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.
It’s beginning to look like the Twickenham Plan is now going to have many more improvements than we’d previously thought, to support people who want to cycle in the area. (If you want to see where we’ve been, you can check out our last post on the subject here.)
Last week, representatives from Richmond Cycling Campaign met officials from the planning department to look at their revised ideas for the new Twickenham (or “West Richmond“, as it might be….)
And although Twickenham isn’t going to be a Dutch style cycling paradise, we think that what has been described to us is a radical departure from the first set of plans we saw. (For a great suggestion for what Twickenham could really look like, check out the ideas that Paul, one local father has been looking at.)
Some of the highlights
Perhaps most importantly, Twickenham was accepted to be a ‘major project’ in TfL terms. This means that we can expect it to fall into this statement in the latest ‘Vision for Cycling‘
.. we will closely monitor all major new planning applications, schemes and developments, such as Earl’s Court and Nine Elms, to promote meaningful pro-bike content and discourage antibike content.
Which means that we can hopefully rely on TfL to refuse to pay for this, unless they’re satisfied that being able to access the area safely by bicycle is a key element of the project.
King Street …
King Street (from Cross Deep to the London Road junction) will get 2m-wide cycle lanes beside a single 5m wide general traffic lane each way. In off peak hours – i.e. most of the day – this means you’ll be able to cycle quietly and confidently all the way along here. To complement this, the planners are aiming to make the Holly Road section bi-directional for cyclists, so that anyone going from Heath Road to London Road will not need to use the junction of doom (London Rd/King St/York St).
On the opposite side of the road, the engineers are looking at a cycling contraflow operating all the way along Church Street, so that you can approach from York Street, and cycle along Church Street, directly onto King Street, again without having to deal with the junction of doom.
A really important point about these lanes on King Street is that, although they won’t be mandatory lanes, the engineers are looking at ways to remove any chance of the conflict that cycling struggles with in other parts of the borough. As well as clear marking of the whole surface, they’re looking at some form of defined edge – such as the cat eye strips seen in the mayor’s new cycling vision – to really delineate the space.
… London Road …
London Road will have at least 1.5m of cycle lane along all of its length, although it looks like there’s still some design and thinking to be done at the fateful junction with King Street, because of the ongoing requirements to be able to get enough traffic through there, especially to allow buses to move smoothly.
… Cross Deep …
At the Cross Deep junction, they’re looking at including a new design for traffic lights which will give cyclists a head start, in an attempt to lower the level of conflict between transport modes (i.e. cars v. bicycles, bicycles v. pedestrians, etc.) This design is currently in testing at the Transport Research Laboratory, so we’ll need to wait on the results before we find out whether they’ll go ahead.
Also, the Cross Deep junction will apparently feature two 3m wide ‘general’ lanes, with a 2m wide cycle lane. This will ensure that anyone choosing to cycle on these sections will always be able to easily make their way to a safer position at the front of queuing traffic.
… & Parking and Railings
Not too much change here, partly because there’s no definite plan as to where all the cycle parking will go. There was some discussion around placing parking in the middle of King Street, like in Kensington High Street.
Kensington parking (from Google Maps)
Obviously this wouldn’t be the only way to park, but it’s under consideration as an option. The removal of large sections of railing will also make a significant difference to the volume of cycle parking available in Twickenham, so if you have any strong opinions on where you think we should be parking, please tell us, and we’ll make sure it’s fed back to the council.
The removal will extend over almost every metre of railing present in Twickenham, including London Road and all the way to the station, which is going to be a huge improvement to the urban realm in the area, meaning you’ll be able to stop off more easily, and pedestrians will be able to cross at a point of their choosing, rather than being penned in to specific crossing points.
Some bonus tidbits
While we were there, we discussed some interesting background with the engineers. For example, they’ve surveyed the car parking provided in Twickenham, and they know that the main car parks have spare capacity at peak times.
They also discussed the impact that TfL requirements were having on planning and, interestingly for us, these seem very focussed on making sure buses can get through, which means that there’s a real change in direction from the ‘smoothing traffic flow‘ that has been a TfL stalwart for quite a while now.
Finally, it sounds like traffic volumes in Twickenham have been falling for a while now – we’ll try to get the figures for this, but it’ll make interesting reading, when considered against the plans for how traffic flows through the town centre.
They want an “Olympic Legacy for all Londoners” and “a CrossRail for the Bike”. In fact, you just need to read the ‘key outcomes’ (page 9 of this PDF) to see the scope of their stated ambition:
1. A Tube network for the bike. London will have a network of direct, high-capacity, joined-up cycle routes … A ‘bike Crossrail’ will run, substantially segregated, from west London to Barking. Local routes will link with them. There will be more Dutch-style, fully-segregated lanes and junctions; more mandatory cycle lanes, semi-segregated from general traffic; and a network of direct back-street Quietways, with segregation and junction improvements over the hard parts.
2. Safer streets for the bike. London’s streets and spaces will become places where cyclists feel they belong and are safe. … With government help, a range of radical measures will improve the safety of cyclists around large vehicles.
3. More people travelling by bike. Cycling across London will double in the next 10 years. We will ‘normalise’ cycling, making it something anyone feels comfortable doing. Hundreds of thousands more people, of all ages, races and backgrounds, and in all parts of London, will discover that the bike has changed their lives.
4. Better places for everyone. Our policies will help all Londoners, whether or not they have any intention of getting on a bicycle. Our new bike routes are a step towards the Mayor’s vision of a ‘village in the city’, creating green corridors, even linear parks, with more tree-planting, more space for pedestrians and less traffic. Cycling will promote community safety, bringing new life and vitality to underused streets. Our routes will specifically target parts of the Tube and bus network which are over capacity, promoting transfers to the bike and relieving crowding for everyone. Cycling will transform more of our city into a place dominated by people, not motor traffic.
So what about Richmond?
Now ask yourself which of these you wouldn’t like to see in our borough. And especially considering where we’ve been with the Twickenham Action Plan, it’s hard not to hope that our councillors and officials have read this vision from cover to cover. Phrases like
“Timid, half-hearted improvements are out – we will do things at least adequately, or not at all.”
leap from the page (page 10, in this case).
But most excitingly for Richmond, the mayor wants to create some ‘mini Hollands’ – “a fantastic opportunity for these boroughs to achieve dramatic change – not just for cyclists, but for everyone who lives and works there.” Richmond could bid to be one of these, with tens of millions of pounds being earmarked for real change, showcasing just how great cycling provision can enrich the lives of everyone in our city.
How can I help?
If you think this sounds like a great vision, tell us, tell your local councillors, or maybe write to the local paper. Or, just bask in the naked optimism and real ambition that this vision represents.
You might remember the furore a while ago over the Richmond Magazine’s editorial on cycling, and the excellent article on cycling they subsequently published on children cycling (PDF here).
The kind of cycling we might see more of in a 20mph Richmond (Image from cargocycling.org - http://bit.ly/zb6dB2)
Well now there’s another excellent article, this time looking at speed limits, and how Surrey and Richmond seem desperate to swim against the 20mph tide.
We’d urge you to read the article, and then vote in their online poll (appears half way down the home page), if you agree that wide-scale adoption of 20mph limits on our borough roads could be a good thing. And if you still need convincing about the merits of the argument, check out the extensive data assembled by “20′s plenty for us” or head straight to their briefing papers on all the basics, like:
Image from 'the 20 effect' https://twitter.com/the20effect/status/249165890908733440/photo/1
So in the first of an occasional series, take the opportunity to check out some of the data, and then vote in the Richmond Magazine’s poll, as a simple thing you can do to tell our councillors of all stripe how much you’d like to see cycling improve in the borough.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.