Local Plan – can you do a quick response?

See the council plans here and the consultation here. You can respond by emailing LocalPlan@richmond.gov.uk with your comments. 

If you only have a moment, please tell the council “Cycling and walking need to be embedded as a means of transport for all areas of the borough, and the local plan must recognise this with specific commitments to providing safe infrastructure for cycling, and a recognition that advisory and marketing programmes will not increase the rates of cycling or walking in the borough.

Cycling is still an afterthought, and not an integral part of the transport plan. It needs to be part of the fixing of congestion, it needs to be in every development and every road change

Car parking in town centres is wrongly suggested, by these policies, to be essential to the vitality of our town centres. This isn’t true: not only does the council have no evidence to support the idea that 30 mins of free parking actually makes any economic difference to justify its cost, but this emphasis removes from consideration of other ways to access our town centres.

Idea that we will somehow reduce the number of journeys seems quite ill-informed: why are we not focussing on makig sure people can make those journeys by a method other than the private car?

13.1.3 on delivery of the local plan for transport

13.1.7 on potential sites for schools …

“Delivery plan and infra delivery schedule” on providing the transport plans

13.2.3 Infra to deliver sustainable growth – why isn’t transport there?

It’s fine words all over again, for the few people with the patience to read the council’s new Local Plan. Despite all the changes in the last few years, and endless discussions on the subject of cycling as a mode of transport, it basically receives lip service in the new Local Plan document. It starts straight away, with the Strategic Vision (section 2, p13) which envisages the future of the borough’s main centres being access by walking and public transport. At the moment, the main mode of transport is the private car: should we assume that failure to mention the car means that no-one will use them? Probably not, if the rest of the local plan is anything to go by – but given the lack of detail in any planning for cycling, we might assume that these major local centres will have a few bike parking racks as an afterthought.

(In ‘A Sustainable Borough’ the council plans to deliver ‘Smart City technology’ but doesn’t even mention transport as a part of moving towards zero carbon.

P16 s.2.3.1 “A Sustainable Future” needs to talk about providing safe transport choices, and not just promoting them. It’s not enough to use words like this “Promotesafeandsustainabletransportchoices,includingpublic transport,cyclingandwalking,forallpeople,includingthosewith disabilities.” when we know that promotion has almost no value in changing peoples’ transport choices.

3.1.8 – excellent that this section recognises the importance and value of people being able to walk and cycle to places,
3.1.14 – welcome the emphasis on creating new walking and cycling routes.
3.1.17 – Sustainable future – again mentions promotion of walking and cycling. A ‘main element’ of the Spatial Strategy is to promote walking and cycling, but actually this should read something like ‘A main element of the Spatial Strategy is to provide safe places to cycle throughout the borough, focussing on the recognition that only the actual provision of cycling separate from motor traffic, on clear, well-signed, direct routes, will encourage rasonable numbers of people to start cycling instead of driving.’

3.1.24 – to create envmts and public realm which support everyone, transport needs to be a key factor. 25% of the borough doesn’t drive, and we can’t route buses to every possible spot. Therefore it is incumbent on the council to make sure that wherever humanly possible, places can be accessed by foot or by cycle.

4.1.9 – welcome the need for pedestrian and cycle access to areas at all times.

Update CP10 Open Land and Parks (p63) to include accessible cycle parking to LCDS standards in all locations. (It is not acceptable to specify car parking for these without including access by foot and by bicycle.)

New policy LP12 Green Infra – needs to include accessibility by bicycle, as well as cycle parking.

LP25 – development of centres: needs to talk about how people access them – the borough will start to choke if we get more people, but don’t provide other ways to get around.

Welcome changes in LP30 – encouraging sustainable modes of transport.

LP31 on open space – needs to include a requirement on how the space is accessed – this should prioritise walking and cycling, and should include the need for accessibility for all users (i.e. safe access for people with disabilities, etc.)

LP44 – re-use the wording about public transport for the cycling and walking section. Needs to be more robust, clear wording and statement of intent.

Like 11.1.5 about how cycling and walking facilities make a place better.

LP45 needs to mention cycle parking specfically. Bikes are vehicles, but too much documetation fails to recognise this, so they need calling out specifically.

Need a policy about sorting out deliveries, so that they are less central causes of congestion, and so that businesses are encouraged to source this together

Cycling Liaison Group – Lots of Updates …

The Cycling Liaison Group covered a lot of material, so apologies for the late report. The council will likely also issue the minutes of the meeting soon, too.

The new cycling strategy is due to have been looked at by the cabinet (link), and is in the council papers (this PDF, from p33)

Cycle ramps are being placed on more of our bridges. There’s a new design which the borough is going to trial, and there is now a list of where the council is currently evaluating their use. If you’ve got s bridge you’d like to see get a ramp or channel, let us know. (info@richmondlcc.co.uk)

We were told that the arrival of a new mayor is leaving some uncertainty at the moment, which is why some things seem to be moving slowly. Since the council doesn’t spend much of its own money on cycling, sadly, it is left at the behest of TfL for most funding.

This was also the first meeting with the new cabinet member for transport, Peter Buckland. He seems to have got a good hold of his brief with regard to cycling, though we’re obviously worried that whatever ambitions he might have will be reigned in by the cycling haters who currently steer the ship.

There was a lot of discussion around ‘filtered permeability‘ – this is something that the council has previously installed on a number of roads, and they’re prepared to trial it on others. A good example is the network of roads which lead onto the A316, near Nelson Road, like here.

Bushy Park – there’s been a lot of discussion recently about the Duke’s Head Passage change in Bushy Park (see our article), and we’re told the Cycling Officer is in discussion with Royal Parks. Richmond Cycling also went to a Royal Parks meeting subsequently, and things seem to be moving – if glacially – on this.

Apparently TfL have been spending a lot of effort looking at cycling on the A316, for most of its length in the borough, up into Chiswick. This could mean they’re seriously looking at how to fix things like Chalkers Corner and Manor Circus, as well as the fact that the cycle lane has to give way to every side road. We’re hopeful that, with the new Super Highways in central London, we’re going to get something good here, but there is still outstanding concern that it might be at the expense of pedestrians in places like Manor Circus, where TfL has previously consulted on moving the super useful zebra crossings in favour of traffic lights which don’t let you cross all at once.

Nelson Road: as you might have seen (here) we were not very impressed with the council plans for Nelson Road, and a lot of locals kicked up a big stink over the failure to add 20mph limits. The CLG was told that 20mph in this area will now go to consultation sometime after the summer holidays.

Something I didn’t follow properly – there is a section 123 request for funding which includes a bridge from Ham to Teddington. If we find out more, we’ll tell you, as this would be a fine thing!

Parking at train stations: this one is all a bit opaque as to who is really responsible for it, but it sounds like there will be new franchise tendering soon, and as a result various bidders have been trying to entice the council with their offerings. This was seen as an opportunity to ask for significantly improved cycle parking at stations across the borough.

Petersham Road: the most recent documents suggest that the closure of Petersham Road, despite promising cycle access, does not include this, and the council and our local members are now pursuing this urgently.

Sheen Road is being looked at by engineers, although we’re not clear what the plan is at the moment – hopefully the designs will include some proper space for cycling to support all the school children who could be cycling to schools in the area.

Changes to Rocks Lane to make it safer are under examination – see here – we’ll try to get a response soon.

There are a number of other items on the handout we received – there are some details on the council page (here), but we’ve copied the handout here as well.

Please get in contact if you have any questions – there’s a lot here, all of which could do with covering in more detail! 

Nelson Road – “We didn’t bother reading the travel plans”

This is the text of a letter we sent to the council about the Nelson Road scheme. What we forgot to mention was that all the schools in the areas already have travel plans, and at least one of them specifically asks for a 20mph zone in Nelson Road … 

Hello Richmond Council,

I was just looking at the Nelson Road scheme and it’s hard not to feel very disappointed.

As one of our members observed, the addition of another place to cross is always welcome, and a proposal to reduce vehicle speeds is also welcome.

Family cycling in Richmond

However, the key component to this scheme, both in the consultation and in the documentation, seems to be “Hurrah, five more parking spaces”. If the council wanted to actually reduce speeds, it would include a 20mph zone, making it a place where children might just be more likely to cycle to school.

Perhaps most disappointing, in fact, is the absence of any evidence whatsoever that someone looked at this scheme and said “Ooh, how could I make this a better place to be on a bike?” or “Could I do something that could be part of wider, more substantive changes to the area, rather than spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on some new tarmac, and more parking?”

Pavement cycling

Why, in 2016, are we still putting together transport schemes whose sole purpose seems to be about moving cars around our borough in the most convenient fashion possible? Apparently there’ll be another new school nearby soon, which is just going to mean more cars in the area, because I assume – please prove me wrong – that the council will expect the new school to provide a travel plan which talks about how it is going to get more people walking and cycling to school, despite any actual action from the council which might involve making walking and cycling conditions better.

I attach three pictures – two of them shows observed conditions for riding in our borough, and the third shows two Dutch girls riding to school, super-imposed on a typical street in Hackney: your Nelson Road plan amounts to the same thing.

dutch-girls-cycling-in-hackney

It would be great if someone could tell me “the council really cares about cycling, and is actively giving officers the power to propose schemes which will make it better.” But you’ll appreciate that I won’t hold my breath.

Yours,

Richmond Cycling

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?