Bread pudding ride to Harmondsworth

Sunday 11th July. A surprisingly Sunny Morning, with more Cloud later, after 2 late cancellations, 1 no show & with 1 surprise guest saw 20 Cyclists in 2 groups leave via Kingston Bridge, Bushy Park, Fulwell, River Crane path, Whitton, Hounslow Heath, West Hounslow, Cranford, Harlington, Sipson to Harmondsworth for lunch at the ‘Crown’ with a few electing for the ‘Five Bells’, also stopping to admire the ‘Great Barn‘, (Photo group 2),

Group 2 with the Great Barn, Harmondsworth: Bai Kamara

then Harmondsworth Moor (with a few ‘slippery patches’), Poyle, Stanwell moor, Stanwell -with new Cycle path 🙂-, Ashford, Feltham, Hanworth, Hampton to Bushy Park (Photo group 1),

Group 1 with a few Deer in the background, Bushy Park: Lindsay Webster

for Tea & Bread pudding at the Pheasantry, Hampton Wick, Kingston Bridge to finish. 29 Miles, special thanks to Bai for leading group 2, thanks to John E & Mike F for back marking each group, Special thanks to Christine for the gorgeous Bread pudding.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/1610437

20mph in Kingston: An update – Surbiton to get safer roads whilst the rest of the Borough gets left behind

Kingston Council ran a Borough wide consultation in early January/February 2020 proposing to make the Borough’s roads safer by introducing a 20mph speed limit on all residential roads. Due to Covid, the outcome from the consultation was delayed and has only recently reached Kingston’s four neighbourhood committees.

Whilst many have been focussing on the Euros championship in the past couple of weeks, we’ve instead been closely following the result of the neighbourhood committees and how they have voted on the further roll-out (or otherwise) of 20mph limits in their area. We’ve set out below what has been decided and what might happen next but before we kick-off, a quick reminder of why the Council wanted to introduce 20mph speed limits:

There are three main reasons why the council feels 20mph would be great for our roads:

  1. Improved air quality: by lowering and evening out acceleration.
  2. Fewer casualties: lower speeds give drivers and others more time to react.
  3. Better health: more people walk and cycle, as they feel safer.

There is also evidence from other areas of the UK that shows a reduction in average speeds when area-wide 20mph is introduced, even if there is no enforcement or traffic calming measures in place.

What’s been decided?

Kingston Town Neighbourhood (Tudor, Canbury, Grove, Norbiton wards) – decided to introduce 20mph limits on a handful of additional roads near Sainsburys (Sury Basin). Prior to the final vote, an amendment was proposed by Cllr Wehring and seconded by Cllr Tolley. This amendment would have extended 20mph limits to a number of additional roads (Portsmouth Road, Queen Elizabeth Road, Cromwell Road, Wood Street, Horse Fair, Tudor Drive, Coombe Road (junction with Wolverton Ave to London Road)). However, the amendment fell after the vote was split evenly (plus one abstention) with the chair of the committee making the casting vote to block the amendment. The committee also agreed that residents may be consulted in the future (on an undetermined timeframe) if they would like 20mph limits on their roads (which roads these might be is not specified…). KCC Summary – Kingston Town started at the top of the table (currently 70% of roads have 20mph limits in the neighbourhood) but will be overtaken by Surbiton’s plans (see below). Losing the amendment after extra time means Kingston Town goes home with little to show for it despite some excellent shots on target by some of the Councillors present.

Maldens & Coombe Neighbourhood (Coombe Hill, Coombe Vale, St James, Beverley wards) – Disappointingly there will be no immediate extension of 20mph limits anywhere in the Maldens & Coombe neighbourhood. Though again, residents on specific roads (unnamed) will be consulted in the future (no specific timeframes) on whether they would like 20mph limits on their roads. KCC Summary – nothing can hide the disappointing result from this committee – there were few attempts on the target (of making roads in the neighbourhood safer) here with supporters leaving before the final result as it seemed to be clear that a win wasn’t going to be forthcoming this night.

South of the Borough Neighbourhood (Tolworth & Hook Rise, Chessington North & Hook, Chessington South wards) – As with Maldens & Coombe, there will be no immediate extension of 20mph limits on roads fully within the South of the Borough despite only 36% of the neighbourhood’s roads currently having 20mph limits. However, the committee voted to commit highways officers to investigate reducing the speed limit on roads which currently have speed limits in excess of 30mph in the neighbourhood. This means that part of Jubilee Way could reduce from 40mph to 30mph and parts of Rushett and Fairoak Lanes could reduce from 60mph (the only 60mph roads anywhere in the Borough!) to 40mph. In addition, the committee voted to allow Red Lion Road and Herne Road (and, by implication, Thornhill Road) which are shared with Surbiton neighbourhood, to change to 20mph if Surbiton neighbourhood voted for this (which they did). The neighbourhood has also committed to consult (without specified timeframes) with specific roads (which, spot the theme, are unnamed) in the future on whether they would like 20mph limits introduced. KCC Summary – again, a disappointing result but with a small silver lining of following Surbiton’s decision on moving to 20mph shared roads and looking into reducing the speed limit on roads with a limit of 40mph or above in the neighbourhood. Room for improvement in future outings.

Surbiton Neighbourhood (Alexandra, Berrylands, St Marks, Surbiton Hill wards) – After an amendment proposed by Cllr Sumner and seconded by Cllr Green, Surbiton neighbourhood committee voted unanimously to introduce a 20mph speed limit on ALL Borough controlled roads within the neighbourhood boundary. Highways officers have also been asked by the committee to ask Transport for London to consider lowering the speed limit on the A240 as well as the A3 slip roads which are in TfL’s control (the A3 itself wasn’t included in this request). KCC Summary – full roll out with unanimous support, clearly had eyes focussed on the goal (of safer streets) resulting in being the standout neighbourhood champions. All Surbiton neighbourhood Councillors should be proud of the part they played in the result. Other neighbourhoods look on at what might have been.

What’s next?

Surbiton neighbourhood is clearly leading the way in introducing comprehensive 20mph limits in the Borough by committing to rolling out this limit to all of the roads controlled by the Borough in its area. Traffic orders will now need to be prepared by highways officers and it is likely these will go to committee again in September for final approval. We’d hope the 20mph limits could then roll out by early 2022. This is also the likely process for the handful of roads in Kingston Town that are proposed to move to 20mph. The timings for a review of the roads in South of the Borough which currently have a speed limit of more than 30mph is uncertain.

What about roads which are not going to be 20mph? Well, this is where it gets very unclear. None of the (non-Surbiton) committees discussed this in detail though it was mentioned in one committee that residents could create petitions for their roads to move to 20mph. The problem with petitions for this are:

  • that it will require residents to be organised and know about the ability to petition for safer streets
  • it will require time to be scheduled at a neighbourhood committee to discuss the petition
  • it will require a traffic order for each set of proposals agreed
  • is more expensive than making a wider 20mph limit (as officer time will be required to assess each petition and the roads contained with the petition, more traffic orders are likely to be required and additional boundary signage will also be needed)

Unfortunately Transport for London is currently in the middle of cut-backs and has reduced grants to local Councils (including Kingston). Kingston Council also does not have a strong track record of investing additional sums in Healthy Streets initiatives beyond those given to it in grants from Transport for London or from funds from developers. This means that any future extension of 20mph limits beyond those agreed in recent Committees could be some time away.

Kingston Cycling Campaign is a strong believer in 20mph limits being an important step in creating safer roads and we will therefore continue to campaign for the rest of the Borough’s roads to move to 20mph. As per the consultation documents, 20mph roads are safer (lower speeds reduce the number of collisions and when collisions do happen their severity is reduced too), they encourage more people to walk and cycle and can also reduce air pollution as less acceleration/braking is required.

All local Councillors were given the opportunity to vote on the roll-out of 20mph limits in their neighbourhood. If you therefore share our disappointment in the outcome of the 20mph consultation in three of the neighbourhoods (or if you live in Surbiton neighbourhood and want to congratulate someone!), why not let your local Councillor know?

How to find out more about 20mph

Transport for London map showing all the speed limits in London. This shows the widespread 20mph roads (green) in neighbouring Richmond, Merton and Wandsworth. Kingston shows lots of blue (30mph) roads. Only the roads in Surbiton neighbourhood are likely to have significant changes on this map for the Borough of Kingston in the next 12 months.

20sPlenty website – want to find out more about the benefits of 20mph limits – here’s the site!

Kingston Council 20mph consultation – want to find out more about the original Borough consultation together with maps of all the collisions resulting in injuries on Kingston’s roads in a 5 year period – this is where you’ll find them.

Current Kingston 20mph speed limit map – want to see which roads are currently in 20mph and what the average speed of vehicles on roads near you are, helpfully, Kingston Council has the map for you.

Changing Gears on Fossil Fuels

Simon Sinclair and friend Sam are soon setting off on an epic bike ride raising awareness of oil extraction in Surrey and inspiring people to cycle as they go. We asked Simon some questions to find out more:

Sam riding an earlier tour

Hello Simon. What’s this challenge then?

My friend Sam and I will be cycling from Kingston to Barcelona on Saturday 3rd July. We’ve given ourselves a month to complete the trip, and we plan to do around 50 miles a day (with the occasional day-off, of course). We are expecting it to be pretty tough, what with the heat and mountainous terrain!

What causes are you promoting?

So we have two related causes. The first is to raise awareness of oil and gas exploration in Surrey, which most residents aren’t aware of, and to raise money for the legal challenge against the permission to extract oil from the site at Horse Hill (Horley, Surrey) for the next 20 years. A good overview of this challenge can be found here.

The second is a general promotion of cycling; we’d love to inspire more people to take up cycling for a variety of reasons – the physical and mental health benefits, saving money, tackling air pollution and reducing carbon emissions to tackle the climate emergency, to name a few. We hope to do this by bringing people to join us (<Facebook Events link) on our first 20 miles and by sharing on our Facebook page tips and inspiration throughout our journey to get more people on their bikes. To join Sam and Simon on their departure on Saturday 3rd July please sign up on the Facebook Events link above. It’s a 9am meet-up for 9:30 departure from Kingston’s Memorial Square (Postcode KT1 1RJ)

How did you plan your route?

Our original preferred route was similar to one that Sam has done a couple of times previously; Kingston to Horse Hill (we will be visiting the oil site and hearing from locals about the campaign against it) down to Brighton, across to Hastings (where we planned to do a talk at a school where we have previously worked) and back to Newhaven, over to Dieppe via ferry, along the spine of France, including Paris, and through the Pyrenees to Spain. Along this route we had planned to visit various sustainable communities and renewable energy projects and interview people involved.

However, we have had to come up with a plan B due to restrictions on Brits entering France. This involves cycling from Kingston to Brighton (as above), then to Portsmouth to take the ferry to the north-west coast of Spain, west to Santiago de Compostela, then back across the centre of the country, finishing in Barcelona. We hope to find similar communities and projects to visit as per plan A!

Have you done other long bike rides?

I (Simon) have never done a long distance bike trip before! I only really started getting into cycling at the end of last year when I got my first proper road bike for my birthday, and I have been slowly building up my distances over the year. I’ve done three or four 20 milers so far – so still a long way to go to get to the 50 miles we will be doing on day 1…but hopefully this will show that if I can do it, anyone can!

Luckily, Sam is much more accomplished. He cycled from Ireland to Japan with his Dad when he was 18, which took a year. He has also cycled to Spain and Italy. So I feel more at ease knowing we have his expertise to draw on…

Sam and Simon on their trial ride

Tell us about your bike/ luggage

Sam will be taking the same bike he used on his Ireland to Japan trip – a Dawes Super Galaxy touring bike. Unfortunately, my road bike won’t be suitable for the extra weight and longer distance. Luckily, Sam’s Dad, Mark has kindly lent me the bike that he used on their trip to Japan – a Dawes Sterling tour bike – for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you Mark!

So fairly old bikes but we tested them out on a 20 mile trial ride from Canterbury to Folkestone the other day and they’ve still got it.

On loan: Mark’s Dawes Sterling Tour

Where will you stay?

We plan to camp for most of the way, so it will be a mix of campsites and free camping, which is allowed in France and Spain. We are paying all the expenses out of our own pockets so trying to keep them to a minimum, however we will no doubt be grateful for a proper bed every now and then so I am sure we will visit the occasional hostel too”

What foods do you like to keep your energy up?

We are determined to eat and drink healthily for the entire trip, and starting now. So no more alcohol, caffeine or processed sugar. No doubt we will be needing a lot of carbs  – pasta, rice – and fruit. Personally, my go-to energy food will be porridge with banana, whilst for Sam its banana, peanut butter and date sandwiches.

KCC wish Simon and Sam the best of luck with their adventure.

You can go to their fund-raising page here:

https://chuffed.org/project/changing-gears-on-fossil-fuels-sam-and-simon-cycle-to-spain

The history of Kingston’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods – 1968 to present day

As a decision by the Council on Kingston’s three Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trials approaches, Kingston Cycling Campaign has been undertaking research into the history of LTNs in Kingston.

Our research has found that LTNs in the Borough are far from new and one of the first ‘modal filters’ (the restriction of motor traffic passing through) was created at the junction of Lower Ham Road/Lower King’s Road in c.1968. Whilst another was installed on Bonner Hill Road in c.1978. 

The modal filter on Bonner Hill Road (pictured below) helps create one of the Borough’s largest LTNs around Cambridge Road estate. This single modal filter helps reduce motor traffic and by making the roads safer, encourages walking and cycling which can reduce the use of motor vehicles that worsen the Borough’s air pollution problems.

Bonner Hill Road modal filter, installed c.1978

Our research found other LTNs were introduced in the Borough in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and, prior to the new LTN trials, the most recent one we have found was created in c.2008 through the installation of a modal filter on Walton Avenue in New Malden at its junction with Burlington Road.

We have also identified that LTNs have been introduced across many different parts of the Borough in the past 50 years including in the South (Stormont Way and Compton Crescent); in New Malden (Walton Avenue and George Road); and through to the North of the Borough (Skerne Road and Chatham Road).

Below you can see our map of LTNs already located in the Borough and which includes the three trial LTNs. This map is based on our own research and whilst we understand it to be correct, please do let us know if there are any omissions or errors.

This map also shows Kingston’s Go Cycle routes (either built, in construction or proposed) and that two of the trial LTNs (Albert Road and King Charles Road) link directly onto the Go Cycle network. This means the residents of these two LTNs not only have safer neighbourhood roads but can use these to connect to safer cycle access along the main roads to many destinations across the Borough. The provision of a network of safer cycle (and walking) routes along main roads that connect neighbourhoods is an absolutely essential part of encouraging walking and cycling. It is also an important part of supporting the accessibility of the Borough for the 29% of households in the Borough that do not own a car.

Though we know LTNs can receive some loud objections at the time they are put in place, if they are designed appropriately, they can have a large positive net impact on the community. Surveys show too that across London substantially more people support LTNs than oppose them. Recent research has also shown that road safety substantially improves within LTNs whilst not worsening on neighbouring main roads

In Waltham Forest, which has had a large programme of new LTNs in recent years, research has shown that children in the Borough are now expected to live longer from the impact of reduced air pollution and increased physical activity whilst motor vehicle ownership has decreased and the measures have even led to reduced street crime

More benefits of LTNs can be found in a London Cycle Campaign guide to LTNs and a collection of evidence that the charity Sustrans has put together.

We have already seen many people enjoy Kingston’s new LTNs (whilst we continue to see people enjoying the ones that have been in place for over 50 years too). We hope that these new LTNs will be made permanent so that their benefits can continue to be enjoyed. We have therefore written to all of the Borough’s Councillors today asking them to support making the trial LTNs permanent and asking them to assist residents in other parts of the Borough with making their roads safer too.

Full list of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods identified in the Royal Borough of Kingston

Low Traffic NeighbourhoodAreaRoads covered by Low Traffic NeighbourhoodDate established*
1Lower Ham Road (1)KingstonLower Ham Road (part), Eastbury Road, Chestnut Road, Woodside Road1968
2Bonner Hill RoadKingstonBonner Hill Road, Hampden Road1978
3South LaneKingstonSouth Lane1985
4Palmer Crescent/Grange RoadKingstonPalmer Crescent, Grange Road1988
5Barnsbury LaneTolworthBarnsbury Lane (part)1988
6Chatham RoadKingstonChatham Road, Cobham Road, Chesham Road1991
7Woodbines Avenue/ The BittomsKingstonWoodbines Avenue, The Bittoms, Milner Road1992
8Knight’s Park BridgeKingstonKnight’s Park1993
9Albert/George/Queen’s RoadsNew MaldenAlbert Road, George Road, Queen’s Road1993
10Stormont WayChessingtonStormont Way, Newlands Way, Devon Way, Holsworthy Way, Riponn Gardens, Tiverton Way, Hereford Way1995
11Caverleigh WayWorcester ParkCaverleigh Way, Pembruy Avenue1995
12Sussex RoadNew MaldenSussex Road1995
13Compton CrescentChessingtonCompton Crescent, Marston Avenue, Church Rise, Wilson Road1996
14Mill PlaceKingstonMill Place, Dudley Road1998
15Skerne WalkKingstonSkerne Walk, Lower Kings Road2001
16St Mary’s RoadSurbitonSt Mary’s Road, Cottage GrovePre-2008
17Walton AvenueNew MaldenWalton Avenue, Cavendish Road, Cromwell Avenue2008
18Lower Ham Road (2)KingstonLower Ham Road (part), Bank Lane, Albany Park Road2020
19King Charles RoadTolworthKing Charles Road (part), Beaconsfield Road, Broomfield Road, Derby Road2020
20Albert RoadKingstonAlbert Road, Victoria Road, Church Road2020

*Our research is based on Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) administered by Kingston Council. We have used the date of the TRO as the date when the Low Traffic Neighbourhood was established. In some cases, the TRO date may not exactly match where the modal filter (or other measures) were implemented.

As a final note, there are also many Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the Borough that were established at the time they were built. Examples of this are cul-de-sacs or other estates which were built without provision for through motor vehicles. We have not included these in our analysis and have focussed on those converted to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods through the use of modal filters.

Bread pudding ride to Ripley

Sunday 23rd May. A Blustery day, with a few short but heavy Showers saw 15 Cyclist after 1 late cancellation, split into 1 Group of 8, 1 of 7, leave via Portsmouth Rd Track, Surbiton, Long Ditton, Hinchley wood, Esher, Fairmile, Cobham, Hatchford, Ockham, to Ripley for an early lunch at the ‘Jovial Sailor’, with a fantastic canopy covering most of the Garden, -very handy, because a short Deluge from above, & somehow Group 2 got fed first, so they could leave first-, Send Marsh, passing the remains of Newark Priory, Pyrford, West Byfleet, Byfleet (where another Deluge for gropup 2, let group 1 almost catch the tail, thus time for a group 1 Photo),

Group 1 Brooklands Park
Group 2, Wey Bridge, from Brooklands Park: Carl S

Weybridge, Broadwater path, with a Fallen Tree, anyone got a Chainsaw ?, can’t go around it, can’t get under, we’ll have to lift our Bikes over the obstruction, now ‘Groupo Compacto’ as the Giro de Italia riders might say, to Walton Bridge for Tea & Bread pudding at ‘Wilde Bunch’, Walton on Thames, Molesey, Thames Ditton – with Group 1 Leader not watching the tail, so initially unaware that 1 person had suffered a mechanical, leading to an alternaive route home- (a reminder to keep an eye on the back marker, even if we are almost back to the finish), Portsmouth Rd & track to Kingston. Total 34 Miles, Special thanks to Carl for leading group 2, thanks to Steve D & Mike F for Back marking each group, Thanks to John D for the BP. Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/1559849.

Note: For those familiar with the New Malden Raynes Park link, Kingston & Merton Council’s are looking for a name for this delightful route, there is a short-list of 4, I believe a 5th option will be added soon, but for now here is the link, open until June 2nd:- https://kingstonletstalk.co.uk/name-the-route , after further thought, Beeline way will be an added option.

Fallen Tree being traversed : Carl S

Bread pudding Picnic ride to Burgess Park

Sunday 9th May, a very pleasant sunny day, much warmer than of late, saw 23 Cyclists, with 1 cancellation, split into 4 groups, but all groups seemed to play a version of Musical chairs at various stages of the day, (group 2 not being quite ready, so they were demoted to group 4). Leaving the Market place via Fairfield, Norbiton, New Malden, Raynes park, South Wimbledon, Wandle path, Earlsfield, with Group 3 suffering a visit from the ‘P Fairy’ meaning Group 4, now became group 2 ?, Wandsworth Common, Clapham Common, Vauxhall, Camberwell to Burgess Park for a Picnic lunch, pausing earlier at the Lime Kiln, the Camberwell Beauty Mosaic & also ‘Silent Raid’, an Art installation in memory of a Zeppelin raid from WW1,

Group 2 or was it 4 ? with the Lime Kiln, Burgess Park
Group 1 with the Camberwell Beauty, Burgess Park
Group 3 Brockwell Park

continuing via the Surrey Canal Path, Peckham, Dulwich, Brockwell Park, where an unfortunate coming together between 2 members of group 3, with 1 Bike unridable, & a slight Shoulder injury, meaning a Taxi ride home was the best option, thanks to members of Group 2/ 4, (if you’re keeping up), for there assistance, meanwhile ahead, due to an impromptu Loo stop, group 4/2 had briefly taken the lead, which was a surprise for group 1, Tulse Hill, Streatham Hill, Tooting Bec Common for a Tea & Bread pudding stop, Tooting, Mitcham, Morden Hall Park, Morden, Morden Park, Lower Morden, Motspur park, New Malden, Berrylands, to finish back at Kingston. Total 34 Miles. Special thanks to Bai, Carl, & Steve F for group leading, thanks to Toni, Steve D, Ellie & John E for back marking each group, thanks to John D for the BP.

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/1534861

Casualty Update: Having spoken to Tom this Afternoon, he is in good spirits, looking forward to getting back on the Bike & joining us on a ride in the near future.

10/05 RM

Views on Kingston cycleways

by Henry Medcalf, a local young bike rider.

The Kingston cycle network has evolved hugely over the past 5 years. This has taken a lot of thought and planning and has created a very varied borough in terms of infrastructure and the quality of that infrastructure. Here are three things, in no particular order, that I like and dislike about cycling in the borough of Kingston.

Three good pieces of infrastructure in Kingston:

  1. Cycleway 30 (C30) between the Norbiton roundabout and Wilko, Kingston

This cycleway in north Kingston is one of the most complete and comprehensive cycle routes. It provides a safe link between Norbiton and the commercial centre of Kingston. Once you arrive in Kingston, you can link onto C29 going north to Kingston Station or south towards Tolworth. It will also link to Cambridge Road for a route towards New Malden once that project has received funding.

The cycleway is two-directional on one side of London Road, is fully segregated, with traffic lights at crossings and signage all along the route. The route allows you to bypass multiple traffic lights, including the Cambridge road junction which poses a risk to beginner cyclists.

The stretch of cycle route isn’t without its criticisms, however. There has been lots of scrutiny of the junctions with Gordon Road and Birkenhead Avenue. There is a lack of clear signage for drivers that the cycleway has priority. As a result, drivers encroach out into the cycleway, creating risk for injury. This would be rectified by adding more obvious signage or moving the current signage to a more primary position in full view of the driver.

2. The lowered curb by Kingston railway station

The dropped kerb reduces congestion on the crossing

Although a small detail, the lowered curb on the crossing of Sopwith Way is one of the most well thought-out changes since the introduction of the Mini-Holland scheme. It allows easy access to the segregated cycleway under the bridge. The presence of a route for cyclists also limits overcrowding between the two traffic light poles during peak hours – an essential consideration due to social distancing. The presence of a lowered curb is a highlight in an otherwise forgotten 1990’s era cycle route.

3. Low Traffic Neighbourhood on Lower Ham Road

A new no-through route makes Lower Ham Road feel much safer

One of the most recent changes in Kingston has been the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). These have come in the form of ‘modal filters’ that only allow pedestrians and cyclists through, but block cars to prevent the streets being used as short-cuts. The most effective example of this has been the modal filter introduced on Lower Ham Road beside Canbury Gardens park. This was built with the intention of preventing cars from using Eastbury, Chestnut and Woodside Roads to avoid Richmond Road. The road closure has had a positive impact and appears to have encouraged more cyclists to use the road. It creates a low traffic route from the centre of Kingston to the boundary with Richmond.

Three not so great pieces of infrastructure in the borough:

4. Cycleway 30 (C30) from Crescent Road to the A3

Shared space at a bus stop is far from ideal

This new stretch of cycleway stretching along Kingston Hill has been one of the most talked about and controversial pieces of cycle route built recently. Stretching over the hill and down to the A3 to the Robin Hood junction, the cycleway has been split so there is one lane on each side of the road. The cycleway is continuously segregated for the whole stretch.

Most of the controversy has come from the placement of the cycleway to cut through the bus stop platforms. There is a risk of conflict between pedestrians waiting or boarding the bus and cyclists coming down the cycleways. There is also inadequate signing to warn people waiting for the bus that the space is shared with cyclists. In addition, the bus timetable signs are placed awkwardly to the point where they become a hazard for cyclists coming down the route. To rectify this, I would change the bus stops to have islands, much like the bus stop near Kingston University on Penrhyn Road, and include a pedestrian crossing to alert people of bike traffic.

Another one of the issues in my opinion is that the cycleway doesn’t link up to any good onward cycle route. Unlike the above mentioned earlier part of the C30 route, once you are at the Robin Hood junction, you lack options for where to go. This is especially inconvenient for commuters, who would benefit from a proper link into the centre of London, instead of the poorly thought out LCN 3 route.

5. Cycleway (C29) A240 Surbiton Road crossing

Putting the cycleway on the other side of the road would have avoided this problem

C29 was the most complicated cycle route in the new Mini Holland project and it isn’t without its faults. The crossing near the junction of Surbiton Road and Penrhyn Road is one of those. Coming from the north, the cycle track suddenly changes into shared pavement space, increasing risk of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. There is then a shared “Toucan” crossing to the other side of the road.

After crossing the road, cyclists have to dodge a telecoms box, pillar box and a bus shelter before turning right to join Surbiton Crescent. I would have kept the cycle track on the northeast side of the road past the shops to a signalled crossing to Surbiton Crescent.

6. Clarence Street bike-free zone

Current rules permit delivery lorries but not pedal cycles on Clarence Street.

Clarence Street is by far the busiest area in Kingston town centre. Despite this, it lacks proper cycle infrastructure. The pedestrian-only street is off limits to cyclists, however the “Cycling prohibited” signs are small and obscure. Despite its off-limits nature, Clarence Street is used as a direct east to west link for cyclists to and from Surbiton, Hampton Wick and Kingston Station. Cycling is permitted on nearby Castle Street which is narrower and in the Market Place which is busy throughout the day

In my opinion, there should be a cycleway that goes along Clarence Street with kerbs and pedestrian crossings to ensure minimum friction between cyclists and pedestrians. This would create links between C29, London Cycle Network (LCN) routes 74, 75, 3 and 33 with Kingston Bridge.

Kingston Gate – save our protected bike lane!

Kingston Station is at the heart of Kingston’s cycling network. It’s the site of a new multi-million pound cycle hub, the brand new Wheatfield Way and nearby Old London Road Mini-Holland routes, and other bike routes linking to the town centre and north along Richmond Road. But only a hundred metres away, a planning application has been submitted to rip out the existing protected bike lane. So what’s going on?

Kingston Gate is a proposed development, building over a car park and an adjacent busy road. The developers propose diverting this traffic onto Richmond Road, but they want to remove the bike lane in order to do so. This will completely sever this cycle route, and their proposed diversion on the pavement around the back of the shops for people cycling is a waste of time. In the second phase of development, they say, they will demolish this row of shops, and they say they will then put a northbound cycle path back in.

But there’s a real risk that Phase 2 won’t even happen. If Phase 1 goes ahead as planned, there is no obligation on the developers to apply for the permission required for Phase 2. Even if they do, there’s no obligation to actually construct it – planning applications go unbuilt for all kinds of reasons. And most worrying of all, they don’t even own any of the properties that would need be demolished for Phase 2 to go ahead. This means the supposedly temporary loss of the protected bike route would become permanent.

This has to be stopped before it gets started, or we could lose this route completely. The Council should be upgrading this route in the first place – it’s a key link in their existing plans, and they should be providing protected space for southbound cycling, never mind retaining the northbound protected route throughout any planned works. Richmond Road is a key cycling artery, both now and for the future.

It’s not too late for the developers to change their proposals, or for the council to reject them. But for this to happen we need your support.

How to Object

Kingston Cycling Campaign have already submitted our detailed objection to this scheme – covering much more than the problems covered here. But the best way to ensure this route is kept is for everyone to add your own objections – we know from experience that the more objections, the more weight is given to them.

  • Visit the application on the council’s website: 19/02323/FUL
  • Fill in the form, and pick “Object” as your stance
  • Tick “Access or traffic problems”
  • In the comment, say that you object to the proposal on the grounds of Road Safety, that you object to the removal of the protected bike lane on Richmond Road during any phase of construction, that you object to any reinstatement being dependent on subsequent phases which may not go ahead and you object to there being no consideration of a southbound protected bike lane being added at any stage of the project or in the future.

Note that comments have to be submitted by the end of Wednesday 21st April – so please take a minute and submit yours right now!

Bread pudding ride to West Horsley

Sunday 18th April. After another long break, a glorious Sunny Day saw 23 Cyclists, find 4 Leaders, so at 5 Minutes apart, via Portsmouth Rd Track, Long Ditton, Hinchley Wood, Claygate, Claremont -would the group leaders remember the clue-, Fairmile, Cobham, Hatchford, Ockham to West Horsley for a ‘Picnic Lunch’ at the ‘Barley Mow’, (as it was quite a struggle to find many Pubs doing Food just yet, after the latest Lockdown), Horsley Common (Photo), Effingham, Bookham, Fetcham & Pond (Photo’s Group’s 1, 2, 3 of course great minds think alike 😉), Ashtead, Epsom Common, Epsom, West Ewell, Stoneleigh, to Auriol Park for Tea & A Sumptuous Bread Pudding, Worcester park, New Malden, Berrylands to Kingston. Total 34 Miles, Very special thanks to Bai, Mags & Steve F for group leading, thanks to Mike, Andrea, Will & John E for back marking each group, special thanks to John D for the BP.

Group 4 Horsley Common
Group 1 Fetcham Mill Pond
Group 2 Fetcham Mill Pond

Group 3 at erm…., Fetcham Mill Pond

Map:- www.plotaroute.com/route/1508730

Mini-Holland: Progress in 2020

As we reach the end of 2020, we’ve taken a look at the progress that was made on Kingston’s Mini-Holland programme (also known as ‘Go Cycle’) during the year and finish with a look towards 2021.

Kingston to Kingston Vale

The Kingston to Kingston Vale cycle route is the longest in the Mini-Holland programme and started main construction in 2019. It was due to be finished this year but events of 2020 caused this timeline to become unachievable. Despite the difficulties of 2020, during the year the 2-way track along London Road between Queen Elizabeth Road and Manorgate Road was completed as well as the cycle tracks between Manorgate Road and Queen’s Road. Some ‘snagging’ (fixing minor issues) also took place on Kingston Hill and Kingston Vale on stretches of segregated cycle track constructed in 2019.

The reconstruction of the junction between Kingston Hill and Wolverton Avenue finished this year (new and before photos)
Cycle tracks added to Kingston Hill (between Queen’s Road and Manorgate Road) finished this year (before and after photos)
New 2-way cycle track along London Road completed this year

The only sections outstanding on this route are the junction of Kingston Hill with Queen’s Road and the separate junction with Galsworthy Road. These should be constructed in Spring 2021, and along with finishing the ‘snagging’ items, this will complete the 4.5km route from Kingston Town Centre all the way to the A3 which is close to the Borough of Kingston’s border with Wandsworth.

Surbiton to Tolworth

The Surbiton to Tolworth scheme along Ewell Road will link these two areas with a safer cycle route and started main construction at the beginning of 2020. The majority of the route was due to be completed by the end of the year. However, again timelines have changed and only Phase 1 was completed (St Mark’s Hill to Browns Road). Phase 2 (Brown’s Road to Tolworth Broadway) has had its plans tweaked to fit within a reduced budget provided by TfL and its construction could start early in 2021 subject to TfL’s final approval and funding. Phase 2 could then be completed in 2021 creating a safer cycle route from Tolworth all the way to Kingston Town Centre via Surbiton.

First phase of Surbiton to Tolworth cycle route along Ewell Road completed in 2020. Photos of new and prior layout.

Kingston Station

Kingston Station is the ‘hub’ of the new Mini-Holland network of safer cycle routes and has seen a lot of associated construction activity in recent years. The main progress this year has been continued construction of the Kingston Station bike storage hub which will have space for 450 bikes as well as bike maintenance facilities, lockers as well as a space for a cafe.

Photos of the new cycle and walking bridge which will take people from Kingston Station towards the Thames and the new Kingston Station bike storage hub which will have capacity for up to 450 bikes

Next to the hub is a new bridge which is approaching its final stages prior to opening. This bridge will better link Kingston Station to the Thames and towards Ham. Together with the Low Traffic Neighbourhood along Lower Ham Road and the due to be completed Surbiton to Tolworth link, this will mean there is a 7km safer cycling route (almost!) all the way from the Borough of Kingston’s border with Richmond upon Thames (at Ham Cross) to its border with Epsom & Ewell (near Tolworth).

Both the bridge and bike storage hub should be open by the end of January 2021.

Anything else?

Right at the beginning of the year, the finishing touches were added to the Kingston to Surbiton route (along Penrhyn Road) though that feels a long time ago now…

Outside of the Mini-Holland programme, due to reduced funding and other obvious priorities, there were few infrastructure improvements to the Borough’s cycle network outside of the Mini-Holland (and Streetspace) programme. However, we were pleased that Kingston Council listened to our suggestion and found time to install a dropped kerb next to a ‘toucan crossing’ (for people cycling and walking) near Kingston Station to make it easier for people to get to/from the cycle path underneath Kingston Railway Bridge.

New dropped kerb near Kingston Station making it easier for people cycling to get to/from the cycle track under the railway bridge

Finally, the excellent and very popular New Malden to Raynes Park walking and cycling paths had its first birthday in 2020!

The future

As above, there are bits of the existing Mini-Holland programme to finish off which should be completed in 2021 with the main construction activity due to be along Ewell Road as the second phase of Surbiton to Tolworth is completed. This leaves the proposed Kingston to New Malden cycle route as the only scheme that would remain outstanding….

Kingston to New Malden is the final part of the Mini-Holland programme but is yet to start construction. We understand that this scheme is ready to start construction as soon as Spring 2021 (it received approval from Kingston Council at the beginning of 2020) but it is currently unfunded. We understand Kingston Council continue to lobby TfL for the funding to be provided but until this is happens, the final critical link in the Mini-Holland programme will remain unbuilt. This is despite large housing developments being built along the route as well as its dismal record for safety for people cycling and walking. We will continue to campaign for this vital cycle route and hope TfL will be able to fund it at some point in 2021.

As a final note, we would like to thank everyone involved in the Mini-Holland programme (designers; project managers; construction crews; cycle lane sweepers; Councillors; TfL sponsors; members of the public who have provided feedback; Kingston Cycle Campaign volunteers and many more) for their hard work and contributions during a very difficult year.

Wishing everyone a happier 2021.

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