On Thursday 22 January 3 campaigners from Kingston Cycling Campaign met with Officers from the Royal Borough of Kingston to discuss their Mini Holland proposals for Portsmouth Road. We were accompanied by the Campaigns Officer from the London Cycling Campaign http://lcc.org.uk/. We saw detailed plans of the proposals for the first time. These were frankly disappointing. The plans confirmed our fears that this is largely a “white paint” scheme with limited protected space for cycling. The areas of segregation are small; perhaps the southerly, heading away from Brighton Rd, 20% of the Northern bound carriageway, which is fully segregated. Additionally semi segregation by means of armadillos is proposed towards the north end, near Kingston, on both sides of the road but only for a short distance, particularly on the southbound. In all, so far as one can tell, only about 20% of the scheme has any protection at all. We are awaiting copies of the plans so we can comment further. There are some nice landscaping features and 2 raised pedestrian crossings but the cycling provision is certainly not to Dutch standards. We made the point that proposals such as these will do little or nothing to encourage cycling among those who don’t already ride. Schoolchildren will not want to ride along Portsmouth Road protected by white lines.
On Monday 26 January another 3 campaigners met with 2 Councillors from the Conservative administration of RBK. Cllr Richard Hudson who chairs the Infrastructure, Projects and Contracts Committee, responsible for the Mini Holland Projects, and Cllr Andrea Craig, Lead member for Children and Young People, who is also a keen cyclist. This was a positive meeting. All wanted the Mini Holland schemes to be realised and to succeed. All, whilst recognising we may not agree on everything, want a degree of consensus to be achieved. All wanted schemes to be designed, so far as possible, for new or occasional cyclists, particularly children. All recognised schemes should benefit the whole community. We discussed various forms of physical protection for cycling such as armadillos and stepped kerbs. On the face of it there is room on Portsmouth Road for more protected space for cycling than is in the current proposal. Without making any promises Cllr Hudson said he would speak to Officers following the consultation to see if the degree of segregation can be improved.
Please do complete the consultation; link below. Everyone we speak to wants protected space unless you say so you can hardly blame Councillors or Officers for being unaware of that;