Cycling Strategy – We need your help

The new cycling strategy is really (web page and document) quite good. With commitment to 15% of all trips by bike within ten years, broadening the demographic of people who cycle in the borough, and plans to work more closely with stakeholders, there are good ideas, backed up with some serious thought.

Obviously, funding is going to be a concern, and much is this is contingent on allocating scarce council funds, or persuading Transport for London to pay, but the strategy does recognise that there are things that can be done, and that making cycling better involves real change to our roads and our public space.

So we need you to give the council your qualified support on this one. Sure, there are lots of things we’d like to tweak / improve, and they’re listed below, but you can respond to the council quickly – here’s how:

1. You can email the consultation team with a response highwaysandtransport@richmond.gov.uk

2. You can fill in their form here

3. You can drop us a note and we’ll collate your responses: info@richmondlcc.co.uk

But here are some ideas we’d like to add. Feel free to copy and paste these, add your own bits, etc.!

SIX BIG IDEAS TO MAKE THE STRATEGY EVEN BETTER

Supporting local businesses who want to try cargo bikes.
Like Homebase is trialling: http://www.londongreencycles.co.uk/homebase-trials-cargo-bikes/

Help schools more
All our local schools should have enough bike parking, and should be priority areas for 20mph zones and safe spaces to cycle
The borough could also support schemes like the one in Camden, where children can buy and sell bikes they’re growing out of. (This is hinted at in B4, but when someone says they’ll ‘investigate the feasibility of facilitating’ something, it sounds awfully like it will never happen.)
A good example of an organisation we could work with is http://www.peddlemywheels.com/

Work with businesses
We love this idea, but we’d like active development here to support proper parking at every new business, and access by foot and bicycle to be the number one transport priority for any new business in the area.

Filtered permeability
This should be a full programme of work, not just a trial. We already use it on dozens of roads around the borough, and many more roads would benefit from less through traffic.

But the big one: segregation
We know that cycling really takes off only when you provide people safe spaces to ride – like on the Embankment, or in Tavistock Place. We’d like to see the cycling strategy actively commit to building more safe space to cycle

Enforcement and Safety
The recent policy change by West Midlands police make real sense to us. Cycling UK describe it as ‘the best cycling road safety initiative ever’. WM Police have said

“If poor driving makes people too scared to cycle, it’s a police matter.”

We want Richmond Council and local police to step up to the crease on this one: it’s not good enough to talk about ‘targeting any road user’ – they need to target the danger. We don’t endorse or support people who break the law when they’re on a bike, but we if more effort is going to be spent on enforcement of the law, it needs to take into account the genuine danger in the offences being looked at: we can’t be moaning about a few cyclists on the pavement when the borough is plagued with people driving cars and vans when they can’t look up from their phones.

Our response to the cycling strategy

This is a Richmond Cycling Campaign’s detailed response to the Cycling Strategy.

You can see the current cycling strategy document here

You can see the consultation page here

General Notes

We welcome the new cycling strategy for

  • Its evidence-based approach to making
  • The emphasis on improving cycling through proper measures
  • The clear drive from both officers and councillors to understand cycling as an everyday mode of transport rather than an occasional leisure activity

As might be expected, we have a number of comments, and a number of areas we would like improved in the strategy.

These notes use the original copy of the Strategy Document, and their section numbers.

We’d like to see the possibility of many more 20mph areas – as in Wandsworth and many neighbouring boroughs – included in the strategy.

We would like the strategy to be much clearer about how cycling needs to be accessible to all. Our experience talking to council officers and councillors makes it clear that they understand that cycling can benefit almost everyone, with a wide range of impairments, and we’d like to see this knowledge shared more clearly in the strategy. An example would be a commitment to engage with organisations like Wheels 4 Wellbeing.

This should also be read in conjunction with our notes on this page.

Specific Comments

2.2 With regard to funding, we would like to see the borough commit to more clearly identifiable funding streams, including prioritisation of all s106 funds and CIL funds.

A1. Draft network plan: Ideally we would like to see some more analysis of this in the cycling strategy, to show that there is a clear plan to provide more routes, in a more dense configuration, throughout the area. It is also important to establish proper consultation on these: may people may object to specific local schemes if they can’t see how a change in their area is going to have a very beneficial impact to their area directly, as well as to the wider area. We think it is inappropriate to subject each specific change to the whim of overly-specific areas. Rather, the council must make the case for a comprehensive network of routes which will serve everyone, walking or cycling.

A2. While it is useful to review accident data, this doesn’t tell us the full story of why people choose not to cycle. Lots of evidence shows that things like close passes, dense traffic and inconsiderate driving all take their toll on someone’s willingness to try cycling. We would like the council to consider how it can find out why people in the area don’t cycle, and addressing this as well.

A4. “Integrating cycling into new schemes”. This needs strengthening. No traffic or construction scheme should go ahead without clear provision for safe walking and cycling both around the location, and to get to the location.

A7. FORS certification. The borough could be more ambitious here. 2020 is fully 4 years away, and we should be able to achieve gold by then. We would also like to see the council look at what jurisdiction it has over other larger vehicles using our roads – for example school buses, etc.

A8. We applaud this, but we would like the council and local police to follow the example of West Midlands Police and focus their enforcement activity on those behaviours which create the highest level of danger / risk. It’s fine to increase enforcement of cycling on footways, etc., but in reality this is far less dangerous to borough residents than driving while using a mobile phone, for example. The latter should be receiving far more police attention than the former.

A9. Speed limits and traffic calming. London now has clear guidance, with the London Cycle Design Standards. We’d like to see these form the basis of any changes and improvements.

B1. Improved cycle parking. A big ‘yes’ from us!

B4. Facilitate bike ownership. We really like this idea, and we would like the council to look at some kind of bike hire library to help families try cargo bikes and other types of bicycle, so that they can better understand their options.

C3. Schools engagement. This is also great news. We’d strengthen this, by asking that all schools have an up to date travel plan, sufficient bike parking, and safe routes for children to get there. We would stress the duty of the council to support schools in their travel plans, and to support parents and children in making healthy choices about their transport options.

C4. Business engagement. This is another great idea: we love the idea of helping businesses to realise the benefits of having more people walking and cycling.

2.2.4. Helping people get to attractions. A good idea – we would actively support making access to places like Kew Gardens and Ham House much better for cycling. As a part of the strategy, we’d like to see this connect better to the Network Plan in A1.

2.2.9. Air quality. This is an important issue for the borough. We’d like to see the borough starting to look at how to ct the volumes of through traffic in our town centres, and other key pollution areas.

2.4.1 This is a bit we’d like changed. We welcome the analysis the council has put into this, but we’d like to stress that people’s fear of safety can only really be addressed by actual, rather than perceptual, changes. We think this includes a commitment to facilities like those we now see in central London and other parts of our city.

2.4.2 This paragraph also discusses the same issue: it’s important to address actual changes to the cycling environment, and not to assume that training and confidence building is going to get more people cycling.

2.4.4 We worry about this bit. It suggests that investment in proper places to cycle is contingent upon people’s behaviour when cycling. We would argue two things here: (1) The council does not link money spent on anything else to behaviour – especially roads. (2) Only by improving the conditions for cycling will we be able to (for example) persuade fewer people not to cycle on the pavement.

Objectives

A1 Network improvements. We would like to see the proposed corridors included in the cycling strategy, as a clear statement of intent.

A2. Better junctions. This mentions trialling filtered permeability. We think this should be integral to plans not only to improve cycling, but also air quality.

A3. Better bridges. Great! Like many locals, we really support the provision of a new bridge for our borough.

A4. Integrating cycling into new schemes. Another great idea – we’d like to see it strengthened, though – as discussed above, new schemes should be required to actively support walking and cycling.

A8. Enforcement against poor road user behaviour. (See above)

3.2.1 Cycling as an everyday option. We like this too, and would propose that the council engages with cycle parking providers to look at how it can provide temporary bike parking for big events, and to trial new parking locations.

Richmond Cycling Monthly Meeting – November 14th

The next monthly meeting is on November 14th, upstairs at the Old Ship at 8pm.  Here is the Agenda

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Quiet ways talk with Carole Crankshaw – Richmond’s Cycling Officer

  • We’ll be looking at the proposed quiet way 1 route – consultation is here and our earlier response is here.

Approach to take with the published Cycling Strategy

  • The council’s Cycling Strategy is in consultation. The documents are all here.

Teddington Cycle Hub – can someone represent? 15th November

  • The official opening of Teddington’s new cycle hub is on 15th November, and we’ll agree who will represent us there

Police Transport User Group – 8th December

  • The borough police hold their Transport User Group on 8th December. We’ll be asking them, among other things to act on bad driving.

DHP update

  • An update on where we think things are at the moment on the Royal Park’s closure of Duke’s Head Passage to cycling.
20 mph in Nelson Road – response needed
Fontainebleau ride
  • We’d like to support the ‘Richmond in Europe’ group as they run the twinning week to celebrate, in September 2017, the anniversary of the twinning with Fontainebleau.

Time for Richmond Police to do their bit

It’s good enough for the West Midlands, and it’s good enough for us.

The close pass experienced by the daughter of our borough coordinator.

The close pass experienced by the daughter of our borough coordinator. You can see the full video here.

Richmond Cycling Campaign is calling on local police to follow the example of West Midlands Police, and now Camden Police, and begin actively targeting bad and dangerous driving in the borough.

One WM officer described it like this:

“As a police force we must do our upmost to protect vulnerable road users and show that anyone who puts them in danger through poor driving will be dealt with.

“Cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces or obstacles like drain covers so it’s important to afford them plenty of room when overtaking.

“We know through our work with the Birmingham Cycle forum that close passing is the single biggest deterrent stopping more people from taking to their bikes.

“Some drivers get tunnel vision; they’re only focus is on getting from A to B as quickly as possible. They don’t pay any attention to vulnerable road users and we’ve attended some horrific scenes where cyclists have been wiped out by drivers who’ve not even seen them.

“Drivers need to consider that a cyclist they are overtaking could be a police officer − and if they don’t pass them safely they could be prosecuted.”

Cycling in Richmond, we receive regular complaints and warnings about some areas, about people being intimidated by close passes and other poor driver behaviour, and we’d like local police to move on from enforcing of Advanced Stop Lines to assertively managing this type of intimidation and illegality.

Tim Lennon, borough coordinator for Richmond Cycling, said this:

People are just asking to be able to cycle around safely. And until things like this are dealt with, our roads will remain unsafe, and the majority of borough residents will carry on choosing to drive, rather than feeling cycling is a safe option.

Rides coordinator Paul Luton, who has led rides throughout the borough for over a decade, said:

Too many routes are unavailable to us because of this type of behaviour. We have all ages and abilities on our rides, and it’s desperately disheartening when new cyclists are terrified to get back on their bikes because of the behaviour of a selfish and dangerous minority.

Justine Langford, who lives in Ham, said

25 years cycling on London’s roads has not diminished my fear of close passing motorists. I completely understand why it would discourage new cyclists including parents who would like to swap the car for bikes on the school run but don’t feel it is safe.  I would really welcome the police asserting what is unacceptable and dangerous driving around cyclists by targeting this behaviour.

Katherine Bousfield, also from Ham, said

I have had so many experiences on my bike like the one in the clip. I think that problematic road design, lack of 20 mph zones and lack of clear training about overtaking bicycles as part of the UK driving test all contribute to this problem. Sometimes I have caught up with drivers at the traffic lights and politely let them know that they overtook far too close and they have been genuinely surprised.

Eliza Shaw, a Richmond resident, said

This is a cycling issue but it is also a human issue. It’s a shame that one of London’s leafiest boroughs cannot be enjoyed to its fullest by those on foot or bicycle because of reckless driving. More needs to be done to protect vulnerable road users and the police must play a role in this.”

You can read the West Midland Police traffic blog here: https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/category/traffic-blog/

And you can read about Camden doing this, here: http://londonroadsafetycouncil.org.uk/camden-police-go-undercover-to-catch-close-passing-motorists/

And Cambridge police considering it: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/watch-terrifying-footage-cars-passing-12114509

Duke’s Head Passage – “We’ve made the right decision”

Richmond Cycling Campaign attended the Royal Parks’ Walking and Cycling Consultative Group on Wednesday, and got the bad news on Bushy Park’s Duke’s Head Passage.

We’r waiting for the official record of the meeting, but the rough summary on cycling in the Duke’s Head Passage is:

  • It’s too narrow for cycling
  • The right decision was taken to ban cycling – people only have to walk 450m with their bike
  • There are other routes into the park
  • ‘This is an area of conflict, not an accident area’

The next steps seem to be being driven by the borough cycling officer, who is trying to get a proper study done to assess what would make the path Ok for cycling. We were told that the path would need to be to London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS) for the parks to approve it. Given the constricted nature of the path, though, this seems like a planned excuse for doing nothing.

The point was made by the Royal Parks that it’s actually possible to cycle virtually everywhere in Bushy Park, and we thoroughly encourage people to respect this privilege and to cycle carefully and considerately. However, the enormous utility and safety benefits of using DHP don’t seem to weigh heavily for Parks management, sadly.

Towpaths – Which Would You Improve First?

The council is going to be looking at the borough’s towpaths, and has asked us for input on which ones should be the priority. We’ve listed them all below – which ones would you like to see dealt with first?

The list uses the council’s format – grouping sections. Different sections are in different states, hence some of the grouping.

If you have any comments, or if you want to suggest a priority, please tell us below in the comments or at info@richmondlcc.co.uk

1. Richmond Bridge to Kew Bridge

Ferry Lane to Thistleworth Marine:  This section of the towpath is a combination of broken up asphalt, concrete and gravel. It is uncomfortable to walk let alone to cycle. Total length is 3,000m with an average width of approx. 2.5m
Thistleworth Marine to Richmond Bridge: This section of the towpath is laid in asphalt and/or clearmac. The overall condition is good with no current maintenance issues.

2. Ham (Surrey side) towards Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge to south of Richmond canoe club: Asphalt laid towpath. Isolated patches of asphalt are required to eliminate existing potholes and towpath troughs
Buccleuch Gardens (south boundary) to River Lane: Towpath is laid in a mixture of brocken up concrete, asphalt and gravel. Upgrade to a hard surface is most desirable as this section is prone to flooding.

3. Ham vicinity to Teddington Lock

Ham Street (riverside car park) to Teddington Lock: This section of the towpath is a combination of broken up asphalt, concrete and gravel. Towpath upgrade will definitely be beneficial.

4. Teddington Lock to Kingston borough boundary

There is a footpath and a cyclepath that run parallel to each other. The footpath is made of gravel ground and is in good condition. The cyclepath is laid in clearmac and requires isolated patches to eliminate potholes and cracked surface.

5. Kingston Bridge to Hampton Court Bridge

Barge Walk (Horse Fair) to Palace Road: Access road to premises that acts as footpath/cyclepath laid in ashpalt. The current condition is good. Isolated minor patching to potholes.
Barge Walk (Palace Road) to Pavilion Terrace: Cyclepath is laid in gravel and is in very good condition. A few minor scattered potholes but not in need of immediate maintenance.
Barge Walk (Pavilion Terrace) to south boundary of the Great Fountain Garden: Access road to Pavilion Terrace that acts as footpath/cyclepath laid in ashpalt. Requires isolated patches to eliminate potholes and cracked surface.
Barge Walk (south boundary of the Great Fountain Garden) to Hampton Court Bridge: Access road to Pavilion Terace that acts as footpath/cyclepath laid in concrete. Good Condition no action needed.
Barge Walk footpath (south boundary of the Great Fountain Garden) to Stewart Marine Footpath is a mixture of gravel and natural ground. Majority of its length is in good condition however isolated grading re-levelling will be required to eliminate uneven ground conditions.

6. Richmond Bridge to Orlean Gardens 

Richmond Bridge to Denton Road Towpath in asphalt, condition is very good, no need for any improvements
Denton Road to Orleans Road Towpath in asphalt, requires isolated patches to elliminate potholes and cracked surface.

 

Richmond Park Quiet Way Response.

Dear Royal Parks,

Please find below the official response from Richmond Cycling Campaign to the consultation on the Richmond Park quiet way section.

RCC represents over 1,000 local members of London Cycling Campaign, as well as thousands of others who cycle in our borough, and this response has been arrived at in discussion with a number of these stakeholders.

Kind regards,

Borough Coordinator, Richmond Cycling.

RCC recognises that extensive effort has gone into this consultation, and we welcome the clear interest, in Royal Parks staff we have engaged with, in making the parks better for walking and cycling. We also welcome the interest Royal Parks shows in supporting the idea of a proper, attractive quiet way through Richmond Park. However, we have a number of concerns with the proposal as it stands, and these are elaborated below.

Overall Summary:
In general, this proposal seems somewhat nuclear on a number of major issues:

1. There’s already a nice clear tarmac network through the park, but it is not suitable for use for the quietway because of the high volume of motor traffic.

2. This seems to have resulted in proposals which imply that the central section of the proposed quiet way should be accessed via the Tamsin Trail / partly made paths from the gates.

3. These paths are not appropriate for cycling, because of their width, their shared nature, and their surfacing. The introduce conflict with pedestrians and provide uncomfortable riding conditions.

4. The central part of the route is too narrow – not only is the path of variable quality all along the sides, rendering the effective width less, but in this part of the route, it is virtually impossible for any volume of walking and cycling to interact comfortably.

5. The proposed route is already a signed cycle route. None of the changes proposed – using cycling money – are actually going to provide any material improvements to cycling in the park. It might even be argued that they are increasing the chance of conflict with pedestrians.

6. A wide range of parties have made it very clear that the most effective single change in Richmond Park, both for cycling and for the park itself, would be to curtail the volumes of motor traffic. Yet nothing is proposed for this.

7. Richmond Park could immediately be made better for walking and cycling by the limiting of through motor traffic, yet this proposal seems not to mention it. Most of the things discussed here are unlikely ever to be needed, if only we could make cycling attractive on the perfectly appropriate main ring.

Taking the consultation points in order:

Sheen Cross.
If this is a pedestrian and cyclist crossing, it implies that cycling should be using the Tamsin Trail / walkways here to access the park.This should not be the case: there is a perfectly good road, and the Royal Parks should not be proposing a ‘dual provision’ solution.

Ham Cross.
The proposal about surface texture is worrying – we know that poor and jarring surfaces are not pleasant for riders with disabilities, handcycles, etc. There’s no defined reason why this needs to be here. All sightlines are clear and unobstructed, so it isn’t clear how someone could be unaware of potential conflict.

Again, the crossing and design implies that cycling is being asked to use the pedestrian path / shared use path here. This really needs to be made very clear, because it is not a suitable surface for cycling, nor is it suitable for the volume, either. As with other sections like this, the priority should be to calm motor traffic in order to make cycling better.

Ham Gate
Again, this design seems to focus on cyclists using the paths and not the road. The paths are not of a standard – width or surface – to usefully accommodate cycling, meaning that it’s another attempt at dual provision.

If, in fact, the crossing is about making it nicer to walk across this crossing, with the assumption that cyclists will be on the road, then the question becomes: “Why are we spending cycling money on something that isn’t for cycling?” Because if this crossing is a problem, it’s hard to believe that the problem is caused by cycling …”

Middle path
This is altogether too narrow, and is effectively designed conflict with pedestrians because it is so narrow. This route is unlikely to work unless it is widened, how ever much we spend on ‘pedestrian priority’ warnings.

Pen Ponds entrance
This appears to be more money being spent for a problem that hasn’t been shown. This route has hundreds of pedestrian and cycling interactions a day, yet doesn’t seem to be a problem at the moment.

Horseride crossing
If this is pedestrian priority, why is there no signage for horse riding?

Isabella Plantation
Again, it isn’t clear what the problem is here with cycling: it looks like more signage with little value, and little effort to actually make this – as proposed – a proper quiet way.

Signage
It is somewhat perplexing that the pathways under discussion apparently need extensive signage and design in order to ‘educate’ those on bicycles. Yet on the roads through the park, where almost every single KSI incident happens, there is no change at all. The clear implication is that Royal Parks believe park users (and animals) to be more at risk from people on bicycles than people in cars, despite all the countervailing evidence.

Richmond Park Quietway Consultation – can you respond?

The Royal Parks Foundation is consulting on the suggested changes to make Richmond Park part of the quiet way network.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

You can see their consultation here. We’ve started a Cyclescape discussion here, and we need your input.

As one commenter on the Cyclescape thread observes, it looks like cycling money is going to make things – in some places – worse for cycling!

Our key observations at the moment:

  1. The design clearly implies that the Tamsin Trail, with its pedestrian priority, is the proposed entry point at Roehampton and Ham gates. Not only is the surface poor for cycling, but it is likely to degrade very quickly under any volume of cycling. Worst of all, by far, is the designed conflict with pedestrians at both ends of the route.
  2. The central section is very narrow. We completely support pedestrian priority, but the section could be made much more comfortable for all by widening it to the same widths at each end.
  3. There’s no mention of gates. If this route is going to be of genuine use to everyone, it needs pedestrian gates which can be used by everyone, whatever their bicycle, tricycle or level of mobility.
  4. The easy, cheap way to make Richmond Park a quiet way is to curtail the volume of motor traffic. Yet there is no plan of any type to do this.

Your response is needed now! The consultation closes on October 18th: Please write to cycle@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk or comment on our Cyclescape thread – we’ll make sure we raise all these issues at the next meeting with Royal Parks Foundation.

We did a few images to show you all this …

‘Central section’ through quiet way.

r-park-1

Entering at Sheen Gate. Which way would you go? (NB the quietway runs from Roehampton gate, but the problem is likely to be the same  – the design encourages cyclists to go off road.)

Sheen Gate entrance

Crossing to Ham Gate. Please risk conflict with pedestrians before endangering motor vehicles!

(We did like the comment “How come there’s so much effort to put up signs about pedestrian priority on the route, whereas none of the roads get a big ‘cycling priority’ sign?”)