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.
After a long 3 month hiatus, & a successful trial on Sunday 28th June, we will try a few more rides, there will be some new measures as we still need to maintain Social distancing, & we are restricted to groups of six or less. For the foreseeable future, Rides will be invite only, you will need to let me know 36 Hours in advance if you wish to join us, so that I can organise the necessary group leaders. You will not be able to turn up & hope there is a space. If you wish to be included on the invite list & didn’t receive an e-mail on Friday 26th June, send a message to email@example.com
Please remember, if you have a Fever or other Covid 19 symptoms, please avoid that ride, if you have symptoms after a ride do please let me know so that I can warn others to Isolate themselves as a precaution.
Please see the Rides calendar for upcoming dates, the only listing for rides at the moment will be here.
Sunday 28th June. After such a long hiatus, due to the Covid pandemic, how to get back on track, why not have three rides in one day ! As current rules stipulate, a maximum of 6 people (Socially distancing of course), on a first come first served basis, with 14 response’s, we settled on 2 groups of 5, with 1 group of 4. A bright Sunny day, with a light sprinkling of Drizzle as we finished lunch, Group 1 left via Lower Marsh, Berrylands, Tolworth, West Ewell, St Ebba’s path, Epsom, Court Rec, the Red Bridge, Woodcote, Langley Vale, Hurst Rd to Walton on the Hill for a Picnic lunch, arriving almost on cue, 5 minutes behind group 2, followed again 5 mins later by group 3, thankfully Chris remembered we needed a Photo (thanks for joining us for lunch Chris & Graham), separating again, via Kingswood, Chipstead Valley, to Banstead for Tea & Bread pudding, at Pistachios (could we resist eating it all before the others arrived…., yes we could), in fact it was group 3 who arrived first, with group 2 close behind (no ones admitting they got lost, so we’ll assume gr 3 where just a bit hungrier), also joining us briefly ‘Nurse Andrea’ , Belmont, Cheam village, Cheam Park, pausing to see the ‘Sinkhole’, still unrepaired since before Lockdown,
North Cheam, Joseph Hood Park, Motspur park, New Malden, Berrylands to Kingston. Total 31 Miles, special thanks to Co-leaders Mike & Mags, thanks to John D for the BP.
We regularly campaign for additional cycle parking in the Borough as we know many people struggle to find space to park their bike when they are out and about or choose not to purchase a bike as they have nowhere to keep one securely at home.
We were therefore really pleased to hear that Kingston Council were successful in a bid to Transport for London (TfL) for funding of 20 new Cycle Hangars for the Borough’s residential streets.
Each of these Cycle Hangars allow 6 bikes to be securely stored on the street. Each person who hires one of these spaces receives a key to access the Hangar and can store their bike there for as long as they keep hiring the space. Many Cycle Hangars have already been installed on Kingston’s housing estates and have been successfully used for a number of years.
This funding from TfL will allow them to be placed on the Borough’s residential streets for the first time. Many people do not have space in their home (including lots of those who live in flat conversions) and this will give them the opportunity to keep a bike securely for the first time.
This consultation is now closed. There is currently a traffic order out for consultation on the introduction of these Cycle Hangars. You can support their introduction by emailing TMO@kingston.gov.uk quoting reference ‘KingMap0041’ and stating your support (as well as any comments you have) by Thursday 18th June 2020.
We will be responding to the consultation strongly supporting their introduction with the following comments:
- They will allow many residents the opportunity to store a bike securely for the first time supporting an increase in bike ownership in the Borough and therefore helping more people to cycle.
- Encouraging more cycle use is essential to help the Borough’s air quality problems, reduce congestion and assist the Borough’s residents with becoming more active.
- The Cycle Hangars are very efficient use of street space as 6 bikes can fit in less than the space needed for a single car.
- This limited introduction should just be the start and Kingston should be aiming to catch up with other London Boroughs such as Hackney which now have several hundred Cycle Hangars installed.
The provisional list of roads where Cycle Hangars may be installed are:
- Adelaide Road, Surbiton
- Anglesea Road, Kingston
- Berrylands, Surbiton
- Bond Road, Surbiton
- Cadogan Road, Surbiton
- Claremont Road, Surbiton
- Elm Road, Kingston
- Grayham Road, New Malden
- Hampden Road, Kingston
- Howard Road, Surbiton
- King Charles Road, Surbiton
- Lovelace Road, Surbiton
- Maple Road, Surbiton
- Oakhill Crescent, Surbiton
- Princes Road, Kingston
- St Andrew’s Square, Surbiton
- St Mark’s HIll, Surbiton
- Surbiton Hill Park, Surbiton
- The Avenue, Surbiton
- Warwick Road, New Malden
- Windmill Rise, Kingston
From information published by the Council it seems that there will be an annual charge of £70 for the hire of a space in a Cycle Hanger. This will cover the maintenance and administration of the Hangars and is likely to be payable to Cyclehoop who install and maintain Cycle Hangars across London.
It is yet to be confirmed how applying for a place in the Cycle Hangars will work but keep an eye on our Twitter page and we will publish any information we get as soon as we know more.
If you would like a Cycle Hangar on your street but your road isn’t on the list above, why not contact your Local Councillor or the Sustainable Transport team to ask when Kingston Council will be installing more? Ask your neighbours if they would be interested as well and get them to contact the Council or Councillors too. The more demand that is shown for the Cycle Hangars on your street, the more likely that you will get one!
The Traffic Order for the Cycle Hangars can be found here which has more information on the proposed location of the Cycle Hangars on each road.
We hope that this is just the start of the installation of more Cycle Hangars in the Borough. We will continue to campaign for more Cycle Hangars to be installed as well as more of other types of cycle parking across the Borough.
We planned to write about what could happen after Kingston’s Mini-Holland (or ‘Go Cycle’) programme of cycle and walking improvements came to an end. However, since our look in February at how Kingston and Cambridge Road could become safer, the world has changed. The top priority for travelling is now ensuring sufficient space for social distancing. This post looks at what this could mean for Kingston.
42% of all journeys in Kingston are made by car; 20% by public transport; 4% by bike; 33% by walking and 1% by other means (Source: 2019 Cycling in Kingston Report). However, with Covid-19, public transport capacity is currently significantly reduced. If just a small percentage of journeys switched from public transport to being taken by car, then Kingston’s roads are not going to be able to cope worsening Kingston’s air quality problem. Instead of switching to even more journeys by car, Transport for London are encouraging people to walk or cycle wherever possible. However, despite the Go Cycle (Mini-Holland programme), many of Kingston’s main roads remain unsafe for people cycling as they lack any measures separating people cycling from motor vehicles.
Away from the main roads, many of Kingston’s residential roads remain busy short cuts as they allow cars, vans (and often lorries) to save a minute or so on their journey by avoiding main roads and passing along local streets. With residential roads still clogged with this traffic, it makes it more difficult to keep to social distancing requirements as it can be unsafe to walk in the road (which is needed due to many narrow pavements) whilst these busy roads discourage walking and cycling too.
So what are the answers?
Enabling more walking and cycling would reduce the pressure on Kingston’s roads whilst encouraging healthier and more sustainable travel. There are a number of ways walking and cycling could be supported (as well as assisting with social distancing) and the rest of this post looks at some of the measures that could be used.
- Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
- Safe space for cycling
- 20mph limits
- School streets
- Wider pavements
- Reduced crossing times
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
As already mentioned, many of Kingston’s residential roads remain open to through traffic allowing cars, vans and lorries to take short cuts along residential streets to their destination instead of keeping to main roads.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can prevent motor vehicles using residential streets as short cuts by blocking their routes. This can be done very cheaply, for example installing a couple of bollards or, like in Croydon and Lewisham, putting in some planters. Residents, deliveries and emergency services can all still access the streets but through traffic is prevented from using the short cut and has to keep to the main roads.
By keeping short cutting traffic to the main roads, it makes the residential streets quieter and safer. Where there are narrow pavements, it becomes easier for people to walk in the road to maintain a sufficient distance from each other. The ‘blocks’ used to stop short cutting cars allow people cycling to pass through which allows safer cycling routes to be quickly created too as these roads are no longer full of cars and vans cutting through. There are examples already in Kingston that were put in place many years ago like on Springfield Road or Woodbines Avenue.
Kingston Council had already proposed introducing a Low Traffic Neighbourhood near Hook Road as part of their Healthy Streets plans. In addition, Transport for London has recently published a map of areas it thinks in Kingston could be made into Low Traffic Neighbourhoods based on their size.
This includes the Hook Road area (already identified by the Council); Hook; parts of Surbiton and New Malden; and North Kingston.
We have asked that the Council accelerates its plans for the area near Hook Road and looks at the other areas in the Borough which would be suitable for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
Safe space for cycling
To encourage people to travel by bike for their journey, they need to feel safe doing do so. Kingston’s Mini Holland (or Go Cycle) programme has been upgrading many of Kingston’s main roads to provide safe space for cycling separated from motor traffic. However, this programme was due to finish next year with many Borough roads still untouched.
Transport for London did have additional funding available for London Borough’s looking to extend their cycle networks and could have provided additional funding to extend the safer cycle routes to more of Kingston’s roads. TfL were prioritising those listed in its Strategic Cycling Analysis as likely having the biggest impact. For Kingston, this included Richmond Road (Kingston to Ham); Queen’s Road (to Richmond Park); Coombe Lane (Kingston to Raynes Park); Brighton Road & Hook Road (Surbiton to Hook); and Malden Road (New Malden to Worcester Park).
However, TfL has recently updated this map to include those cycle routes that it will be prioritising in the short term to provide safer space for cycling given the increased urgency there now is. In Kingston these routes include Malden Road (New Malden to Worcester Park) and Coombe Lane (Kingston to Raynes Park), dropping the other routes mentioned in the previous analysis. The map also includes prioritising Kingston Hill/Vale (though the Go Cycle route here is almost complete) and notes a safer cycle route on Kingston/Cambridge Roads is already planned.
We ask that the Council works with TfL to prioritise improvements to the Borough’s roads for safer cycling. In particular, TfL’s initial outline of priorities seem to exclude large parts of the Borough including Hook, Chessington and North Kingston. It is also unclear that TfL will be prioritising a safe cycle route for the Borough’s residents into the City. There is an indirect route marked via Raynes Park but this also requires use of Kingston/Cambridge roads where there isn’t (yet) a safe cycle route.
It is also currently unclear whether the current circumstances have implications for the Mini Holland (or Go Cycle) programme that was due to finish next year. Although some schemes are now finished, others still have parts to complete whilst another is awaiting the beginning of construction. Given these Mini Holland routes have been identified and agreed as providing big benefits to people cycling (and walking), it is important that these projects are funded to completion and if possible, accelerated to give quicker benefits.
It’s worth noting that other London Boroughs are moving ahead with plans to install segregated cycle lanes quickly, for example with temporary barriers or ‘wands’ on roads which are already wide enough for cycle lanes. These can be relatively inexpensive and are quick to install. They can also be upgraded to permanent measures at a later date.
Kingston Council needs to work with TfL to accelerate plans for Kingston/Cambridge road improvements and ensure the remaining Mini Holland projects are completed as soon as possible. It should also work to obtain additional funding for further segregated cycle lanes (temporary or permanent) across the rest of the Borough.
Kingston Council launched a Borough wide 20mph consultation on 6 January 2020. This consultation proposed to introduce a 20mph limit on all roads in Kingston noting that the highest proportion of injuries on the Borough’s roads occurred on main roads and therefore it was important these were included too for the biggest potential benefit.
If it had not been for recent events, we would have been expecting the results of this consultation to have been published and for the Council to be making its first steps towards implementing any plans it had agreed (taking into account comments from the consultation). We still don’t know what the consultation results are. However, we think it is now even more important that these proposals go ahead. Reducing speeds on roads across the Borough will encourage people to walk and cycle whilst making it safer for them to do so.
We await news from the Council on the 20mph consultation though note that our neighbour Richmond has been rolling out 20mph limits to nearly all its roads whilst Merton continues to extend 20mph limits to the majority of its roads too.
Borough wide 20mph limits are an obvious way to reduce traffic speeds to support safer walking and cycling. We therefore hope the Council will announce steps to implementing its proposals shortly.
School streets are now found across London and Kingston’s first can be found on Mansfield Road (for Lovelace Primary School). These school streets prevent access for cars at drop-off and pick-up times for children (sometimes with an exception for residents for the street). This means that children cannot be dropped off outside the school gates encouraging parents to take their children to school on foot or by bike. By reducing the volume of motor vehicles, it also makes the road outside the school much safer for walking and cycling further encouraging people to use sustainable travel types.
Kingston Council had previously proposed to extend its school streets programme to four more streets including:
- Oak Hill Terrace
- South Bank Road
- Alexandra Road
- Latchmere Road
We ask that the Council rolls out the required measures to these streets in time for any return to school by children. School streets usually just require a couple of signs; notification to parents and local residents as well as a camera for enforcement. There are many other potential school streets in the Borough so we also ask the Council to look at these as soon as possible too.
One option to provide more space for social distancing is to provide more pavement space. A number of other London councils have recently introduced temporary barriers to increase pavement space including in Lambeth and Greenwich. In many cases, additional pavement space can be made by taking car parking spaces or excess carriageway space. Examples could include Victoria Road (Surbiton) which is usually a busy shopping street but has narrow pavements in places alongside a number of car parking spaces or along Clarence Street near Wilkos where a narrow shared pavement reduces the ability for people walking and cycling to stay apart whilst the carriageway is 3 lanes (or around 9 metres) wide.
Kingston Council could also consider suspending any pavement parking in busy areas (particularly where it is unsafe to walk in the road) which would allow people greater space to pass each other on the pavements. One busy area of Kingston with pavement parking is King’s Road near Richmond Park which often has many people walking to and from the park.
Update (22 May 2020 at 7.30pm) – Kingston Council have announced that they will be introducing temporary barriers to provide more space for walking and cycling along certain parts of Clarence Street, Fairfield North, Wheatfield Way and Kingston Bridge in the next ten days. Our map of these roads can be found here.
Reduced crossing times
People walking and cycling often have long waits at crossings over roads as traffic lights are usually timed to prioritise motor vehicles. This can lead to long waits as well as large gatherings of people waiting to cross. One easy change would be to reduce the wait for people walking and cycling. This will reduce waiting times, decrease the likelihood of people crossing when it’s unsafe as well as encouraging people to walk and cycle.
Traffic signals in London are the responsibility for Transport for London. However, the Council could work with TfL to prioritise traffic signals which need their timings revised. Just a few of the examples of crossings which currently have long waits include:
- outside Kingston station;
- by the shops on Surbiton Road;
- on Leatherhead Road near Chessington South station; and
- at the junction with Kings Road and Richmond Road.
There are a large number of measures Kingston Council could take to assist walking and cycling in the Borough reducing the pressure on the roads and assisting with social distancing. We have passed lots of ideas to the Council and hope that these will be swiftly introduced.
In the meantime, Kingston’s Go Cycle programme to introduce safer walking and cycling routes on main roads has been continuing with the Kingston Hill/Vale route nearing completion and the Ewell Road scheme reaching the junction with Langley Road. We await news on whether the timescales for the remaining Go Cycle programme have changed.
As I’m sure everyone is aware, all social gathering is discouraged for the foreseeable future, so at the moment, the Rides programme is postponed until further notice. but as soon as restriction’s are eased, & there are suitable places to stop for refreshments, we will get back to you. We hope everyone stays fit & healthy, and we can all get back on the Bikes together ASAP. Remember, you can get out and enjoy a little bit of Cycling, just not in groups, so we hope most of you can find some enjoyable ride’s, at least the Roads should be almost traffic free. 🙂
Sunday 15th March Part 1. A largely cloudy morning saw 12 Cyclists leave via Kingston Bridge, Bushy Park,- pausing to hear about SHAEF-, Hampton, another pause to visit the Memorial to General Roy, ‘Grandfather of the Ordenance Survey’, (Photo), Hanworth, Hanworth Park, Letrim Park, Crane River Park, including the Shot tower, -with a minor mechanical causing a short delay-, Kneller Park, to Twickenham, for lunch at the ‘Prince Blucher’, (Fullers), Strawberry hill, to find the Level crossing closed for works, with a few of the Bikes carried through the works, but all the Cyclists & other Bikes used the Footbridge, then Teddington, Hampton Wick & Kingston Bridge. Sub total 14 Miles, thanks to Derek for Back marking, 2 new faces.
Part 2. A cloudy afternoon, with some light Drizzle at Tea, turning to 1 brief but heavy Shower, say farewell to 9, but welcome 5 fresh faces, so 8 Cyclists, left via the new Penrhyn Rd track, Surbiton, King Charles Bridge, Tolworth, & Greenway, Kingston Rd track, West Ewell, Hogsmill path, Ewell village, East Ewell, to Nonsuch Park cafe for Tea & Bread pudding, some large Puddles, due to Waterlogged fields overflowing, Cuddington, Worcester park, Old Malden, New Malden, Berrylands, to Kingston. Sub total 13 Miles, Total 27Miles, thanks to Kasren & Steve for back marking duties.
All, with all the concern about Coonavirus in the news, we should all be alert to the Symptoms, so if anyone is at all concerned, wakes up with a Fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, it would be wise to ‘self isolate’ as a precaution, irrespective of other plans, but unless Government advice changes, Tomorrow’s 2 part ride will go ahead as Scheduled, however if after a ride you do start to have Symptoms, do please let me or John Dunn know.
KCC ride l;eader
Wednesday 11th March. A somewhat breezy day with a sunny afternoon, saw 17 Cyclists leave via Portsmouth Rd, -with 1 person have a small mechanical problem, delay the tail-, Thames Ditton, Giggshill Green, Weston Green, Esher, Walton, Weybridge, -with 1 extra joining us-, Addlestone, Victory Park, (Photo), Bretland, to Lyne for lunch at the ‘Royal Marine’, then Thorpe Green, Egham, -with the ‘P fairy’ paying a visit, would a swift inflation work? Staines Bridge, no, time for a tube change, alas within half a mile a second victim, both quickly repaired-, Staines, Ashford, Sunbury, Hanworth, Hampton, Bushy Park to the ‘Pheasantry’ for Tea & refreshments, Hampton Wick, Kingston Bridge. Total 31 Miles, 1 new face, thanks to Will & John E for back marking, 2 visits from the ‘p Fairy’.
Yesterday, (Friday 6th March),t was my honour to be invited to accept a Community award from the Mayor of Kingston, for continuing to lead Rides on behalf of the Kingston Cycle Campaign, (KCC), I have to say a huge thank-you to Derek for nominating me, then listening to the citation as to why I meritted the award, although it should be noted that the reason I started leading Ride’s was all due to John Dunn, who had the original, unique idea of Baking a Bread pudding to bring along to be consumed at the afternoon Tea stop.
A brief history of the KCC rides: In the early days of 2000, the co-ordinator of the KCC, (Matt Schutz), decided it was time for some fresh thinking on the Rides front, he asked 3 guy’s, (John D, Chris W & Ned), if they could take on the job of organising the Rides program, but within a few month’s, it was John on his own, he thought, ‘how can I make it more appealing, he remembered that his Sister used to make a Bread pudding for her Son, (John’s Nephew, Gary), & it seemed to have helped to make him into a very good Cyclist, so he found a cook book, (Cooking for Blokes, I believe), and Twenty, (yes 20) Years later he is still bringing a fresh Bread Pudding on all the ‘Sunday rides’. Meanwhile, having joined at least one of Chris & Ned’s rides, particularly a very enjoyable ride to Pyrford Lock, on the Wey navigation I thought, maybe I can come up with something similar, but little did I realise, that after leading a few Rides, any other leaders had mysteriously vanished, soon, it was expected that ‘Roger must know a route & a Pub for lunch’, & mostly that works well, although we have had minor hiccup’s when the chosen venue has no Chef that day, or the Pub says it too busy because of Mothers day, (we now try to avoid having a ride that particular Sunday).
In 2006, having always run an Evening ride during ‘Bike week’, each year, we decided to expand things a little, so for the 6 months, April to September, we started once a month, Evening rides, again to a Pub for refreshments, before returning via a shorter route to Kingston.
In 2018, having retired from work a couple of years earlier, & at the prompting of a few regulars, I agreed to start organising monthly Midweek rides, mostly Wednesday’s but occasionally Tuesday or Thursday, to suit work patterns of others who can’t make Wednesday.
I have to say it has been an absolute pleasure to organise & lead all these rides, & as long as a few people continue to turn up, I’m very happy to keep doing the same, for a few more years yet. I often think to myself, ‘we must have used all the possible route’s & Pub’s in North Surrey, & West London’, by now, oh but what about that old wreck of a Pub, that’s recently had a makeover, or similar ideas.
I look forward to seeing many of you on a ride soon,
KCC Ride leader
Sunday 1st March. A mostly bright day, with a strong breeze, saw 24 Cyclists leave via Kingston Bridge, Hampton Wick, Teddington, Strawberry hill, Twickenham, St Margerets, Isleworth, Syon Park, (Photo), Brentford, (with a tailwind 🙂), Carville hall Park, Gunnersbury Park, Ealing Common, West Acton, Park Royal, Grand union Canal path to Harlesden for lunch at ‘the Grand junction arms’, more Canal towpath, -with the first visit from the ‘P Fairy’,- North Kensington, Shepperds bush, Brook Green,-alas the ‘P Fairy’ has struck again, eventually leading to the victim abandoning the ride, 😦 – Fulham, Bishops Park, Putney Bridge, Putney, Barnes Common, Roehampton Gate Richmond Park, (with Headwind, 😦), Ham gate, to Kingston. Total 29 Miles, 1 new face, & many others for marking corners, thanks to John for the Bread pudding. 2 visits from the ‘P Fairy’.