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

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

Twickenham Consultation – January Update

Olympic Sporting Legacy with a new extreme sport - Dodge the Taxi Rank! (click for full plan - 5MB)

We went along to the Environment, Sustainability and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee (trying saying that after a few jars!) meeting on Monday 7 January. We were hopeful that our comments made back in November would have been taken on board. This post by a local cyclist summed up the potential that could be achieved.

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 absolute minimum 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.

London Road Cycle lane saved?

Twickenham Consultation – December Update

Since our last post on the subject of the Twickenham Town Centre proposals in October a lot has been going on in the background. There was the council cabinet meeting on 15 November and then we met with council officials on 23 November. So we felt it was worth putting up an update. For a reminder on the history of the changes have a look at this post.

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 – ben.fryer@richmond.gov.uk
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 info@richmondlcc.co.uk and we’ll keep a note of it.

London Road Cycle lane saved?

Twickenham Consultation – Reprieve or just a stay of execution?

Bow Roundabout

Post updated 15 November 2012
October marks the one year anniversary of the death of local cyclist Brian Dorling on one of the Cycle Superhighways at the Bow Roundabout near the Olympic Park, where poor road design contributed to making Bow such a dangerous junction, where two people were to die within the space of 3 weeks. It also marks the 15th birthday of the London Road Cycle lane which Richmond Council are planning to remove.

Following on from the Cycle Liaison Group meeting on 4th October, the council issued a press release on the 11th October saying that they were no longer planning on ratifying the changes to Twickenham Town Centre, including the removal of the mandatory London Road cycle lane, at the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October. The plans will now be debated at the Council Cabinet meeting on 15th NovemberYou can read the full detail on their website, but the point that caught our eye from the release was:

“This is to enable … more clear communication from the Council regarding cycle lanes”

If this means they listen to the safety concerns of those affected by the proposals that will be great. If it just means more communication about what they are currently proposing (i.e. installation of advisory off peak lanes which form part of the nearside motor lane) then it will be a disappointment. It does, however, show they now realise the original plans were inadequate. No matter how many ways they put it, sharing a lane with an impatient HGV at peak time is no more pleasant at 20mph that it is at 30mph (particularly when average speeds at peak times are closer to 10mph), and no number of Advanced Stop Lines at junctions will make cycling through Twickenham more pleasant if you can’t get to them in the first place. At peak times, when parents are cycling to school with their kids or people are cycling to work, the most protection is needed (57% of incidents occur at peak times). The council’s own safety audit of the plans, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, show there will be an increased risk of cyclist/motorist collisions under the new plans. Even the DfT states cycle lanes should be provided for roads with this volume of traffic, even at 20mph.

This is what you're losing - London Road before and after (thanks to Paul James for visualising for us) We would love to show you the actual layout, but the council haven't produced it yet.

We plan to use this time to continue to try and work with the council to develop the current proposals into something that will change Twickenham into somewhere to go to, not just somewhere to drive through. It is also about more than just cyclists, but also enhancing Twickenham for pedestrians and those who use public transport. There is scope, for example, to retain the bus stops and have protected lanes as per this example:

Safely integrating all modes of transport through good design

What can you you?
We need everyone who is concerned about what Richmond Council to make their voice heard while there is still time. 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. These are the people with the most influence on whether we lose the existing cycle provision in Twickenham. Thank them for listening to our concerns and putting back their ratification. Share with them your vision of an inviting Twickenham, where parents are happy to cycle to school or to the riverside with their kids, where those commuting to work at peak times aren’t sharing a lane with a HGV and where Twickenham maximises it’s potential as a place to visit.

TfL are also a major stakeholder in the changes. We are in discussions with them, but we ask you all to share your concerns with them directly.

Also, we don’t want this to disappear off the radar, so help us maintain the high profile of the proposals by writing to the Richmond Twickenham Times

Contact details for all are below:
Ben Fryer – ben.fryer@richmond.gov.uk
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
Transport for London – LONDONSTREETS@tfl.gov.uk
Richmond and Twickenham Times  - lettersrtt@london.newsquest.co.uk

You can also ask the council a question either in person or electronically and they have to respond

And of course, put the Council cabinet meeting on the 15th November in the diary. This is the best chance to get your points put directly to the cabinet members responsible (full list of cabinet members and contact details here) You can even register to ask a question on the night.

If you’re writing to your Councillor or the paper, feel free to cc us in via info@richmondlcc.co.uk and we’ll keep a note of it.

Again, we would reiterate that we would like the council to consider the safety concerns that everyone has expressed and:

  • That they review the principals of LCC’s Love London Go Dutch campaign and incorporate the best practice from the Netherlands and Denmark to provide protected cycle lanes. For example, the space is there to do this and still provide wider pavements on King Street. Have a look at a similar street in the Netherlands and these examples clearly demonstrate there is room to achieve this
  • They review why two motor lanes are required by TfL on London Road in each direction, given each end of the road is single carriageway.
  • Ensure that any on road cycle lanes provided are mandatory, full time cycle lanes, which do not share the space of the near side motor lane
  • That the safety of intersections are reviewed as part of the design so that cycle lanes don’t disappear when the going gets tough. These should include as a minimum:
    • Access to Twickenham railway station from London Road
    • Access from King Street to York Road (going to Richmond)
    • Access from King Street to Wharf Lane/Twickenham Riverside
    • Access from King Street to Church Street (travelling from Cross Deep)

Putting the record straight
We would also like to counter some of the claims that the council has made in the emails that many of our followers have passed on to us. As an organisation, we’re saddened to be accused by the council of misrepresentation of their plans. We’ve only ever reported what the council has stated – the initial rejection by two thirds of the removal of the London Road cycle lane by their consultation and their plans to replace the existing cycle lanes and bus lanes with advisory, off peak only cycle lanes.

In the original proposals that formed the consultation, as far as we can see (and we’ve poured over them extensively) there was no mention of the provision of these advisory cycle lanes. We would expect that cycling facilities – including cycle lanes – to be designed into the road layout from the start and clearly articulated on the consultation documents.  Since putting in any kind of bike lane may materially affect traffic flow and road-user’s experience (both cyclists and motorists) – this “bolt-on” approach of bike lanes is not the approach that would normally be taken in a major infrastructure project.  Apple wouldn’t sell many iPhones if the designers weren’t mobile phone users, yet here we have road plans being pushed without taking into account the safety concerns of those who will have to use them.

We’ve heard Cllr Harborne on several radio stations sharing her vision for the Olympic Legacy for the borough through the Strictly Cycling project in schools the council is involved in. Wouldn’t it be great to have a legacy which leaves one of the main parts of the Olympic route safe for families to cycle to school on?

For the background to the proposals, going back to 2011, have a look at this post.

Soon to be no more?

Twickenham Consultation – The Next Steps

This is what you're losing - London Road before and after (thanks to Paul James for visualising for us)

There was a big a big attendance of cyclists at Thursday’s Cycle Liaison Group meeting with Richmond council, showing the strength of feeling about the changes to Twickenham town centre. London Cycling Campaign covered the subject on their website. Many told us they had never taken part in a meeting like this before, but felt compelled to come along to make their voice heard. A big thank you them and to the many others who couldn’t but emailed their support and a thank you to Richmond council for adding the subject to the agenda.

The meeting can be split into two parts – the original agenda (in which we learnt a lot about bat friendly lighting) and the bit that everyone went to hear about. Local cyclist Tim Lennon wrote up very effectively about both parts.

CLG Meeting – Part 1 Roundup

CLG Meeting – Part 2 Roundup

The council has stated that it is listening to our concerns, which is welcome to hear, and that the changes are not yet a done deal, though we are concerned about previous information that they would be ratified at the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October. They now say that they are going to install cycle lanes throughout Twickenham town centre, but these still appear to be the advisory, off peak only, cycle lanes, which will form part of the nearside motor lane, rather than an extra width. We still feel strongly that this is inadequate, given at peak times, when parents are cycling to school with their kids or people are cycling to work, the most protection is needed. In the words of one of the attendees, ’they are as useful as a chocolate teapot’ but it does show they now realise the original plans were inadequate.  No detail is available on these lanes or consideration of the safety of  junctions. There is no detail on when the new updated proposals will be available for review. We hope that, unlike the recent cycle lane installed on the approach to Richmond bridge, the lane just doesn’t peter out when the going gets tough.

The subject of our next steps will be on the agenda at our monthly meeting, this Monday 8 October, at 8pm in the Old Ship pub in Richmond. We shall discuss what we do next, including follow up with TfL to understand their involvement. TfL will be critical, as they are part funding the changes.  Come along and share your views, or if you can’t make it, email us on info@richmondlcc.co.uk.

There is still some way to go on this, and we take the council’s willingness to listen as a positive and that they will take this opportunity to make a Twickenham, as we’ve said all along, somewhere to go to, not just drive through. We would like the council to consider our concerns and:

  • That they consider the principals of LCC’s Love London Go Dutch campaign and incorporate the best practice from the Netherlands and Denmark to provide protected cycle lanes. For example, the space is there to do this and still provide wider pavements on King Street. Have a look at a similar street in the Netherlands.
  • They review why two motor lanes are required by TfL on London Road in each direction, given each end of the road is single carriageway.
  • Ensure that any on road cycle lanes provided are mandatory, full time cycle lanes, which do not share the space of the near side motor lane
  • That the safety of intersections are reviewed as part of the design so that cycle lanes don’t disappear when the going gets tough. These should include as a minimum:
    • Access to Twickenham railway station from London Road
    • Access from King Street to York Road (going to Richmond)
    • Access from King Street to Wharf Lane/Twickenham Riverside
    • Access from King Street to Church Street (travelling from Cross Deep)

As Tim puts it, everyone should be concerned about the provision of cycling infrastructure in Twickenham, regardless of whether you cycle or not.

‘What can I do?’
We’ve had this question from many of you (and thank you for all your supportive emails, they are appreciated), so here’s our rundown of what you can do to make your voice heard:

- Write to Richmond and Twickenham Times to express your view – lettersrtt@london.newsquest.co.uk

- Write to your local ward Councillor - This nifty site will let you know who your councillors are

- Write to the Council’s Cycling Champion Councillor Katharine Harborne (Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk) and chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor Chris Harrison (Cllr.CHarrison@richmond.gov.uk). They have the most influence on whether the views of cyclists are incorporated.

- Ask the council a question – you can do it in person or electronically and they have to respond

- Come along to the Council cabinet meeting on the 18th October - This is the best chance to get your points put directly to the cabinet members responsible (full list of cabinet members and contact details here) You can even register to ask a question on the night.

If you’re writing to your Councillor or the paper, feel free to cc us in via info@richmondlcc.co.uk and we’ll keep a note of it.

To help, here’s some background reading to the history of the proposals:
June 2011 we commented on the Twickenham Area Action Plan, where the word cycle was only mentioned once
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2011/06/17/i-want-to-ride-my-bicycle-i-want-to-ride-my-bike/

October 2011, we were hopeful as based on the feedback on the consultation (ending July 2011), cycling started to appear and promises were made
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2011/10/25/maybe-they-are-listening/

January 2012 – a very cold month, and the next consultation stage. We got lots of feedback from local cyclists, and Nick provided a very detailed submission
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/01/18/twickenham-town-centre/

July 2012 – and we find out what the proposals are – removal of cycle and bus lanes and a consultation (in the form of a tick box, do you support these proposals) comes out. The results were promising, 67% opposed the removal of the existing London Road mandatory cycle lane. Surely they would now listen.
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/07/25/twickenham-street-scene-and-highways-scheme-consultation/

September 2012 - We find out the cycle lane removal is to proceed but that there is now the addition of off peak advisory cycle lanes, though these are not shown on any of the consultation drawings. Anyone who works on major projects, will tell you that such a detail would not be omitted until later – it would be a key design variable incorporated from the start
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/09/25/twickenham-consultation-cycle-lane-removal-proceeds/

October 2012 - After several attempts, the council agrees to update the agenda for the upcoming CLG meeting to include discussion of the cycle lanes.
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/10/03/twickenham-consultation-cycle-liaison-group-meeting-4-october-2012/

Local blogger Tim Lennon stated very simply the flaws with what the council is proposing.

Interesting debate in the comments section to the article in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

Confirmed to soon be no more

Twickenham Consultation – Cycle Liaison Group Meeting – 4 October 2012

This is what you're losing - London Road before and after (thanks to Paul James for visualising for us)

We’re planning a big attendance at Thursday’s Cycle Liaison Group meeting with Richmond council (7pm, York House, Twickenham) to make it clear how strongly we oppose their proposal to remove the Twickenham cycle and bus lanes and replace them with advisory off peak cycle lanes. (for full details on the change, read this post)

Details of the meeting including the agenda are available online here:

Email us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk if you are going to attend and we’ll give you the low down on our plans or just turn up on the night. Please tell everyone you know who will be affected by these changes to come along and make their voice heard.

The drawing at the top of the post (kindly produced by one of our followers) shows starkly just what we’re losing in these changes. Given the bottle neck at the London Road, King Street, York Street Junction (shown here - http://goo.gl/maps/ahpQU) there is no benefit to traffic flow of providing two lanes. As we’ve said all along, every one loses in this proposal. A ‘Go Dutch‘ model for Twickenham Town centre would benefit everyone – pedestrians, bus users, cyclists and motorists – but most importantly it would regenerate Twickenham to be a place to go to, not just drive through. Local blogger Tim Lennon has stated very simply the flaws with what the council is proposing. There is an interesting debate at present in the comments section to the article in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

We have proposals, based on studies we’ve carried out going back to 2009, that would make streets of Twickenham safer and more inviting for everyone, whether on a bike, walking or on public transport, while balancing the needs of those who chose to drive through the town. Let’s hope the council will accept our offer to assist in improving the current scheme.

 

Confirmed to soon be no more

Twickenham Consultation – Cycle Lane Removal Proceeds

Confirmed to soon be no more

Post Update – 29 September 2012
The removal of the Twickenham cycle and bus lanes continues to get lots of attention both inside and outside the borough. Twickenham based blog Twickerati covered the story. It made it onto page 2 of this week’s Richmond and Twickenham Times as well as the letters page. Outside the borough, Cyclists in the City and Merton based CycaLogical both covered the story.

The council made the unprecedented move of releasing a statement via their website saying:

“the Council are now considering installing advisory cycle lanes throughout the town centre in King St and London Road in both directions. In peak periods vehicular traffic would use these lanes but for the greater part of the day they would be used by cyclists. These cycle lanes would increase cycle safety throughout the town centre and would also help to encourage cars and other vehicles to stay in the central lanes in off peak periods, therefore keeping their distance from pedestrians.”

So, instead of a standalone all day mandatory cycle lane (as per the above photo on London Road) or bus lane (as on King Street), extra lanes for motor traffic will pop up with off peak advisory cycle lanes shared with the nearside motor vehicle lane. Our thoughts?

  • This is the time when parents who cycle to school with their children or commuters who cycle to work are at the most risk and need more protection, not less57% of [cyclist] injuries happen at beginning or the end of day
  • The Highway code advises motors on advisory cycle lanes ‘Don’t use unless unavoidable’ which effectively renders them not legally enforceable due to the interpretation of the word ‘unavoidable’. Motorists can and do enter them, particularly with the design proposed by the council where the cycle lane is part of, not in addition to the inside traffic lane. The reality is you’ll have a motor vehicle sitting impatiently on your rear as you use these cycle lanes, or overtaking dangerously, regardless of time of day.
  • There is likely to be a greater incidence of pavement cycling on the wider pavements as cyclists are intimidated off the road and fewer people choosing to cycle through and to Twickenham.
  • The council recognises the current cycle lane network is disjointed – so work to improve it, don’t rip it out

But this isn’t just about cyclist safety – pedestrians and bus users also lose out to ease traffic flow. Indeed, one councillor went as far to say “bus passengers in Twickenham were ‘spoiled’”. Over 650 residents have signed a petition against moving the bus stops.
We asked for the subject of the cycle lanes to be included in the upcoming Cycling Liasion Group Meeting, but the council have refused to discuss it (a local blogger has previously covered the effectiveness of the CLG). UPDATE 1st October – The Council has now relented and added the subject to the meeting, but with provisos. We’ll be there, come and make your voice heard.

So this leaves the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October as the last opportunity to raise your concerns alongside us.

Please read the ‘what can we do’ section at then bottom of this post and make your voice heard – write to the R&TT; write to your councillor; come along to the council’s Cycling Liaison Group meeting on 4th October; come along to the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October.

Original Post
Perhaps we should have realised that it was too much to get our hopes up when LBRUT issued a press release showing that over two thirds had rejected the council’s proposal to remove the London Road cycle lane. We had hoped the council would listen to this strong message and not only retain and improve this lane, but look to provide high quality cycle infrastructure across the borough. It had been a long struggle, but perhaps, just perhaps they would listen.

Sadly we now learn that is not going to be the case. On Wednesday 19th September, the council debated the consultation and we’re informed that the council believes that the introduction of a 20mph limit, the removal of the bus lanes and removal of the cycle lanes would safeguard cyclists. On 18th October, the council will meet to make it’s final review and it is likely that they will support the removal of the lanes.

Cycle lane out, more room for cars (click picture for the full plan)

Firstly, this goes against the Government’s own guidance. The Department for Transport states that on roads with greater than 8,000 vehicles per day, cycle lanes should be provided, even if the speed limit is reduced to 20mph (Table 1.3 in this document). Twickenham has 10,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day (TfL Statistics – PDF). Given that at busy congested times the traffic barely crawls, a 20mph speed limit isn’t going to have much impact. The council is extremely reluctant to introduce 20mph zones elsewhere in the borough (despite their benefit being shown by one of their own reports), putting in the barrier of requiring a referendum with 51% of residents needing to vote yes for it to pass. Note that is 51% of residents, not respondents, so a no response counts as a No vote. Image if that was applied elsewhere… Meanwhile, nearby councils like Surrey County Council are pro-actively introducing them. This leads us to believe that the intent of the change is improving traffic flow, at the expense of cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Secondly, while the current council has history in not listening to RCC, with the current Cycling Czar constantly telling us to stop campaigning about safety, it is now ignoring a growing number of residents who value cycling as a means to get to work, to the shops or to take their children to school and want to do so safely. You can understand their concern, given the significant increase in road injuries suffered by cyclists in the borough shown in the latests TfL statistics (1 every 4 injuries from a road incident is to a cyclist). The breakdown of the responses to the consultation are available online, and there is an overwhelming majority against the cycle lane removal. Why go to the expense of a consultation if you are going to ignore those who took the time to fill it in?

This is a real missed opportunity to turn Twickenham into something more than somewhere to drive through on the way to somewhere else. We’ve previously posted on the Twickenham Area Action Plan and we submitted a very detailed analysis of their previous proposals which you can read online. We looked at cycle routes through Twickenham in a review in 2009 and a further review in 2012 and we also looked at Twickenham Railway Station in detail in 2010. Sadly, all of this has been ignored.

So, what can we do? The council meets on 18th October to make it’s decision. Before then:

- Write to Richmond and Twickenham Times to express your view – lettersrtt@london.newsquest.co.uk

- Write to your Councillor – This nifty site will let you know who your councillors are

- Come along to council’s Cycling Liaison Group meeting on 4th October;

- Come along to the Council cabinet meeting on the 18th October – This is the best chance to get your points put directly to the cabinet members responsible (full list of cabinet members and contact details here)

The next Local Elections are in 2014 and like last time, we shall be asking the candidates for their views on cycling. As part of this, we’ll also look at how they have voted on issues affecting cyclists, such as the Twickenham Area Action Plan.

Twickenham