March 2016 Newsletter

In the Spring 2016 issue:

  • Kingston Council re-named Mini-Holland as Go Cycle but as the newsletter went to press they launched a third identity for it – Go Developments. Nick gives an update on what’s been happening, and worringly, what’s not…
  • London Cycling Campaign makes it easy for you to tell the Mayoral candidates that you want a city that is greener, healthier, safer and easier to get about
  • Details for our forthcoming monthly meetings – come along!

KCC news March – May


To Go Cycle or not Go Cycle !

ports. Rd.23.1.16

At last some public action on Kingston Council’s “Go Cycle” or Mini Holland programme ! On Thursday 4 February our representatives attended a “key stakeholder” consultation. Draft plans for around half the projects were on show. Some at an advanced stage, others very much an outline.

First the good news; Portsmouth Rd construction works are underway (photos above and below). The southern section is scheduled for completion, although not necessarily opening, this summer. The plans for the northern section look good; continuing the fully protected bi directional cycle tracks on the river side. There are some attractive public realm proposals for access to Queens Promenade for pedestrians. As so often cycling funds are being diverted for other purposes but if it enables the scheme to proceed so be it!

There is a potentially excellent proposal for a fully segregated cycle route from Kingston station to College roundabout. This comprises bi directional cycle tracks on the east side of Wheatfield Way providing a really safe route for families and children to navigate the intimidating race track which is the Kingston one way system.
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Taking Action on Air Pollution

By Jon Fray for the Kingston Cycling Campaign

At the beginning of January the Kingston Cycling Campaign (KCC) responded to Kingston Council’s ten page draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP), pointing out a number of concerns and omissions. The Plan correctly identified that most of the air pollution is caused by road traffic and acknowledged that domestic and industrial boilers and other sources also contribute to high levels of oxides of nitrogen and particulates. Maps in the Plan show that those pollutants were concentrated on busy roads, especially along the route of the A3 and the Kingston Town Centre, which won’t be a surprise to anyone.


Bike Parking - Copy

Road space reallocation: 10 bikes can be parked in the space taken by one kerbside car

We found the Plan to be lacking in ambition in that it did not seem to address the issues of high levels of traffic but settled for actions such as “measures to support cycling including led commuter rides, Dr Bike sessions and maintenance classes”.  While we approve of these things we think they are probably too passive. Our response was that the Plan should recognise the importance of reallocating road space for safer cycling more pleasant walking and bus priority measures in order to provide the improvement in conditions that that people want if they are not to drive.  Quite remarkably the AQAP did not even mention Kingston’s mini-Holland schemes and the £30 million awarded to provide protected cycle routes around the borough. There seems to be a lack of awareness even within the Council of the importance of mini-Holland schemes.
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Tolworth station link

Tolworth station site visit

On Thursday 7 January on a very wet morning three campaigners from KCC met on site with three traffic engineers from Transport for London (TfL) and the Cycling Officer from Kingston Council. The meeting was in response to our letter to TfL sent in November.

Many of our members will be aware of three major planning proposals near Tolworth railway station. To the north a large scheme involving around 700 homes is proposed. To the south of the railway a new Premier Inn is envisaged and, most recently Lidl are proposing to move their UK headquarters to a site at the junction of Kingston Road and Jubilee Way.
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Bike ride with Mini Holland Committee Chair

KCC discuss Fountains Roundabout with Cllr Terry Paton

KCC discuss Fountains Roundabout with Cllr Terry Paton

On a dull Friday morning in December three campaigners from Kingston Cyclists met with Cllr Terry Paton at the Fountain roundabout in New Malden. Terry is Chair of the ‘Residents Committee’, the Kingston Council body responsible for the Mini Holland, or Go Cycle, Schemes. He is aware of our concerns about the very slow progress RBK has made with this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve provision for cycling, ameliorate air quality, and reduce traffic congestion.

We discussed the Fountain roundabout. At present it is a major barrier to safe 8 to 80 bike riding for all. Our preference would be for a Dutch style roundabout and we have argued for that. We understand that is only one of several options the Council are considering; all options will make it safer for cycling and more pleasant for locals.
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Don’t let Mini Holland be a missed opportunity

It is now more than 18 months since Kingston Council (RBK) won over £30m of funding from Transport for London (TfL) for its Mini Holland (MH) schemes. We supported the original bid and see these funds as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to provide safe cycling routes in our Borough and to make improvements benefitting all. We appreciate such new developments take time but progress so far has been painfully and disappointingly slow.
The positives:
1 Work on the Portsmouth Road scheme commenced November 2015. This scheme has improved radically to incorporate fully protected space.
2 We are now able to engage regularly and helpfully with both Officers and Councillors.
3 There are some really exciting and innovative schemes under design. Among these schemes are a segregated track on the east side of Wheatfield Way (avoiding the Kingston one way system), the Boardway along the Thames (bypassing, and allowing access to, Kingston Town Centre) and a semi segregated route from Kingston to Tolworth via Surbiton.
The negatives:
1 In the last year the project has had three Programme Managers and a considerable turnover of other staff. There appears to have been a lack of leadership and consistency at the most senior level from Officers.
2 There is a lack of political leadership and enthusiasm for the Programme. This surprises us as the Bid was supported by all political parties, has clear and obvious benefits for the Borough, is funded by a Conservative Mayor and RBK has a Conservative administration and we would expect any local Politician to support a scheme involving money being spent on, and in, his or her Borough.
3 There is very considerable support for the New Malden to Raynes Park route, which outweighed the poorly informed opposition, but we are frustrated that this scheme does not appear to have unequivocal backing from the Council. We understand there are issues to be resolved with Thames Water but that should not prevent RBK, TfL and Thames Water entering into a Memorandum of Understanding, or similar, to secure funding and proceeding to consultation.
4 We currently understand it is unlikely any scheme will be brought to consultation before the Mayoral elections “purdah” period; March to May 2016.
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Work starts on Portsmouth Road

At last RBK have started work on a Mini Holland scheme! It has taken a while but they commenced work on Portsmouth Rd on 9 November. Contractors will work on the southern section before Christmas. After Christmas work will start on the northern section. They will try to avoid cutting any major trees. The project will be fully segregated from north to south with a bi-directional cycle lane on the west, or river, side.

Illustration of Portsmouth Road scheme

Illustration of Portsmouth Road scheme

The southern section will have fully segregated two way 3m wide cycle track at road level. They will retain the existing kerb and pavement. Separation will be by rubber/plastic recycled 1/2m kerb/buffer, 12cm high. This is straight and the road curves so it will be laid in 9 to 10m sections with gaps of 1/2 to 1m for drainage. Each junction opening will have a bollard to make it clear to motors that they should not enter.
The southern section should be structurally complete by Xmas but can not be opened until it is safe which will be some time later as entries and exits have to be secure too. There will be a temporary zebra south of the Mall. Behind the bus stops, opposite St Leonards Rd and South of Palace Rd, there will probably be a raised ramp for bikes. Buses are about 2 an hour, mostly people going into Kingston.

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