Surbiton to Kingston Response 14.7.16

Summary

  • Claremont Rd is only worth doing if the route is completed to Surbiton station
  • The junction of Surbiton Crescent, Maple Rd, Avenue Elmers and Claremont Rd needs revision and direct cycle routes across it
  • We welcome the segregated cycle lane on the uphill on St Mark’s Hill but this is a busy road and protection is needed on the downhill
  • Avenue Elmers needs a 20mph limit throughout (currently only part 20 mph)
  • The schemes for Penryhn Rd and Ewell Rd, including the Surbiton Hill Rd junction, must be implemented or these schemes are pointless; alone they go nowhere

Palace Road

Palace Road is a very wide residential road which links to Portsmouth Road where there is an excellent, two-way, segregated cycle lane under construction. This road is wide enough to accommodate separate cycle tracks but the proposal only offers road signs, paint on the road and humps. We take it this road has been measured as having less than 2,000 PCUs per day and the 85th percentile speed is no more than 20mph. If that is the case, and continues to be the case, then the proposed Quietway treatment may be adequate. If not then full segregation is necessary.

The proposed humps need to be as cycle friendly as possible (sinusoidal, cushions with cycle gaps etc). Should road narrowing also be implemented ? There are a number of alternative traffic calming measures in the London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS) 3.3.1.

The current speed limit on this road is 20mph, this needs to be enforced. We have a concern that this road will be used for “rat running” following the trial of the bus filter on Surbiton Crescent; there are other alternatives routes, however. The position will need to be monitored and if motor volumes exceed 2,000 PCUs or speeds exceed 85th percentile 20mph then segregation will need to be implemented.

Claremont Road

The Claremont Road proposal does not provide a safe, continuous cycle route all the way to Surbiton Station. This is absolutely crucial. In our view the scheme is not worth building unless it starts at Surbiton station and provides a safe, protected cycle route across the roundabout, past the bus stops, Waitrose and to the clock tower as well as the current proposal. The key axis in the Royal Borough of Kingston is Kingston station to Surbiton station.

This proposal is only part of this route. There is also a proposed cycle route along Wheatfield Way starting from Kingston station. As yet there are no consultation proposals for College roundabout, Penryhn Road, Surbiton Road, Surbiton Crescent (a trial bus and bike filter – which we welcome) and the clock tower to Surbiton station.

We are baffled as to why there are no proposals, or at least plans, for the whole route, even if consultation (as in other parts of London) takes place in phases. This simply does not make sense. Nobody would build a motorway which stops short of the road junction or a railway which does not reach the station! Unless the whole route is built it will have negligible impact on current cycle levels. Anyone who can cycle from Surbiton station to the clock tower will be capable of continuing down Claremont Road (ie someone who, as at present, is resilient and rides in spite of, not because of, the road infrastructure). This will mean the cycle track, unless continuous, is little used.

In addition, there are sections of this scheme where people on foot and on bikes have to share space. This creates conflict and is not in accordance with LCDS save for short “link” sections. At least ten bus routes use Claremont Road during daytime but there is also a problem during quieter periods when it is easier for drivers to exceed the 20mph limit- so the speed limit must be enforced

Furthermore there are specific issues in the Claremont Gardens section:

  • The cycle lane may be too narrow (details are required)
  • There is a risk of cyclists being “doored” (injured by a car door being opened)
  • Claremont Gardens is already very dark at night, with existing personal safety consideration

It is difficult to comment on the current proposals as they make no sense in isolation but the segregated sections of this route are mostly satisfactory. A bidirectional track on the south side makes sense but it needs to be continuous. A floating bus stop, given the frequency of bus services, may be necessary to avoid conflict in accordance with the LCDS.

St Mark’s Hill

It is good to see a proposal for a separate uphill cycle lane, but this is again not of an adequate standard for mini-Holland scheme – there are missed opportunities and a lack of clarity:

  • It is not clear how segregation on the uphill is to be achieved- either a kerb or raised level, something definitive and effective, in accordance with the LCDS, is required
  • The downhill route is indicated by paint markings only. This does not protect a vulnerable person on a bike and is of not of mini Holland standard
  • There is no safe, continuous cycle route to Surbiton Station as with Claremont Road
  • There is no safe, continuous cycle route to Ewell Road

As above the first crucial point is the route needs to join up. It needs to run from Surbiton station to Ewell Road and continue to Tolworth as envisaged in the Kingston mini Holland bid document. It needs to be safe, protected and continuous. There are no proposals in this regard.

St Mark’s Hill is also a busy road (6,000 PCUs a day we were told). No protection is offered to cyclists on the downhill and that is plainly unsatisfactory. There is a real risk of danger. Logos on the downhill will do nothing to increase cycling levels.

Avenue Elmers

Currently a section of Avenue Elmers (off St Mark’s Hill) is a 30mph zone. This needs to be lowered to 20mph (and enforced) if the designers of the scheme are serious about encouraging cyclists of all abilities to use it. We understand this section is included in the Surbiton neighbourhood 20mph consultation which is forthcoming and we will support a 20mph limit.

The northerly section of Avenue Elmers is currently 20mph. Provided the route is 20mph throughout we consider Avenue Elmers is a sufficiently quiet road as to be suitable for a Quietway treatment. We welcome the raised table at the junction. We do not understand the need for white paint and bicycle logos. Should a modal filter be considered at the junction between the two arms of Avenue Elmers?

Junction of Avenue Elmers, Surbiton Crescent, Maple Road and Claremont Road

We do not understand the proposals for this junction which is crucial to this scheme. “Updated signalised junction with combined pedestrian and cycle facilities”; What does that mean? It appears to be mostly shared use (possibly permitted pavement cycling). That does not comply with the LCDS and is unsatisfactory. We do not support it; cyclists and pedestrians should be separated and there is space here to allow that to happen.

We welcome the raised tables on the non signalised arms (Avenue Elmers and Uxbridge Road). To make this junction safe for modal cycling it may be necessary to relocate the lights on Maple Road southbound north of Avenue Elmers and to have a phase long enough for cyclists to cross between Surbiton Crescent and Avenue Elmers.

General

If these were genuine mini-Holland schemes the designs would allow enough truly separated space (or modal filters etc) for cycling as a valid form of transport, relieving pressure on the motor transport network.

Shared space is known to create dissatisfaction for both people on bikes and people on foot and gives concern to RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss and other groups. These proposals contain an over-reliance on road markings and signs with no physical protection offered, and ‘shared use space’, mixing pedestrians and cyclists, which can lead to misunderstanding and conflict.

The routes are not even joined-up among themselves as the danger at junctions has not been tackled:

  • The junction of Surbiton Crescent, Maple Road and Claremont Road must be revised; there should be direct, safe cycle routes across it
  • The schemes for Penryhn Road and Ewell Road, including Surbiton Hill Road junction, must be implemented: without those schemes the routes in the schemes in this consultation go nowhere
  • The bus and bike filter on Surbiton Crescent which is not part of this consultation must be implemented and retained. The trial will need to run for many months to give it a chance to work. Short trials have been shown not to work in other Boroughs.

Without more these proposals will no little or nothing to shift personal transport from cars to bikes. Without a commitment to, at least, join these proposals to Kingston Station, Surbiton station and Tolworth (via Ewell Road) with safe protected space these schemes should not be funded from the Mayor’s Outer London Cycling Fund in our view. As local cyclists that is a sad conclusion for us to reach, after having supported RBK’s mini Holland bid, but it is unavoidable. There is a real risk, certainly, on Claremont Road of building a cycle track which is hardly used because it does not reach its destination; that brings everyone into disrepute.

Mini-Holland funding was awarded to create safe space for cycling, encouraging people to use a bike instead of a car. There are missed opportunities in these schemes. A 20 mph speed limit throughout would give real meaning to the stated aim of ‘improving road safety and public spaces’ (assuming enforcement of that limit).

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