Quiet Way 1 – Your Chance to See the Detail – NEW DATE

** UPDATE ** There will be another opportunity to see plans and discuss them with officers in Teddington on 26th November at Teddington Baptist Church. Details are here. 

The council is consulting on a substantial new cycling route through the borough, provisionally called ‘Quiet Way 1’.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

The consultation is online here. You can read our earlier discussion here.

There’s now a new opportunity to review these plans on Monday. The borough cycling officer is hoping to bring the plans to our monthly meeting at the Old Ship (details here)

Although we think there are things missing in the quiet way plan, we’d really like to see a major project like this, and we need your support and views. We’ll have a response out soon, but if you want to know more, please come along on Monday evening.

Ride that Olympic Legacy! (Or “Don’t, actually.”)

We’ve been asking members what to talk to the council about at the Cycling Liaison Group. And since it’s an Olympic year, one member has asked us to investigate just what the legacy has been.

He wrote:

“We should remind the councilors that we are now in an Olympic year, and four years after cycling went through our borough there has been NO OLYMPIC LEGACY.

Don’t let them fob us off with blah-blah about educating children etc. My children won’t dare cycle in central Richmond. There are NO new cycling lanes in the centre of the town.

They will talk about Twickenham – as they have in emails to me – but Richmond has had nothing, except a dead cyclist on the A316.

It’s an utter disgrace, as Central London forges ahead with cycling lanes and designated, protected routes.

We should make them understand that Richmond’s children are not safe on Richmond’s roads, and the failure to protect kids (rather than protect bus routes and cars through the town centre) will bring multiple consequences, not least on our health budget, as our kids choose NOT to cycle.

But really, we must nail them on the lack of an Olympic legacy. On some of the very streets the cyclists rode on there are no cycle lanes.

And when there are? Look at the road going over the railway lines at the back of Richmond station –a road with a cycle lane that is 18 inches wide at one point.

Shame. And I’m a car driver, as well as a cyclist.”

 

You can see this post from our Rides coordinator, written just after the Olympics, hoping for a legacy. And with a bit of digging you can find the lacklustre ambition to make 7.5% of journeys in Richmond by bike when we get to 2026 (see p92 of the ‘second Local Implementation Plan’, hosted on this page). Based on current progress, we probably won’t even reach that poor target.

3 dead, 42 seriously injured. Time for the Crime Priorities to properly reflect this.

This is our response to the Crime Priorities Survey (See our earlier article). Please respond too, here, so they don’t unfairly focus on cyclists.

Dear Community Safety Partnership,

Richmond Cycling Campaign urge you to reconsider the suggested 2015-2016 priorities, in the light of your own data.

You are reporting:

  • a 20% rise in road traffic incidents Jan-Sept 2014, compared to the previous year
  • Three fatalities on our roads
  • 469 casualties in total, this year
  • 2,152 speeding incidents, a number which has risen 40% in April-December 2014

Because of the failure to show trend data, previous years’ data, or indeed to break down the types of incident, it’s hard to add a huge amount of interpretation to these numbers beyond “our roads are getting much less safer, and people are dying and being maimed as a result”.

Yet in the accompanying slides, the nearest you come to worrying about this is to put (at number 7 of 8 in your priorities) “Motor vehicle crime and theft of pedal cycle (including cycling on pavements and through red lights)”

Nowhere in your report is there any indication that cycling on the pavement, or indeed through red lights, is a particular problem in the borough. Whilst it is true that a number of your Police Liaison Groups have chosen ‘cycling on the pavement’ as something they’re worried about, this is not backed by any actual data.

We consider it unacceptable to pay so little attention to criminal activity which threatens death or serious injury, and it is frankly shocking that your use of of data is so poor that you can’t show why cycling on the pavement – which is the way a lot of children in the borough cycle – is more important than the excessive speed used on many of our roads, or the large numbers of killed/seriously injured on our roads.

If you’re actually worried about the safety of our community, you need to give greater priority to the things that are putting everyone in the borough at genuine risk, and read the message this data is telling you: road safety has just got a lot worse in the borough, and you won’t fix it by concentrating unfairly on people who choose to cycle.

Sincerely,

Richmond Cycling Campaign

You can respond to the survey here or email it directly to consultation@richmond.gov.uk 

Marksbury Avenue – Let’s just do the A316 properly, shall we?

This is a brief response to the Marksbury Avenue consultation.
Please add your response here

Dear TfL,

In response to your consultation on the changes to the A316 crossing opposite Marksbury Avenue, Richmond Cycling would suggest that this is not a very good use of time or money.

The proposed changes will make virtually no difference to cycling and walking at the junction, and still fail to provide a pleasant solution for anyone seeking to cross the road.

Instead of more piecemeal proposals like this, we’d like to see the Elsinore Way proposal built as soon as possible, and we’d like to see a plan from TfL which covers fixing the whole of the A316, rather than fixing bits and pieces without addressing the core issues the road has for walking and cycling.

Sincerely,

Richmond Cycling Campaign.

Roehampton Lane – Our Response to Transport for London

This is our response to TfL’s Roehampton Lane consultation.
You can see our earlier article here

Dear TfL,

The proposal to add additional traffic lanes to Roehampton Lane is, we think, a flawed and poorly considered one.
Richmond Cycling acknowledges that there are issues with traffic volumes along the lane, but the provision of additional lanes isn’t going to fix the problem, since the traffic issues will be moved to different parts of Roehampton Lane instead.
Yet looking at the road for almost its entire length, there is clear space to provide for safe, segregated cycling. We think this could be a great opportunity to trial a segregated route hiding low cost interventions which can help identify the potential modal share which is available.
Our simple summary is this, however: The proposed scheme will, at best, cause the queuing traffic to be moved to another part of the route. If the aim of this scheme is to reduce the number of problems relating to queues of traffic, then the best solution is to give people an option other than driving.

Roehampton Lane is going to change a bit, but only to fit more cars on.

TfL is worried about congestion along Roehampton Lane, so to fix this they’re proposing to pack more cars into the same space. It seems unlikely that congestion is going to be fixed by simply adding lanes – indeed evidence from the 1950s tells us that adding road space will end up with adding congestion, rather than easing it.

roehampton lane

Look like there might eb some space for cycling here?

Yet Roehampton Lane feeds down to a very unpleasant junction for cycling, and nothing in the proposed plans says “We’d like to make it a more obvious choice to cycle this way, rather than drive”. This road serves a number of educational institutions to which the most obvious option should be to get there by foot or bike, yet nothing will change to support that.

We’d like to see this opportunity being taken to begin the installation of proper cycling all the way along Roehampton Lane, to support people cycling to and from Richmond Park, to support getting to Roehampton University and Queen Mary’s Hospital along here, to support shopping and leisure trips to Roehampton High Street, and to make getting to these places by bike an attractive and practical option.

We’re preparing a response at the moment – if you’ve got any comments, please leave them here, or contact us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk or check the original consultations documents here.

Marksbury Avenue / A316 Consultation.

 

Richmond Cycling Campaign welcomes the removal of the pointless ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs at the Marksbury Avenue crossing of the A316, but we’d really like to see some other changes in the current TfL Consultation

Planned changes at Marksbury Avenue / A316 junction.

Planned changes at Marksbury Avenue / A316 junction..

The crossing is nicer

The new design improves the crossing, but we think it could be better: why not allow pedestrians to cross the whole road at once, rather than have to wait for up to several minutes to make two separate crossings?

Removal of the guardrails could accompany this change: if we are worried about pedestrian safety on this road, the best way to fix it is with much more rigorous enforcement of the speed limits.

How does It Join Up?

On the south side of this junction is a cycle lane which should be connected to the crossing. Instead of the minor changes in paving, the opportunity should be taken to repeat the design of Elsinore Way. This would mean that the cycle lane would have priority at this minor road, and would become a more attractive, useful place to cycle.

Elsinore Way will get priority for cycling.

Elsinore Way will get priority for cycling.

More Joining Up

Just south of here is Somerton Road, and a network of quieter residential roads. These could all be part of a wider upgrading of routes to allow cycling both ways on the one way street.

Signing It

Despite the welcome removal of the ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs, the only other sign changes are more ‘no cycling’ signs at precisely the place where most people will prefer to cycle. No opportunity has been take to improve the signing to key local destinations or other cycle routes. (Such as North Sheen station, Kew Gardens station, and into Richmond.)

It is Richmond Cycling’s strong proposal that this should be a straight through crossing for pedestrians with a single light phase, and that serious consideration is offered to the improvement of the connected cycling facilities.

Please respond to the consultation via their email consultations@tfl.gov.uk or using the form on their consultations page

Have your say on Cycling in Richmond Park

On December 17th, Zac Goldsmith is hosting a meeting about Richmond Park. We don’t want this to be another “cyclists ate my hamster” session, so we’ve got together with Kingston Wheelers, London Dynamo, Twickenham Cycling Club, Barnes Cycling Club, Chevaliers, Kingston Juniors, and Kingston’s own LCC branch, to make the case for why cycling in the park is a good thing, and why the Royal Parks need to be doing more for it.

Here’s our view, and you can find the meeting details here. Come along and support cycling for all in one of the finest natural reserves we have access to.

Richmond Park is there for everyone, and we want it to stay that way. The present situation, where cycling can comprise up to 75% of all the traffic in the park, is clearly objectionable to some users.

However, the usual reaction – especially in the letters page of the local papers, and in frequent conversations even at the Police Liaison Group – is that cycling, and people who choose to cycle, are the villains in this piece. None of the groups representing cycling will tell you ‘All cyclists are angels’, because breaking the law on a bicycle is almost as endemic as breaking the law in a car. That makes it neither right nor acceptable, but we believe that it is time proper consideration were given to making sure Richmond Park can continue to be a recreational space for the thousands of people who flock there, week in, week out.

There are a number of issues that any proposed solution needs to address:

  1. The park is a wildlife haven and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is home to a huge variety of wildlife, large and small.
  2. The park is used by large volumes of traffic during the day which is avoiding roads outside, or ‘rat-running’.
  3. It’s a recreational space for walking and hiking, with the current road effectively acting as a continuous pedestrian crossing. The Tamsin Trail is also used extensively for walking.
  4. It is also a recreational space for cycling, with cyclists tending to use either the main circular route, or the Tamsin Trail.
  5. A number of businesses operate in the park, and require access for themselves and their customers.
  6. This is a park, and therefore street furniture such as posts, signage, etc. is not very desirable. (Although there is clear value in some signage to support safety needs.).
  7. So far as possible, the park needs to be accessible to everyone – whether able-bodied, or with some form of disability.

And there have been quite a few ideas previously floated for how to deal with this combination of issues. But what we think that The Royal Parks needs to consider is this:

What is the purpose of the park, and how can that best be fulfilled?

We think the park is a resource that everyone should be able to enjoy, however they visit it.

Of the proposals we’re aware of, we think there are pros and cons for each of them.

One way traffic

One way traffic will basically encourage the park to be used as a race track one way, and will encourage commuting / rat-running in the given direction, as well as actually requiring more driving (wasted time and pollution) round the park as people have to circumnavigate it in order to get to a particular place.

Congestion charging in the park

Charging people to enter the park if they don’t stay beyond a specific time (for example, charging those who stay for 20 minutes or less), will discourage through traffic.

More pedestrian crossings

Although pedestrians can (and should be able to) cross anywhere in the park, there’s a good case for providing clear places for crossing especially around the car parks. and particularly busy areas. It should not be necessary for a zabra crossing to have the full DfT-mandated paraphernalia of zig zags, Belisha Beacons, etc., as evidence from other 20mph locations indicates good compliance where the crossing is clear.

A new cycle-only route round the park

In the Netherlands, the usual guidance is to build separate provision for cycling when motor traffic is above a particular volume, and or a particular speed. We believe that while the speed of traffic in the park – where the limits are observed – might not require segregation, the volumes certainly do.

Through traffic bans

The park is an area for recreation and for nature, yet there is a significant volume of traffic which uses it as a cut-through to various locations. Especially given the sensitive nature of the park environment, and the very real danger that is posed to wildlife and to other park users by high volumes of traffic which is keener to get somewhere than to enjoy the surroundings.

And a possibly contentious point to make …

If we accept the premise of the public meeting that there is very real conflict in the park, experienced by all users, then we should follow the logic of many such conversations, which come round to “Well, whose fault is it?

On a fundamental level, the conflict which is experienced in the park reflects the day to day experience of driving, walking and cycling in London generally. Many conversations that we’ve heard tend to pick out ‘cyclists’, and often ‘club cyclists’ as significant offenders, and anecdotal evidence is usually called upon to demonstrate how cyclists ‘intimidate’ other road users, including the slightly bizarre assertion in the last Friends of the Royal Park newsletter, that cyclists are a danger to wildlife. (We’ve yet to find someone who wouldn’t stop their bike to avoid hitting a deer …)

At the same time, we hear stories of intimidation, dangerous driving and actual assaults from people who cycle in the park. (As well as stories of dogs causing riders to fall off on the Tamsin Trail, and cyclists intimidating pedestrians there.)

Our response to all of these is simple. Firstly, what does the data say? An investigation of the STATS19 data shows that bicycles are overwhelmingly the victims in Richmond Park incidents, with the other party invariably motor vehicles. Secondly, we argue that no amount of discussion around sharing, mutual consideration or other such proposals is going to resolve the problems in the park, because there is simply too much traffic on the small area allocated to it. .

And this is, very simply, because it is inappropriate to have this volume of cycling and driving traffic in the same place. People who drive, walk and cycle through the park are no more or less lawless than anyone else in London. The solution to this problem is the same as the solution which is about to be implemented in central London – proper and safe separation of the modes, so that both can be done without conflict.

A316 / Manor Circus – RCC response update.

We’re preparing to get our response in to TfL on the Manor Circus junction. Please take a moment to read this and get your own response in.

Consultation is here. Remember you can respond by using their form, or just by emailing consultations@tfl.gov.uk and saying “I agree with Richmond Cycling Campaign’s submission”.  

Dear TfL,

Richmond Cycling is not in favour of the current proposals for the A316 / Manor Circus roundabout, for the reasons we outlined on our site: http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2014/10/16/manor-circus-a316-consultation/

Since writing that, we’ve had a chance to talk to one your engineers when there was a public exhibition at Sainsbury’s.

After that discussion we have some additional points and clarifications:

  1. The roundabout could be replaced by traffic lights, with an ‘all ways green’ phase for walking and cycling.
  2. The objection we were advised of – that buses use the roundabout to turn around is easily dealt with, because buses can either use the Homebase car park which they use at present, or the turning opposite the fire station could be extended.
  3. We were told that the owner of the petrol station would object to better pedestrian access around the periphery of the station. This is a completely unacceptable position to take  – the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in this area is of significantly more importance than access which, in any case, is not being prevented but de-prioritised versus other users.
  4. While we welcome the intent of the plans – to legitimise the existing behaviour, where cycling and walking co-exist – any minor advantage which accrues to walking and cycling from the changes is wiped up by crossing changes which are specifically designed to prioritise the movement of motor traffic over the movement of pedestrian and cycle traffic.
  5. The move away from specific space 4 cycling to shared surfaces is a massively retrograde step, far out of keeping with the new designs being considered in central London.
  6. Perhaps most significantly, if the intent of the changes is to improve safety for walking and cycling, then the design of the junction should make significant steps to lower traffic speeds with tighter radii and other engineering changes: it is not appropriate to accept that vehicle speed is a problem, without finding some resolution for it.

So in summary, while we welcome the new attention being given to this junction, these plans are simply not good enough for walking or cycling: where the design either increases conflict between walking and cycling, or encourages through poor design risk-taking crossing of junctions, it is probably also unlikely to lead to an improvement in safety.

We strongly urge you to take these back to the drawing board.

Sincerely,

Richmond Cycling Campaign