cycling. Worse, the risk is that many of those cycling in the park will simply divert to less safe or suitable alternatives.

A number of ideas are worth exploring to reopen Richmond Park (and keep other parks in the portfolio open too) as rapidly as possible. These include:

– If the gates are a congestion point, opening the main gates and using a smaller barrier which allows people to cycle by but prevents motor traffic. Richmond Council may be able to support with such barriers.

– Adding far more prominent signage for all on social distancing and safer behaviour at all gates.

– Deploying temporary bike parking near the entrances and working with local councils to discourage driving to the parks. At present, too many people are still arriving by car, increasing risks for all while approaching the park.

– Making park roads one-way loops for cycling, which would increase safe space for distancing and overtaking – we propose anti-clockwise to simplify turning movements. (Although this should only be considered if the Tamsin Trail remains open to cycling – see below.)

– Restricting and controlling the numbers riding in the park (at peak times). This, and other measures, could be done working with local groups &/or volunteers. And/or implementing specific times (at peak?) when the park is only available to families, younger cyclists and those with adapted cycles, supporting the most vulnerable user groups.

– Closing the Tamsin Trail to cycling but keeping the road open.

– A more concerted, coordinated campaign – also appropriate outside the parks – reminding those cycling, walking (and driving) to give everyone space and moderate behaviour during the current crisis. It would now be appropriate for The Royal Parks (and we will echo this) to hammer home the risks for all of us to those failing to appropriately behave.

It has been a joy to see so many families and so many with adapted cycles cycling, as well as walking and scooting, enjoying the freedom of a car-free park. We hope we can return to those sights in Richmond Park as rapidly as possible. We reiterate our availability (and our members’) to work with you to make the parks safe and available to as many people as possible.

Yours,

Tim Lennon, Coordinator, Richmond Cycling Campaign

Co-signed by:
Alice Roberts, Head of Green Spaces Campaigns , CPRE London
Jon Fray, Coordinator, Kingston Cycling Campaign
Simon Munk, Infrastructure Campaigner, London Cycling Campaign
Jeremy Leach, Chair, London Living Streets
Kathryn Stewart, Coordinator, Merton Cycling Campaign
Adrian Jackson, Chair, Parks for People
Justin McKie, Chair, Regent’s Park Cyclists
Tom Corbett, Chair, Wandsworth Cycling Campaign

March 2020 Newsletter

Active Travel – What Could be Better?

We had an update from the Active Travel team at the council last month, and there was some important discussion about improving the draft strategy and other things the council could do.

Project Updates

The Kew Road cycle lane is currently their first priority. This is being reviewed with councillors, Kew and Transport for London – we’re hoping designs will include properly segregated cycle lanes along the whole length of Kew Road, safely linking Richmond town centre and the A316. We hope this could go to consultation in the summer.

TfL may financially support this project, and the council and TfL are already looking at how it may link to CW9 at Kew Bridge.

The A308 (Hampton Court Road) is still in design – it will now likely include a horse crossing, a safer junction with Bushy Park, and a re-designed Hampton Court roundabout.

Strawberry Vale is also in discussion with councillors, and design review.

Healthy Streets Officers

The council has two new members of staff who will be helping schools move up in the TfL STARs school travel planning, and supporting schools to undertake more active travel activities – more next month!

Try It Out!

The council is going to launch a collaboration with PeddleMyWheels, which will allow local residents a low cost way to try out and purchase cargo bikes and other types of bike which might otherwise be too expensive to buy outright, or hard to borrow for a proper trial. We’ll let you know as soon as this is live!

Bike Hangars – Not Yet

The bike hangars are still waiting to go to consultation. It sounds like there are issues with having enough officer time – a problem with having lots of cycling and walking projects ‘on the go’ is that there’s a shortage of officer time. We’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Re-Surfacing

The Ham towpath has had some re-surfacing work done, and feedback online suggested that it is not a huge success. Along with the route near Kneller Gardens, we’re trying to find out what’s going on, and why paths aren’t being made to a high, consistent, hole-free standard.

Twickenham Station gets parking!

We’ve heard good feedback from the new bike parking at Twickenham Station – let us know your experience. We’re already aware that bike access is still poor, sadly …

Richmond Station’s cycle hub sounds like it may well go ahead before the summer holidays, too.

Big Pedal

The Sustrans Big Pedal is on from 22nd April – can you get your school involved?

Have a look at https://bigpedal.org.uk/ and give your school a call!

Richmond Town Centre

Stakeholder meetings have carried on around the largest of our town centres – we’re looking forward to strong proposals to improve air quality on the most polluted road in the borough, and hopefully make the area much better for both walking and cycling.

Also …

“Liveable Neighbourhoods” bids will get a result by the end of the month. Our borough will be hoping that both Ham and Barnes get some money.

 

The Active Travel Strategy received over 600 responses, and will be coming back in final (probably) form to committee very soon.

 

The borough’s first low traffic neighbourhood has gone down in flames, but we’re hopeful the second won’t.

 

The council has commissioned a study on pedestrian crossings, to better understand walking behaviour in the borough, with a view to significant improvements for getting around by foot.

Ride in Kew!

Kew Gardens will be hosting evening rides – the opportunity to bring your bike and ride all the way round – tickets and details here: https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/whats-on/summer-cycle

 

Coordinator’s Report – March 2020

This is an annual report prepared by the group coordinator.

Engagement

The borough has a *lot* of groups interested in the things we’re interested in – MASC, Mums for Lungs, and so on. We’ve met or spoken to an awful lot of them through various members,

Over the year, members have had dozens of meetings with councillors and officers, including the deputy leader of the council. We attend the Active Travel Advisory Group, and support lots of other activities in the borough too, with rides, including around 100 who took our led ride to the RideLondon Freecycle.

It has actually been a good year for the creation and approval of a policy framework which better supports active travel, but sadly this has yet to translate into much action on the ground, beyond 20mph.

LCC

We’ve had a lot of time and support from LCC head office this year, which I want to personally record and appreciate: there are lots of opportunities in the borough,

Richmond Town Centre

This is an on-going piece of work. The council has seen quite a few reports, and has been holding stakeholder briefings.

The goal at a simple level is to stop George Street being the worst road for air pollution in the borough. The initial proposals seem to be to have a clean air zone, along with other things being done at the same time, including improved cycling facilities and the new cycle hub at the station.

It still isn’t clear what the timescales for this are, but there is at least a fascinating set of data which has been gathered, showing just how much traffic in the town centre is just driving through.

Burtons Road

This Low Traffic Neighbourhood was at Transport Committee on 10 March, and will get a second round of consultation. It is incredibly disappointing that the council has failed to act here, given the appalling situation they describe. Sounds like it will be re-consulted after the Mayoral election.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Neither low traffic neighbourhood consultation has gone through, and the council needs to find a new way to do these. Clearly people in surrounding roads are worried about traffic issues, but the way to fix traffic issues is incrementally. If we try building a massive plan, it will take years, and still not satisfy everyone.

20mph

Should now be mostly done – after the initial fight, it all seems to have calmed down a bit, although local Nextdoor is proving a fine hotbed of anti-council anti-change sentiment.

Contraflows

These are apparently now in a programme. I haven’t been able to get an update, but there are a few now done, and more in the offing.

Peddlemywheels

Council has announced it is going to work with peddlemywheels to support people trying cargo and ebikes. We asked them about this a while ago, and are pleased to see it being included – once live, it is a scheme we need the council to publicise well.

Ecargo bike grants

We also asked the council to look at whether they could engage with the DfT on the ecargo bike fund and, to their credit, they went with it. Lots of businesses seem to have at least expressed interest, so really exciting if this goes ahead. https://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2020/02/02/massive-e-cargo-bid-by-council/

School Streets

Current status: https://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2020/01/27/schools-and-school-streets-where-are-we/

Some due to start soon (not sure of exact dates or plans), and they seem encouraged to work on more. There’s now officers from TfL also helping (two people we think, on at least 1 FTE basis.)

Royal Parks

RCC members have attended a number of Royal Parks meetings, and we have responded to their consultation. Another response is in progress, and we’re hopeful this is going to lead to real change at the parks.

Liveable Neighbourhoods

Our bid for funds for Ham was unsuccessful. TfL has provided feedback (copy here)

In general, it seems like we needed to be a lot more ambitious, and from discussion with councillors and officers, it would appear that this is the intent next year.

The announcements for this are due 20 March. (Purdah begins on 21 March.)

Twickenham Riverside

Members have been supporting this project, and it looks like it should be positive for walking and cycling.

Roadworks

The council seems to be actively taking on board the new TfL guidance on signage. This means not only an end to ‘Cyclists Dismount’ but also should mean that works in the borough generally should be more accommodating for people both walking and cycling.

This was raised at the last ATAG, and it sounds like action will be taken here.

Twickenham Station

Sadly it’s unlikely that the new station is going to get great cycling. We’re stuck with a very crappy looking design based on the original plans, but this might get an earlier review than would normally be the case, perhaps.

Events

May Fair went really well – it would be good if we can do more events, too. .

Air Quality Meeting

Strategy was approved, I think, at the Transport and Air Quality Committee on 10 March.

https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=803&MId=5012

Hammersmith Bridge

The bridge is being worked on, and will get a walking and cycling (temporary) bridge quite soon (not sure of dates).

It is still a huge opportunity to sort out traffic in the Barnes area, which is choking on 4x4s and needless journeys by car. Possible that the LN proposals, if they go ahead, will make a difference.

Active Travel Strategy Response

Response to LBRUT Active Travel Strategy consultation, which closed on 20 December, 2019

We strongly approve of the hierarchy propounded in the introduction :

Making the best use of our streets means prioritising the needs of different users above others. Our focus is on supporting space efficient, non-polluting modes that support a healthy populace. Our hierarchy of street users is as follows:
1.Pedestrians and people with disabilities and/or limited mobility
2.People cycling
3.Buses
4.Zero and low emission delivery and servicing vehicles
5.Polluting delivery and servicing vehicles
6.Zero and low emission cars, motorcycles, mopeds and taxi and private hire
7.Polluting cars, motorcycles, mopeds and taxi and private hire

Perhaps a category 8 could be included – use of road space for storage of motor vehicles ?

We note that the intention to reduce local pollution and greenhouse gas production is implicit in the above and could well be made explicit as a valid reason for promoting active travel. In that context it could be argued that cycling is even better at replacing polluting modes for more purposes than is walking.

It is , however, important that this in not merely lip service and the hierarchy is actually used to determine outcomes where competition for road space arises.

We find the Objectives – all very good

Support local walking and cycling trips through the introduction of low-traffic neighbourhoods, improved crossings, contra-flow cycling, cycle parking and public realm improvements, using the Healthy Streets Approach
• Create a high-quality core cycle network connecting popular destinations
• Make improvements to clean-air walking and cycling routes away from roads, including paths through parks, towpaths and other public rights of way
• Improve awareness of local walking, cycling and running routes through maps and branding

Walking and cycling should be the natural choice for undertaking local trips, including accessing local shops and town centres, travel to school and connecting to public transport. The highway network should support these trips, wherever possible, without the need for sign-posted routes.

Whilst ideally cycling routes should be so obvious that sign posting isn’t necessary, we believe that realistically signage is an important part of helping people to get around by bike. We have heard evidence that people are unaware of possible short-cuts as they are used to driving routes.
Signposting can also be a way of advertising cycling especially if times to reach destinations are given.

In terms of target setting we are disappointed that there is no specific target for cycling and find the
target for increasing walking cycling and public transport from 61% to 64% over 4 years unambitious.

Connectivity is of crucial importance but we do not find the porosity map convincing. This may be due to arbitrary choices of which roads to treat as barriers. There is no real alternative to dealing with individual issues here. An on-line system for members of the public to mark in where they have difficulties in crossing would be a useful way forward. (Other boroughs have shown that that sort of engagement is valuable). Places where established routes are severed should be a priority for example Kneller Gardens to Crane Park is obvious.

Where connections across busy roads have been made it is important that people know where they are. For example the toucan crossing of the A316 at Chudleigh Rd Twickenham has no signage from either side.

We are pleased that the drawbacks to the standard kerb build-outs / refuge treatment are recognised.

Kerb build-outs and pedestrian waiting areas make it easier for pedestrians to cross a road informally by reducing the overall crossing distance or allowing pedestrians to cross in two stages, however by reducing the width of the roadway these can cause unsafe pinch-points for cyclists and motorcyclists using the road

Obviously if the road is already narrowed by parking build-outs don’t make cycling worse. The worst situations are where a cycle lane is truncated by a build-out. ( Whitton Rd ,Twickenham)

If there is a refuge the gap should be 3m wide or more than 4 m wide but the presumption should be for the use of a formal zebra incorporating a parallel cycle crossing wherever that would be useful. (again Crane Park is obvious)

The accepted value of low traffic neighbourhoods for enabling walking and cycling is not really reflected in :

Such schemes will be supported for introduction on a case-by-case basis and will vary in size and scope. Most schemes will be introduced initially on an experimental basis following an informal consultation for 12 to 18 months before undertaking a formal consultation.

If low traffic neighbourhoods are to be part of the main drive to supporting walking and cycling surely the introduction should be planned rather than done piecemeal. Some Boroughs , eg Lambeth, have been proactive in preparing a global picture of potential neighbourhoods. Perhaps we should have a target for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods ?

It is a minor irritation that the strategy purports to give the criteria for London Strategic Cycle Network routes but merely lists the variables. Why not give the figures ? There should be some acknowledgement that the minimum standards have been criticised as too minimal.
LCC has pointed out that the DfT’s published guidance for the Strategic Road Network (IAN 195/16) says for motor traffic volumes of over 5,000 daily, cycle tracks are the minimum provision. That’s half the volume TfL is accepting before tracks become mandatory.
At least there should be an ambition to meet all the standards to at least the target standard.

When designing routes then surely the hierarchy of users propounded in the introduction should be used or why have it ? Yet we see :

Designing routes to this new standard on some roads in the borough is relatively straightforward, but there are many locations where space restrictions represent insurmountable challenges. For example, Richmond Bridge is the preferred route for trips between Twickenham and Richmond town centres. The current volume of traffic dictates that segregated cycle facilities should be provided, but the bridge is too narrow. Twickenham Bridge provides an alternate route with segregated facilities but requires a significant detour.

This seems to contradict the hierarchy. If a bridge is narrow and direct it should be reserved for pedestrians, people cycling and buses. The other users should be sent round the longer way especially as the A316 is one of few roads in the borough actually designed for motor traffic.

Perhaps we need an overarching strategy for transport in the borough based on the hierarchy putting what through motor traffic is essential onto roads where is does least damage.

By 2024, a core network will connect Hampton Court Bridge to Twickenham town centre via Hampton Wick, linking to RB Kingston’s Mini-Holland routes, the Wandsworth to Teddington Lock Cycleway and the Brentford to Twickenham Cycleway.

Cycling from Hampton Court Bridge to Twickenham would only go via Hampton Wick if Bushy Park were closed. This is a limited selection of useful routes. In no sense a “Core Network”.

The Map on p 25 shows proposed routes that fail to link up and allegedly existing routes that don’t actually exist. (Bushy Park). Arguably the existing routes should include the Amyand Park Rd route from Twickenham to Twickenham Bridge which is comparable in standard to the Wandsworth – Teddington Lock route.

The pink lines are just drawn down main roads irrespective of any possibility of putting in cycling infrastructure ( main roads would require segregated lanes , 3m if bidirectional and 2×2.2m for with flow) and don’t include the sensible route from Hampton Court Bridge to Twickenham. (Bushy Park, Waldegrave Rd).

Main roads are usually the most direct route but an aspiration that cannot be delivered does not help cycling. Quality alternatives should also be considered on the model of the Twickenham -Brentford route which also reduces exposure to pollution. An obvious general question , which has not been addressed , is can other parts of the LCN be brought up to standard ? We are slightly alarmed to read :

Accommodation will range from segregated routes to traffic calming measures focused on reducing vehicle numbers and speeds.

Traffic calming has been shown (eg Burtons Rd) to be ineffective in producing sufficient reduction in vehicle numbers and speeds for safe cycling routes. Filtering (eg Onslow Rd, Richmond) can be seen to work.

There should be a commitment to develop a plan for deliverable network through discussion with local cycling organisations and with Royal Parks who control some of the best places to cycle in the borough.

Massive e-cargo bid by council

The council is applying for up to £200,000 in grants to purchase electric cargo bikes to support local businesses and charities. But we need to move quickly, and we need you to express your interest.

Katie on trike 2

  • Could you deliver by cargo bike?
  • Could you use a cargo bike to help run your charity or local association?
  • Could you host a cargo bike so that locals could borrow it for big loads?
  • Are you a community association who could run events with a bike?
  • Could your BID use a bike to help smaller busineses deliver, etc.?

If successful, Richmond will be able to purchase a number of bikes which can be loaned to local businesses and charities, to support more zero-carbon transport. You’d be making your local area cleaner and greener, and you’d get more reliable delivery times, be able to park exactly where you were going, safely, and easily.

Ideas you could discuss with local businesses, friends, and groups:

  • A shared cargo bike for moving plant waste from your allotments
  • Using a bike to place and collect all the things you need to manage the park run
  • Sharing a bike in a community to make shopping by families easier
  • Having a bike for your BID to promote the area, and support events
  • Get a bike for your association to make it easier to do community events and support community activities
  • Deliver your goods by bike – depending on the bike / trailer set up you can transport 300kg of goods, or more than you can fit in a small van!
  • Fulfil between locations by bike – you can park bikes right outside where you’re going, and load and unload super quickly
  • Have a bike that customers can borrow to take a big shop home

You can download the application form here. And read more details here.

Contact the council direct at rebecca.howarth@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk  or tweet or email us if we can help!

Richmond cargo bike flyer

 

 

 

Mortlake Brewery Planning Committee

These are the comments made by our coordinator at the planning committee meeting.

You can read the council papers here: https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=224&MId=4712

On behalf of Richmond Cycling Campaign, I am asking the committee to reject this proposal because of its manifest failure to provide meaningful transport options for the area which aren’t driving a car.

We know that a new development of this size will generate hundreds of new journeys a day, and we know that space for driving is already at saturation. The developers hint at wanting more people to walk and cycle, and it is Mayor of London and Richmond Council policy to encourage and support more walking and cycling. We’ve also got late changes which are said to be specifically to support ‘active travel’, but these miss the essential need for safe and complete routes.

Instead of new traffic lanes at Chalker’s Corner, we should actually be constraining the space available to cars, and adding space for walking and cycling. And this should follow throughout the area – for example the design which takes out part of Mortlake Green to provide a cycle and walking route that isn’t fit for purpose, and which is there simply because we will not sacrifice car space to space for people.

The modelling you see does not include a full Healthy Streets assessment, and almost no part of the designs will pass TfL’s key tools for active travel – the “Cycling Level of Service” tool and the Healthy Streets assessment.

We’re not asking or expecting for everyone to cycle everywhere, but that the Brewery embeds and delivers the targets in the Local Implementation Plan, Active Travel Strategy, and the associated mayoral strategies:

– Car mode share in the borough falls from 39.4% to 25% by 2041
– Proportion of residents living within 400m of the strategic cycling network – this is 0% in the borough at the moment, and the development does not add to this.
– And a year on year decrease in car ownership

Genuine Active Travel at this site will deliver clean air, safer streets, more active residents, and healthier residents.

Schools and School Streets – Where are we?

TfL STARS page for Richmond borough: https://stars.tfl.gov.uk/Partner/32/School?pageNo=1
Borough School Travel Planning Page: https://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/roads_and_transport/transport_planning/school_travel_planning

School School Street Notes
Archdeacon Cambridge’s C of E  Primary School
Barnes Primary School STARS Gold
One of first candidate schooos, announced 25th September
Bishop Perrin C of E
Broomfield House STARS Gold
Buckingham Primary
Carlisle Infant School
Chase Bridge Primary STARS Gold
Christ’s C of E Secondary
Clarendon School
Collis Primary STARS Gold
Darrell Primary and Nursery STARS Silver
Deer Park School STARS Gold
East Sheen Primary STARS Gold
The German School STARS Gold
Grey Court Secondary
Hampton Court House
Hampton High
Hampton Hill Junior
Hampton Infant and Nursery
Hampton Junior STARS Bronze
Hampton School STARS Gold
Hampton Wick Infant and Nursery
Harrodian STARS Silver
Heathfield Infant
Heathfield Junior
Holy Trinity C of E
Jack and Jill School STARS Gold
Kew College STARS Gold
Kew Green Prep
Kew Riverside Primary
King’s House STARS Silver
Lady Eleanor Holles STARS Gold
Lowther Primary STARS Bronze
Bike It! school
The Mall School
Marshgate Primary
Meadlands Primary
Nelson Primary
Newland House School STARS Gold
Old Vicarage School
Orleans Park School
Orleans Primary  Hopefully first round of school streets consultations
Bike It! school
Queens C of E STARS Gold
Radnor House
Richmond Park Academy
Richmond upon Thames School
Richmond upon Thames College
Russell Primary
Sacred Heart RC
Sheen Mount STARS Gold
St Catherine’s School STARS Gold
St Edmund’s RC
St Elizabeth’s RC STARS Gold
St James’ RC STARS Gold
St John the Baptist C od E
St Mary Magdalen RC STARS Gold
St Mary & St Peter’s C of E STARS Gold
St Mary’s C of E STARS Bronze
St Mary’s Hampton C of E STARS Silver
St Mary’s University
St Osmund’s RC
St Paul’s School
St Richard Reynolds STARS Gold (secondary)
St Richard Reynolds Primary STARS Gold
Bike It! school
St Richards C of E STARS Gold
Bike It! school
St Stephens C of E STARS Gold
One of first candidate schooos, announced 25th September
Bike It! school
Stanley Primary STARS Bronze
One of first candidate schooos, announced 25th September
Bike It! school
Strathmore School
Swedish School STARS Gold
Teddington School Secondary
Thomson House School STARS Gold
Tower House School STARS Silver
Trafalgar Infant School
Trafalgar Junior School
Turing House School STARS Gold
Twickenham School Secondary
Vineyard School STARS Bronze
Waldegrave School Secondary

Rides for Explorers – Box Hill ; Sunday 26th January

Meet Twickenham Riverside – by Eel Pie bridge 10.00.

Box Hill Jan 2020 (2)

Our traditional post-turkey jaunt but a bit later this year to avoid clashing with Kingston CC rides. On/off road quiet and scenic route to Box Hill then a steady climb to the viewpoint and lunch in NT Cafe at the top (as the pub we used to patronise is now a trendy wine-bar). Enjoy  a switchback descent taking us most of the way home. About 40 miles in total. Better bring lights but expect to get back well before 4.

Route (May be modified if we get much more rain. )

6 of us met up and , apart from a brief light shower had good , if slightly muddy, ride across Horton Country Park and Ashstead Common. After a quick snack at the top of Box Hill we headed back with the wind behind us and got back through Kingston around 2pm ahead of the worst of the threatened rain.