RIdes for Everyone – 19th April

Meet Strawberry Hill station 10.30. We get  to the Crane via Mill Rd (passing the site of our S Twickenham ask) and head upstream to the borough boundary (and the Heathfield ask)

Then we travel down Hounslow’s new path on the south bank of the Crane to Kneller Gardens and Twickenham where we cut through back streets back to Strawberry Hill.

If weather is good we will have coffee in Kneller Gardens , if less good we will try the Airparks Leisure centre.

Fairly flat, short, low traffic ride. All welcome especially beginning cyclists.

Well three non-beginning cyclists enjoyed the sunshine bluebells and cherry blossom. With the suggested asks the whole route would be ideal for young children who  might be attracted to the playgrounds en-route.

The Cycling Liaison Group – YOU HAVE BEEN CONSULTED!

(What’s the Cycling Liaison Group? It’s a consultative council committee, with sadly no power and no burning urge to meet too often, or actually publicise itself. See the council’s summary, here. )

Tuesday night was the last Cycling Liaison Group in its current form. Our Cycling Champion is moving to Oxford, and there are local elections in May. Since one in three CLG meetings has been cancelled, there probably wouldn’t be one between now and May even if it had been scheduled.

Frankly, it’s been a shameful talking shop for its entire existence. The most consistent themes of the CLG have been hearing about theft of bikes, and the minimal ‘cost-effective’ schemes that have been whizzed up by harassed council officials.

But what did happen? On the positive side, it sounds like substantial funding is finally going to make it to cycling in Richmond. Not the £30m that successful Mini-Holland bids will get, but still there’s going to be millions of pounds over the next few years to try to make the borough a place where we can cycle safely to schools, the shops or to work.

An officer from the local Safer Transport Command discussed the Operation Safeway figures. This saw officers stalking a number of junctions in the area, and handing out an awful lot of tickets, both to drivers and cyclists. We’ve asked for a full copy of the figures, but inspection on the night suggested that proper enforcement had a significant impact on behaviour, with tickets issued falling significantly as the weeks went on. We’re delighted that enforcement activity does seem to be taken more seriously now, but since this operation is now over, we’ll be watching carefully to see how long this change lasts.

Everyone involved in the Mini Holland bid seemed genuinely surprised and disappointed by the borough’s failure to secure the funding. We think that parts of the bid were very strong, and we’d really like to see them implement the proposed changes in Twickenham. Officials think we’ll hear about the next round of funding in around four weeks’ time, so we’ll see what comes out then.

There’s also confirmation of £60,000 a year for cycle parking, and officials indicated they’re prepared to consider paying for residential parking for bikes as well. We’d love to see bike hangars popping up all over the borough, to make it easy and simple to store and access your bike, so please let us know if this is something you’d like!

Will things change after May? That’s up to you. We’re preparing to ask all the candidates to tell us what they’ll be offering to make the borough a great place for everyone by improving it for cycling, so watch this space!

 

 

Rides for Explorers – Olympic Park – 11th May

Meet Richmond Little Green, by Richmond Theatre, 10.00am.

We will cycle into London and then take CSH 2 to the newly opened Olympic Park. After lunch on site we return using CSH 3.

Please let me know if you intend coming in case of last minute changes.

Paul :    rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

 No one has expressed an interest so ride postponed.

 

Getting on a bike is just the best thing.

(Written as a quick response to Rachel Aldred’s excellent ‘the bicycle is human scale‘) 

This morning my daughter and I went to her class. She wanted to cycle, so we sent most of the journey on the pavements.

And it was great. We wobbled across the level crossing, said thank you to the man delivering papers who’d moved across for us, and smiled at the other Dad who was out cycling with his son.

The lady at the bus stop smiled at my daughter as she went by, and the drivers approaching the zebra crossing saw her standing there and waited patiently as she crossed all four lanes. And the Dad with a small baby strapped to him said ‘That’s brilliant’, as he let her make her way past.

While we were cycling along Manor Road, Zoe asked me what the beeping had been, and I could tell her she and I had crossed the level crossing just as it started beeping. When we got to the Carrington Road junction she told me, excitedly, “Daddy! My school is down there!”

Then, along North Road, we saw another local family and they shouted ‘Hello Zoe!’ as she cycled past and we waved.

Cycling with your children is just the best thing ever!

Zoe on North Road, using the area marked for parking …

Here’s our approximate route (Google Maps link). We left home at 9:30 and cycled over 4 miles.

Time for 20mph in Richmond

(Updated below – see the local 20′s plenty group, here.)

We think 20mph is plenty for our borough. Richmond has few roads where you ever really want to be doing 30mph, and the national (and international) evidence is mounting up.

You don’t think Three filmed this on a 30mph street, do you?

More and more, we’re hearing from other London boroughs, other areas of the UK, and from throughout Europe, about how slower speeds in residential and populous areas is a good thing for everyone involved.

But the council aren’t keen at all. Despite the Twickenham Action Plan including a 20mph limit, they’ve rejected a number of attempts to have specific roads go 20mph. Until recently, what you needed to do was this:

  1. Ask all the people in your road if they wanted a 20mph zone.
  2. Show the council that you had a majority – bearing in mind that anyone not answering is obviously a ‘no’.
  3. Have the council come round and consult again.
  4. And then get everyone to respond. And I mean everyone - because again, if they don’t reply, then the council will count that as a ‘no’.

So, you’d either need 51% of the voters to turn out, and every single person to vote for you, or if they all turned out, you’d need 51% of the voters.

Compare that to the council’s Heathrow referendum in 2013. On a 41% turnout, they had 72% against a third runway. If that had been a 20mph consultation, it would have failed. but here Lord True said “The people have spoken”. (Have a look at the lengthy discussion at the time on Twickerati, if you want to celebrate just how hard they made it.)

We think cycling needs somewhere safe, pleasant and calm, and if you read London Cycling Campaign’s ‘Space 4 Cycling’ pages, you’ll see how 20mph zones are a key component of this.

So take a moment and tell the council that you want 20mph using one of the consultations going on:

Want to know more about 20mph? Try the 20’s Plenty site, read a paper from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, find out why Bristol is going 20mph, and Camden, and Islington

Oh, and here’s what Transport for London says:

 And an update: pop along to Richmond’s local 20′s Plenty group, and sign their petition. 

March Newsletter

Did we say we were about to hear about the Mini-Holland bid? That’s due on 10th March, and it’ll be followed by the Cycling Liaison Group meeting, where you can come and hear what the council’s planning to do if we’re successful in the bid, but also what they’re going to do if we haven’t been successful.

Monthly Meeting

Our monthly meeting is at the usual venue – the Old Ship in Richmond – at 8pm on 17th March (Details here: http://is.gd/eahg52) Note we’re a week later than usual, because of the Cycling Liaison Group Meeting.

Consultation Watch

It’s a bit of a bumper month. but we’d really like you to reply to the two 20mph consultations on Whitton/Heathfield (here http://is.gd/2KHr3M) and Kew.(here http://is.gd/4upxtW)

Please take the opportunity to tell the council what a difference 20mph will make to our areas. You’ve got until 28 March on these two. (And you can see here – http://is.gd/LRsWzP – that the council already has its own data that 20mph is better!)

The ‘Kew Village Plan’ is also up for review. There’s a document link at the bottom of the consultation, on this page: http://is.gd/9c7i6v Their big idea is to remove the bus lane on Kew Road off-peak, in order to deal with congestion. We don’t think the bus lane causes congestion off-peak, so it would disadvantage those already brave enough to cycle down there. Please take the opportunity to tell the council they could really do more to encourage cycling in the area!

Also, Whitton Supplementary Planning Review – http://is.gd/U6NMku This fails to talk about making things more pleasant for either cycling or walking, so we’d urge you to point out just how much space there is here for cycling, and how any new developments need cycling provision included.

Finally – 20mph in Hampton Hill High Street http://is.gd/FZ2DVL. Please support this one as well, and the council might finally get the message. (Well, you could always say “Please make it easier to cycle!” around Hampton Square – http://is.gd/nMYdII )

Rides

One (maybe two!) rides this month:

On the 22nd March, a Ride for Everyone: Hampton Court and the Thames from Teddington Station leaving 10.20.

And, if someone can step in to help, we’d like to run an April 6th Ride for Explorers. Our ride leader’s in recuperation, so not able to lead this one – please get in touch rides@richmondlcc.co.uk – if you can help!

Maintenance Workshops

These are all in the calendar: http://is.gd/wRbxmB

Mortlake – 13th & 27th March, at the Old Bakery from 7pm. http://wp.me/pSDFw-4X

Twickenham – 26th March, at All Hallows Church from 7pm. http://wp.me/pSDFw-4U

Ham – 8th and 22nd March, Ham Youth Centre from 10am. http://wp.me/pSDFw-14t

Cycling Liaison Group

This has now been moved to 11th March, so that the CLG will be able to discuss the outcome of the borough’s Mini Holland bid. Details are here - http://is.gd/gqQg34 – although it’s a sad reflection of the commitment to cycling that the CLG has once again not met for nearly five months. Come and join us to find out how the council will spend new money from the mayor, and maybe have a cycling budget of its own!

Police Liaison Groups

Around the borough, the police hold regular ‘Liaison Groups’, where you can tell them what you’d like to prioritise. We’ve noticed that a few of these have focussed quite a bit on issues like cycling on the pavement or other minor cycling misdemeanours. Unless you’re a child, we don’t think you should be cycling on the pavement any more than the Police do, but we understand why some people choose to do so, especially when faced with hostile environments like the South Circular. The guidance from the Government is that Police should not issue blanket tickets for cycling on the pavement http://is.gd/VqSJsu, so we’ll be checking on this at the CLG …

If you’re thinking of going to your local Liaison Group to represent the interests of people who want to cycle, let us know, and we can share some tips!

Funding

Another funding round that came through a few weeks ago was a separate pot of cash that Transport for London distributed. Whilst some boroughs requested (and received) hundreds of thousands of pounds, Richmond asked for a grand total of £5,000 (see http://is.gd/Aobmvw). We think this is symptomatic of the borough’s failure to consider cycling, but it also gives the lie to our Cycling Champion’s claim that she’s been working hard to secure central Government funding for cycling in Richmond http://is.gd/824AOH.

Give Zac a Call

Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith is doing a survey to better understand how we feel about cycling, so please hop along to tell him what you think here – http://is.gd/eh9pkA. And you can tell Lib Dem candidate Robin Meltzer about cycling here – http://is.gd/5fHwpt.

And Finally …

Still, cycling featured in Top Gear this week, and the AA is printing a million stickers to remind drivers to give space to cyclists – http://is.gd/KhCWpS And Kevin, from ‘Can’t Stand up for Falling Down’ found a great video from 1984 showing London’s cycling ambition then: http://is.gd/n6auVz

Meanwhile, we’ll be on our bikes, enjoying the sunshine in Richmond Park this weekend, and waiting for the cull to finish, to do the magical circuit at night. You did know you could take your bike into the park at night, didn’t you? http://is.gd/eisZ1h

‘Ward Asks’ for LBRUT Council Elections

The 2014 council elections are on 22nd May.  This is a ‘once in 4 years’ chance to challenge the would-be council candidates on their commitment to cycling provision; and to make cycling an important issue on the election agenda.

The local authority (LBRUT) are accountable to our elected councillors; and between them they control the vast majority of roads in the area; and decide what road and cycle improvements are made where (if any!).

This year LCC are asking every borough group to nominate one cycling infrastructure issue in every ward (a ‘ward ask’) for inclusion in a London-wide campaign aimed at every election candidate.

We already have various issues logged by Council Ward.  A complete list of issues by ward is available on this page here.   But you can always add more!   So please read the article; look at the issues already logged in your area; and then follow the link through to Cyclescape to add more.

But hurry!  We need your input now.   Thank you.

Hampton Court Rd – the story continues

Once upon a time there were two narrowish advisory cycle lanes down this rather nasty ( high speeds and traffic volume) between Kingston Bridge and Hampton Court Bridge. LB Richmond decided that these were ineffective and decided with little consultation to put a 2-way cycle track on the north side from Church Grove but  ending about half way down the road. If you were crossing Kingston Bridge you would have to cross somehow to the north side and re-cross with even less assistance half way to Hampton Court. Unsurprisingly cyclists tend not to do that but were continuing on the north footway to the annoyance of local residents.

We have just had a communication suggesting the possibility of further action :

We have given initial though to widening the footway on the northern side of the road, as a continuation to the existing off road facility to the Chestnut Avenue junction. This will reduce the road width to 7.0m but would provide a general 4.0m shared footway (some variations in places).  In order to implement this, it would be necessary to remove the two existing on road cycle lanes.  We will also be looking at crossing cyclists at the Chestnut Avenue zebra, with continued shared use to the HCR roundabout.  The road width reduction would be beneficial in reducing vehicle speeds as there is an issue with vehicles travelling well above the 30mph speed limit.

 As part of this project we will also be giving consideration to how we link the roundabout to the existing off road facility further along HCR, past the green and the Esso garage.   I would like to stress that this is only being considered at this stage and is not yet out to public consultation. Your initial views would be welcome.

My initial view was that this was some improvement on the current situation whilst still wistfully thinking that if Richmond and Surrey could get their act together we could have a continuous track on the south side from Kingston to Esher. Comments from users welcome.

Paul

Police cycle security marking

The following marking sessions have been advertised :

  • 12/02/2014 – 1600-1800 – cycle marking Teddington Train Station
  • 13/02/2014 – 1000-1200 – cycle marking Hampton Wick Train Station
  • 18/02/2014 – 1000-1200 – cycle marking Richmond Train Station
  • 19/02/2014 – 0900-1100 – cycle marking Kew LUT Station
  • 25/02/2014 – 1100-1300 – cycle marking Fulwell Train Station

Local police issued 23 Fixed Penalty Notices for various traffic offences as follows:

  • 9 for having no MOT
  • 2 for having no insurance
  • 3 for having no road tax (VED)
  • 1 for failing to stop at a red light
  • 1 for cycling on the footway
  • 5 for causing an obstruction
  • 1 for driving in a cycle lane
  • 1 for having an incorrectly registered vehicle.

So, as many for driving in a cycle lane as for cycling on the footway.

We’ve asked Richmond Police to try to use a term other than the loaded ‘Road Tax’, too …