King’s Road area consultation – improvements needed…

This consultation closed on 8 March 2019

Kingston Council recently published a consultation for changes to King’s Road; New Road and Tudor Road in North Kingston close to the Kingston gate access into Richmond Park. This consultation follows concerns raised over a number of years about the amount of through traffic using these roads and the number of collisions which have resulted in a large number of injuries to people walking and people on bikes.

Despite Kingston Cycling Campaign agreeing with the Council and local residents that there is a significant issue of too much through motor traffic using these roads, we do not support the Council’s plans to deal with this issue.

The Council’s plans

The Council plan to change King’s Road; New Road and Tudor Road so that they are one-way for motor vehicles rather than two way. This would be done through changes to signage and paint markings on the roads and minor changes to the kerbs on King’s Road. Cycling will continue to be allowed in both directions on these roads. You can access a plan of the proposed changes here.

By changing the roads to one-way for motor vehicles, the Council believes that motor vehicles will be better managed on the affected roads, reducing congestion and the number of times vehicles get ‘stuck’ trying to pass each other on these narrow roads. We agree that the proposals will improve the flow of motor vehicles using these roads but that this could increase the number of vehicles using these roads as the traffic becomes better managed. It is also acknowledged that changing King’s Road to one-way is likely to have a significant impact on surrounding roads with traffic displaced onto New Road and Tudor Road. Alexandra Road (with two schools) may also see more traffic too. Furthermore, the Council believes that traffic speeds could increase as a result of these proposals.

The Council intends to introduce further traffic calming in an attempt to mitigate the expected increased speeds but the work proposed in the consultation is limited to replacing speed cushions on King’s Road with speed humps and adding speed cushions to New Road (no changes to implement speed reductions appear to be planned to Tudor Road). However, with cars increasing in size and an increase in the number of 4x4s on the road, speed cushions and humps are increasingly ineffective.

Overall, we do not believe that potentially increasing the number of motor vehicles using these roads and their speeds will lead to safer roads nor will it encourage more people to walk or travel by bike.

Our thoughts

We will be objecting to these plans and will instead ask the Council to consider bolder plans to reduce through traffic through the area. Other areas in London (including Waltham Forest) have stopped vehicles using residential roads as through roads for motor traffic using simple (and relatively cheap) interventions such as adding bollards to the end of a road. This still allows residents to access their property but stops through traffic from using the road by keeping through traffic to main roads which are designed to deal with larger volumes of traffic.

Recent changes in Waltham Forest have shown that reducing through traffic using residential roads can decrease motor traffic across the wider area as people stop taking unnecessary journeys by motor vehicle and switch to sustainable methods of transport such as walking and cycling.

Stopping through traffic would return the road to people and make it a better neighbourhood for local residents and people travelling through the area by foot or on a bike. In the Netherlands, these types of streets are so common they have a special name “Woonerf” but there are examples in Kingston too. For example, Chatham Road and Bonner Hill Road (not very far away from King’s Road) both have measures which stop through traffic.

Although closing a road to through traffic can seem a big step, it is relatively easy to trial changes through temporary blocks which would allow the Council to assess if the scheme works or if it needs to be changed.

Our response

As above, we will be objecting to these proposals including the following key points:

  • The Council’s proposals are unlikely to reduce through traffic and, as the Council notes, could increase traffic speeds. This therefore does not do enough to protect the safety of vulnerable road users on these roads.
  • The Council should be bolder in its proposals and look at ways to reduce through traffic using these and surrounding roads (including Alexandra, Liverpool and Crescent Roads) to keep traffic to the main roads such as Kingston Hill.
  • If the one-way proposals were to go ahead, we are concerned that the contraflow cycle lane on King’s Road is in the ‘dooring’ zone creating a risk to cyclists. In addition, we would like clearer paint markings on New and Tudor Road to show people in motor vehicles that contraflow cycling is permitted on these roads. We would also like further traffic calming to be considered for Tudor Road (particularly as it is part of a signed cycle route).
  • Notwithstanding our objections to the scheme as a whole, we are pleased that cycling has at least been considered in the one-way proposals and that contraflow cycling is to be permitted on all affected roads. In addition, we strongly support the proposals to extend 20mph limits onto Queen’s, Liverpool and Crescent Road

You can also ask the Council to improve this scheme with your thoughts here. The consultation deadline is 8 March 2019.

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King’s Road. A narrow two-way road with proposals to change it to one-way for motor traffic with contraflow cycling allowed.

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