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.
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.
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)and 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 …)
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 ….