Upper Richmond Road West has been on the receiving end of an awful lot of tarmac in the last couple of weeks, and is now beautifully finished.
Which is nice, but there was a big consultation last year, and RCC took the opportunity to look at some of the issues with that stretch of road. This is a busy road, which serves five local schools, as well as a number of other local amenities, and it was being consulted on because it’s an accident blackspot.
So you can imagine that we were very worried that the many responses we’re aware of, which were deeply critical of the proposed plans, have been ignored.
We decided to ask the council what’s going on …
And luckily it turns out that this is all about making use of allocated funds before the new financial year – TfL had provided the cash to resurface, and no decision has apparently been made about the consultation results yet …
It’s taken quite a while to get what is pretty simple information out of the council, but they have explained the current situation – now we’re just waiting to hear the outcome of the consultation.
A number of people have contacted us about this, so please don’t be shy telling the council that you think this stretch of road needs fixing, and copy us in!
It’s beginning to look like the Twickenham Plan is now going to have many more improvements than we’d previously thought, to support people who want to cycle in the area. (If you want to see where we’ve been, you can check out our last post on the subject here.)
Last week, representatives from Richmond Cycling Campaign met officials from the planning department to look at their revised ideas for the new Twickenham (or “West Richmond“, as it might be….)
And although Twickenham isn’t going to be a Dutch style cycling paradise, we think that what has been described to us is a radical departure from the first set of plans we saw. (For a great suggestion for what Twickenham could really look like, check out the ideas that Paul, one local father has been looking at.)
Some of the highlights
Perhaps most importantly, Twickenham was accepted to be a ‘major project’ in TfL terms. This means that we can expect it to fall into this statement in the latest ‘Vision for Cycling‘
.. we will closely monitor all major new planning applications, schemes and developments, such as Earl’s Court and Nine Elms, to promote meaningful pro-bike content and discourage antibike content.
Which means that we can hopefully rely on TfL to refuse to pay for this, unless they’re satisfied that being able to access the area safely by bicycle is a key element of the project.
King Street …
King Street (from Cross Deep to the London Road junction) will get 2m-wide cycle lanes beside a single 5m wide general traffic lane each way. In off peak hours – i.e. most of the day – this means you’ll be able to cycle quietly and confidently all the way along here. To complement this, the planners are aiming to make the Holly Road section bi-directional for cyclists, so that anyone going from Heath Road to London Road will not need to use the junction of doom (London Rd/King St/York St).
On the opposite side of the road, the engineers are looking at a cycling contraflow operating all the way along Church Street, so that you can approach from York Street, and cycle along Church Street, directly onto King Street, again without having to deal with the junction of doom.
A really important point about these lanes on King Street is that, although they won’t be mandatory lanes, the engineers are looking at ways to remove any chance of the conflict that cycling struggles with in other parts of the borough. As well as clear marking of the whole surface, they’re looking at some form of defined edge – such as the cat eye strips seen in the mayor’s new cycling vision – to really delineate the space.
… London Road …
London Road will have at least 1.5m of cycle lane along all of its length, although it looks like there’s still some design and thinking to be done at the fateful junction with King Street, because of the ongoing requirements to be able to get enough traffic through there, especially to allow buses to move smoothly.
… Cross Deep …
At the Cross Deep junction, they’re looking at including a new design for traffic lights which will give cyclists a head start, in an attempt to lower the level of conflict between transport modes (i.e. cars v. bicycles, bicycles v. pedestrians, etc.) This design is currently in testing at the Transport Research Laboratory, so we’ll need to wait on the results before we find out whether they’ll go ahead.
Also, the Cross Deep junction will apparently feature two 3m wide ‘general’ lanes, with a 2m wide cycle lane. This will ensure that anyone choosing to cycle on these sections will always be able to easily make their way to a safer position at the front of queuing traffic.
… & Parking and Railings
Not too much change here, partly because there’s no definite plan as to where all the cycle parking will go. There was some discussion around placing parking in the middle of King Street, like in Kensington High Street.
Kensington parking (from Google Maps)
Obviously this wouldn’t be the only way to park, but it’s under consideration as an option. The removal of large sections of railing will also make a significant difference to the volume of cycle parking available in Twickenham, so if you have any strong opinions on where you think we should be parking, please tell us, and we’ll make sure it’s fed back to the council.
The removal will extend over almost every metre of railing present in Twickenham, including London Road and all the way to the station, which is going to be a huge improvement to the urban realm in the area, meaning you’ll be able to stop off more easily, and pedestrians will be able to cross at a point of their choosing, rather than being penned in to specific crossing points.
Some bonus tidbits
While we were there, we discussed some interesting background with the engineers. For example, they’ve surveyed the car parking provided in Twickenham, and they know that the main car parks have spare capacity at peak times.
They also discussed the impact that TfL requirements were having on planning and, interestingly for us, these seem very focussed on making sure buses can get through, which means that there’s a real change in direction from the ‘smoothing traffic flow‘ that has been a TfL stalwart for quite a while now.
Finally, it sounds like traffic volumes in Twickenham have been falling for a while now – we’ll try to get the figures for this, but it’ll make interesting reading, when considered against the plans for how traffic flows through the town centre.
They want an “Olympic Legacy for all Londoners” and “a CrossRail for the Bike”. In fact, you just need to read the ‘key outcomes’ (page 9 of this PDF) to see the scope of their stated ambition:
1. A Tube network for the bike. London will have a network of direct, high-capacity, joined-up cycle routes … A ‘bike Crossrail’ will run, substantially segregated, from west London to Barking. Local routes will link with them. There will be more Dutch-style, fully-segregated lanes and junctions; more mandatory cycle lanes, semi-segregated from general traffic; and a network of direct back-street Quietways, with segregation and junction improvements over the hard parts.
2. Safer streets for the bike. London’s streets and spaces will become places where cyclists feel they belong and are safe. … With government help, a range of radical measures will improve the safety of cyclists around large vehicles.
3. More people travelling by bike. Cycling across London will double in the next 10 years. We will ‘normalise’ cycling, making it something anyone feels comfortable doing. Hundreds of thousands more people, of all ages, races and backgrounds, and in all parts of London, will discover that the bike has changed their lives.
4. Better places for everyone. Our policies will help all Londoners, whether or not they have any intention of getting on a bicycle. Our new bike routes are a step towards the Mayor’s vision of a ‘village in the city’, creating green corridors, even linear parks, with more tree-planting, more space for pedestrians and less traffic. Cycling will promote community safety, bringing new life and vitality to underused streets. Our routes will specifically target parts of the Tube and bus network which are over capacity, promoting transfers to the bike and relieving crowding for everyone. Cycling will transform more of our city into a place dominated by people, not motor traffic.
So what about Richmond?
Now ask yourself which of these you wouldn’t like to see in our borough. And especially considering where we’ve been with the Twickenham Action Plan, it’s hard not to hope that our councillors and officials have read this vision from cover to cover. Phrases like
“Timid, half-hearted improvements are out – we will do things at least adequately, or not at all.”
leap from the page (page 10, in this case).
But most excitingly for Richmond, the mayor wants to create some ‘mini Hollands’ – “a fantastic opportunity for these boroughs to achieve dramatic change – not just for cyclists, but for everyone who lives and works there.” Richmond could bid to be one of these, with tens of millions of pounds being earmarked for real change, showcasing just how great cycling provision can enrich the lives of everyone in our city.
How can I help?
If you think this sounds like a great vision, tell us, tell your local councillors, or maybe write to the local paper. Or, just bask in the naked optimism and real ambition that this vision represents.
London Rd / Chertsey Rd from Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/DPIbH
RCC has looked at this before, (as has the local Green Party) as the junction doesn’t currently work for either walking or cycling, so it’s very worrying that work might be going ahead on this junction with no consultation and no documentation available. In our view it would be better to do nothing than to bridge the work on this junction, considering the volume of potential and actual use by all transport types.
So if they have started work on this, it’s a matter of some concern, and we need to find out what’s going on straight away. If you have a moment, ask your local GLA members (list here - Tony Arbour is member for the area, but others have London-wide responsibility, like Stephen Knight), and email TfL (use this form or email Enquire@TfL.Gov.UK).
You can also ask your councillors to enquire as well, since it’s their borough …
Do let us know what you find out (at firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll keep this post updated.
Sadly we were to be disappointed. Disjointed, advisory cycle lanes that form part of the nearside motor lane, no consideration at junctions other than ASLs, a taxi rank to dodge – you can read the full plans here (PDF 5MB) Not a design that parents will feel happy about cycling to school with their kids on. We were somewhat exasperated by the council boasting that they were being generous by giving 1.5 m cycle lanes. While this may be generous compared to the usual treatment in the borough (e.g. the recent cycle lanes on the approach to Richmond Bridge) this is the absoluteminimum width recommended by the London Cycle Design Standards (yes, they do exist!). Perhaps the Richmond officers need a refresh.
Until the council treats cycling as a means of transport, with officers who actually use the designs they come up with, we won’t see more people taking to their bikes to cycle to work, school or the shops. Across London, other councils are waking up to this – read how Ealing council went to Copenhagen, even TfL are starting to rethink their designs. We only hope this will eventually happen in Richmond. In the meantime, here’s your Olympic legacy. Which is a shame, because when you look at this post by a local parent, you see what could have been achieved with the space available and some political will – a vibrant Twickenham people go to, not drive through.
Council Cabinet Meeting – 15 November 2012
Having found out from the council’s own safety audit states that the proposed changes changes were likely to lead to “an increase in cyclist/vehicular collisions or cyclist/pedestrian collisions” we went to this meeting determined to get the council to listen. There was a big turn out of cyclists at the meeting, many bringing placards to get across their frustrations. At that stage, there was still limited specific detail on what the council was actually proposing but there was an indication that the council was softening its position and that existing cycle lanes would be retained and new ones added. The most enlightening element of the meeting was that Cabinet Chair, Lord True, was genuinely shocked to hear that we were not allowed to discuss infrastructure issues at the council’s Cycling Liaison Group meetings. The council’s Cycling Champion was not in attendance at the cabinet meeting to explain why.
Meeting with Council Officers – 23 November
Perhaps prompted by the cabinet meeting, the council invited us sit down with the Principal Transport Planner on 23 November. This was a productive meeting and we came away with the following commitments:
Any cycle lanes now present will be preserved
Any bus lanes removed will be replaced by cycle lanes
Cycle lane width will be in addition to, not part of the motor lane width
Cycle lanes will be a minimum of 1.5m width
A push to provide proper crossings for pedestrians and cyclists on the A316 London Road roundabout (a long running campaign issue – http://is.gd/aszjUm)
We emphasised that safety at junctions still needed to be addressed and that we would need to see the firmed-up proposals before the go-ahead is given. No official minutes were produced of the meeting, but here are the notes that we took down and shared with the council after the meeting. It is a vast improvement of where we were at the start of the summer when all cycle lane provision was going to be removed.
Since November, we haven’t heard any more on the subject and our concern is that decisions are being made in the background without our knowledge. Perhaps we’re worrying without cause but our experiences with the council to date haven’t helped. We will continue keep the pressure on the council to stick to these commitments and look for opportunities to further improve the scheme.
This is what was originally proposed
What can you you?
There is a danger that despite everyone’s efforts, this will fall off the radar. With the upcoming Rugby World Cup, changes may be pushed through that in the long term compromise the safety and viability of Twickenham town centre for those that visit and work there. Contact your local councillors, the council’s Cycling Champion, Kat Harborne, the chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor Chris Harrison and the Principal Transport Planner Ben Fryer to make sure they haven’t forgotten and to get their commitment to the changes discussed in November.
Contact details for below:
Ben Fryer – email@example.com
Councillor Katharine Harborne – Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk (Council Cycling Champion)
Councillor Chris Harrison – Cllr.CHarrison@richmond.gov.uk (Chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor)
List of Ward Councillors and their contact details – http://is.gd/QFOttI
If you’re writing to your Councillor, feel free to cc us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll keep a note of it.
Post Updated – 8 February
The council has reported that the proposals have been accepted and improvements shall proceed to make this roundabout safer for cyclists using it. This has not been a popular decision and many have objected, including some who have said there is no safety issue, but the statistics clearly show something needs to be done. Having ten times the borough average incident rate for mini roundabouts and a percentage of cycle incidents of 88% compared to the 33% borough average for a mini roundabouts is not acceptable.
Post Updated – 22 December
A big thank you to everyone who took the time to feedback to us about this roundabout. A large number of you shared your stories of near misses and many of you were so intimidated by the current layout it stopped you cycling into Teddington town centre. You can read our submission to the council below: Teddington Waldegrave Road/High Street Roundabout Consultation – RCC Submission
Teddington Waldegrave Road/Hight Street Roundabout Consultation – Deadline Friday 21 December
Proposed changes - click for full plan
The Waldegrave/High Street mini roundabout in Teddington (Map Link) is one of the most hazardous in the whole borough. The council reports that there have been 16 injury incidents during the last five years, 14 of which involved cyclists. Of these, 12 involved the same manoeuvre - travelling over the railway bridge on High Street, colliding with a right turning vehicle exiting Waldegrave Road. This average (3/year) is ten times the borough average 0.3/year for mini roundabouts. The percentage of cycle incidents at 88% is substantially greater than the 33% borough average for a mini roundabout (which in itself is unacceptable given only 5% of all journeys in the borough are made by cyclists).
Looking from railway bridge side (High Street). Click to see in Streetview
The current arrangement on the bridge is a two lane vehicle approach with a central cycle lane for straight ahead cyclists. The council lists the following as key factors in the incidents:
Vehicles misjudging cyclists’ speed
Cyclists masked by left turning vehicles into Waldegrave Road
We would like the council to also consider the following:
Review proposed traffic island layout which result in narrowed lanes creating pinch points for cyclists (better use of available space is possible)
Rearrangement of kerb lines to increase deflection and to prevent direct ‘tangential’ access onto the roundabout (which reduces vehicle speeds on the roundabout – more on roundabout design)
Review of cycle lane provision to and from the roundabout (both on and off-road) and linkage with adjacent Park Road/High Street roundabout and beyond
Space is available to address the first two with little cost impact. The 3rd is vital if parents are going to be willing to cycle across this roundabout with their kids to school. As stated above, this roundabout is a serious hazard with ten times the average incident rate of mini roundabouts in the borough.
We would ask you to take 2 minutes to contact the council to support their plans and highlight the additional considerations we’ve listed above along with any concerns of your own. Contact is via email at email@example.com (quote Reference Number 2293_CL_121112_LF) and copy us on firstname.lastname@example.org so we can have an idea of how many people have contacted the council. We will also be sending a submission from RCC. Deadline is Friday 21 December.
Post Updated – 24 Dec 2012
The timing of the consultation couldn’t be worse, but if you need some inspiration to ponder over after your Christmas pud, this great summary put together by a local parent who cycles in this area with his children should help – Upper Richmond Road West Consultation Comments.
Don’t forget, deadline for the tick box online form for the consultation is 28 December – details at the bottom of this post.
Richmond to Sheen Consultation – Deadline 28 December
Feeling the pinch?
This affects Upper Richmond Road West from the junction of Manor Road to the junction of Clifford Avenue (the South Circular) (Map Link). This is a busy and dangerous section of road with a shocking 29.38 collisions per kilometre in the past 5 years. Have a look at this shocking map of incidents from 2000 to 2010.
The main physical changes are:
Realignment and widening in parts of the existing cycle lane
Narrowing of the overall carriageway in sections by use of kerb build outs
Relocation of bus stops
Addition of pedestrian islands in the centre of the road
The consultation states that they “have discussed this scheme with cycle group representatives” but we have had no involvement in the plans in recent times.
We commend the council in addressing the dangers on a road that is an important link for cyclists going from Richmond to Sheen and beyond, but we don’t believe the proposals address the key problems:
Several pinch points exist on this route, in particular at the pedestrian crossing near Sheen Common Drive. These often result in cyclists being hit by motorists who don’t give them space with tragic results as this fatality showed
The danger at the main junctions with Manor Road and Clifford Avenue is not addressed
At Clifford Avenue end, cyclists going straight on have to go into the middle lane. An ASL is provided but no safe way of getting to it. Imagine cycling to school with your kids through that junction
Proposed cycle lane width does not meet the London Cycling Design Standards in a number of areas. They should be 2m wide and certainly no narrower than 1.5m
Narrowing the road to slow traffic is in effect using cyclists as mobile traffic calming measures. I’m sure a cyclist doesn’t want to be thought of as a moving sleeping policeman
Going straight on with your kids to school? Brave the outside lane.
Given the space available, there is an opportunity to introduce a safe, separated cycle lane on both sides of the road, with a width of 2m and priority over side roads – something you would be happy to cycle with your kids to school along. Camden Council have recently proposed a similar scheme (some background here) and the same could be achieved here, though it needs to be of a high quality and continuous. As a minimum, the pinch points and Clifford Road junction need to be dealt with, otherwise the proposals will have little effect in reducing incidents on this stretch.
Please take a couple of minutes to complete the tick box online consultation, to highlight that more needs to be done to improve safety for cyclists on this route - http://is.gd/OAkARq
Some useful resources to consider:
If you don’t design for cycling, conflict is the outcome – Hush Magazine and Copenhagenize
“Pedestrians and cyclists should be considered before other user groups in the design process [not] as an afterthought” - Recent NICE Guidelines
Businesses overestimate how important car parking is – Sustrans
Financial benefits of investing in cycle infrastructure – New York City and Bristol reports
We spotted two LBRUT consultations affecting cyclists that have come out this month.
Barnes Consultation – Deadline 26 November
This affects the junction of Castelnau, Rocks Lane, Elm Grove Road, Church Road and Queen Elizabeth Walk in Barnes (Map Link)
The main physical changes are:
Make Elm Grove Road one way in the southbound direction
Remove the existing banned left turn from Elm Grove Road to Ranelagh Avenue
There is no mention of cycling in any of the documentation, another missed opportunity as we receive frequent emails from local cyclists who are fearful of this busy junction. The main objective of the proposals is to smooth motorised traffic, but this will just shift it to the two following junctions in Rocks Lane ((i) with Mill Hill Road and (ii) with the Upper Richmond Road. This is key junction, used by many cycling towards Hammersmith Bridge or going to visit Barnes Wetland Centre and it is also part of Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 4, again not mentioned in the consultation documentation.
Please take a couple of minutes to complete the tick box online consultation, even if just to say “please improve junction for cyclists” - http://is.gd/F2bYF7
Whitton Town Centre – Deadline 30 November
The main physical changes are:
Replacement the pavements on both sides of Whitton High Street and resurfacing the road
Provide kerb build-outs for on-street parking bays
Raised road at existing pedestrian crossings
Raised entries at the side road junctions off the High Street
Reduce the width of the road at and upgrade existing pedestrian crossings
Possible gateway features could be placed at each end of the High Street
Reduce the amount of street furniture and signs and planting new trees
The words cycling, cyclist or bicycle are not mentioned once in the document – similar to what we found 2 years ago at the start of the Twickenham consultation. Introduction of 20mph limits, consideration of cycle routes, cycle parking, increased risk from pinch points for cyclists at pedestrian crossings – none of these things are mentioned. As pointed out in the comments below, it looks like cycle parking is actually being taken out!