Our guide to new cycle infrastructure in Kingston

With the Mini Holland projects now well underway (and many finished) in the Borough, there are lots of new types of cycle infrastructure that have built. This post provides an explanation of the following:

Cycle segregation kerbs

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There are many types of cycle segregation kerbs but generally they bolt on to the surface of the carriageway providing a barrier to discourage motor vehicles from using the cycle lane. These cycle segregation kerbs can cost less than a tenth the cost of stepped cycle tracks (cycle tracks which are built higher than the carriageway level) and therefore provide segregated cycle infrastructure where costs could otherwise make segregated cycle infrastructure prohibitive. The segregation kerbs may be supplemented by ‘wands’ or poles which are reflective and warn road users of the placement of the kerbs.

We like that these segregation kerbs can be quick to install and are can provide large lengths of cycle segregation at relatively low cost. This makes it more likely that cycle segregation can be installed.

Where can they be found in Kingston? On Portsmouth Road and on Kingston Hill and Kingston Vale. The ones on Kingston Hill and Kingston Vale contain reflective studs which work in a similar way to ‘cat’s eyes’ which are commonly used on roads and provide extra visibility of the kerbs at night.

Stepped cycle tracks

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Stepped cycle tracks are cycle paths which are higher than the level of the carriageway and are usually separated from the carriageway by a solid kerb. In Kingston, stepped cycle tracks are always at the same level as the footway. To help separate the footway from the cycle track, ridged dividers have been installed. To clearly indicate it is a cycle track, they generally have painted bike logos at regular intervals; tactile paving at the start and end of the track; and blue signs at their start.

Stepped cycle tracks offer a higher level of segregation than cycle segregation kerbs (above) but are much more expensive to construct as a new solid kerb needs to be installed and the existing kerb may have to be removed too. Stepped cycle tracks can also face issues at driveways/crossings and junctions depending on how much room there is for separate cycle facilities at these crossings/junctions.

Generally our preference is for stepped cycle tracks as they provide a higher level of separation than stepped cycle tracks. However, they come at a much higher cost and require careful design to integrate them at junctions.

Where can they be found in Kingston? Although stepped cycle tracks have existed for a long time in parts of Kingston they have generally been in short lengths. Large lengths of new ones have been installed as part of the Mini-Holland projects on Wheatfield Way, Kingston Hill, Penrhyn Road and will feature in parts of future schemes too.

Parallel crossings

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These crossings allow both pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road in parallel to each other. Cars and other vehicles should give way to people waiting to cross but it is advised to wait for other vehicles to stop before crossing the road.

Where can they be found in Kingston? They can already be found on Portsmouth Road and are currently being installed on Kingston Hill near the University campus.

Shared use areas

Shared use areas are designated areas where people on bikes can mix with people walking. Areas of shared use are often placed at junctions where there is insufficient room for segregated cycle facilities. The advantage of shared use areas is that it allows a continuous off-road cycle route for people on bikes. A disadvantage is that both cyclists and pedestrians have to mix in the same space. This can make cycle routes with lots of shared use less attractive than those with fully segregated facilities.

Shared use areas should be clearly marked with signage (and tactile paving) to indicate to pedestrians and people on bikes that they should be aware of each other in this area.

Shared use areas have been used successfully in parts of Kingston for many years, for example in Kingston Market Place. However, Kingston Cycling Campaign are clear that we would like shared use areas to be minimised wherever possible to aid the usability of cycle routes and reduce pedestrian/cyclist conflicts.

Where can they be found in Kingston?  New shared use areas have been added on the Wheatfield Way route; at the junction of Maple and Claremont Roads and at Manorgate roundabout on the Kingston Hill route.

Shared crossings

These crossings look like ordinary zebra crossings but are shared crossings where there is a shared use area on either side of the crossing. These shared use areas allow both pedestrians and people on bikes to use them and then also to use the crossing. It is advised to wait for other vehicles to stop before using these crossings.

We generally prefer parallel crossings to shared crossings but there is not always room to fit a parallel crossing in. In addition, in some locations, it is difficult to separate cyclists and pedestrians each side of the crossing meaning a shared crossing may be more appropriate.

Where can they be found in Kingston? They can already be found at Manorgate Roundabout on the Kingston Hill route (although it is currently awaiting signage).

Toucan crossings

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These are signalised crossings which allow both pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road. The crossings usually join shared use areas on each side of the crossing which allow both pedestrians and people on bikes to use them. You usually need to push a button to trigger a change in the signals.

Toucan crossings are well established types of crossings although generally mean that there is shared use areas each side (for pedestrians and cyclists). Where room allows, we would prefer separate pedestrian and cycle crossings to reduce potential conflict between people walking and people on bikes.

Where can they be found in Kingston? They are already found in many places in the Borough with new ones recently being installed in a number of locations on the Wheatfield Way route.

Low level cycle signals

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As their name suggests, these are cycle specific signals at a ‘low level’ so they are eye height for most people on bikes. They may be linked to an early release but otherwise may be located on cycle tracks where other vehicles are not permitted.

Where can they be found in Kingston? The first ones in the Borough have been installed installed at the junction of London Road and Queen Elizabeth Road. Others will be installed at other signalled junctions in the Borough as they are upgraded for people on bikes.

Early release (at signals)

These are cycle specific signals at junctions which give cyclists an advance green light. This allows cyclists to get ahead of other vehicles at the junction. There are usually low level cycle signals at junctions with early release.

Early release can help provide a safer passage through a junction for someone on a bike, particularly when they reach the junction when the lights are red. However, if a cyclist reaches the junction when the lights for motor vehicles are already green, then their crossing across the junction isn’t protected. Early release can be combined with other junction improvements such as two stage right turns and cycle segregation on each side of the junction to provide safer cycle journeys.

Where can they be found in Kingston? There isn’t currently a junction with early release in the Borough but it will be installed at the Kingston Hill/Queen’s Road junction. It may also be used on Ewell Road between Surbiton and Tolworth. Early release is also used at many junctions elsewhere in London.

Where can I find out more? See the video from Transport for London below.

Two stage right turn (at signals)

Two stage right turns at junctions allow cyclists to make right turns in two stages. This means that you don’t need to cross a flow of other vehicles and then wait in the centre of a busy junction to turn right. Instead, at approaching the junction,  you should stay left and make the turn in two stages. Firstly, after the green light on entering the junction, you should head for the designated waiting area and reposition yourself for the second move across the junction. When the signal you are now facing turns green, you can then head across the junction completing the second stage of the turn.

Two stage right turns mean that someone on a bike has to take an indirect, two stage journey when crossing the junction and therefore may not be the right approach in all circumstances. However, a two stage right turn can be a relatively easy upgrade to a junction to provide safer right turns for cyclists.

Where can they be found in Kingston? There isn’t currently a junction with a two stage right turn in the Borough but one will be installed at the Kingston Hill/Queen’s Road junction. There are also many two stage right turns elsewhere in London. There is always a blue sign ahead of the junction where a two stage right turn is in operation.

Where can I find out more? See the video from Transport for London below.

Continuous crossings

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Continuous crossings are being installed at less busy junctions and give pedestrians and cyclists priority over turning motor vehicles. The best continuous crossings have the pavement and any cycle track continuing uninterrupted across the side road. Motor vehicles should give way to any pedestrian and cyclist using the pavement or cycle track. Tactile paving may also still be installed on the pavement to indicate to visually impaired people that they are crossing a side road.

Although continuous crossings are very common in Europe there have not been very many installed in the UK so far. As such, their design can vary as UK highway designers learn what works best.

The key to successful continuous crossings is the detail of the design. When looking at a continuous crossing, it should be clear that the footway and cycle track continue across the junction unimpeded. This should then indicate to other road users that pedestrians and people on bikes have right of way. Putting in place steep ramps before and after the continuous crossings for motor vechicles and reducing the width of the junction mouth can also help reduce vehicle speeds.

Where can they be found in Kingston? There are different types of continuous crossings being installed on a number of routes in Kingston. A continuous footway crossing can be found at the junction of Weston Park and Wheatfield Way and they are also being installed on Penrhyn Road in a number of locations. There are also likely to feature on future Mini Holland routes including Ewell Road.

Bus boarders

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Bus boarders are areas of shared use for people walking and people on bikes. They are being installed at a number of bus stops in Kingston to allow a cycle route to be continuous rather than with gaps where cyclists would need to rejoin the road. Bus stop boarders are clearly marked with signs and tactile paving to ensure people entering the area are aware it is a shared area. Pedestrians should be mindful of bikes passing through the area and cyclists should also be aware of pedestrians (particularly any alighting from buses).

Bus stop boarders have been used successfully for many years in a number of locations in London and are essential to allow continuous cycle routes where space doesn’t allow a bus stop bypasses. We would prefer bus stop bypasses to be used where room allows but on many narrow roads bus stop boarders are the only solution. We have been speaking to Kingston Council about how minor changes to the bus stop boarder design could make them clearer for everyone to use.

Where can they be found in Kingston? Bus stop boarders can be found on Portsmouth Road; Kingston High Street; St Marks Hill and Kingston Hill/Vale.

Bus stop bypasses/bus stop islands

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Bus stop bypass (in construction)

Bus stop bypasses are created on cycle routes where there is sufficient room to fully separate people waiting for buses; people walking past the bus stop; and people on bikes. The main feature of a bus stop bypass is that there is a separated waiting area next to the carriageway where passengers wait for buses. A bike track is placed between this waiting area and the main pavement which keeps bikes away separated from the waiting passengers. People who want to get to the bus waiting area use the designated crossing point on the pavement to cross the cycle track. Bus stop bypasses have been built in large numbers in London over recent years with lots of research subsequently undertaken to ensure they are safe.

Where can they be found in Kingston? A different type of bus stop bypass to that described above is located in Surbiton and allows taxis to bypass the bus stop waiting area. A bus stop bypass for cyclists is currently being built on Penrhyn Road near the Kingston University campus.

Cycleway signage

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Signage is being installed on new cycle routes in Kingston using Transport for London’s green Cycleway branding. This signage helps guide cyclists along the route and provides key information including estimated time to destinations and what direction to follow at crossings and junctions.

This Cycleway signage replaces purple Quietway signage that was installed on the first Go Cycle routes built in Kingston. Existing Quietway signage will be replaced with the green Cycleway signage over the coming months, as is happening across London.

We are asking Kingston Council and Transport for London to improve the wayfinding and signage on current Mini Holland routes to make it easier for people on bikes to navigate along routes.

Where can they be found in Kingston? Cycleway signage is already in place on the New Malden to Raynes Park route (numbered Cycleway 31) and will be installed on the remaining Go Cycle routes over the coming months.

Old quietway signage can currently be found on Portsmouth Road and around central Surbiton.

Where can I find out more? See a map of the current Cycleways in London here. Note that the map is not up to date for Kingston and you may instead prefer to use OpenCycleMap which contains maps of all current cycle routes in the area.

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