Plan my village!

The council is consulting on the Village Plan ‘Supplementary Planning Documents’ for St. Margarets, Richmond, and East Twickenham. As usual, cycling is not being treated as a mode of transport, but as – at best – recreational activity. 

Richmond Cycling Campaign would like to see the village plans include clearly stated requirements for cycle parking provision in all new developments. The London Plan (see here) includes clear guidelines around cycle parking and new developments, and we believe this should be included in the village plans. 

2013.08.09-LB-Hackney-Mowll-St-1-6-Cleveland-House cars parked on street londonneurWhich one looks better to you? Images from @londonneur and @cyclehoop

We also believe that emphasis needs to be given to modes of transport other than the car. The village plans should seek to encourage people to walk and cycle around their villages where possible, rather than driving, and should actively consider key routes through any village that could better support cycling as an option. 

Off-road parking is clearly a significant concern in almost all the village plans. We believe that one option to combat at least part of this i to provide families, in particular, with less need to have a car so close by at all times. This is not an ‘anti-car’ proposal, it’s a pro-choice proposal. For too many journeys in the borough the basic choice for getting around is by car. Yet children tell us again and again they want to use their bikes, and evidence from across the Channel in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, we know that families can happily choose to cycle, where a suitable place is provided to do so.


Can’t we have more of this?

And the parking of cars on front garden spaces, and removal of front walls to do so, is discouraged throughout the village plans. One of the key (and entirely reasonable) grounds is that it is deeply unsightly. Yet the village plans fail to observe that, perhaps, residential roads where one can barely access pavements due to parked cars are just as unsightly. Even persuading one household in 10 to travel around the borough by bicycle and foot would make a massive difference to this.

Better support for cycling delivers against a range of development goals for the council, and these should be recognised with the village SPDs – supporting residents to lead a healthier lifestyle, lowering the volumes of air-borne pollution in the area, and making our roads quieter, safer places. 

We’re not forgetting cycling in Twickenham *again*, are we?

Well, yes, apparently the council is, sadly. We’ve already spent millions of pounds on the first attempt to make Twickenham better, with virtually nothing for cycling, now we might be about to do it again.

Cycling and walking both allocated space – isn’t this the least we should expect?

We welcome the plan to make the riverside a more pleasant place for people, but would like to see considerably more thought go into:

1. How people arrive at the new facilities

2. The transport environment around the new development.

How people arrive.

Twickenham is already heavily congested with motor traffic for large parts of the day. Increasing the number of people who arrive to shop and visit is not going to positively improve this situation. This is an opportunity to repair some of the damage done to Twickenham’s transport options by making sure that people can arrive safely by bicycle, and also park their bicycle in a covered, safe, convenient location.

This should apply both to people who work in the centre, and people who are visiting. In particular, we believe all the surrounding roads should become two-way for cycling, with suitable interventions to make this inviting and safe.

Cycle parking should be designed in from the outset. It is not acceptable to have no plans for where cycles will be parked. Plans must include sufficient cycle parking to at least the levels defined in the standards set out by TfL and the London Assembly.

The transport environment

The new development needs to be ‘permeable’ for walking and cycling. That is to say it must be simple and convenient to access the area, but also to pass it. In particular, there is no facility to cycle along the front of the riverside, nor is it possible to access it from both directions. This must be an essential part of the design: people on bicycles should be able to access the riverfront from both Wharf Lane and Water Lane, as well as from – and all the way along – either side of the development.

Crucially, it is not enough to say ‘cyclists will be able to share with pedestrians’. With high volumes of both, this is a recipe for an environment full of conflict and unpleasantness for both groups: just like the two access roads aren’t designed to be shared between cars and pedestrians, so a dedicated cycle route should not be simply dropped onto existing pedestrian space.

Richmond Cycling Campaign has seen too many plans from this council where cycling is an afterthought. It is not sufficient to spend tens of thousands of pounds on plans which say “We would like to hear from cyclists” as their only concession to recognising this as valid and desired mode of transport.


No More Investment in Cycling – Write to your MP now

The Times reported   that despite the fact that David Cameron has confirmed that he is “huge cycling fan” and says that he wants to “go further” and “realise our ambition to make the UK a true cycling nation,” echoing the calls he made in 2013 for a “cycling revolution.” the November Spending Review seems to spell an end for cycling infrastructure spending.

I have shamelessly plagiarised Matt Turner to come up with the effort below. via

It would be useful if Tania and Zac were in receipt of more variants.

Dear Tania Mathias,

I’m writing to you about the report in The Times   that investment in
cycling is due to be cut in the November spending review .

I’m dismayed at this news if it is indeed true as it contradicts the
Prime Minister's stated intention to " make the UK a true cycling

 We must keep investing in cycling, not for cyclists, but so that
everyone has the freedom to ride a bike. Helping to revitalise our
neighborhoods by reducing congestion, noise and making them nicer
places to spend time. To give our children the freedom to travel
independently, to reduce the burden on our health service, to begin to
tackle climate change and especially poor air quality ( in which London
is exceeding EU health limits ), and fundamentally, to give people a
the choice to move about without relying on a car.
I understand that a big focus of this review will be on transport
infrastructure, but cycling seems to be missing out. Back in March the
government published research into the benefit cost ratio (BCR) of
cycling investment compared to other transport investment, it showed
completely that the BCR was far higher for cycling than for any other
form of transport. I simply can’t understand why cycling investment
wouldn’t be a key part of infrastructure investment in the UK.

Yours sincerely,

Does your quiet street seem busier!

Does it seem like your street is getting more and more traffic on it!  It probably is and is likely because of technology.  Waze is a new sat nav style app that encourages drivers to avoid traffic and junctions using back streets. It got us thinking!

Local shortcuts are no longer local secrets! That means previously quiet roads are getting busier.

Waze - Encouraging Rat Runs

What can be done about? We think that as the way people drive is changing so road designs will have to change.   If we wish to protect our quiet neighbourhoods and create safer space for cycling gentle street changes will be required to keep folks on the main roads.  A proven method of reducing rat runs and maintaining quiet streets is to restrict through traffic.  Access is maintained but motor vehicles cannot pass directly through, the techies call this filtered permeability.

Filtered perm

We have written to Cllr Speak (Highways and street scene) to let him know that road designs will have to adapt to new technology. If you are worried about quiet roads becoming busy roads please do the same and ask for a ‘filtered permeability’ trial on your street.

The Cycling Liaison Group has come a long way in two years.

As well as 158 (count ‘em!) roads which are now identified as candidates to be made two way for cycling (while remaining one way for motor traffic,) we have a list of bridges which should get cycle gullies, a full map of cycling parking in the borough in the works. (You can see the meeting details on the council website, here: Minutes will likely be published in a couple of weeks.)

And hopefully very soon, we’ll see a planning application for one of these:

The Lambeth Bikehangar

With a new cycling officer, and a cycling champion who really understands what it takes to make ‘normal cycling’ a normal thing in the borough, we’re hoping that Richmond council is finally thinking about catching up with places like Camden, Waltham Forest, and Ealing (to name a few!).

So what happened?

Two-way cycling on one way streets

The council is going to share their list of all 158 candidates for this, and we’ll be asking for your help to prioritise these.  Initially “quick wins are sought where signing will be sufficient – our initial list is here. (And this weekend, London Cycling Campaign, our parent organisation, adopted an assertive new policy on this, to our delight!)

Bike Gullies

More of these are due to be installed, and we’re hopeful that by the end of next year over a dozen bridges in the borough may have been upgraded with these. (See our earlier post here.) 

Bike gully

Residential Parking

We’re hoping to see a planning application for a cycle hanger in the next few weeks. Please keep your eyes open and support it! (We’re catching up, Paul noted Lambeth doing this in 2011!)


A contract for consultation on the Wandsworth-Teddington Quietway will be signed soon, and the council has promised that cycling groups will be involved in the planning. We emphasised that keeping motorised traffic levels low is important, but it doesn’t sound like the council is ready to provide much real detail on these. Which, frankly, is a bit worrying, because a quietway will be of no use if it doesn’t provide reasonable directness, and is safe and inviting.

London Road / Heath Road Consultation

It sounds like various objections have sent this consultation one back to the drawing board. On a positive note, this is because it seems TfL thought it could be more ambitious. We’d love to see an improved proposal here, and the guts of the initial proposal did suggest real thought about what will make a difference for everyone to ride a bike.

Parking Audit

It sounds like we’ll be able to see a full audit of the borough’s cycle parking very soon. We all know places where more parking is needed, so this should drive some serious improvements.

Cycle Theft

It sounds like the borough is becoming something of a hotspot for bike crime, with a number being stolen from sheds, back gardens, etc. Local police officers are very happy to offer advice on how secure your place is, so please contact them if you need some advice. ( like making sure that the shed lock can’t simply be unscrewed and locking bikes to each other.)

Parking in new developments

With the document about supplementary planning guidance (yes, it’s really as dull as it sounds) being revised, we’ve taken the opportunity to ask the council to confirm that they are following the London Plan. In addition, we’ll be trying to find out that the council is making sure that any new planning application includes high quality, accessible cycle parking.

And finally …

Cycling Strategy

There’s going to be s cycling strategy soon, but it’s still in consultation within the council, so we’ll get excited when we can actually see it …

Cycle parking should be standard!

We think any new building needs to have secure, sheltered cycle parking as standard. And providing parking for cycling should be a key element of sustainable design.


It should be more like this!

But sadly the new proposed ‘sustainable construction checklist‘ mentions cycling in only the vaguest terms.

We’ll be checking the proposed new ‘London Cycle Design Standards’ (see here and this pdf) and asking the council what they’re going to put in … The London Plan includes specific standards for cycle parking (see this article) and we’d like to see these included in our standards.

Please get in touch with us or your councillors if you want any new build in the borough to have proper parking!