The Royal Parks – still not good enough

We’ve written again to the Royal Parks. Their response, which offered neither action nor timetable, wasn’t good enough.

(You can see their response to our earlier letter here: https://twitter.com/RichmondCycling/status/1253693682936680450 and our original letter here: https://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2020/04/02/richmond-cycling-campaign-letter-to-the-royal-parks/ )

12 May, 2020

Dear Mr Jarvis,

Thank you for your letter of 16th April and your ongoing work around the iconic and wonderful Royal Parks. We are writing again to ask Royal Parks to please reconsider the Richmond Park cycling ban, with some urgency.

You have said you recognise the importance of park space in this current emergency, and we note the Government guidance on this. You may also be aware of how many families used to use the park for cycling, and of people who use cycling as their form of exercise – a sizeable minority for whom it can be difficult to travel any distance by foot alone. (Only at the weekend I told my 9 and 11 year old daughters I couldn’t ride in the park with them, and they would either have to not ride, or go out alone.)

We wish to respectfully question the basis on which you made the decision to close Richmond Park to cycling on several grounds:

  1. Your letter suggested there was ‘a significant increase in the volume of cyclists coming from across London and beyond’. Was there data behind this statements which you haven’t been able to share at this point? Because it surprises us that rangers/The Royal Parks were able to draw such a conclusion with any degree of certainty.
  2. Crowding at the gates was clearly an issue, but we and others have made repeated suggestions as to how this could be dealt with, but these haven’t been considered in your response. Additionally, we’re aware you may have seen some suggestions from Richmond Park Cyclists. Options like opening main gates with a plastic barrier, and discussions with the local authority, appear to have been ignored. Similarly, it would be possible to have ‘in’ and ‘out’ gates, as currently used at Bushy Park’s north entrance, at Richmond Park. Again, an approach used by The Royal Parks itself does not seem to have been considered. Obviously it and other suggestions may well have been considered – but not that any of us can tell.
  3. You quote examples of ‘dangerous cycling at speed’ around wildlife. Are there specific incidents that were observed? Can you explain what wildlife was endangered by this? The only incident we can remember is a cyclist hospitalised after a collision with a deer, which does seem to endorse the anecdotal observation that people cycling in the park do not present, even in large numbers, a danger to wildlife. By contrast, there have been frequent incidences in the last few weeks of dogs chasing deer and actively endangering both the wildlife and visitors, yet there has not been similar actions taken on dog walkers. The concern, obviously, is cycling is somehow being treated differently and more negatively to walking, scooting, dog-walking etc.

We hope that The Royal Parks, in summary, has acted on evidence. We hope you can share that evidence with us, or publicly. We believe open and constructive dialogue is vital in general with stakeholders – and we welcome much that has come from The Royal Parks of late. But this letter, as above, leaves us with significant concerns about the evidence base used to ban most cycling, and indeed the ongoing attitude of the Richmond Park rangers and The Royal Parks to cycling in general.

We also wish to point out that the current restrictions have resulted in real issues for some. For families who would wish to cycle together, but even for key workers – who have posted on local forums after having been shouted at multiple times in the park, and who now refuse to ride through it.

It is likely we will be in some form of ‘lockdown’ for at least another month, probably far longer. We very much ask you and The Royal Parks to look again at the evidence base around Richmond Park and cycling, the suggestions put forward on how to handle the ongoing issues and indeed the changing nature of lockdown, with more and more people socially distancing appropriately while cycling and walking, but also with increasing road speeds and dangerous driving as well as motor traffic volumes outside the parks.

The new ‘Streetspace Plan for London’ stresses clearly and succinctly the role that walking and cycling need to take in London, and we are asking you to look at how the Royal Parks implement this prioritisation in Richmond Park. Whether for transport or exercise, Richmond Park is a core location for the surrounding boroughs, and we continue to believe that it is urgent that we move forward from the current position on cycling, in line with the very latest Government guidance.

Sincerely,

Tim Lennon. Group Coordinator, Richmond Cycling Campaign

Co-signed by:

Alice Roberts, Head of Green Spaces Campaigns , CPRE London

Jon Fray, Coordinator, Kingston Cycling Campaign

Simon Munk, Infrastructure Campaigner, London Cycling Campaign

Jeremy Leach, Chair, London Living Streets

Kathryn Stewart, Coordinator, Merton Cycling Campaign

Adrian Jackson, Chair, Parks for People

Justin McKie, Chair, Regent’s Park Cyclists

Tom Corbett, Chair, Wandsworth Cycling Campaign

Cycling and COVID-19

back on the bike

With so many more people out on bikes, we’ve put together a short hints and tips and ideas page to help.

Can I go to the park?

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Yes, essentially. But don’t drive there, maintain at least 2m from others at all times, follow the ‘1 exercise activity a day’ rule.

Don’t go in a group. And – the one exception – don’t go to Richmond Park unless you’re a key worker, or are 12 or under. (Still want to go? We’re working on that …)

The BBC also has a useful page outlining the basics: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51506729

Can I ride a bike?

Yes. Riding a bike counts as your exercise. It’s also an excellent way to travel to work, or to the shops, if that’s what you need to do.

If you are using your bike for exercise, and you’re in places where people are walking, please do it with especial consideration: some of our off-road routes are much narrower than we’d like, and there’s more chance of interactions with others.

Keeping your distance

Always maintain the 2m rule, but leave more space if you can – it’s much better to give everyone as much space as you can, for your benefit and theirs.

That includes riding with anyone else. If you’re riding with someone that you’re not living with in the same home, you should be as far away from them as anyone else you meet when you’re out. 

Remember also that you need to keep your distance from the pavement, too! Many of our pavements are really quite narrow, and people walking don’t have anywhere else to go, so please give them all the space you can.

Work for the NHS? Free LCC Membership!

LCC is supporting key workers with free membership – follow this link: https://membership.lcc.org.uk/nhs-key-worker-membership

Membership includes 3rd party insurance, a whole range of discounts, a legal advice line, and all sorts of other benefits –

Can I get a bike / get a bike fixed?

Yes! Most of our local bike shops are open for repairs, and can sell you a bike if you need one. We’re trying to put together a proper list confirming the latest ‘who’s open’.

Back on the bike?

London Cycling Campaign is operating an advice hub: https://lcc.org.uk/pages/cycling-advice-2020 which includes help on:

  • keeping safe on your bike
  • keeping your bike safe
  • what you do and don’t need
  • route planning
  • a handy Facebook Messenger bot with answers to loads of questions

This includes help on being safe, looking after your bike, and a routefinder, here.

There’s also a facebook messenger app https://www.facebook.com/LondonCyclingCampaign/ where you can ask anything you need.

Local Plan ‘Direction of Travel’ Consultation

This is the Richmond Cycling Campaign response to the council’s Local Plan:

Dear Richmond Council,

We’re writing in reply to your ‘Local Plan – Direction of Travel Consultation’, linked here: https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/richmondecs/local-plan-20/consult_view/

This is the group response from Richmond Cycling Campaign, the local branch of London Cycling Campaign, and it has been arrived at with feedback from members locally as well as from LCC head office.

Summary

In overall summary, we welcome both this consultation and this new plan. The increased focus on supporting non-car travel modes is welcome, as is the focus on wider sustainability issues.

However, our general ‘ask’ is that these provisions are significantly strengthened in this and later revisions: if this is a plan to be used as a baseline for the next 10-20 years, it must start from the assumption that the private car should not be designed into our borough as the right way to move around, whether it is electric or not. Rather, we should ensure that the borough emerges from this exercise with a clear, robust plan to make sure that every person, everywhere in the borough, can honestly and safely make transport decisions which are low- or no-carbon, and which feel and are safe. Every time we mention or look at transport, new developments, visitors, etc., we should ask “how can people get there without a car?”

We ask this not purely because of our general interest in walking and cycling, but because taking this approach supports a range of other crucial policy imperatives, including keeping people active, reducing borough carbon emissions, prioritisation of public transport, and maximising space available for people.

Specific Questions

What challenges do you think Richmond borough faces now and in the future?

We think the rising population in the borough will add pressure to a wide range of services. Specifically we are concerned that if the borough fails to immediately design and build sustainable transport options, we will live in an area blighted by even more congestion, along with the resulting risks of pollution, road danger, severance and inactivity.

What do you think should be our priorities in the new vision?

We believe the council should focus on sustainability, and the embedding of its new transport hierarchy in all its work. As part of London, the borough should also focus on how delivering sustainable transport options requires partnership with other authorities. (The recent Liveable Neighbourhoods bid with Kingston is a good example of this.)

In addition to our existing approaches of directing larger scale development to the borough’s town centres, and expecting the majority of development on brownfield sites, where should we direct new growth in the borough?

We can’t comment directly on site choice, but we would stress that all new developments ought to be car free. If PTAL is too low for it to be considered car-free, then the solution for this is to improve PTAL, and not to simply dedicate expensive public space to car parking and driving. The suggestion has been made of an Active Travel Availability Level a good value of which would compensate for a lower PTAL. The Stag Brewery development is an excellent example of this – there’s enough road space in the area for a development of this size only if we provide for and prioritise active travel and public transport.

Should we continue to protect our green and open spaces from inappropriate development, or are there parts of the borough that could assist in accommodating growth?

As a general principle, we must protect these spaces. However, we’d also like to see our green spaces supporting active travel appropriately, and there are clear opportunities to improve walking and cycling routes around and through our green spaces.

Responses to the Specific Sections / Areas

P9: ‘what should the borough look like in 15-20 years’ time?

In the next 20 years the borough should be a place where roads look people friendly rather than  like car parks as people drive cars for exceptional journeys, if at all. A place where people move to and think “I don’t need a car”. A place where air quality in our town centres and schools is as good as the air in our parks. A place where children actively choose to cycle to school from year 4 or 5 in primary. A place where businesses and local Government have worked together to make our borough a beacon of community, supported by removing the barriers that many main roads form. A place where deliveries are by cargo bike or other emissions-free methods, and are consolidated and organised to maximise efficiency.

P13: “What do you think? What challenges do we face?

The key challenge that is faced in anything to do with transport is the utter dependence that many people feel they have on their cars. Our challenge will be creating a culture of walking and cycling for normal trips in the face of determined opposition that does not recognise the unfair dependence on car culture and how it dominates our entire streetscape.

P14-17 talks about the climate emergency.

We welcome many of the steps proposed here, especially the sustainable urban drainage programme, which has had such beautiful results elsewhere in the country.

While transport is covered elsewhere in the paper, we think more needs to be made of it in this section. Transportation produces 1/3rd of emissions, yet is not covered in detail here. We would like to see commitments, in this context:

  1. For everyone new home and office to have safe and secure bicycle parking for all residents and visitors
  2. For every home, office or place of interest to be immediately accessible to local people by walking and cycling. This means the borough needs a dense ‘mesh’ of cyclable routes never more than 200m from each other.
  3. A requirement on all deliveries in the area to be managed by consolidation hubs, ensuring that ‘last mile’ fulfilment is never by motor transport unless specific factors make this impossible.
  4. Removal of all council subsidies for driving – whether this is parking, driving, or the wide range of other activities the council has to undertake because of the damage caused to our built environment by motor vehicles.

Additionally, we’d also like this section to either include or potentially commission research to look at the carbon benefit of the different ways of moving transport choices to walking and cycling over driving.

P22-27 local town centres

We want to support local town centres and all the things people choose to do there. However, they’re invariably places of high pollution (like Richmond’s George St.), and of high perceived danger for those walking and cycling.

However, we think any long term vision for the borough needs to put people back into the town centres, and cars at the periphery. None of our town centres should be a place to ‘drive through’, nor should their space be so dominated by provision for motor vehicles. We think successful town centres are pedestrianised where at all possible, and they support frequent, smaller shopping journeys – and the borough, as part of this strategy, should be discouraging or closing ‘out-of-town’ style shopping centres built around large car parks.

P36 (culture, open land, etc.)

We would like all considerations in this area to include how people arrive at cultural destinations. For example, on match days at Twickenham, we should have a wider strategy that prioritises those who arrive by foot, by bike and by public transport.

As a general rule, it should never be easier or more convenient to drive to our cultural destinations compared to walk/cycle/public transport options, and this should be embedded in policy.

We would like to see plans for each of our cultural destinations which consider how people arrive there, capacity, etc., with planning for safe places for bike parking, and appropriate access for those who still need a motorised vehicle (for example blue badge holders).

A possible study, which could inform a number of other policy areas, could be analysis of how much space in the borough is given to car parking, whether residential or business – it would surely be worthwhile to understand how much public land is devoted to the parking of vehicles right now, as we could then have another data set to show us the benefits gained from releasing this land to other uses.

P40 uses the phrase “well served by public transport”. We very much welcome this, but want to emphasise that it should specifically include walking and cycling access as well.

P44 – with regard to trees on our pavements, we draw the council’s attention to recent discussions on how tree roots can damage pavements and make them impassable for those using (for example) walking frames or mobility scooters or chairs.

We would like to see policy specify that pavement space will not be given to trees in this way, and that:
a) Any new development will place trees into the space usually occupied by car parking, leaving clear, unobstructed pavements.

b) A programme to reallocate car parking spaces to trees – using buildouts as appropriate – whenever trees are replaced or planted.

P48 and onwards – Need to travel / sustainable travel

We welcome the analysis and thrust of this section. In our view, there is now a much clearer understanding in the council than we have previously experienced of the importance of active and sustainable travel options.

Given the related policy frameworks, from the mayor, but also from the Government, we believe that the council needs to be more aggressive in its pursuit of mode share changes, for both environmental and public health reasons.

In this section we would like to see some more detail, and some more concrete objectives that will help to deliver sustainable travel – the elements so far do an excellent job of identifying all the different things which are needed to make these goals a reality, but we would suggest inclusion of elements like:

  • A plan to offer low traffic neighbourhoods across the borough
  • A commitment to offer cycle hangars on every road by 2026
  • Provide safe, pedestrian priority crossing points on every road in the borough (whether zebra, toucan, etc.)
  • Implementation of school streets for every school in the borough by 2025
  • Design and maintain publicly shared plans to provide everyone with a safe cycle lane within 400m of their home by 2030, and 200m by 2035
  • Create a working group with town centre businesses to set up last mile transport hubs, shared deliveries, and other identified schemes to reduce and coordinate deliveries
  • Work with ‘car club’ organisations and groups to see if there are opportunities for closer working, to speed the reduction in car ownership in the borough

/ENDS

 

Richmond Cycling Campaign Letter to The Royal Parks

Dear Royal Parks,

The Covid-19 epidemic is an unprecedented crisis in London and globally in this modern age, and a difficult time for us all. We hope you and your teams are well and safe and wish to commend your actions in keeping the parks open in these difficult times and we fully understand the significant pressures that are on you and your resources. However, as representatives of those who cycle and walk both for transport and health, we are very saddened to see Richmond Park closed currently to responsible and socially-distanced cycling.

While the Government continues to support people going out for exercise once a day, we want to stress the value and importance of families being able to cycle together, and of individuals being able to ride further than they might walk or jog, and the physical and mental health benefits, vital during a time of crisis such as this, these activities bring.

We recognise that, even with the very welcome removal of motor traffic from park roads, Richmond Park was busy for cycling, and a small minority of those cycling (and walking, scooting etc.) were not observing clear rules about leaving 2+m distance.

However, we believe that a different approach from The Royal Parks to these issues is possible, involving working with nearby councils, and perhaps volunteers. We have spoken to councillors in Richmond, and believe they are open to a dialogue on this too.

We further suggest The Royal Parks should and must do all it can to avoid banning cycling in its parks and instead can do more to encourage and enforce social distancing more rigorously prior to that step. While Richmond Park remained open to cycling, but closed to motor traffic, there was clear evidence that many people were using the park that had never felt comfortable doing so prior – including families with children with disabilities etc.

New users of the park for cycling included parents with autistic children and children on mobility devices. Now, the park is closed to many of them (those who are teenagers) and those who were responsibly exercising in the park by cycling. Worse, the risk is that many of those cycling in the park will simply divert to less safe or suitable alternatives.

A number of ideas are worth exploring to reopen Richmond Park (and keep other parks in the portfolio open too) as rapidly as possible. These include:

– If the gates are a congestion point, opening the main gates and using a smaller barrier which allows people to cycle by but prevents motor traffic. Richmond Council may be able to support with such barriers.

– Adding far more prominent signage for all on social distancing and safer behaviour at all gates.

– Deploying temporary bike parking near the entrances and working with local councils to discourage driving to the parks. At present, too many people are still arriving by car, increasing risks for all while approaching the park.

– Making park roads one-way loops for cycling, which would increase safe space for distancing and overtaking – we propose anti-clockwise to simplify turning movements. (Although this should only be considered if the Tamsin Trail remains open to cycling – see below.)

– Restricting and controlling the numbers riding in the park (at peak times). This, and other measures, could be done working with local groups &/or volunteers. And/or implementing specific times (at peak?) when the park is only available to families, younger cyclists and those with adapted cycles, supporting the most vulnerable user groups.

– Closing the Tamsin Trail to cycling but keeping the road open.

– A more concerted, coordinated campaign – also appropriate outside the parks – reminding those cycling, walking (and driving) to give everyone space and moderate behaviour during the current crisis. It would now be appropriate for The Royal Parks (and we will echo this) to hammer home the risks for all of us to those failing to appropriately behave.

It has been a joy to see so many families and so many with adapted cycles cycling, as well as walking and scooting, enjoying the freedom of a car-free park. We hope we can return to those sights in Richmond Park as rapidly as possible. We reiterate our availability (and our members’) to work with you to make the parks safe and available to as many people as possible.

Yours,

Tim Lennon, Coordinator, Richmond Cycling Campaign

Co-signed by:
Alice Roberts, Head of Green Spaces Campaigns , CPRE London
Jon Fray, Coordinator, Kingston Cycling Campaign
Simon Munk, Infrastructure Campaigner, London Cycling Campaign
Jeremy Leach, Chair, London Living Streets
Kathryn Stewart, Coordinator, Merton Cycling Campaign
Adrian Jackson, Chair, Parks for People
Justin McKie, Chair, Regent’s Park Cyclists
Tom Corbett, Chair, Wandsworth Cycling Campaign

March 2020 Newsletter

Active Travel – What Could be Better?

We had an update from the Active Travel team at the council last month, and there was some important discussion about improving the draft strategy and other things the council could do.

Project Updates

The Kew Road cycle lane is currently their first priority. This is being reviewed with councillors, Kew and Transport for London – we’re hoping designs will include properly segregated cycle lanes along the whole length of Kew Road, safely linking Richmond town centre and the A316. We hope this could go to consultation in the summer.

TfL may financially support this project, and the council and TfL are already looking at how it may link to CW9 at Kew Bridge.

The A308 (Hampton Court Road) is still in design – it will now likely include a horse crossing, a safer junction with Bushy Park, and a re-designed Hampton Court roundabout.

Strawberry Vale is also in discussion with councillors, and design review.

Healthy Streets Officers

The council has two new members of staff who will be helping schools move up in the TfL STARs school travel planning, and supporting schools to undertake more active travel activities – more next month!

Try It Out!

The council is going to launch a collaboration with PeddleMyWheels, which will allow local residents a low cost way to try out and purchase cargo bikes and other types of bike which might otherwise be too expensive to buy outright, or hard to borrow for a proper trial. We’ll let you know as soon as this is live!

Bike Hangars – Not Yet

The bike hangars are still waiting to go to consultation. It sounds like there are issues with having enough officer time – a problem with having lots of cycling and walking projects ‘on the go’ is that there’s a shortage of officer time. We’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Re-Surfacing

The Ham towpath has had some re-surfacing work done, and feedback online suggested that it is not a huge success. Along with the route near Kneller Gardens, we’re trying to find out what’s going on, and why paths aren’t being made to a high, consistent, hole-free standard.

Twickenham Station gets parking!

We’ve heard good feedback from the new bike parking at Twickenham Station – let us know your experience. We’re already aware that bike access is still poor, sadly …

Richmond Station’s cycle hub sounds like it may well go ahead before the summer holidays, too.

Big Pedal

The Sustrans Big Pedal is on from 22nd April – can you get your school involved?

Have a look at https://bigpedal.org.uk/ and give your school a call!

Richmond Town Centre

Stakeholder meetings have carried on around the largest of our town centres – we’re looking forward to strong proposals to improve air quality on the most polluted road in the borough, and hopefully make the area much better for both walking and cycling.

Also …

“Liveable Neighbourhoods” bids will get a result by the end of the month. Our borough will be hoping that both Ham and Barnes get some money.

 

The Active Travel Strategy received over 600 responses, and will be coming back in final (probably) form to committee very soon.

 

The borough’s first low traffic neighbourhood has gone down in flames, but we’re hopeful the second won’t.

 

The council has commissioned a study on pedestrian crossings, to better understand walking behaviour in the borough, with a view to significant improvements for getting around by foot.

Ride in Kew!

Kew Gardens will be hosting evening rides – the opportunity to bring your bike and ride all the way round – tickets and details here: https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/whats-on/summer-cycle

 

Coordinator’s Report – March 2020

This is an annual report prepared by the group coordinator.

Engagement

The borough has a *lot* of groups interested in the things we’re interested in – MASC, Mums for Lungs, and so on. We’ve met or spoken to an awful lot of them through various members,

Over the year, members have had dozens of meetings with councillors and officers, including the deputy leader of the council. We attend the Active Travel Advisory Group, and support lots of other activities in the borough too, with rides, including around 100 who took our led ride to the RideLondon Freecycle.

It has actually been a good year for the creation and approval of a policy framework which better supports active travel, but sadly this has yet to translate into much action on the ground, beyond 20mph.

LCC

We’ve had a lot of time and support from LCC head office this year, which I want to personally record and appreciate: there are lots of opportunities in the borough,

Richmond Town Centre

This is an on-going piece of work. The council has seen quite a few reports, and has been holding stakeholder briefings.

The goal at a simple level is to stop George Street being the worst road for air pollution in the borough. The initial proposals seem to be to have a clean air zone, along with other things being done at the same time, including improved cycling facilities and the new cycle hub at the station.

It still isn’t clear what the timescales for this are, but there is at least a fascinating set of data which has been gathered, showing just how much traffic in the town centre is just driving through.

Burtons Road

This Low Traffic Neighbourhood was at Transport Committee on 10 March, and will get a second round of consultation. It is incredibly disappointing that the council has failed to act here, given the appalling situation they describe. Sounds like it will be re-consulted after the Mayoral election.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Neither low traffic neighbourhood consultation has gone through, and the council needs to find a new way to do these. Clearly people in surrounding roads are worried about traffic issues, but the way to fix traffic issues is incrementally. If we try building a massive plan, it will take years, and still not satisfy everyone.

20mph

Should now be mostly done – after the initial fight, it all seems to have calmed down a bit, although local Nextdoor is proving a fine hotbed of anti-council anti-change sentiment.

Contraflows

These are apparently now in a programme. I haven’t been able to get an update, but there are a few now done, and more in the offing.

Peddlemywheels

Council has announced it is going to work with peddlemywheels to support people trying cargo and ebikes. We asked them about this a while ago, and are pleased to see it being included – once live, it is a scheme we need the council to publicise well.

Ecargo bike grants

We also asked the council to look at whether they could engage with the DfT on the ecargo bike fund and, to their credit, they went with it. Lots of businesses seem to have at least expressed interest, so really exciting if this goes ahead. https://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2020/02/02/massive-e-cargo-bid-by-council/

School Streets

Current status: https://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2020/01/27/schools-and-school-streets-where-are-we/

Some due to start soon (not sure of exact dates or plans), and they seem encouraged to work on more. There’s now officers from TfL also helping (two people we think, on at least 1 FTE basis.)

Royal Parks

RCC members have attended a number of Royal Parks meetings, and we have responded to their consultation. Another response is in progress, and we’re hopeful this is going to lead to real change at the parks.

Liveable Neighbourhoods

Our bid for funds for Ham was unsuccessful. TfL has provided feedback (copy here)

In general, it seems like we needed to be a lot more ambitious, and from discussion with councillors and officers, it would appear that this is the intent next year.

The announcements for this are due 20 March. (Purdah begins on 21 March.)

Twickenham Riverside

Members have been supporting this project, and it looks like it should be positive for walking and cycling.

Roadworks

The council seems to be actively taking on board the new TfL guidance on signage. This means not only an end to ‘Cyclists Dismount’ but also should mean that works in the borough generally should be more accommodating for people both walking and cycling.

This was raised at the last ATAG, and it sounds like action will be taken here.

Twickenham Station

Sadly it’s unlikely that the new station is going to get great cycling. We’re stuck with a very crappy looking design based on the original plans, but this might get an earlier review than would normally be the case, perhaps.

Events

May Fair went really well – it would be good if we can do more events, too. .

Air Quality Meeting

Strategy was approved, I think, at the Transport and Air Quality Committee on 10 March.

https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=803&MId=5012

Hammersmith Bridge

The bridge is being worked on, and will get a walking and cycling (temporary) bridge quite soon (not sure of dates).

It is still a huge opportunity to sort out traffic in the Barnes area, which is choking on 4x4s and needless journeys by car. Possible that the LN proposals, if they go ahead, will make a difference.

Active Travel Strategy Response

Response to LBRUT Active Travel Strategy consultation, which closed on 20 December, 2019

We strongly approve of the hierarchy propounded in the introduction :

Making the best use of our streets means prioritising the needs of different users above others. Our focus is on supporting space efficient, non-polluting modes that support a healthy populace. Our hierarchy of street users is as follows:
1.Pedestrians and people with disabilities and/or limited mobility
2.People cycling
3.Buses
4.Zero and low emission delivery and servicing vehicles
5.Polluting delivery and servicing vehicles
6.Zero and low emission cars, motorcycles, mopeds and taxi and private hire
7.Polluting cars, motorcycles, mopeds and taxi and private hire

Perhaps a category 8 could be included – use of road space for storage of motor vehicles ?

We note that the intention to reduce local pollution and greenhouse gas production is implicit in the above and could well be made explicit as a valid reason for promoting active travel. In that context it could be argued that cycling is even better at replacing polluting modes for more purposes than is walking.

It is , however, important that this in not merely lip service and the hierarchy is actually used to determine outcomes where competition for road space arises.

We find the Objectives – all very good

Support local walking and cycling trips through the introduction of low-traffic neighbourhoods, improved crossings, contra-flow cycling, cycle parking and public realm improvements, using the Healthy Streets Approach
• Create a high-quality core cycle network connecting popular destinations
• Make improvements to clean-air walking and cycling routes away from roads, including paths through parks, towpaths and other public rights of way
• Improve awareness of local walking, cycling and running routes through maps and branding

Walking and cycling should be the natural choice for undertaking local trips, including accessing local shops and town centres, travel to school and connecting to public transport. The highway network should support these trips, wherever possible, without the need for sign-posted routes.

Whilst ideally cycling routes should be so obvious that sign posting isn’t necessary, we believe that realistically signage is an important part of helping people to get around by bike. We have heard evidence that people are unaware of possible short-cuts as they are used to driving routes.
Signposting can also be a way of advertising cycling especially if times to reach destinations are given.

In terms of target setting we are disappointed that there is no specific target for cycling and find the
target for increasing walking cycling and public transport from 61% to 64% over 4 years unambitious.

Connectivity is of crucial importance but we do not find the porosity map convincing. This may be due to arbitrary choices of which roads to treat as barriers. There is no real alternative to dealing with individual issues here. An on-line system for members of the public to mark in where they have difficulties in crossing would be a useful way forward. (Other boroughs have shown that that sort of engagement is valuable). Places where established routes are severed should be a priority for example Kneller Gardens to Crane Park is obvious.

Where connections across busy roads have been made it is important that people know where they are. For example the toucan crossing of the A316 at Chudleigh Rd Twickenham has no signage from either side.

We are pleased that the drawbacks to the standard kerb build-outs / refuge treatment are recognised.

Kerb build-outs and pedestrian waiting areas make it easier for pedestrians to cross a road informally by reducing the overall crossing distance or allowing pedestrians to cross in two stages, however by reducing the width of the roadway these can cause unsafe pinch-points for cyclists and motorcyclists using the road

Obviously if the road is already narrowed by parking build-outs don’t make cycling worse. The worst situations are where a cycle lane is truncated by a build-out. ( Whitton Rd ,Twickenham)

If there is a refuge the gap should be 3m wide or more than 4 m wide but the presumption should be for the use of a formal zebra incorporating a parallel cycle crossing wherever that would be useful. (again Crane Park is obvious)

The accepted value of low traffic neighbourhoods for enabling walking and cycling is not really reflected in :

Such schemes will be supported for introduction on a case-by-case basis and will vary in size and scope. Most schemes will be introduced initially on an experimental basis following an informal consultation for 12 to 18 months before undertaking a formal consultation.

If low traffic neighbourhoods are to be part of the main drive to supporting walking and cycling surely the introduction should be planned rather than done piecemeal. Some Boroughs , eg Lambeth, have been proactive in preparing a global picture of potential neighbourhoods. Perhaps we should have a target for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods ?

It is a minor irritation that the strategy purports to give the criteria for London Strategic Cycle Network routes but merely lists the variables. Why not give the figures ? There should be some acknowledgement that the minimum standards have been criticised as too minimal.
LCC has pointed out that the DfT’s published guidance for the Strategic Road Network (IAN 195/16) says for motor traffic volumes of over 5,000 daily, cycle tracks are the minimum provision. That’s half the volume TfL is accepting before tracks become mandatory.
At least there should be an ambition to meet all the standards to at least the target standard.

When designing routes then surely the hierarchy of users propounded in the introduction should be used or why have it ? Yet we see :

Designing routes to this new standard on some roads in the borough is relatively straightforward, but there are many locations where space restrictions represent insurmountable challenges. For example, Richmond Bridge is the preferred route for trips between Twickenham and Richmond town centres. The current volume of traffic dictates that segregated cycle facilities should be provided, but the bridge is too narrow. Twickenham Bridge provides an alternate route with segregated facilities but requires a significant detour.

This seems to contradict the hierarchy. If a bridge is narrow and direct it should be reserved for pedestrians, people cycling and buses. The other users should be sent round the longer way especially as the A316 is one of few roads in the borough actually designed for motor traffic.

Perhaps we need an overarching strategy for transport in the borough based on the hierarchy putting what through motor traffic is essential onto roads where is does least damage.

By 2024, a core network will connect Hampton Court Bridge to Twickenham town centre via Hampton Wick, linking to RB Kingston’s Mini-Holland routes, the Wandsworth to Teddington Lock Cycleway and the Brentford to Twickenham Cycleway.

Cycling from Hampton Court Bridge to Twickenham would only go via Hampton Wick if Bushy Park were closed. This is a limited selection of useful routes. In no sense a “Core Network”.

The Map on p 25 shows proposed routes that fail to link up and allegedly existing routes that don’t actually exist. (Bushy Park). Arguably the existing routes should include the Amyand Park Rd route from Twickenham to Twickenham Bridge which is comparable in standard to the Wandsworth – Teddington Lock route.

The pink lines are just drawn down main roads irrespective of any possibility of putting in cycling infrastructure ( main roads would require segregated lanes , 3m if bidirectional and 2×2.2m for with flow) and don’t include the sensible route from Hampton Court Bridge to Twickenham. (Bushy Park, Waldegrave Rd).

Main roads are usually the most direct route but an aspiration that cannot be delivered does not help cycling. Quality alternatives should also be considered on the model of the Twickenham -Brentford route which also reduces exposure to pollution. An obvious general question , which has not been addressed , is can other parts of the LCN be brought up to standard ? We are slightly alarmed to read :

Accommodation will range from segregated routes to traffic calming measures focused on reducing vehicle numbers and speeds.

Traffic calming has been shown (eg Burtons Rd) to be ineffective in producing sufficient reduction in vehicle numbers and speeds for safe cycling routes. Filtering (eg Onslow Rd, Richmond) can be seen to work.

There should be a commitment to develop a plan for deliverable network through discussion with local cycling organisations and with Royal Parks who control some of the best places to cycle in the borough.

Massive e-cargo bid by council

The council is applying for up to £200,000 in grants to purchase electric cargo bikes to support local businesses and charities. But we need to move quickly, and we need you to express your interest.

Katie on trike 2

  • Could you deliver by cargo bike?
  • Could you use a cargo bike to help run your charity or local association?
  • Could you host a cargo bike so that locals could borrow it for big loads?
  • Are you a community association who could run events with a bike?
  • Could your BID use a bike to help smaller busineses deliver, etc.?

If successful, Richmond will be able to purchase a number of bikes which can be loaned to local businesses and charities, to support more zero-carbon transport. You’d be making your local area cleaner and greener, and you’d get more reliable delivery times, be able to park exactly where you were going, safely, and easily.

Ideas you could discuss with local businesses, friends, and groups:

  • A shared cargo bike for moving plant waste from your allotments
  • Using a bike to place and collect all the things you need to manage the park run
  • Sharing a bike in a community to make shopping by families easier
  • Having a bike for your BID to promote the area, and support events
  • Get a bike for your association to make it easier to do community events and support community activities
  • Deliver your goods by bike – depending on the bike / trailer set up you can transport 300kg of goods, or more than you can fit in a small van!
  • Fulfil between locations by bike – you can park bikes right outside where you’re going, and load and unload super quickly
  • Have a bike that customers can borrow to take a big shop home

You can download the application form here. And read more details here.

Contact the council direct at rebecca.howarth@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk  or tweet or email us if we can help!

Richmond cargo bike flyer

 

 

 

Mortlake Brewery Planning Committee

These are the comments made by our coordinator at the planning committee meeting.

You can read the council papers here: https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=224&MId=4712

On behalf of Richmond Cycling Campaign, I am asking the committee to reject this proposal because of its manifest failure to provide meaningful transport options for the area which aren’t driving a car.

We know that a new development of this size will generate hundreds of new journeys a day, and we know that space for driving is already at saturation. The developers hint at wanting more people to walk and cycle, and it is Mayor of London and Richmond Council policy to encourage and support more walking and cycling. We’ve also got late changes which are said to be specifically to support ‘active travel’, but these miss the essential need for safe and complete routes.

Instead of new traffic lanes at Chalker’s Corner, we should actually be constraining the space available to cars, and adding space for walking and cycling. And this should follow throughout the area – for example the design which takes out part of Mortlake Green to provide a cycle and walking route that isn’t fit for purpose, and which is there simply because we will not sacrifice car space to space for people.

The modelling you see does not include a full Healthy Streets assessment, and almost no part of the designs will pass TfL’s key tools for active travel – the “Cycling Level of Service” tool and the Healthy Streets assessment.

We’re not asking or expecting for everyone to cycle everywhere, but that the Brewery embeds and delivers the targets in the Local Implementation Plan, Active Travel Strategy, and the associated mayoral strategies:

– Car mode share in the borough falls from 39.4% to 25% by 2041
– Proportion of residents living within 400m of the strategic cycling network – this is 0% in the borough at the moment, and the development does not add to this.
– And a year on year decrease in car ownership

Genuine Active Travel at this site will deliver clean air, safer streets, more active residents, and healthier residents.