Following our look at Kingston’s Mini-Holland (or Go Cycle) programme’s progress in 2020 at the beginning of the year, what’s happened so far in 2021?
Firstly, after some uncertainty, we were very pleased to find out in February that Transport for London (TfL) had awarded Kingston Council outline funding to complete the last link in the Mini-Holland programme, the Kingston to New Malden Cycleway. The funding from TfL was significantly reduced from that originally budgeted so some of the work has been scaled back but it will still be a significant improvement for cycling compared to the current state of the route. See below for more on how that scheme is getting on now as well as updates on the other schemes that have made further progress this year.
In April 2021, one of the most visually striking parts of the Mini Holland programme opened with a new four metre wide walking and cycling bridge taking people from Kingston Station the Kingston one-way system towards the river and Ham. This bridge replaces a very narrow bridge and has created a much more pleasant route from Kingston Station towards the Thames, Canbury Gardens and for people heading to Kingston Bridge.
The other big milestone for the Kingston Station Mini-Holland scheme was the opening of the 424 space bike storage hub (official opening date was 25 May 2021). This storage hub has free access to bike tyre pumps, bike maintenance stands with tools, a water fountain, lockers, many CCTV cameras linked to Kingston Council’s CCTV centre, a spacious lift to the first and second floors and space for non-standard bikes too. There is also space for a cafe and bike mechanic on the ground floor. Whilst Kingston Station is not at pre-Pandemic usage levels being used very much at the moment, we’ve already noticed that the bike hub is being used for people visiting the city centre. Whilst we would have been interested in some of the bike spaces being even more secure (for example, only accessed with a swipe card) as well as more signage (which hopefully is to come!), we hope it will be a valuable resource to Kingston’s residents and visitors.
Surbiton to Tolworth
The Surbiton to Tolworth Cycleway along Ewell Road started construction at the beginning of 2020 before being delayed due to Covid. Phase 1 (St Mark’s Hill to Browns Road) was completed last year before Phase 2 (Browns Road to Tolworth Broadway) was paused so that the original designs could be re-worked (again, to fit within reduced budgets from TfL). Phase 2 is now under construction and, to fit in around roadworks required for gas main upgrades, started at the Tolworth Broadway end of Ewell Road. The first sections of protected cycleway have now been finished between Tolworth Broadway and the Elgar/Princes Avenue junction on Ewell Road. Work is now taking place on Ewell Road near the junction with King Charles Road and Red Lion Road. Over the next c.6 months, work will continue along Ewell Road, joining up with the completed Phase 1 at Browns Road.
When this Cycleway is complete, and combined with the new bridge by Kingston Station (as well as the trial Low Traffic Neighbourhood on Lower Ham Road), there will be a c.7km safer cycling route all the way from Kingston’s border with Richmond upon Thames (at Ham Cross) to its border with Epsom & Ewell (near Tolworth)!
Kingston to Kingston Vale
The longest individual Mini-Holland scheme, at almost 4.5km in length, was completed earlier this year with the final works happening on Kingston Hill at its junction with Galsworthy Road and also Queen’s Road. Changes were also made earlier this year at the Kingston Vale end of the route near the A3.
Named Cycleway 30, we’ve already noticed a large increase in use with a large variety of bikes making an appearance. We’ve seen tandems (including side-by-side tandems!), bikes with trailers, specially made cargo bikes as well as the usual variety of road, hybrid and mountain bikes with people of all ages using the Cycleway to be active, reduce air pollution and best of all, skip the queues of motor vehicles!
We’ve been speaking with the Council to try and get a number of improvements made to the Kingston to Kingston Vale Cycleway to make it even better to use. This includes converting a zebra crossing between Warren Road and Ladderstile Rise to shared use to assist people on bikes with getting to Richmond Park more easily. We’ve also raised issues with some of the signage – particularly around Manorgate Road roundabout, we think some of it is unclear and confusing and we’d like it changed. Whilst budgets are tight, we don’t have any promises that these changes will be made but will continue campaigning to get these (and other) changes made to make the route the best it can be.
In a very recent update, Councillor Olly Wehring has announced that the Council are looking into improving safety at the Birkenhead Avenue/London Road junction on the Kingston to Kingston Vale Cycleway. This busy junction interacts with a 2-way cycleway and we’ve had many reports of near-misses at this junction since it was rebuilt in mid-2020. The danger is caused by Birkenhead Avenue being used by a lot of cars to avoid the one-way system. Keeping cars to the main A-roads (which have 3 to 4 vehicle lanes here and are designed for large volumes of traffic) would make this junction safer. We look forward to seeing further details of what is proposed.
Kingston to New Malden
As per the beginning of this update, funding for the Kingston to New Malden Cycleway was confirmed by Transport for London in February. Kingston Council didn’t take long to start work on the ground with work starting at the Cambridge Road end of the route to join with Cycleway 30 (Kingston to Kingston Vale) at its junction with London Road near Asda.
The first work completed included preparations for a brand new zebra crossing across Cambridge Road making it easier and safer for people to cross the road (this is the 14th new zebra crossing that has been introduced as part of the Mini-Holland programme) as well as resurfacing and kerb works for the two-way Cycleway which will be introduced on Cambridge Road between Hawk’s Road and London Road.
More recently, work has continued at the other end of the route near New Malden with the creation of another new zebra crossing (the 15th!), new ‘bus boarders’, and the installation of poles (or ‘wands’) separating people cycling from cars, buses and lorries.
We were also pleased to see the access to this improved cycle route from Chatham Road amended to make it easier for bikes to pass around an old fire gate (though it’s still not quite wide enough for all types of bikes (e.g. cargo/adapted bikes) so it will stay on our list of improvements we’d like to see).
What’s coming up
As above, Surbiton to Tolworth (Phase 2) and Kingston to New Malden are currently in construction and this will continue for the rest of the year and into the beginning of 2022.
In the meantime, we will also try and get things improved on routes where main construction has ended and in particular, will be asking the Council to get signage improved on routes that have now been completed
We will also continue to campaign for more funding for the Cycleways network to be extended to other parts of the Borough too. Although completion of the Mini-Holland schemes will mean around there’s around 17km of new, safer Cycleways in the Borough, there are still parts of the Borough that will still be a long way from this upgraded network (e.g. Old Malden/Worcester Park and most of Chessington and Hook).
As a very final note, the extremely successful and popular New Malden to Raynes Park Cycleway, starting next to New Malden Station, has been named ‘Beeline Way’ following a public vote.
How you can support us?
If not already a member, why not consider joining London Cycling Campaign and benefit from discounts, 3rd party liability insurance, free legal advice on cycling matters, as well as adding your voice to our campaign for safer cycling throughout London. You can join using this link: https://www.lcc.org.uk/membership/
You can also contact us with any thoughts or comments
If you live locally, you could also contact your Local Councillor with details of any improvements you’d like to be made for cycling in your local neighbourhood.