We welcome the revised proposals for the Portsmouth Road mini Holland scheme which have been published by the Royal Borough of Kingston, today, Monday 16 March 2015;
These proposals are a considerable improvement on the original proposals. We will be seeking further assurances about the design but, in the round, we support it.
The northern part of the route is a two way cycle track on the river side of Portsmouth Road. This has some impressive features; fully protected space, floating bus stops, refuges for turning cyclists, possibly crossings which can detect bicycles and a well thought out link to Surbiton via Palace Road. It will be valuable for family and novice riders, particularly if it joins the Boardway link along the Thames. It is a reversion to the original design in the bid document which featured such a two way track and is certainly better than the “white paint” in the original proposal in February.
This two way facility does need to be delivered to a high standard including easy access and wide lanes, allowing fast cyclists to overtake slower. It needs to be attractive to almost all riders despite its limited length, including those heading south from Kingston who will have to cross Portsmouth Road twice to use it. We recognise certain very fast sports riders may not use such a facility but we accept it is not primarily aimed at them. It is important, however, that the two way track is of such a standard that everyday transport riders will want to cross over and use it in preference to staying on the road when heading to Surrey.
The southern section of the route is light segregation by plastic ‘armadillos’. Opinion on armadillos is divided and because they have only recently been introduced to British roads experience of them is limited. We are concerned to ensure they will be robust enough for use on Portsmouth Road and also whether they represent a sufficient measure of segregation to encourage family and novice cyclists. Armadillos probably need supplementing by other segregation such as wands or kerbs at regular intervals and RBK will need to ensure that vehicles do not park or wait in the semi segregated lane. We welcome that the Borough are being innovative which is the intention of the Mini Holland programme. If armadillos are not the success all hope they can be, a greater measure of protected space will be needed.
This route is quite short and will only be frequently used if it has satisfactory links to Kingston town centre to the north and through the junction with Brighton Road to the south and Surrey. We understand these issues are to be addressed in further phases. Success, and use, of the new route along Portsmouth Road will depend on these links being put in place in due course.
We would like to thank RBK Councillors and Officers involved in the Mini Holland Project. They have listened to, and taken account of, the views expressed in the Consultation. There is no doubt they are working hard, and in good faith, to deliver schemes which can be implemented and will, so far as possible, satisfy the needs of all.