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.
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.