RCC Response to Twickenham – Brentford cycleway proposals (Hounslow).

Hounslow are consulting on proposals to improve the existing cycle route.

Our Response :

This is a useful N-S link suitable for all cyclists that has recently been considerably improved by the removal of through traffic from the Church Street area.

Regarding the current proposals for improvement :

1) Ivy Bridge to South Street :

Whilst the current speed humps could certainly be improved it seems a pity that the route continues to rely on them. A permeable road closure between Dawes Avenue and Napier Road would remove through motor traffic whilst allowing vehicular access to all properties.

2) South Street

This is currently the busiest section and we can see the need for changes. Nevertheless shared use of even a widened footway beside a carriageway is sub-optimal and risks conflict. A discrete cycle track would be a better solution.

3) Syon Park

Some sensible adjustments.

It is strongly to be hoped that the 4 gate chicane that has recently appeared will be removed ( it does not seem to be marked on the plans) The chicane is highly discriminatory towards less able cyclists using wider vehicles and is totally unacceptable.

Overall we are happy with the ambition to improve a valuable route but feel that some approaches are less than ideal.

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

Kew Road cycle lane – show me the paint!

Kew Road is mostly a lousy place to cycle. But until recently, it at least had mandatory cycle lanes along a large part of its length.


The cycle lanes used to look like this - not ideal, but probably the best observed cycle space in the borough.

The cycle lanes used to look like this – not ideal, but probably the best observed cycle space in the borough.

Given the volumes of traffic, and the potential for it to be an arterial route for people to cycle around the borough and from places like Kew Bridge, the road badly needs fixing. Recent changes have included over £100,000 spent on replacing a zebra crossing with a traffic-light controlled crossing, and resurfacing.

(Yes, you read that right: replacing this zebra crossing – apparently because a bus stop needed moving – cost over £100,000.)


(Image from Google Maps)

Most worrying about all these changes is that engineers told us there were concerns about speeding on Kew Road, and the new design of the crossing point above – which adds a pinch point – is expected to slow traffic. We don’t think it’s appropriate to plan to slow traffic by pushing cycling into the carriageway. Further, it’s hard to believe that resurfacing the road is actually going to do anything other than increase average speeds: so far, the it seems our borough engineers aren’t very on-board with TfL’s new interest in properly supporting cycling, or indeed with the new team.

We’ve asked the council to at least re-instate the cycle lanes properly, and will update you as soon as we have a response.

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.


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:


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?