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.