Midweek ride to West Horsley

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Ashtead Common, with the Poser at the front & his new Bike

Wednesday 17th April, a largely bright Sunny day saw 16 Cyclists leave via the Portsmouth Rd track, with 1 extra ‘late starter’, joining us as we approached Winters Bridge, Long Ditton, Hinchley wood, – with a short delay whilst someone got his stamps !-, Littleworth, Esher, Fairmile, Cobham, Hatchford, Ockham, to West Horsley for lunch at the ‘Barley Mow’, then East Horsley, Effingham, Bookham, Fetcham, Leatherhead, Ashtead Common (Photo), – with a brief explanation of how the ‘Coal Tax’, helped the City of London maintain this & many other Commons & green spaces around the City-, Epsom Common, to the ‘Old Moat Garden Centre’ for refreshments, West Ewell, Tolworth, Berrylands to Kingston. Total 32 Miles, 2 new Faces, thanks to Steve D for back marking, & others for marking corners.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/763492

Bread pudding ride to Wandsworth

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Bishops Park Fulham

Sunday 19th January, a cold, Sunny day saw 18 Cyclists leave via Skerne Rd, Thames Path, Aerospace estate, Ham, Ham gate Richmond Park, White lodge, Roehampton gate, Barnes, a still traffic free Hammersmith Bridge, Fulham, Bishops Park, (Photo),  a busy Putney Bridge, to Wandsworth for lunch at the ‘Garrett Tavern’, slighty delayed by a slow to steady service, but otherwise good lunch, the Wandle path, a very congested  Earlsfield, more Wandle path, to Colliers wood, Phipps bridge, Morden Hall Park, St Hellier, to Lower Morden for Tea & Bread pudding at the ‘Blue Diamond’ Garden centre, Worcester park, New Malden, Berrylands, to Kingston. Total 26 Miles, 1 new face, thanks to Ellie and Steve for  back marking, and others for marking corners.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/1008325

Midweek ride to Battersea

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Battersea Park Pagoda, Credit: Rob R

Wednesday 15th January 2020, after a night of heavy Rain & strong Winds, would anyone be brave enough to join the first Midweek ride of 2020, starting with cloudy Skies, and several large Puddles, Yes, 10 Cyclists left via Skerne Rd, Aerospace estate, Ham, Ham gate Richmond Park, via White lodge, to Roehampton gate, Barnes Common, Putney, Wandsworth Park, Wandsworth,- with our Baack marker suffering a visit from ‘the P Fairy’, happy to let the group continue, rejoining us at lunch-, Thames path, Battersea, Battersea Park & Pagoda, (Photo), to Battersea for lunch at ‘the Asparagus’, (Wetherspoons), now with a glorious Sunny if chilly afternoon, Clapham Common, Wandsworth Common, (with a very large Tree blown down, blocking a Cycle path, but luckily not the route we needed), Earlsfield, to Wimbledon Park for Tea & Refreshments, Wimbledon village, Raynes park, New Malden, Norbiton to Kingston. Total 27 Miles, thanks to John  E for back marking, & thanks to Steve D for deputizing while John recovered from the ‘P Fairy’.

Map:- plotaroute.com/route/1003924

Bread pudding ride to Ashtead

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Ashtead Park

Sunday 5th January 2020, a chilly mostly overcast day saw 26, no 1 more has snuck in so 27 Cyclists left via Portsmouth Rd track, with an ‘inactive Crossing phase for Cyclists, (reported to TfL), Long Ditton, Hinchley wood, Esher, Fairmile, Cobham, Downside, Bookham Common, Fetcham, Leatherhead Railway path, to Ashtead for lunch at a very popular ‘Woodman’, then Ashtead Park (Photo), Woodcote, Epsom, East Ewell, to Nonsuch Park for Tea & Bread pudding, still with Daylight, (just), Worcester park, New Malden, Berrylands, Lower Marsh, to Kingston. Total 29 Miles, thanks to Will & Amy for Back marking, and many others for marking corners, thanks to John D for the BP.

Update from TfL; They say the Traffic light  problem had already been picked up, & has been fixed, I’ll try to confirm that later in the week.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/997972

Tolworth Traffic Turmoil

Have you heard? Transport for London (TfL) is proposing big changes to Tolworth Roundabout.

You may be forgiven for thinking that TfL and the Mayor of London are all about reducing motor traffic levels, improving air quality, promoting walking, cycling and use of public transport these days. Unfortunately you wouldn’t know it looking at the description and drawings of what’s proposed between Tolworth Broadway and Tolworth railway station.

What’s proposed?

TfL, after “working closely” with Kingston council, is planning to build an additional lane for motor traffic on the northbound approach to Tolworth Roundabout (i.e. for traffic coming from the direction of Epsom). This requires closing a pedestrian subway which some people prefer to the existing signal crossing, and the felling of a mature tree outside the Hollywood Bowl.

Tolworth Tower Traffic

An extra lane for motor traffic will be added here taking some of the forecourt from Hollywood Bowl which will require the removal of a mature tree

What are the reasons given for this scheme?

TfL say that if nothing is done to address the problem of traffic queues resulting from additional traffic then delays to buses will increase by up to 20 minutes in the peak. But why does TfL only mention buses in its consultation? Providing for private traffic doesn’t fit with TfL’s much publicised agenda, but that is in fact what it plans to do.

The consultation web page is very light on information so we requested more from TfL.

We asked TfL:

How much additional traffic is expected? Please provide information on how this “expected increase” has been arrived at and whether the figure and the predicted journey time saving would also apply to general traffic as well as buses.

TfL responded:

Developments in the area are predicted to add 750 jobs and 1300 new homes within the next five years. This growth will result in an increase in up to 400 vehicle trips in both morning and evening peaks.

Applying these extra trips to our modelling software, it is estimated that there will be up to 5% traffic growth in the area. This accounts for the planned vehicle parking spaces and predicted servicing requirements.

This method of calculating future traffic increase is standard practise for developments in London. The Tolworth Roundabout scheme proposes to improve journey times for general traffic as well as for buses.

Due to committed developments at Tolworth, journey times are predicted to increase by 20 minutes, if we do nothing.

 Our proposed scheme will provide significant improvements to the area and reduce the predicted increased journey times of 20 minutes by 11 minutes, resulting in a net increase of 9 minutes caused by developments.

So it looks like the plan is to provide space for the increased motor traffic rather than manage the demand?

It looks very much so. TfL are saying a 5% increase in motor traffic will result in increased delays of 20 minutes which can be managed down to an increase of 9 minutes.  All the capacity for car parking at the new Lidl headquarters and on the Tolworth development site mean that the car has to be accommodated it seems. There are no plans for a bus lane or improved bus facilities or a continuous cycle route on the station side of the A240 Kingston Road.

Tolworth roundabout sign

The proposals add an additional left turn lane towards the A3 here with no bus priority measures added. The central reservation will be widened to provide a shared use cycle and footway but only to Tolworth station and not beyond

No thought given to a continuous cycle route…

Disappointingly, and despite proposing to spend millions of pounds on this scheme, no thought has apparently been given to linking Tolworth Broadway to the new Lidl national HQ being built at Jubilee Way or to the proposed new cycle track on Jubilee Way itself, which would link Tolworth to Ewell and Chessington via an off-road track. Frustratingly, TfL appear to propose to do nothing about the “Cyclists Dismount” section in front of Tolworth railway station and under the railway bridge.  There’s a two-way cycle track on the south side of the railway that was built in the 1930’s and it needs to be joined to the Tolworth Greenway with a continuous cycle path. TfL’s suggestion is that cyclists should cross the A240 twice, using the path on the opposite side from the station and Jubilee Way.

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Cyclists dismount sign by Tolworth Station. The proposals do not address a 50m gap in the cycle route towards Jubilee Way and Chessington and therefore this sign will remain

Read the consultation and provide your feedback here

TfL’s consultation page can be found here:  https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/tolworth-roundabout/ 

The consultation closes on 5th January 2020.  We invite you to tell TfL what you think the implications are of simply providing for more road traffic and ignoring cycle routes.

We’ll be strongly objecting to the proposals overall which will encourage motor traffic in the surrounding area. We will ask TfL instead to focus on improving public transport as well as walking and cycling routes. In particular, the short gap in the cycle track between Jubilee Way and Tolworth Station must be fixed.

Mini-Holland update – Part 1 – A review of 2019

This is the first in a three part series on the Mini-Holland programme in Kingston. The Mini-Holland (or Go Cycle) projects are designed to provide safer and more accessible cycling (and walking) routes along a number of roads across Kingston Borough. This post looks at what was achieved in 2019. The next in the series will look at the proposed Kingston to New Malden route and the final post will look at what could come next after the Mini-Holland programme comes to an end.

Part 1 – A review of 2019

After all that was achieved in 2018, what has happened in 2019?

New Malden to Raynes Park

The main event of the Mini-Holland programme this year was the opening of the excellent New Malden to Raynes Park cycle and walking link. This completely new route which mostly follows the train line between the two locations has opened up new opportunities for travelling between the two neighbouring areas. We are delighted that our campaign to get separate cycle and walking paths (rather than a shared path) was successful. You can find further information on the route in our post marking the opening of this new link. The new route has been named Cycleway 31. Cycleways are Transport for London’s new branding for cycle routes across London and this signage will be rolled out to existing routes such as Portsmouth Road too.

Penrhyn Road

The first phase of the Kingston to Tolworth route started construction earlier this year and is now almost complete with resurfacing and signage to follow early in 2020. The first phase of the route links the Wheatfield Way Mini-Holland scheme at College Roundabout to Surbiton Crescent using a 2-way segregated cycle track for the majority of its length. We worked with the Council to extend the amount of segregation from the original plans wherever this was feasible.

We are discussing with the Council possible locations for additional cycle parking along the route (some more are already planned next to the Surbiton Road parade of shops) so let us know if you have any suggestions for locations.

The second phase of the scheme along Ewell Road will start early in 2020 and will transform a road for cycling whilst improving facilities for people on foot too. Unfortunately, in recent years the road has been the location of many collisions causing injuries to people on bikes and people walking so it is great news that work to make it safer will commence soon.

Kingston Station

Following completion of the enlarged Station plaza, work has been taking place on the widened pedestrian and cycle bridge over Kingsgate Road which was lifted into place earlier this year. Work has recently commenced on the new cycle storage hub next to Kingston Station which will have space for at least 200 bikes. We are discussing with the Council how the facility will be monitored and maintained.

Work has recently taken place near Kingston Bridge as the crossing over Horse Fair is upgraded as well as a new cycle and pedestrian crossing being built over Clarence Street. Work will recommence in the new year after the Christmas break. When finished, there will be additional cycle stands in this very popular area for cycle parking.

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New cycle storage hub being built next to Kingston station

Kingston Vale

Construction on the Kingston Vale route started during Winter 2018/19 and the route is now almost complete between Galsworthy Road and Derwent Avenue. This route saw a new type of cycle segregation kerb used which bolts into the carriageway surface. This allows large amounts of cycle segregation to be provided at a much lower cost than a stepped (raised) cycle track.

Work has recently being taken place on London Road as signalised junctions are upgraded to provide separate signal stages for people on bikes as well as providing space away from cars, buses and lorries. Work will continue on this route in early 2020 (from Manorgate roundabout to Galsworthy Road) with it due to be fully complete by Summer 2020.

Wheatfield Way

This route between Kingston Station and College roundabout (linking to the first phase of the Kingston to Tolworth scheme, above) also finished this year. This route has new 3m wide segregated cycle tracks although we were unsuccessful in our campaign for cycle segregation across all the junctions on the route. This means that people on bikes share junction areas with people walking. We continue to campaign for better signage and wayfinding at these junctions to improve the usability of the route.

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Wheatfield Way segregated cycle track with shared use areas at junctions

Next steps

There is a lot of work to do in 2020 to finish off the schemes currently in construction although the majority of work in Kingston Town Centre has now finished. 2020 should see the completion of the Kingston Station scheme (and the opening of the Cycle storage hub); the completion of the Kingston to Kingston Vale route; construction commencing on Ewell Road on phase 2 of the Kingston to Tolworth scheme as well as small improvements to existing routes as ‘snagging’ items are fixed by contractors. Signage should also be installed on some of the new routes which will be key to helping people find and enjoy the new routes.

We speak to the Council regularly to highlight areas we think are good on the Mini Holland schemes as well as areas that we think need improvement. Please get in touch with us if you have any comments on the schemes that have been built or which are in construction.

Anything else? We hope that the Kingston to New Malden route along Cambridge and Kingston Roads will be approved for final design and construction in the new year by Kingston Council and TfL. We have seen how popular the new routes are when completed (see Portsmouth Road and New Malden to Raynes Park) and that they can both be safer for people walking and cycling as well as encouraging a switch to sustainable transport. Part 2 of this series will look at the plans for the Kingston to New Malden route to show why improvements are needed there too.

Further reading

The Council’s Go Cycle website

Our map of Mini Holland routes open, in construction and proposed

Our guide to new cycle infrastructure in Kingston

Our other Mini-Holland updates published during 2019:

  1. Mini-Holland (Go Cycle) – 2019 plans
  2. Mini-Holland (Go Cycle) – March 2019 update
  3. New Malden to Raynes Park route opening Sat 13 July 2019
  4. New Malden to Raynes Park cycle and walking paths – now open!
  5. Mini-Holland (Go Cycle) – September 2019 update
  6. Horse Fair crossing changes: September to November 2019

Midweek ride to Northolt

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Clock Tower, Northolt

Wednesday 11th December. A largely bright, chilly day, with a short shower of drizzle in the afternoon, saw 11 Cyclists leave via Kingston Bridge, Bushy Park, Fulwell, a short stretch of River Crane path, Whitton, Worton, Osterley, Osterley Park, Norwood green, Southall to Northolt, passing the lunch venue to see the Clocktower, (Photo), returning to ‘the Crown’, for lunch, after a slight delay for 1 person having 3, yes Three course’s, then a short stretch of brand new Tarmac on the Grand union Canal towpath, Greenford, Drayton green, West Ealing, South Ealing & Cemetery, Brentford, -a strategic vote elected for a short cut-, Kew Bridge, Richmond, Richmond Hill, Richmond Park to Pembroke lodge Cafe for Tea & Cakes, Kingston Gate, -with a small pause for the tail end, taking an alternate route-, to finish at the Market place. Total 29 Miles, thanks to John E for back marking, & others for marking corners, 1 new face.

Map:-www.plotaroute.com/route/983472

Christmas special ride to New Malden

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Wimbledon Common & Windmill

Sunday 8th December, a bright pleasant Morning saw 23 Cyclists have a slightly delayed start, due to the late running of Trains, leave via Skerne Rd, Kingston gate Richmond Park, White lodge, Roehampton gate, Roehampton, Wimbledon Common, (Photo), Westside, Raynes park, New Malden to Woodies, for a superb lunch,

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Lunch at Woodies

including a few others who managed to find the venue by other means, after thank-you speech’s from Bai to the ‘leadership team’, also the Back markers, from Ride leader Roger, to Mike for deputizing on occasion, reiterating thanks to all the Back markers & corner markers, for all there hard work, & especially the Pub for Catering so wonderfully, then the presentation for assistant of the Year to Ellie for Back marking & other help as needed, finally Ride organiser, John announced the Prize for the best attendance, went to Rob W, a slightly Cooler afternoon, with light Drizzle….., soon turning gradually heavier and with a Cold brisk Wind, to Freezing Rain via Motspur park, Worcester park, Stoneleigh, West Ewell, -the Rain finally ceasing, also displaying a good Rainbow-, Chessington, to Long Ditton for Tea & Bread pudding, Surbiton, to finish at Kingston. Total 23 Miles, Thanks to Ian for Back marking, & many others for marking corners, thanks to John D for the BP.

Map:-www.plotaroute.com/route/962880

2 part ride to Epsom & Twickenham

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New Malden to Raynes Park path

Sunday 17th November, Part 1. A mostly bright morning saw 21 Cyclists leave via Fairfield, -with 1 minor navigational hiccup-, Bonner Hill, Norbiton, New Malden, (Photo), Raynes park, Lower Morden, Worcester park, Stoneleigh, Ewell village, to Epsom, for lunch at ‘the Assembly rooms’, (Wetherspoons), West Ewell, Tolworth, King Charles Bridge, to Kingston. Sub total 20 Miles, thanks to Ellie & Lars for back marking, and many others for marking corners, especially Ken, for bringing the group back together, 2 new faces.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/970863

Part 2, with Cloudier Skies, saying farewell to 18 & welcoming 2 fresh faces, just 5 Cyclists left via Skerne Road, Lower Ham Rd, Thames path, Aerospace estate, Ham, more Thames path, Richmond, Richmond Bridge, St Margerets, River Crane path, Twickenham to Squires Garden centre for Tea & Bread pudding, Fulwell, Bushy Park, Hampton Wick and Kingston Bridge. Sub total 11 Miles, Total 31 Miles, Thanks to Steve J for back marking, thanks to John D for the BP.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/971599

Midweek ride to Staines

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Bushy Park

Wednesday 13th November. A very Sunny Morning, with a cloudy afternoon, saw 14 Cyclists leave via Cranes park, (anyone spot the ‘loose Pig’, hindering Thames Water, trying to repair a burst water main ? 🙂) King Charles Bridge, Surbiton, Long Ditton, Hinchley wood, Littleworth Common, Esher, Walton, Walton Bridge, Shepperton, Laleham, Thames Towpath to Staines for lunch at ‘the Wheatsheaf & Pigeon, then, finding the ‘P fairy’ had paid another visit, swiftly repaired, onto Ashford, Feltham, Hanworth, Hampton hill, Bushy Park, (Photo), to ‘the Pheasantry cafe for Tea & refreshments, Hampton Wick, Kingston Bridge. Total 28 Miles, thanks to Steve D for back marking, and others for marking corners, 1 visit from the ‘P fairy’.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/967836

Bread pudding ride to Wraysbury

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River Mole near Esher

Sunday 3rd November, a bright start, with increasing Clouds & 1 or 2 very light Misty showers saw 25 Cyclists leave via Kingston Bridge, Bushy Park, Hampton, Hanworth, Feltham, Bedfont, Stanwell, Stanwell moor, Poyle, to Wraysbury for lunch at ‘the Perseverence’ about to leave the Leader finds the ‘P fairy has paid a visit,- maybe because he had been a bit Jocular about the Pub name before the start-, after several minutes of fruitless grunting & heaving, still unable to remove the Tyre from the Rim, it was felt prudent for the main group to proceed with a fresh leader, meanwhile assisted by Rob, with a bit of fruity language, & more perseverence, finally the Tyre was off, to find it wasn’t a ‘Tubeless Tyre after all, although stuck to the Rim in a similar fashion, still more fun removing the thorn, refitted with a new tube, could we catch the main group before Tea ? Via Hythe end, Staines, -with a small section heading for the Train, including our Back marker-, Thames towpath, Penton Hook, Laleham, a couple of fleeting glimpse’s, that might be, no not in Laleham, had they stayed on the Towpath, following the Thames towards Chertsey Bridge, Yes, there they are, Shepperton, -with the 2nd visit from the ‘P fairy’-, Walton Bridge to Gino’s Cafe for Tea & Bread Pudding, Walton, yet another visit from you know who, Esher, Weston Green, Giggshill Green, & yet again a 4th visit from the ‘P fairy’,(all different victims), Portsmouth Rd to Kingston. Total 32 Miles, thanks to Will, Jon W &  Andrea for Back marking duties, & others for marking corners, thanks to Mike F for filling in as Leader, thanks to John D for the BP, special thanks to Jon W for assisting with repairs. Anyone with influence, please have a word with the right god’s to resume only occasional visit’s from the P fairy, 😉

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/707341