Review of Cycle Parking at Railway Stations

Unbelievably, it is now three years since our last audit of cycle parking provision at the 14 railway stations in the borough. These two quotes from the DfT’s 2009 Better Rail Stations report (PDF) are as applicable now as then:

“Although half the nation owns a bicycle and 60% live within a 15-minute ride of a station, only 2% of passengers currently use their cycle to access the local station.”
Source – Dft

Compare this to the Netherlands where:

“All major stations in Holland provide extensive cycle parking, usually based around a cycle hub which also offers additional secure storage for a fee of about £1 a day, together with repairs and cycle hire for as little as £3 a day. A typical Dutch intercity station would store 4,000 cycles, but at Leiden this rises to 9,000 and the plan is to more than double this to 22,000 in the near future.” Source – Dft

Although a lot has changed since 2010, we are a long way from meeting the aspirations from that report (in fact, when you look at the National Rail website cycle section, it’s more about telling you what you can’t do – cycling and parking isn’t even mentioned under ‘Getting to and from the Station’ – see Kew Gardens example). South West Trains have been rolling out secure compounds with swipe card access at a number of stations and changes to Richmond railway station have removed the railings that were previously used by many. It is therefore a good time to carry out a new audit to update the information we have and to identify where changes are needed. Two recent examples illustrate this:

Lack of cycle parking space at Kew Gardens railway station

At Kew Gardens station, we were recently alerted by a local resident that cycle parking demand continues to outstrip supply and it is often impossible to find a space, leading to missed trains. Even two years ago we found this to be the case, with demand outstripping supply by nearly 50%. With parking provision for only 34 bikes, it is well short of the 250 spaces that would be needed to meet the DfT’s only target of 5% of passengers arriving by bicycle. Kew Gardens station is managed by London Underground – we’re asking everyone to raise it via their online form and to contact London Assembly Members – Tony Arbour (GLA Member for the area tony.arbour@london.gov.uk ) and Caroline Pidgeon (GLA Member for Transport – caroline.pidgeon@london.gov.uk) and also the Council’s Cycling Champion, Cllr Harborne (Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk), to make the push for additional parking at this and other stations where needed (cc us in so we have a record)

New secure parking at Hampton station

Existing cycle parking marked for removal at Hampton Station

Narrow access along platform to Hampton secure compound

At Hampton station we were notified by a regular user of the station that South West Trains are taking out all existing parking provision and replacing it with a single secure parking compound on one platform only.

The secure parking is welcome and it is great to see SWT extend it to more stations but not everyone wants to use it (particularly if their bike is of low value), nor is it convenient if it is only on one platform and you’re rushing to catch a train on the other one.

Additionally, since the new enclosed racks at the west end of Platform 1 are to be the only racks, then ALL cyclists, on entering the station, will be forced along about 3 or 4 metres of the very narrowest part of the platform, conflicting with passengers standing there and cyclists coming the other way, creating safety problems that currently do not occur.

Cycle parking at Hampton station is currently at over 100% capacity – there is no reason why the existing provision can’t be kept to supplement the secure compound – as is the case at many stations with secure compounds e.g. Twickenham.

We have raised this issue with SWT and we encourage all of you who use this station to email their Customer Relations team: customerrelations@swtrains.co.uk

We know there are many more issues out there, so we’re asking for volunteers to review each of the 14 borough stations – counting up current racks and how many are occupied, and noting down any issues, such as poorly installed stands (e.g. too close), poor lighting, poor access. If you would like to join in, email us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk with which station you’re interested in and we’ll pass on some guidance and a simple one pager to fill in when you carry out your audit (like this example). We plan to complete this by end of June.

Quiet Routes in Richmond

The borough is hoping for Boris’ cycle funding. To do that it will need to construct a network of quiet routes to the standard of the Mayor’s Vision. The good new is that we are lucky in having some good sections already (eg due to Royal Parks) the bad news is that they are not joined up to each other or to town centres.

I have sketched out my view of the current state of play.

Green = good

Blue = OK ish / some improvements desirable ,

Purple = significant improvements needed (closing rat-runs or improved segregation)

Red = No provision at the moment needs major rethink.

These are a bit broad-brush but I would be interested in other people’s opinions. Are there acceptable alternative routes to the ones I have marked in red ?

Let’s get kids cycling in Richmond

This year, Richmond Cycling Campaign will be looking at, amongst other things, cycling to school. It’s our belief that every child, at primary school, secondary school, and college, has the right to cycle safely there without either children or parents having to worry about whether they’re going to get there safely. Very much, in fact, like they do in the Netherlands – have a look at the video on David Hembrow’s post on the subject.

We know from endless studies and a whole range of recent reports that cycling is good for, at an individual and social level, and that it even helps children start the day well:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoinsight/6268383879/

Cycling to school (c) Klaas Brumann on Flickr

 

BMA: “Walking or cycling to school would have positive health benefits”

NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence): “Walking and cycling should become the norm for short journeys”

Danish Study: “Children who cycle to school have measurably better concentration than those who don’t.”

Policy Studies Institute: “48% of primary children would like to cycle to school”

Mum and son (c) European Cycling Federation @ Flickr

And you can read an excellent article about what Richmond Cycling Campaign is already doing to help kids learn to cycle, here. (The author finishes her article: “Taking space away from cars to build a safe, separate infrastructure for bikes is no longer just fighting talk: it makes good planning sense. And the place to start is at the school gate.”)

Not that cycling is inherently a dangerous thing to do. Statistically, choosing to cycle – both for children and their parents – is a very wise choice, because the benefits so easily and quantifiably outweigh the risks.

However, we also recognise three very important factors:

1. The greatest barrier to getting more people cycling is their perception of danger from having to cycle with motorised traffic.
2. Countries where cycling is an easy, often-selected choice for children and adults all have decent cycle infrastructute to support such a decision.
3. We know a lot of people – especially children – *want* to cycle.

So this campaign has two key themes: asking the council and TfL to better support cycling to school by providing safe, inviting, well-designed facilities and designing for it; and asking children and parents how we can help them to use their bikes more.

Family cycling - cc by European Cycling Federation @ Flickr

And it’s really important to provide these facilities, and to make them good. Countries that have lots of cycling all provide safe, inviting places to cycle, and they don’t ask you to get off your bike at every road junction. The facilities that we want for schools should be usable by everyone, and should benefit everyone – even non-cyclists will appreciate not having to trip over bikes on the pavement, or weave round them on the road.

But how can you help? We want you to share your experiences, as parents, children, school staff or carers, on getting to and from school, and the reason you do or don’t cycle. We’ll be sharing these experiences as blog posts throughout the year, as well as looking at the resuiting data.

You can also talk to your friends at school and college: why don’t they choose to cycle? What would help change their mind?

Want to know more? Want to help? Email us at campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk

Now it’s “Are you one of the 4,181?”

How not to lock your bike!

When we last looked into the cycle theft stats in the borough back in 2010, the post was ‘Are you one of the 2,296’. This time around 4,181 bikes have been reported stolen between the start of 2010 and the end of July 2012. This comes after we were told that 1 in every 5 theft in the borough is of a bike. We obtained the numbers via a Freedom of Information request and we’ve uploaded both the FoI response from the Met and an analysis of the numbers so you can look at them for yourself. For comparison, this is the previous FoI response from 2010. Some of the main points:

  • On average, across the borough, 4.5 bikes are reported stolen every day (that’s a lot of unicycles..)
  • There has been an 152% increase in the number of reported thefts between 2007 and 2012, with a step change in 2010. Either the Mr Big of cycle theft has moved into the area in 2010, or perhaps there is better reporting and we are seeing a truer picture?
  • In the first 7 months of this year there have already been 938 thefts, an increase of 3% over 2011
  • Several wards have shown an improvement – Barnes;  Ham, Petersham & Richmond Riverside; Hampton and Hampton Wick wards are on track this year to nearly halve the number of bikes stolen in 2011
  • Thefts have increased significantly in several wards this year, particularly Fulwell and Hampton Hill, North Richmond and West Twickenham
  • While a greater number of bikes are recovered, due to the increase in thefts it amounts to only 5% of bicycles reported stolen

The chart below shows where the thefts have occurred since 2010 (click on the chart to see a larger version).

We asked the police in Richmond what they were doing to tackle cycle theft in the Borough and they provided the following statement:

“Richmond upon Thames SNT’s regularly perform cycle marking at a variety of community events and locations. SNT’s also operate an ‘on demand’ system to mark cycles for the public. Since inception, the total number of cycles security marked across the borough is just approaching 12500 (as of 15/08/2012). They also plan their patrols around the locations of reported crime and the feedback received from Police Liaison Group meetings with local residents. The Richmond Borough Safer Transport Team do a lot of work around the borough’s transport hubs to deter and prevent thefts. They have run and continue to do so, pro active operations targeted at bicycle thieves and their uniformed presence at rail stations is a key deterrent. Richmond Borough Police also work closely with the Richmond Local Authority as part of the Community Safety Partnership. They post cycle crime prevention advice via both the Council and Police websites as well as through Twitter. Communication on cycle crime prevention advice is provided by Operation Lockout at regular events in collaboration with SNT’s. Pan London the Metropolitan Police Service has The Cycle Task Force which is a dedicated unit to tackle cycle theft and improve cycle security across London.”

Here at RCC, earlier this year we contacted Richmond Police, with the offer to promote their cycle marking events on our website and in our monthly email newsletter – so far North Richmond, South Richmond and Kew Safer Neighbourhood Teams have taken us up on our offer and we hope others will too. We’ve also produced an updated Bike Security page, with advice on how to lock your bike securely, getting it marked and minimising your chances of becoming a statistic in our next round up in two years time. As a local cyclist shared with us, it’s not fun losing your pride and joy.

Feeder to The Big Ride

Join the Big Ride

LCC are organising a Mass ride in London on 28th April in support of “Go Dutch”. We will be meeting on Richmond Little Green at 10.00 to ride to the assembly point in Hyde Park and home again after the ride.

About 30 of us braved a rainy morning to cycle up to London. The actual ride of 10,000 cyclists was impressive – just imagine how many might have turned out on a sunny day. On the return most seem to have opted for a dry train but two father and daughter duos with trailer bike/trailer cast an eye on CycleSuperHighway 8 and enjoyed Battersea Park and Wandsworth Park.

Some photos taken by the Richmond contingent (thanks to Tim Lennon, Jamie Crick, Ivan De Marino and Aniello Del Sorbo):
Will the rain stay off? –

Gathering in Richmond –
Owly Images

Line up before the off –

At Chiswick Bridge –

Arriving in Hyde Park –

At the event –
Owly Images

Gathering on Park Lane –

A sea of cyclists –

And from beyond our group of hardy cyclists:
A video of the gathering at the start:

London Cycling Campaign’s analysis of the day (their photos show just how many people were there, estimated at 10,000!)

Write up on the event from Mark at ibikelondon

Coverage from Danny at Cyclists in the City

Front page news in The Times (which includes more photos of the event)

The event was picked up by both the BBC and ITV

Love London, Go Dutch

Launched on Thursday 9th February, London Cycling Campaign’s “Love London, Go Dutch” campaign seeks to get the London Mayoral candidates to commit to investing in continental style cycling infrastructure in the capital. LCC’s ‘Go Dutch’ website explains very eloquently the reasons behind the campaign, but this video gives a good overview of what cycling is like for the Dutch.

Simply put, most people are scared to cycle on London’s roads because of the high volumes and speeds of motor traffic. Think about it, while you may be happy to manage the risk, would you let your daughter, son, niece or nephew cycle to school on the borough’s roads? They do in the Netherlands without even a second thought, as this video shows.

Sponsored by Brompton, whose factory is just across the river from us in Brentford, the campaign is aiming to obtain 100,000 signatures for its Go Dutch petition before the London Mayoral election on May 3rd. Our share in Richmond is some 3,000 signatures. This is a formidable task and we need your help! We shall be collecting signatures at cycle parking places at railway stations during the evening peak periods from 5.30pm to 8pm on the following dates:

Twickenham – Thursday 12 April
Mortlake – Tuesday 17 April
Whitton – Wednesday 18 April
Richmond – Monday 23 April
Kew – Wednesday 25 April

If you can help out, even if only for a short period, please email John who’s coordinating the effort at johead@blueyonder.co.uk.

You can also fill in the petition online at this link – ‘Love London, Go Dutch’ Petition – or via the ‘Go Dutch’ link at the side of our website. Make sure you share this with your friends – both those who cycle and those who’d like to.

We shall also be organising a Feeder Ride to LCC’s ‘Big Ride’, the UK’s largest family-friendly traffic-free bike ride in 2012 calling for safer streets, on Saturday 28th April. Leaving Richmond Little Green at 10am to ride to the assembly point in Hyde Park, there will also be a a led ride back to Richmond after the event. More details here.

What’s happening?

Post Updated 8th March 2012

1. Teddington Railway Station

We now know more about the proposed secure cycle parking at the station following publication of the Council’s report to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene [click here to read it]:

“It is proposed that 3 existing shelters on platform 1, with parking for up to 30 bicycles, will be enclosed with fencing to form a secure restricted access compound. This will be accessed by a security gate controlled by a swipe card which is provided by SWT upon payment of a returnable deposit.” [para 4.7]

This is also interesting:

“The Transport for London (TfL) Cycle Security Plan highlights that stations in Outer London suffer from a disproportionate level of cycle theft. The Borough has 4 stations in the top 25 stations (in Greater London) suffering the highest levels of cycle theft (2009/10)” [para 4.4]

Twickenham in 12th place, Richmond 14th, Hampton Wick 18th and Teddington 22nd [p18]

2. A305 Richmond Road – Introduction of advisory cycle lanes between Rosslyn Road and Richmond Bridge

We responded to the public consultation on this at the end of last year and we know others did as well. We highlighted that the lane, at 1.3m, did not meet the London Cycle Design Standards which state the minimum should be 1.5m, preferably 2m and that it did nothing to deal with challenges of crossing Richmond Bridge – You can read our submission to the consultation here.

Click here to read the Council’s report to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene to see which comments made it into print and what the Council Officer has said about them [Annex B]. On the subject of narrow cycle lanes, their comment was telling on their attitudes to cyclists:

“There are many examples where advisory cycle lanes of less than 1.50 metres provide a safe and convenient facility for cyclists, particularly when vehicular traffic is stationary or slow moving” (item h in this report). Have a look at this video by a local cyclist and see if you think the lanes are safe and convenient:

Continue reading

It’s good to talk: Council highway engineering schemes

Update: 12th February Hampton Court roundabout

A big thank you to all the Richmond Veloteers who replied so promptly to the consultation which meant we submitted our response well before the deadline: click here to read it.

Since then we’ve had this back from Highways and Transport:

“Thank you for your comments on the Hampton Court Roundabout and Hampton Court Bridge proposals.  I can confirm that this does incorporate both Schemes 3 & 4 on the Cycling Capital Budget 2011/12.

The improvements include relocating the zebra crossing further away from the roundabout on the north east arm to help reduce the number of accidents attributed to shunts as a result of vehicles stopping for pedestrians at the crossing.  Kerb re-alignments will also increase deflection, reducing vehicle speeds whilst maintaining existing carriageway widths.

By widening the traffic islands at the zebra crossings we hope to improve safety for the large number of pedestrians and in doing so provide sufficient protection for cyclists using the crossings.

Accidents at the roundabout have also been attributed to lack of clear visibility due to the planters on and around the roundabout. We anticipate that by removing the planting on the roundabout we can reduce this number.

The Council are extending the shared use pedestrian and cycle path facility from Hampton Court Bridge to the north-west arm of the roundabout, with a view to further improving and linking to existing cycle facilities as part of future phases.

The Council have worked with TfL in order to provide a new widened Toucan crossing outside Hampton Court Palace and are proposing shared paths to link the roundabout and the bridge with Barge Walk.

The Council have also worked closely with Hampton Court Palace and the scheme complements their proposals for alterations and further improvements to the entrance and exits and to the area in front of the Palace.”

In the meantime the Highways and Transport report to the Cabinet Member has been posted on the Council website [here] together with the plans [here] for the shared use path, linking Barge Walk to the Molesey side of the Bridge, which weren’t posted with the original consultation.

We’ve written back to the Council:

 “Thanks for the detailed response: we’re very pleased to hear about the extension of the cycle path and look forward to seeing details of the proposed work in due course.  Just a couple of outstanding queries:

  • Was replacement of the 2 zebras [north-east and north-west arms] with toucans considered, and if so why was it rejected? [By the way will cycling over the north-west zebra be permitted?]
  • What’s the Council’s current view on creating a shared use path between Bushy Park and Hampton Court Bridge?”

Continue reading

“War: what are we fighting for?”

Safe Cycling on a Cycle Lane in Richmond

Richmond Cycling Campaign, the local group of the London Cycling Campaign, exists to encourage people to cycle.  We do this in different ways:

  • organising two rides a month;
  • running maintenance workshops at different places in the Borough;
  • asking the two relevant highways authorities, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Transport for London, for safe and convenient routes to cycle in the Borough;
  • asking the Council for sufficient cycle parking to meet the need;
  • asking the police to work on the problem of bike theft.

No one of these activities is more important than another which is why we supported Sky Ride Local this year, funded by the Council in partnership with British Cycling [click here for their review of the 2011 programme] and why we wouldn’t argue with Councillor Harborne, our Borough Cycling Champion, about the value of “promoting an exciting programme of events to get more people cycling, more often, safely and for fun”.

But because no one of these activities is more important than another we think Councillor Harborne should be concerned when cycling is not safe and is not fun on the Borough’s roads.  That’s why we wrote to the Council, after Liverpool City Council and the local Primary Care Trust agreed to jointly fund 20mph schemes, to ask if:

“there are any comparable discussions going on between the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and the Primary Care Trust about the public health benefits of 20mph limits?  Are there any plans to do so?”

We received this reply from our Borough Cycling Champion:

“Did you know that:

There are already 46 20 mph zones in the borough and large parts of the rest of the borough where there is no record of any accidents at all, ever.

We are the 3rd safest LB out of 33. Obviously we should be the safest, but that’s a work in progress.

Sometimes campaigning to improve safety is counter productive. It puts potential new cyclist off. Is that what you want to do?

Particularly when the fear of accidents is not backed up by statistics. Don’t you think?

Can we please have RCC encouraging people to cycle not putting them off.  It would be better for everyone.”

Now, we exist to encourage cycling so being told we’re putting people off is a worry, so we wrote back to our Borough Cycling Champion:

very helpfully we have a map of cycle collisions recorded in the Borough between 2006 and 2010 so we know exactly where they do and don’t happen which is why we’re particularly concerned about the 4 clusters identified below

[Click here for our previous post about where collisions happen in the Borough and here for a searchable map of all collisions for the last 10 years]

As a campaigning group we constantly wrestle with the problem of unintentionally discouraging people from cycling but it’s our view that people make informed decisions about risk when they know the facts, hence our concern about these four clusters.  I am very happy to publicise the fact we are the 3rd safest Borough in London if you tell me the meaning of “safe” and the statistical source.

Do you have a list of the 46 zones in the Borough and do you know how this compares with other Boroughs, say the neighbouring Boroughs of Hounslow and Kingston with whom we share our Assembly Member?  It’s been suggested Richmond has the 2nd lowest number of zones in the country, do you know if that’s the case?

Are you able to answer my original question about talks with the PCT?”

We haven’t received a reply to date.

Early in the New Year LCC will launch “Go Dutch – clear space for cycling on London’s main roads” the single issue campaign to accompany the London Assembly elections.  It’s about safe and convenient cycle journeys not least because of the cyclist fatalties in London this year.

The campaign aims to get 100,000 signatures on a petition and 10,000 cyclists on the road to persuade the candidates for the London Assembly that this important, not just for cyclists, but for everyone who want to improve the quality of life in London, who want people-friendly streets.

Which is what we want in our Borough.  We want Richmond, Teddington and Twickenham town centres to be people-friendly, which is not how you could describe them now.  Was it coincidence that last week’s Richmond and Twickenham Times had “High street havoc” on the front page and Tim Lennon’s excellent letter “Deal with this congestion” inside?

Which is why we’ll go on commenting about the effect of planned highway engineering schemes even though we have to search for them and even though we were told in September we can’t go to the Transport Management Liaison Group.  And thank you to all the Veloteers who replied to our request for comments on these schemes.

[Click here to read what we’ve done this month]

Which is why we’ll go on asking the Council what they’re doing for people who cycle even though few, if any, of our Manifesto requests at the 2010 local government elections have been realised.

Which is why we’ll keep going to the Cycling Liaison Group and ask the Council questions about cycling in the Borough.

[Click here for the issues we’ve raised ahead of the next meeting on Monday 9th January 2012]

E-mail your comments to: campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk