Evening ride to Richmond

Wednesday 12th June. A rather damp Drizzly Evening saw 8 Cyclists leave via Kingston Bridge, Hampton Wick, Teddington, with the Leader suffering a visit from the ‘P fairy’, the first attempt with a ‘Sealant’, didn’t work, Plan B, the spare tube turned out to have the wrong Valve, but a very kind soul, (Thanks Jon), did have the correct tube, so after a relatively swift repair, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, St Margerets, Richmond Bridge, Richmond Hill to the Roebuck for Refreshments, with a few other hardy Cyclists, mainly from Merton & Ealing, return via Richmond Park, to Kingston gate, to Kingston. Total 10 Miles, 2 new faces, thanks to Ralph for back marking. 1 visit from the P fairy.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/852940

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Evening ride to Fulwell

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Thames Towpath, Ham

Wednesday 24th April, a warm Evening for the first ride of the year, saw 14 Cyclists, (with another 2 regulars stopping to say hello), leave via Skerne Rd, Latchmere, Ham gate of Richmond Park, to Petersham gate, Thames Towpath, (photo), including the newly improved path to Teddington footbridge, Teddington, to Fulwell for refreshments at ‘the Roebuck’, return via Bushy Park, Hampton Wick & Kingston Bridge. 10 Miles, 2 new faces, thanks to Ken for back marking.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/816186

Mini-Holland (Go Cycle) – March 2019 update

Following our look at what should be delivered during 2019 on Kingston’s GoCycle schemes, how is progress going?

Wheatfield Way

The Wheatfield Way scheme started towards the end of 2017 and it is finally approaching its conclusion with works around Orchard Road junction the last substantial area to finish. The Wheatfield Way scheme will provide a new route through Kingston town centre although areas of shared use around junctions will unfortunately affect the usability of the route. A number of items remain to complete the whole route with signs and paint markings still to be added to clearly show that it is a cycle route. Works outside Pryzm to finish that part of the route (started but not finished at the end of 2017) are due to take place in the next couple of months.

20mph signs have recently been added to parts of the Wheatfield Way route (replacing the previous 30mph limit) and we are hoping that the 20mph limit will therefore soon be in force.

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New 2-way cycle track on Wheatfield Way between Orchard Road and Brook Street crossing

Eventually Wheatfield Way will form part of a continuous cycle route all the way from Tolworth Broadway to Kingston station (a distance of about 3 miles!).

Kingston Vale

The largest amount of visible activity so far in 2019 on the Mini-Holland programme has been on the Kingston Vale route between Galsworthy Road and Derwent Avenue. A large amount of one-way segregated cycle track has been built so far with work on the bus boarders (see below) almost complete too. The outstanding work on this section is mainly the installation of a separator to provide a barrier between the road and the cycle lane where the existing kerb did not need to be moved.

Rediweld Milestone

The Rediweld Milestone cycle separator which should keep motor vehicles away from the cycle lane on Kingston Vale

We were pleased to hear from the Council that they will be trialling a new type of separator which will provide better segregation for cyclists from the road. This separator is called the Rediweld ‘Milestone’ (see photo). This Milestone separator provides a more substantial barrier between the road and the cycle lane than the ‘orcas‘ that were originally proposed. One of the problems with orcas is that vehicles could still cross the cycle lane through the gaps between each orca. This will be much more difficult to do with the Milestone separator which will be laid in a continuous line (except at junctions and crossings). All of these types of separators bolt down into the road surface. Therefore, once the preparations are complete, they can be installed very quickly. We are looking forward to them being installed! The upgraded cycle route between Galsworthy Road and Derwent Avenue should be completed by the end of Spring 2019.

Whilst we are pleased with what is planned in the areas which are segregated, we are concerned about the designs of the ‘bus boarders’ that have been installed so far on the Kingston Vale route. These bus boarders allow people on bikes to avoid rejoining the road around bus stops and therefore are essential to provide a continuous, safe and attractive route to people on bikes where space does not allow a bus stop bypass. However, the bus boarder design that has been implemented on Kingston Hill (see photo) does not clearly show where people waiting for a bus should wait and where people on bikes should cycle. We would have preferred if the established and successful design on Portsmouth Road had been used. Alternatively, we think other areas have implemented better designs too (for example, Waltham Forest and Enfield). We have been unsuccessful in getting the Council to change the Kingston Vale bus boarders but we understand that they are subject to a trial and will be monitored with changes therefore possible in the future. If you have any concerns about the bus boarder design on Kingston Vale then do let the Council know.

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Bus boarder on Kingston Hill. The bus stop flag will be moved to the kerb when finished.

Works will continue on the rest of the route (including finishing Manorgate roundabout) during the rest of the year and into 2020.

Penrhyn Road

Construction on the Penrhyn Road scheme has started and is already mostly complete between College Roundabout and Denmark Road. Work continues from Denmark Road towards the main Kingston University campus as a 2-way cycle track is built from the end of the Wheatfield Way scheme to Surbiton Road, connecting into Surbiton Crescent allowing safer cycling between Surbiton and Kingston.

Kingston Station

‘Snagging’ works continue around the main station plaza with the cycle route to Fife Road improved, drainage issues being worked on underneath the railway bridge and the crossing outside the Rotunda upgraded to a ‘toucan’ allowing people on bikes to use this crossing.

The next major milestone on this project will be the installation of the replacement pedestrian and cycle bridge over Kingsgate Road which will provide an improved link between Kingston Station and Skerne Road. Installation is due to take place over 23/24 March with works then continuing to build the paths either side of the bridge.

New Malden to Raynes Park

Although not very visible, work continues on the off-road New Malden to Raynes Park route. Most of the separate pedestrian and cycle paths have now been prepared with work getting ready for the installation of steps and a ramp to connect the route with Alric Avenue and Dukes Avenue.

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New Malden to Raynes Park separate cycle and pedestrian paths. Segregation is to be added in the foreground once the steps have been added to the bridge joining Alric and Dukes Avenues

Work will continue on the route over the coming months and it should be ready to open by early Summer 2019.

Links to further information from Kingston council:

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.

Mini-Holland (Go Cycle) – 2019 plans

Following our look at what was delivered in 2018 on Kingston’s Mini-Holland or ‘GoCycle’ schemes, lots more should be happening in 2019.

Penrhyn Road

This will be the first new scheme to kick off in 2019 with preparation work due to start later this month. A 2-way cycle track will be added along most of Penrhyn Road and at one end will link to the new Wheatfield Way scheme and at the other to Surbiton Crescent joining up to the new Surbiton cycle ‘links’. When all the Mini-Holland projects are complete, Penrhyn Road will be the middle section of a route which will stretch from Tolworth to Kingston station on upgraded and much safer roads than before work started.

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Current state of Penrhyn Road. A 2-way cycle track will be added on the university side of the road during 2019.

New Malden to Raynes Park

This new cycle and pedestrian link should be completed in 2019 having started in Summer 2018.

This new link will join Raynes Park and New Malden and will be completely off road for the part in Kingston borough. With ‘The Cut’ linking directly to this new route by crossing Coombe Road, it will effectively be a c.2km off-road route from Elm Road in New Malden through to Taunton Avenue in Raynes Park providing a safer and attractive route for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Wheatfield Way

Construction work will soon commence on one of the final stages of the Wheatfield Way scheme between Orchard Road and Brook Street junctions. However, one of the first parts of the Wheatfield Way scheme (near the Rotunda and Pryzm nightclub) has still not been finished despite being constructed in late 2017! A crossing over a delivery access point still needs to be completed and a street light and sign have been left in the middle of the cycle track – we have asked for this to be sorted soon.

Despite our concerns about the amount of shared use areas on this route, it will still provide a completely new North-South cycle link through Kingston when it is completed in 2019.

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Unfinished works near the Rotunda on the Wheatfield Way scheme. A crossing needs completing and a lamppost (and bin) needs moving!

Surbiton to Tolworth

The Surbiton to Tolworth scheme along Ewell Road was approved by Kingston Council’s Environment and Sustainable Transport committee towards the end of 2018. This will mean that work on detailed design can start in early 2019 and, subject to TfL funding, could potentially start construction in the second half of the year.

Kingston Station

Now the main works have been finished directly in front of the station (although some snagging works still remain…), the focus of construction on this project is moving to the ‘green link’ which will link the station plaza with the Skerne Road underpass by going over a new bridge that should be installed during the Spring. This replaces the narrow shared use bridge which was removed during 2018. Further works should provide easier cycle access from the station to Kingston Bridge with the crossing over Horse Fair near TK Maxx and John Lewis due to be replaced too.

A cycle hub with lots of space for cycle parking is due to be built next to Kingston Station but the timings for construction are currently unconfirmed.

Kingston Vale

Work will continue in 2019 on the Kingston Vale scheme having started in 2018 near Derwent Avenue with construction progressing on one side of the road (up the hill) towards Kingston Hill university campus. The one way segregated track up the hill to the university campus is now basically complete with works now continuing past the campus itself. Works are not due to finish on the Kingston Hill route until 2020 with some signalised junctions closer to Kingston town centre likely to take some time to reconstruct.

Works have also taken place to renew two crossings at Cotswold Close and Magnolia Close. These appear to be attempts at ‘continuous crossings‘ but we have some concerns with what has been constructed and will be speaking to the Council about the details of what has been built.

Very recent markings added to the pavement near Manorgate Roundabout suggest that construction work may soon reach here before too long where parallel pedestrian and cycling crossings will be added to each of the five arms of the junction.

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Five different roads converging at Manorgate roundabout. Parallel cycle and pedestrian crossings will be added on each arm of the junction as part of the Kingston Vale scheme.

Summary

A new cycle network is finally starting to emerge in Kingston and 2019 will be the first time that a number of different Mini-Holland schemes join up. However, the new network will only be successful if it is completed to a high standard. Kingston Cycling Campaign will therefore continue to work with and ask the Council to deliver schemes to the highest possible standard ensuring the safety and usability of these routes for those on bikes and also those walking is prioritised.

As always, let us know if you have any comments about any of the schemes.

Links to further information from Kingston council:

Bread pudding ride to Putn… erm, Wandsworth

Lower Morden Garden centre

Sunday 6th January. A largely overcast day, with a couple of brighter spells saw 19 Cyclists ready for the first ride of 2019, leave via Kingston Bridge, Bushy Park, Clapperstile gate, ( with 1 extra catching the tail at the 2nd attempt), Teddington, Teddington Footbridge, Thames Towpath, Petersham, Petersham gate, Richmond Park, Sheen gate, Palewell, Barnes, Towpath again, to Putney, – where the chosen lunch stop was already stuffed with Football supporters prior to the Fulham/ Oldham game-, with a small group electing to have lunch at a Cafe, the main party continued to Wandsworth, with option 2, not having food, -alas 1 person realising they had left a Pannier at the 1st stop-, option 3 ‘the Garrett Tavern’, more than satisfying our needs, with all the lost sheep back with the group, the Wandle trail, Earlsfield, more Wandle path, South Wimbledon, Merton park, Lower Morden to the Wyevale Garden centre for Tea & Bread Pudding, Morden Cemetery, Joseph Hood Park, Motspur park, New Malden, Berrylands, to Kingston. Total 27 Miles, 1 new face, thanks to Amy for back marking & others for corner marking, thanks to John for the BP.

Map:-http://www.plotaroute.com/route/741349

Mini-Holland (Go Cycle) – a 2018 recap

As we reach the end of 2018, what has Kingston achieved on its Mini-Holland schemes this year?

New Malden to Raynes Park

This new cycle and pedestrian link (which will be fully off-road for the part in Kingston borough) started construction in the Summer and good progress seems to have been made with the sub-base being prepared for the separate cycle and pedestrian paths. When complete it will be a completely new link from Raynes Park through to New Malden station and will connect with The Cut in New Malden taking you all the way from Raynes Park to Elm Road, New Malden.

Wheatfield Way

Work has been undertaken on different parts of Wheatfield Way this year with the junctions at Brook Street, Fairfield North and Clarence Street now all practically complete. We have been disappointed with the shared use designs at the junctions but have worked with the Council to get improvements made. For example, the Clarence Street junction now has a cycle ramp for cyclists to access the shared use island rather than using a dropped kerb that would often have been blocked by buses.

Kingston High Street

Kingston High Street proved what can be done in a short period of time. Following the public consultation in Summer 2017, construction on Kingston High Street started in mid May 2018 with the main segregated track being completed in early July 2018. This is the quickest scheme that has gone from ‘consultation to finished’ so far in Kingston and, although it was a relatively short scheme, shows what can be done in a short period of time.

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Kingston High Street now & before the Mini-Holland works took place

Kingston Station

The plaza works continued and have now finished with some small ‘snagging’ points to pick up. Although we would have preferred pedestrians and cyclists to have been segregated from each other, the plaza is now substantially larger than before the scheme was started with room taken from narrowing the carriageway. There is also now a wider cycle and pedestrian crossing from Kingston Station to Fife Road and the previously bumpy 2-way cycle track on Richmond Road underneath the railway bridge has been resurfaced too.

Surbiton ‘links’

A segregated 2 way track was built on Claremont Road between The Crescent and the Maple Road junction with the Maple Road junction also being upgraded to have all 4 arms of the junction operating as simultaneous shared pedestrian/cycle (‘toucan’) crossings. The remaining Surbiton links have also now been completed. In the future the Tolworth to Surbiton scheme will join the Surbiton ‘links’ at St Marks Hill and the Kingston to Surbiton scheme will join at Surbiton Crescent. In the future, we would like the Council to improve the link between the Crescent and St Marks Hill as currently this is an unfortunate gap in the Go Cycle schemes.

Kingston Vale

Main construction works on the Kingston to Kingston Vale route started in October 2018 in the Kingston Vale area. The first stretch of one-way segregated track from Derwent Avenue towards the Kingston Vale University campus is now almost complete.

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Kingston Vale – intermittent advisory cycle lane (before) and new segregated track currently in construction (now)

Summary

A lot has been done in 2018 with a highlight being the short, but high quality, Kingston High Street scheme starting and completing in just two and a half months. Other works have been mainly focussed in Kingston town centre on ‘landmark’ schemes such as Kingston Station and Wheatfield Way. However, the Kingston Vale and New Malden to Raynes Park link schemes are looking very promising as they get into full swing. Early data from Portsmouth Road has shown that high quality, separated, infrastructure can lead to large increases in cycling in Kingston so we look forward to this spreading to other parts of the Borough as other high quality schemes complete.

Our next update will share what we are expecting in 2019. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts!

Links to further information:

 

Midweek ride to Ashtead

Wednesday 12th December. A cool day, with Sunny spells, saw 9 Cyclists, leave via the Portsmouth Rd track, Hinchley wood, Littleworth, Esher, Fairmile, Cobham, Downside, Bookham Common, Fetcham, Leatherhead, to Ashtead for lunch at the ‘Woodman’, Ashtead Park, Epsom, West Ewell, Chessington, to Long Ditton for Tea & Refreshments at Squires Garden centre, Surbiton, to Kingston, Total 28 Miles, thanks to Ellie for back marking duties.

Map:- http://www.bikemap.net/en/r/4716052