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 Meetings with Officers and Councillors

Officers

On Thursday 22 January 3 campaigners from Kingston Cycling Campaign met with Officers from the Royal Borough of Kingston to discuss their Mini Holland proposals for Portsmouth Road. We were accompanied by the Campaigns Officer from the London Cycling Campaign http://lcc.org.uk/. We saw detailed plans of the proposals for the first time. These were frankly disappointing. The plans confirmed our fears that this is largely a “white paint” scheme with limited protected space for cycling. The areas of segregation are small; perhaps the southerly, heading away from Brighton Rd, 20% of the Northern bound carriageway, which is fully segregated. Additionally semi segregation by means of armadillos is proposed towards the north end, near Kingston, on both sides of the road but only for a short distance, particularly on the southbound. In all, so far as one can tell, only about 20% of the scheme has any protection at all. We are awaiting copies of the plans so we can comment further. There are some nice landscaping features and 2 raised pedestrian crossings but the cycling provision is certainly not to Dutch standards. We made the point that proposals such as these will do little or nothing to encourage cycling among those who don’t already ride. Schoolchildren will not want to ride along Portsmouth Road protected by white lines.

Councillors

On Monday 26 January another 3 campaigners met with 2 Councillors from the Conservative administration of RBK. Cllr Richard Hudson who chairs the Infrastructure, Projects and Contracts Committee, responsible for the Mini Holland Projects, and Cllr Andrea Craig, Lead member for Children and Young People, who is also a keen cyclist. This was a positive meeting. All wanted the Mini Holland schemes to be realised and to succeed.  All, whilst recognising we may not agree on everything, want a degree of consensus to be achieved. All wanted schemes to be designed, so far as possible, for new or occasional cyclists, particularly children. All recognised schemes should benefit the whole community. We discussed various forms of physical protection for cycling such as armadillos and stepped kerbs. On the face of it there is room on Portsmouth Road for more protected space for cycling than is in the current proposal. Without making any promises Cllr Hudson said he would speak to Officers following the consultation to see if the degree of segregation can be improved.

Please do complete the consultation; link below. Everyone we speak to wants protected space unless you say so you can hardly blame Councillors or Officers for being unaware of that;

http://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200355/mini-holland_cycling_programme/1118/mini-holland_cycle_routes/2

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.

Portsmouth Rd Mini Holland Proposals

LCC members in Kingston and the surrounding Boroughs will be aware of the Council’s successful Mini Holland bid. The first proposed Mini Holland Scheme is Portsmouth Rd. The proposals go to Kingston Council’s Infrastructure Committee today, Tuesday 13 January, at 7.30pm. The public are entitled to attend and speak. See this link for the agenda and the details;

http://moderngov.kingston.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=573&MId=7550

These proposals are a hugely disappointing missed opportunity. It isn’t Mini Holland. It isn’t Go Dutch. It isn’t compliant with London Cycling Campaign policy which seeks genuine segregation on roads over certain speeds and/or volumes of traffic. At most 15% of the whole (may be 25 to 30% of the west side) is properly segregated. Around 60% by our estimate is simply white paint, the balance “Armadillos”. In the Mini Holland bid documents almost half Portsmouth Road was fully segregated, the balance semi. In truth this is “old style” London; let’s fit in a bit of second rate cycle infrastructure.

We have no alternative but to go to the committee to object. Achieving full segregation on this stretch will be challenging because of space, assuming the road remains a two way motor road, but they can do a lot better than this proposal. There is scope, and room, for segregation on the northern part of Portsmouth Rd and the southern, although some major works or innovation will be required to avoid a gap in the middle.

One possibility, at least for the northern stretch, is two way segregated cycle lanes on the west side. Obviously this first scheme will set the tone for Kingston’s Mini Holland future and, may be a wider precedent, not just for the two other MHs, but for cycle schemes in the outer Boroughs generally.

This proposal will do nothing to encourage cycling, nor for cycle safety. It will make it slightly easier for experienced cyclists to ride along Portsmouth Rd. Mini Holland is not supposed to be aimed primarily at people who already cycle a lot but those who cycle a little or not at all. Nervous folk will not be pedalling along Portsmouth Road protected by 1.6m white lines (apparently the bulk of the proposal).

Comments from our members on the proposals include;
“It does not pass my would you ride this with a 7 year old test”
“Very disappointed”
“Would not provide a step change in provision for people who want to cycle”
“very poor”

We have always been a local borough group which sought to co-operate with its Council. Sadly these proposals are so inadequate, and much less than originally envisaged, we can’t support them. We don’t know if they have the approval of TfL, or Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, yet. When we met him in the Summer he was very positive and clear in favouring adequate provision for nervous or inexperienced cyclists (only by getting new people cycling will you reduce congestion). We would be disappointed if he had accepted these proposals.

Rest assured we will do our best. If you can make it this evening to lobby the committee, please do.