Consultation on Portsmouth Road Mini-Holland Proposals
The consultation period for the Portsmouth Road mini-Holland proposals is now open. This proposal has been significantly downgraded from the original proposal which provided a fully segregated cycle path.
Please submit a response, bearing in mind that Kingston council’s stated aims of a mini-Holland project are:
- to improve the cycling experience for people travelling within and through the borough
- to encourage more people to cycle more often
- to make better use of the existing road network, so we can cope with population growth
- to redesign the highway to cater for the needs of all road users and improve interaction between cyclists, drivers and pedestrians
- to reduce dangers to all road users
In my view this revised proposal fails on all counts. While that part of the proposal nearest Surbiton is segregated and would meet the above criteria, the proposed upgrade rapidly descends to using paint and armadillos to protect cyclists.
Paint has long been shown to be useless in protecting cyclists from motor traffic. Armadillos have been used elsewhere, but have been unable to withstand being next to traffic for long. Neither measure will persuade potential cyclists that they are safely separated from heavy motor traffic.
My responses to the consultation are below. A couple of points.
- there is no space to comment on the armadillo separation. Somewhat craftily, the council don’t consult on this part of the scheme. I enclosed my comment on both in Improvement 3.
- Improvement 2 is not about the cycle improvement, but there’s opportunity to comment on adding Dutch style pedestrian and cycle priority over side roads (link 1, link 2).
- Improvement 3 states “segregated cycle lane” for a mandatory cycle lane. This is not segregated.
Update: Following this post, the question to Improvement 3 has been reworded. All mention of the cycle path is removed. It should still be valid to mention this in your response, highlighting that this will not encourage the take-up of cycling.
My responses to the Consultation
To what extent do you support the scheme as a whole? (multiple choice)
To a little extent
How likely are you to use Portsmouth Road more for walking and/or cycling following the improvements? (multiple choice)
Neither likely nor unlikely
To what extent do you agree with improvement 1 – section of segregated cycle lane, depicted in the artist’s impression image above? (multiple choice)
I strongly support the physical segregation of cycle traffic from pedestrian and motor traffic. Being both faster and heavier, motor traffic is extremely unsuitable for mixing with cycle traffic. This has been shown in the Netherlands, where physical separation of cycle traffic has resulted in massive take-up of cycling, especially over shorter journeys. I would prefer a concrete kerb rather than a planter; experience elsewhere has shown that the planters are often damaged by motor traffic
To what extent do you agree with improvement 2 – new access points to Queens Promenade, depicted in the artist’s impression image above? (multiple choice)
The access point is welcome. However, both pedestrian and cycle traffic along Portsmouth Road should have access over motor traffic turning into side streets (in this case, Anglesea Road), as per Dutch best practice. This priority for pedestrians is already in the Highway Code but seldom adhered to by motor traffic. The infrastructure should be altered so walkers and riders have explicit priority. There are many existing examples in the Netherlands.
To what extent do you agree with improvement 3 – section of segregated cycle lane, depicted in the artist’s impression image above? (multiple choice)
To what extent do you agree with improvement 3 – section of segregated cycle lane, depicted in the artist’s impression image above?
This question is incorrect as it shows a mandatory cycle lane, not a segregated lane. This infrastructure has failed to achieve the vision of increasing the number of cycle journeys. Segregated cycle paths will not adversely impact motor traffic; however, it will remove ambiguity regarding drivers parking in the cycle area, buses and taxis obstructing the cycle path, etc. Both armadillos and paint have proven ineffective in protecting cyclists. The only valid option is physical segregation