Cycle Hub at Teddington Station

cyclehub….was opened by the Deputy Mayor who arrived by bike (although it later transpired that it had been borrowed from her son. )  She talked about encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home ..but the remark about this leaving space for parents returning from driving their children to school suggests that the message has not fully got through. The Network Rail person’s emphasis on planning for future increase in demand was more welcome.

We get : lots of decent cycle parking – and there is space between the double decker racks to pull down the upper and load your bike from the end-  , a pump which doubles as a maintenance stand and a chained set of tools all overlooked by a security camera with info on trains and weather on a monitor.

Now all we need is good routes to cycle to the station !

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.

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.

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

Maybe they are listening…

1. Twickenham

Back in June we asked you to respond to the Council’s consultation on the Twickenham Area Action Plan [click here for the original post] We said then:  

“Unfortunately the 8 page consultation leaflet ”Twickenham Rediscovered, looking back looking forward” available at yesterday’s public meeting and here doesn’t actually use the words “bicycle”, “cycling” or “cyclist”.  “Cycle” does appear, once, on page 3: “Limited widening of eastern footway in London Road through removal of cycle lane.

Well, a report on the consultation for the Council’s Cabinet has been published [click here] together with a summary of all consultation on the options [click here]  If you live, work or spend time in Twickenham you’ll be interested in all of it but as cyclists we’re particularly interested in what it says on page 49 of the Cabinet report under 3.19 Responses to Traffic and Pedestrian Proposals:   

“Separate comments received within the questionnaires and at various meetings included concerns about sufficient provision being made for cyclists.”  

“It is proposed that further detailed feasibility work and modelling is carried out.  The main areas for further investigative work are:

Station area improvements, including consideration of bus lanes and stops, provision for cyclists and taxis, improved junctions and site access;

King Street/York Street improvements including changes to bus lanes and stops, improvements for pedestrians, cyclists, servicing and consequent environmental improvements;

Water Lane/Church Street/Embankment – further investigation of opportunities to reduce turning movements and through traffic, consequent environmental improvements to public areas.”

So thanks to all of you who responded to the consultation and made sure cycling in Twickenham is on the agenda. 

What we didn’t have in June was the cycle collisions data the Council gave us in September.  This shows clearly clusters of blue squares [serious collisions] and green circles [slight collisions] in Heath Road, King Street and London Road [click on the photo to make it a bit bigger and a bit easier to see]

    

At last night’s meeting of the Cycling Liaison Group we asked the Council if they use the cycle collision data to 1) prioritise highway engineering works and 2) decide what work is appropriate.  They said “yes we do“, the officers discuss it with the Cabinet Member when deciding on the programme of works for the next financial year.  That time is soon so while we work through the CLG we’re asking those of you living in Twickenham to ask your councillors what’s being done to reduce the number and severity of cycle collisions. King Street and London Road south of the railway are in Twickenham Riverside Ward, London Road north of the railway in St Margaret’s and North Twickenham and Heath Road is South Twickenham, according to My Richmond

Depending on the cause of each collision maybe 20mph zones are the way to go in Richmond [including Richmond Bridge] and Twickenham town centres.  

2. A316 Cycle Route

In August we asked you to respond to TfL’s consultation on the proposal to permanently close the junctions on the Chertsey Road at Godfrey Avenue, Redway Drive and Jublilee Avenue [click here for the original post] We’ve received this reply to our response:

TfL considers that this current proposal will reduce illegal rat running through Redway Drive, the proposals will also encourage cyclists to use this adjacent route as an alternative to the shared use footway.

With regard to the bollards at Jubilee Avenue, I can confirm that the bollard on the northern side of the junction between the telecommunications box and the railings will be removed from the proposal and a further bollard will be relocated as per the attached design. TfL considers that the remaining bollards follow the line of the northern timber fence and therefore do not present a significant barrier to cyclists or pedestrians.

TfL is currently investigating renewal of the lighting columns on the A316 and will, subject to feasibility and the availability of funding seek to relocate the lamp columns away from the centre of the footway. Resurfacing of the route will be considered as part of our future maintenance. In the interim we will instruct our maintenance team to trim back the existing foliage to maximise the available width.”

Reasons to be cheerful, 1, 2, 3?

E-mail: campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk with your thoughts about cycling in Twickenham and on the A316 Cycle Route

Good-bye-laws, hello stands

1. Byelaws

A recent article in the Independent headed “Government plans to relax cycling by-laws” quoted Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps, saying:

There have been some crazy by-laws in place from the year dot stopping cycling from taking place. This should enable local people to scrap laws stopping people from getting on their bikes.”

“Everyone is interested in looking after themselves and their health, as well as the environment, and cycling succeeds on both of those fronts.”

As you would expect we don’t just “agree”, we “strongly agree” with the Minister.  The article said Hundreds of miles of cycle routes could be created across England following a move to make it easier for councils to scrap outdated local laws.” Why? Because councils won’t need permission from Central Government to abolish byelaws, part of the initiative to devolve decision-making better known as “localism”.

So, will Richmond Council be rushing to “scrap laws stopping people from getting on their bikes? Click here to see the wide range of current byelaws on their website.

There is a general feeling…that any general abolition of ‘NO CYCLING’ byelaws may not be desirable, but a review of well-used paths or paths where problems have emerged may be more appropriate.”

Ok, so on a case by case basis, we can live with that.

There are a number of public rights of way footpaths, many in the old Borough of Twickenham, which are subject to byelaws but they remain unenforceable as ‘no-cycling’ signs warning of the offence have not been erected at each end of the path.”

Maybe things aren’t so bad, permissive cycling courtesy of legal inadequacies.

“The preferred course could be to undertake an appraisal of the footpaths where cycling could co-exist satisfactorily with pedestrians.  This would be done in accordance with design guidance and consideration of path widths, pedestrian flows and sight-lines etc.  However, this would not be a remedy to allow cycling, as footpaths only provide for a right of way on foot and ‘conversion’ using the Cycle Tracks Act 1984 would still be necessary to legally allow cycling.”

I’m beginning to feel the weight [wait?] of bureaucracy bearing down.  We mentioned Cycle Track Orders back in February when they appeared in the Programme of Works 2011/12 in relation to the Thames Towpath

And, of course, it goes without saying that:

“The above would all be subject to funding being identified and the approval of Cllr Harrison, Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene & Cllr Virginia Morris, Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning, Parks and Highways.”

But, there’s always a silver lining:

“The Parks Department do not have the resources, or desire, to enforce ‘NO CYCLING’ byelaws in parks. It is acknowledged that many people cycle in the Borough’s parks and in high flow areas shared use “pedestrian priority” signs have been erected to try and regulate behaviour.”

We’ve asked to discuss the next steps at the Cycling Liaison Group meeting on 11th July [NB: this meeting has been postponed] and agree:

  • Considerate Cycling as the Council’s default postion rather than No Cycling;
  • The quickest and simplest process to remove no cycling signs at those places classed as unenforceable and create shared use on identified paths.

Let’s find out how bureaucratic this is and how long it takes by making a list of suitable paths: e-mail campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk with your suggestions.

2. Cycle parking

A recent question about the stands removed from outside Dickens and Jones in George Street, Richmond, received a very prompt reply from the Traffic Management and Projects Manager, Highways and Transport, Environment Directorate, with this good news:

Now that the paving works are nearing completion we will be shortly installing 16 new cycle stands (provision for 32 bicycles) in the area near to House of Fraser.  We expect this work to be carried out in approximately 2-3 weeks“.

That’s early July if you’re counting and we’ll check: not difficult as our monthly meeting is in the pub opposite.

This is what it looks like there at the moment:

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…

If you cycle in, or through, Twickenham, then please click here to go to the Twickenham Area Action Plan consultation page on the Council website.

If you cycle then some of the words on the page are encouraging, like “improvements to the environment, traffic management, public transport and pedestrian and cycle links will be required”

Unfortunately the 8 page consultation leaflet “Twickenham Rediscovered, looking back looking forward” available at yesterday’s public meeting and here doesn’t actually use the words “bicycle”, “cycling” or “cyclist”.  “Cycle” does appear, once, on page 3:

Limited widening of eastern footway in London Road through removal of cycle lane

In the document you’re either traffic or pedestrian and if you’re pedestrian then you’ll be pleased to know the impact of traffic is being reduced, mainly by widening pavements. 

Now I’m sure when the word pedestrian is used the author had cyclists in their mind’s eye, after all there’s a bike in the drawing on page 6, parked in the middle of an imagined King Street, just like they do in Kensington High Street.  But it doesn’t say that and cyclists aren’t pedestrians, except when we’re required to dismount and push our bikes. 

There again maybe I’m wrong because our aspirations for the Crane Valley Route providing a traffic free journey through Twickenham and Moor Meads Park is undermined by repeated reference to the “River Crane walkway”.

Please take the opportunity to comment by completing the questionnaire here pointing out the lack of any explicit reference to the needs of cyclists, including secure cycle parking spaces. 

The closing date is 22nd July 

Talking of which you may want to keep an eye here on the planning application for re-development of Twickenham Railway Station that includes

250 covered cycle spaces for commuters, 208 covered cycle spaces for residents and provision of a river walkway

Click here for what we’ve said before about cycle parking at railway stations, including Twickenham.

Some interesting numbers from yesterday’s meeting included:

2000 vehicles an hour through Twickenham during the peak, dropping to 80% of that, still 1600 vehicles, off-peak. 

For the imagined King Street to work the off-peak figure needs to drop to 65%, 1300 vehicles.  So 300 drivers need to get out of their vehicles and use another way to get around: maybe cycle? 

If King Street is pedestrianised off-peak traffic will be diverted to London Road via Arragon Road.

Note it says on page 5 “Transport proposals will be subject to further detailed testing to ensure they do not have an unacceptable impact on the highway network.”

Met Police Launch ’12 Days to Get Cycle Safe’ – Bike Marking Campaign

Not everyone can have a naked Nicky Campbell to chase off bike thieves, so following on from the previous campaign by SmarterTravelRichmond, the Met Police in Richmond have launched ’12 Days to Get Cycle Safe’. Between 17th and 28th May, there will be over 30 bike marking events across the borough. See the end of this post for an event near you.

Given our report last year of the 2,296 bikes stolen in the borough between 2007 and 2010, we would encourage everyone to have their bicycle marked to increase the likliehood of having it returned if it is stolen, as well as checking out the advice summarised below:

Here’s a full list of the events planned for this campaign. This has changed a couple of times, so double check the Richmond Met Police Website for any last minute alterations:

Location Date Time
Crane Park 17th May 6pm – 7pm
Moormead Park 17th May 4pm – 5pm
Outside St James School 17th May 3pm – 4pm
Starbucks, Barnes 17th May 11am – 12pm
Crane Park 18th May 5pm – 6pm
Marble Hill / Tow Path 18th May 5pm – 6pm
St Margarets Train Station, 18th May 4pm – 5pm
Whitton High Street 18th May 1pm – 3pm
Hammersmith Bridge (N. Side) 19th May 1pm – 2pm
Heathfield Recreation Park 19th May 6pm – 7pm
Trafalgar Junior School, Twickenham 19th May 2.30pm – 4pm
Twickenham Riverside 19th May 5pm – 6pm
Whitton High Street 19th May 1pm – 3pm
Meadway Underpass 20th May 5pm – 6pm
St Mary’s University College 20th May 11am – 12pm
York House, Twickenham 20th May 5pm – 6pm
Birdies Bikes, Hampton 21st May 12pm – 4pm
High Street, Hampton Hill 21st May 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Kneller Gardens 21st May 4pm – 5pm
Evelyn Road, Richmond 24th May 7pm – 8.30pm
Meadway Community Centre 24th May 12pm – 1pm
St Mary’s CoE School, Twickenham 24th May 2.30pm – 4pm
Barnes Towpath, Lonsdale Rd 25th May 5pm – 6pm
Jocelyn Road, Richmond 25th May 7pm – 8.30pm
Orleans School, Twickenham 25th May 3pm – 4pm
Twickenham Green 25th May 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Cambridge Gardens 26th May 5pm – 6pm
Moormead Park 26th May 6pm – 7pm
Old Deer Park 26th May 7pm – 8.30pm
Radnor Gardens 26th May 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Meadow Bank, Twickenham 27th May 5pm – 6pm
St Margarets Train Station 27th May 6pm – 7pm
Strawberry Hill Train Station 27th May 5.30pm – 6.30pm
London Wetlands Centre, Barnes 28th May 1pm – 2pm