Burtons Road and connections.

Burtons Road has long been recognised as a generally cycle-friendly alternative to Park Road / Uxbridge Road but is plagued by rat-running at peak hours. Several traffic-removal schemes have been rejected as risking diverting traffic into other narrow roads.

IMG_20180723_114811066_HDR

The map below (based on Open Cycle Map) suggests how two filters (red) one straight across and one diagonal could allow vehicular access whilst blocking rat-running.

Burtons RdSolid blue lines are important road links whilst the hashed lines are tracks used by cyclists with some difficulties.The railway path is narrow and overgrown

Burtons -railway pathwhilst the path at the west end has narrow gates.

Burtons -gateNeither has cycling forbidden  (the railway track is labelled footpath at one end but that doesn’t make cycling illegal). Some improvement would be needed to make them useful for all.

Green circles are existing toucan crossings whilst the orange ones are where a crossing is needed.There is a ramped bridge to cross the A316.

A316 BridgeThe numerous schools are shown by magenta circles whilst Fulwell Station is the nearest railway. ( a segregated track along Wellington Rd would shorten some journeys but that is a future ambition).

20mph won’t happen in Richmond in a hurry.

20mph is one of London Cycling’s six core ‘asks’ from the recent elections. Six things that we believe would make London’s boroughs better places for cycling.

So it’s a shame that the council is so clearly hell bent on doing virtually nothing about it.

If you want to know what an anti-20mph policy looks like, you just need to read the cabinet papers for the meeting this week. You’ll need item 6 here, and the linked PDF. But to save you the effort, here’s how the conversation will likely go with the officers unfortunate enough to have to deal with this:

You “Hello, a lot of people in my road would like it to be 20mph.”

Council “A majority? Like in more than 50% of all households?”

You “Well, a majority of the people I spoke to.

Council “Look, just because no councillor here has more than about 10% of the people in their area actually vote for them, they still need you to collect a majority of everyone.

“But I’m feeling, nice, so we’ll skip that stage. Did your, haha, majority also understand that 20mph means traffic calming measures, signs, speed humps, etc., will also be needed? Did you know that under council rules, we’re not interested in consultation responses at this stage if you can’t demonstrate you’ve explained just how awful 20mph zones really are? ”

You “Err. No? Department for Transport guidance says you don’t need all that, doesn’t it? I mean, Bristol has a city wide 20mph limit without all that, doesn’t it?”

Council “Does this look like Bristol. If you want 20mph, then the Richmond way is to make it almost impossible, but to over-engineer it if we do go ahead.”

You, some time later  “Ok, they’re happy with all that. Can we have 20mph now?”

Council (guffaws) “No, no, not yet! First we’re going to see whether it’ll affect any other roads nearby. If it does we won’t do it. Then we’ll make something up about whether it can be enforced. If it can’t, or we won’t make the effort to, then we won’t do it either.”

“And then, we’ll check if it’s a conservation area, because we wouldn’t want to clutter a conservation area with cars moving through too slowly.”

You “And then we can have 20mph?”

Council “No. Then we’ll do a traffic survey. If average speeds are over 24mph, then we won’t give you a 20mph zone. And if they’re under, we probably won’t either, because people are already going slow enough, innit?”

Council “Oh, and if you’re still giving us grief, we’ll review the accident data for at least three years to decide if we think it’s appropriate.

“After that, we’ll think about whether we can fund it, and since so few people will get to this stage, each one of these will need signing off by the cabinet member. And then we’ll do a full consultation.”

You “But I’ve already got people to agree, haven’t I?”

Council “Ah yes, but we’ll consult over the whole area, and all the streets around will need to approve your 20mph zone. Did we mention that someone who doesn’t respond is a ‘no’?”

You “What about outside all the schools in the borough, then?”

Council “They’ll all have to go through the process above. Although we might be magnanimous and include a random rule about how we can do it if we want, without any consultation at all.”

Footnote:  You might think we’ve made this up, but it’s all supported by the papers going to council on the 9th. We don’t think Richmond wants to implement 20mph anywhere, based on those papers. And if they do, they’re going to be sure to do it in the most expensive, un-popular fashion possible. Feel free to check the DfT guidance, and see how much of it has been ignored. (PDF link.)

Kew Road could get a toucan, what about Kew Green?

What do you do when you’ve got a zebra crossing where pedestrians don’t get injured, but the traffic goes too fast, and you’ve got a busy junction further along with lots of incidents of all types?

Well obviously, you plan to spend £125,000 on a new crossing for the pedestrian junction where people drive too fast. That’s what Richmond is about to do. Engineers are proposing to spend this on changing the Lion Gate Gardens zebra – whose accident stats look like this (DfT page is here)richmond-upon-thamesand there’s no plan to deal with the much less pleasant junction with the South Circular, where all sorts of things seem to be going on (the blue numbers show there are too many incidents in one space to show each one …)

South Circular incidents

 

The council has been consulting back and forth on this since January, yet doesn’t seem to be asking basic questions like:

  • Which junctions are most dangerous?
  • For whom are they most dangerous?
  • How can I make this a pleasant place to be a cyclist or pedestrian?

We think this consultation is flawed, the process behind it is flawed, and the analysis that leads to spending such a large sum of money on something that is statistically likely to make very little difference to the people involved is poor.

Will the decision get through cabinet? Maybe so, but we’re probably not the only organisation in the borough who could think of better ways to spend £125,000 on making things better for walking ….

Time for 20mph in Richmond

(Updated below – see the local 20’s plenty group, here.)

We think 20mph is plenty for our borough. Richmond has few roads where you ever really want to be doing 30mph, and the national (and international) evidence is mounting up.

You don’t think Three filmed this on a 30mph street, do you?

More and more, we’re hearing from other London boroughs, other areas of the UK, and from throughout Europe, about how slower speeds in residential and populous areas is a good thing for everyone involved.

But the council aren’t keen at all. Despite the Twickenham Action Plan including a 20mph limit, they’ve rejected a number of attempts to have specific roads go 20mph. Until recently, what you needed to do was this:

  1. Ask all the people in your road if they wanted a 20mph zone.
  2. Show the council that you had a majority – bearing in mind that anyone not answering is obviously a ‘no’.
  3. Have the council come round and consult again.
  4. And then get everyone to respond. And I mean everyone – because again, if they don’t reply, then the council will count that as a ‘no’.

So, you’d either need 51% of the voters to turn out, and every single person to vote for you, or if they all turned out, you’d need 51% of the voters.

Compare that to the council’s Heathrow referendum in 2013. On a 41% turnout, they had 72% against a third runway. If that had been a 20mph consultation, it would have failed. but here Lord True said “The people have spoken”. (Have a look at the lengthy discussion at the time on Twickerati, if you want to celebrate just how hard they made it.)

We think cycling needs somewhere safe, pleasant and calm, and if you read London Cycling Campaign’s ‘Space 4 Cycling’ pages, you’ll see how 20mph zones are a key component of this.

So take a moment and tell the council that you want 20mph using one of the consultations going on:

Want to know more about 20mph? Try the 20’s Plenty site, read a paper from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, find out why Bristol is going 20mph, and Camden, and Islington

Oh, and here’s what Transport for London says:

 And an update: pop along to Richmond’s local 20’s Plenty group, and sign their petition. 

Richmond wants to fix getting safely to the park …

The council is looking to re-design the roundabout which leads on to the Richmond gate entrance to Richmond Park (streetmap view here), and RCC committee members are hoping to talk to council officials in the next couple of weeks about this, so we’d like your input!

Richmond Gate (from Google Streetview)

The roundabout has seen a number of incidents in the last few years (LBRuT have reported 10 collisions in the proximity of the gate with 8 of them involving cyclists – you can use  http://www.cyclestreets.net/collisions/ to see some of them), and they’re considering a number of options.

Our view is that this is a typically poor bit of infrastructure for cycling: there’s no way to access the park or leave the park on a bicycle without potential conflict with traffic that can be sometimes very heavy or very fast-moving,

If Richmond Park is to be a destination for everyone who wants to cycle, then it’s great news the council is looking to improve this crucial junction. Our hope is that changes made here can set a template for making our borough much friendlier for people seeking to access key facilities by foot and bicycle.  Options under investigation include moving the traffic island, and resurfacing, among others. What would you like to see happen here? Let us know via our email campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk or contact form.

We ask the tricky questions so you don’t have to. (No.2)

Upper Richmond Road West has been on the receiving end of an awful lot of tarmac in the last couple of weeks, and is now beautifully finished.

Which is nice, but there was a big consultation last year, and RCC took the opportunity to look at some of the issues with that stretch of road. This is a busy road, which serves five local schools, as well as a number of other local amenities, and it was being consulted on because it’s an accident blackspot.

So you can imagine that we were very worried that the many responses we’re aware of, which were deeply critical of the proposed plans, have been ignored.

We decided to ask the council what’s going on … 

And luckily it turns out that this is all about making use of allocated funds before the new financial year – TfL had provided the cash to resurface, and no decision has apparently been made about the consultation results yet …

It’s taken quite a while to get what is pretty simple information out of the council, but they have explained the current situation – now we’re just waiting to hear the outcome of the consultation.

A number of people have contacted us about this, so please don’t be shy telling the council that you think this stretch of road needs fixing, and copy us in!

The Richmond Magazine – The Follow Up

Back at the start of September, we reported about an editorial by Richard Nye in The Richmond Magazine, where he shared the view that “the only good cyclist was a dead one”. Coming on the day that 70 year old Bob Cherry was killed by a skip lorry in Walton on Thames, cycling to get his morning paper, we felt it was particularly insensitive. While no doubt made in an attempt at humour, the comments reflected much of the aggression many cyclists experience on a daily basis on the roads (you only have to look at the Twitter feed of @CycleHatred to get a glimpse of it, a subject picked up by the AA President in a speech given at a road safety conference)

At the time, the story was picked up by several online sites, including Cyclists in the CityLCCRoad.ccBikeBiz and The Times. Several advertisers, including Moore’s Bike ShopSigma Sport and Action Bikes stated that they would not advertise in the magazine in the future.

Subsequently, Mr Nye posted an apology on The Richmond Magazine’s website (you can read the apology on this article by BikeBiz). Although we felt Mr Nye’s comments were extremely badly misjudged to say the least we didn’t believe there was anything to be gained from pursuing a personal vendetta against Mr Nye or the magazine. So we gave an invitation to Richard to come along to one of our rides to see some of the issues we face on the roads and hopefully highlight why the reaction was as strong as it was.

That was easier said than done. Although enthusiastic to follow up on or offer, it turned out that he didn’t know how to ride a bike (yes, honestly). So instead, we invited him along to see the work we do with schools in the borough through The Turning Hub, Richmond’s mobile bike club. We wanted him to witness the enthusiasm of kids for cycling (particularly after the Olympics) but to also understand the barriers to cycling to school in the borough. It was an interesting event, on a particularly cold rainy day in November, and he came away seeing the evident enthusiasm of the kids and we hope a new perspective of cycling and cyclists.

Some of The Turning Hub's Work in Local Schools

As part of the event, The Richmond Magazine promised to produce an article highlighting the barriers to cycling to schools in our borough. Written by a mother who cycles with her son to school, we feel it is a very good article. Here’s the introduction:

“On a muddy school playing field in Twickenham, a group of boisterous 13 and 14 year olds are making tighter and tighter turns around a circuit of bollards. Over the months, instructor Jonathan Rowland from The Turning Hub – a bike club run by local enthusiasts – has not only improved their skills, but has lit their interest in adventure cycling. Their chatter is full of bike polo, cycle cross and long rides to the Surrey Downs. But as we turn to leave, the bikes go back in the lock-up. Not one of the participants has cycled to school. It’s not safe, shrugs Jonathan, gesturing to the road beyond the school gates, a snare of fast moving traffic straying in and out of a narrow painted cycle lane.”

You can read the article in full online – Wheels of Misfortune

A big thank you to Jonathan and all the team at The Turning Hub for hosting Mr Nye. You can read more about what they do and which schools they currently have clubs in on their website – www.theturninghub.co.uk. Is your kids’ school one of them?

Cycling to school is something we feel very strongly about and an area where Richmond Council should do a lot more. A recent study showed Cycling or walking to school increases a child’s ability to concentrate in the classroom and adolescents who cycle are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults. We would love to have this as the school run in our borough –http://is.gd/M4ZcO2 Given the congestion and pollution caused by parents driving kids to school, everyone benefits. The Council has spoken many times about an Olympic Legacy of cycling in schools. Wouldn’t it be great to have a legacy of cycling to schools. To achieve this, a real commitment is needed to provide safe routes for mums and dads to cycle with their kids to school, not half measures like this recent consultation on a road which acts as a key route to five local schools and a number of nurseries.

(By the way, we’ve also offered to teach Mr Nye to cycle, but we’ll wait to see if he takes up that offer!)

The Richmond Magazine

Post Updated 18 September
As a further update, we can confirm we have arranged an event involving Richard Nye, which will be covered in a future edition of the Richmond Magazine and will highlight the concerns and challenges we face as cyclists and why the reaction was so strong. We’ll provide further details online here closer to the date, but again, a big thanks for all the words of support we’ve received over the past few weeks on this.

Post Updated 11 September
Richard has been in touch and we’ve something in the offing. We’re working out the details so watch this space.

Original Post
Early on 6th September, after being contacted by some local cyclists on Twitter (credit goes to @freespeedlondon and @Ekynoxe), we highlighted an editorial in a local magazine, The Richmond Magazine, where the editor Richard Nye shared the view that “the only good cyclist was a dead one”. Coming on the day that a cyclist had been killed in Walton on Thames, we felt it was particularly insensitive, as did many of you, and the story was picked up by several online sites, including Cyclists in the City, LCCRoad.cc, BikeBiz and The Times. Several advertisers, including Moore’s Bike Shop, Sigma Sport and Action Bikes stated that they would not advertise in the magazine in the future.

Subsequently, Mr Nye posted an apology on The Richmond Magazine’s website.

We feel Mr Nye’s original comments were extremely badly misjudged to say the least (and on a personal level, having lost a friend this year in a road incident, offensive) and the reaction by the magazine should have been much better handled. They reflect much of the aggression many cyclists experience on a daily basis on the roads. We don’t, however, believe at this stage there is anything to be gained from pursuing a personal vendetta against Mr Nye or the magazine.

We would therefore like to open the invitation to Richard to come along to one of our rides (http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2000/01/01/rides/), or we’d be more than happy to take him out for a short ride around the borough to see some of the issues we face on the roads and hopefully highlight why the reaction was as strong as it was. He can contact us via our normal email – info@richmondlcc.co.uk

Chris Boardman on road safety


Great to hear Olympic Gold medallist Chris Boardman speak very well on the issue of road safety on the BBC.

It is the environment we have to make safer. The health service should be saying, people want to ride bikes, government get everything out of the way and get these people riding bikes. 35,000 people die of obesity.

Link to the BBC Breakfast segment here and you can read more about it on the British Cycling website.