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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Boardway Consultation

Our campaigners attended, along with other interested parties, a “blue skies” thinking consultation at the Royal Borough of Kingston’s offices on 28 October run by their retained consultants, Atkins Global. There was much discussion of the proposed Boardway, much favourable, some less so. This has the potential to be a great amenity for the community, to improve the waterside and a safe cycle route into and around Kingston Town Centre but let us await some detail !

Petition to support the New Malden to Raynes Park Mini Holland cycling and walking route

 

A Mini Holland proposal

A Mini Holland proposal

Our petition with over 1600 signatures, both paper and electronic, in favour of the proposed New Malden to Raynes Park Mini Holland Cycling and walking route is to be debated at the Council meeting on Tuesday 13 October at 7.30pm, members of the public can attend;

http://moderngov.kingston.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=137&MId=7870

Please keep signing the petition, every signature helps make the route more likely to happen;

http://bit.ly/new-malden-greenway

The Co-ordinators of the Kingston and Merton Cycling Campaigns have jointly written to the local media in support of this route;

https://drive.google.com/a/dmzone.co.uk/file/d/0ByG6pIbWG27yTDZWWWlZZ0FKZzA/view

Background

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames has a once in a generation opportunity to improve its facilities for walking and cycling and for environment and community friendly travel for all its residents and visitors. Last year the Borough was awarded more than £30million from the Mayor’s Outer London Cycling Fund (the Mini Holland Programme) and has christened the project “GoCycle”. The idea is to promote active travel for all, particularly children, the old and women.

https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/cycle-mini-hollands

http://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200355/go_cycle/1118/about_the_go_cycle_routes_and_projects/3
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Mini Holland New Malden Raynes Park link

The next Mini Holland project, following Portsmouth Road, from RBK, is a connection between New Malden and Raynes Park; a new walking and cycling route. It will run alongside the railway on Thames Water supply pipes and go under the A3 dual carriageway. The new route is planned to open up an area of valuable green space for all ages to enjoy, cycle, walk, learn and relax; making it quick and easy to travel on a traffic free route between the two town centres in a way that has not previously been possible.

The long term plan, perhaps aspiration, at present, is that this route will link with the planned Transport for London Quietway from Waterloo to Clapham and on to Wimbledon which will extend to Raynes Park. It is not yet clear what route the Quietway will take nor, as far as we are aware, has funding been made available.

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Mini Holland Portsmouth Road Revised Proposals

We welcome the revised proposals for the Portsmouth Road mini Holland scheme which have been published by the Royal Borough of Kingston, today, Monday 16 March 2015;

http://www.kingston.gov.uk/downloads/file/1212/portsmouth_road_revised_scheme

These proposals are a considerable improvement on the original proposals. We will be seeking further assurances about the design but, in the round, we support it.

The northern part of the route is a two way cycle track on the river side of Portsmouth Road. This has some impressive features; fully protected space, floating bus stops, refuges for turning cyclists, possibly crossings which can detect bicycles and a well thought out link to Surbiton via Palace Road. It will be valuable for family and novice riders, particularly if it joins the Boardway link along the Thames. It is a reversion to the original design in the bid document which featured such a two way track and is certainly better than the “white paint” in the original proposal in February.

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Meeting to discuss Mini Holland proposals

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 10 March 2015 at 8pm at the Richard Mayo Centre, Eden Street, Kingston on Thames KT1 1HZ http://mayocentre.org.uk/. We hope to discuss the revised Portsmouth Road Mini Holland proposals and feedback from the Sustrans workshop on the New Malden to Raynes Park Mini Holland Link. If you cycle, or would like to cycle, in Kingston please join us.

Portsmouth Road Consultation

The public consultation on the proposed Portsmouth Rd mini-holland scheme opens today. You can find all the details on what is proposed and how you can make your voice heard:

RBK Portsmouth Rd Consultation

You can also read the Portsmouth Road Full Proposal Document (PDF)

If we don’t let the Council know what we think, we can’t complain about what they give us. Rich, one of our supporters, has produced a template to respond to the consultation:

https://stuffrichwrites.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/response-to-portsmouth-road-consultation/

Please feel free to adopt it or adapt it.

The Council’s proposals will not prevent this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxqtgYon0Lk

We want protected space infrastructure so truck drivers can not endanger their fellow citizens in this way and 8 to 80 cyclists will use this route.