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!

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

Mini-Holland (Go Cycle) – October 2018 update

Progress continues on a large number of different Mini-Holland schemes in Kingston town centre. The main progress since our last update in June has been:

  • The Kingston High Street scheme has finished;
  • Works continue on Wheatfield Way;
  • The Kingston Station plaza is almost complete;
  • Work has commenced on the New Malden to Raynes Park scheme; and
  • Work has started on the main Kingston Vale route.

Kingston High Street – construction has now (subject to a couple of snagging points) been completed. This high quality scheme extends the very successful Portsmouth Road segregated 2-way cycle track onto Kingston High Street until just after its junction with Kingston Hall Road. As a next step, we would like motor traffic to be restricted on the North part of Kingston High Street (between Kingston Hall Road and the Market Place) to finish this link into Kingston town centre. We have also asked the Council to review loading bays and the times when loading is allowed before they are placed next to/on cycle tracks; we understand that this is now being looked at for future schemes and is also being monitored on completed schemes.

Wheatfield Way – construction of the 3m wide 2-way cycle track between College Roundabout and the junction with Brook Street has been completed (signage/paint markings to be added). Work has recently been taking place at the Clarence Street/Old London Road junction (next to Wilko’s); Fairfield North junction (next to Fairfield Bus Station) and Brook Street junction. As per our last newsletter, we have been disappointed in some of the Wheatfield Way works and have been discussing with the Council the improvements that should be made. In good news, the Council has agreed to amend the shared island at the Clarence Street junction to allow easier and safer access by people on bikes. The Council is also looking at improvements to the Brook Street junction too. Unfortunately, despite these improvements, the scheme as a whole will still have a number of areas of shared use areas for pedestrians and people on bikes at junctions. We understand that this is due to TfL not allowing segregated space at junctions due to impacts shown in traffic modelling. We also await confirmation of when the consulted 20mph limit will be implemented on Wheatfield Way.

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Wheatfield Way segregated 2-way cycle track between Brook Street and College Roundabout

Kingston Station – construction of the plaza directly outside of the station has almost finished. The Station works have also included re-laying the 2-way cycle track underneath the railway bridge on Richmond Road to provide a much smoother surface than before. Works on this scheme are now focussed on Wood Street to get ready for the replacement pedestrian and cyclist bridge to be installed over Kingsgate Road in Spring 2019. We have also heard that the ‘Beacon’ planned for the station plaza has been cancelled. We welcome this decision as the savings from this will be reinvested in other Mini-Holland schemes which offer greater benefits for people on bikes (and pedestrians) than the Beacon would have done.

New Malden to Raynes Park – construction of this new route has now commenced. People on bikes and pedestrians will have their own separate paths from New Malden to Raynes Park Recreation Ground where the route will then connect into current cycle routes (which we hope will be improved by Merton Council in due course!). It is great to see construction start on this scheme and we are already looking forward to it being finished.

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Current state of New Malden to Raynes Park route

Kingston Vale – construction on the main part of this route has also finally started! Kingston Vale is the longest individual scheme of all the Mini-Holland schemes and reaches from Kingston town centre all the way through to the Robin Hood junction on the A3. On its way it will connect numerous shops, schools, Kingston Hospital and Kingston University’s Kingston Hill campus. Work has started between Derwent Avenue and Warren Road and will include the installation of new zebra crossings (replacing informal ‘refuges’), new kerbs where these are needed and, for most of this section, the installation of Orcas (or an equivalent) to separate people on bikes from motor traffic. Orcas have been successfully used in many cycle schemes already in London and provide semi-segregation for cyclists from motor traffic. Although we would have preferred full segregation along the whole length of the route, the cost of this would have meant that other Mini-Holland schemes would not have been possible. To supplement the Orca installation, the Council will also be looking at putting in ‘wands’ and segregation islands where these are needed on the route.

What’s next

As above, there are a lot of schemes now in progress. Works will continue this year and into 2019 on the Kingston Station scheme; Wheatfield Way; New Malden to Raynes Park and Kingston Vale. 2019 should also see the start of works on Penrhyn Road, linking the Wheatfield Way scheme with Surbiton (passing the main Kingston University campus on its way).

Kingston Cycling Campaign will continue to ask the Council for any improvements needed to schemes. If you have any comments on the Mini-Holland schemes proposed or currently in construction, please let us know.