Kingston Council have published their latest Go Cycle proposals for consultation. Here’s a look at the first of those, Kingston town centre to Kingston Vale, shown below in green.
Note the complete absence of routes in North Kingston. This route provides some duplication for routes in Richmond Park but has the advantage of being permanently open.
Link to PDF of route (substantially scrawled on in this post)
Summary of responses
My responses to the survey are below. Further comments on the Kingston Council publication follow.
In Depth Comments
The route starts at the station, using an existing cycle route that passes under the railway bridge. Right now this becomes a complete bodge at the traffic lights, with the cycle route blocked by the traffic light.
The route passes two crossings, making this an “always-stop” junction for pedestrians and cyclists. This should be revised; it’s not reasonable to expect those on foot or cycle to always wait while warm, dry, motorists are given priority.
Once onto Canbury Park Road, this quietway is OK. It’s not suitable as a main route – the lack of protection from traffic is a problem – but as a feeder route for main cycling routes it’s good. It would be useful to see some clarification around how cyclists will be protected at the busy end near Wickes and Big Yellow Storage.
Onto the main route. This starts at the Wheatfield Way end of Old London Road. I criticised this when the detailed plans were published and I’ve since heard that the foot / pedal shared space will be redesigned. However, this won’t involve a reallocation of space from the three lane urban motorway.
Even without the Shared Space merging, space will be extremely tight. There is barely sufficient space for pedestrians to cross the road already; putting three cycle routes through this seems optimistic.
Nonetheless, this shows a much improved junction from London Road to Old London Road and a proper segregated junction onto the New Malden Route:
This still requires a two-stage crossing for pedestrians – it would be good if this could be revised.
On to the next section and this part is largely good, with the exception of the railway bridge. This manages to fit a bus lane in, which is being removed. Surely there is therefore room to continue the bike lane here?
The continued pavements are welcome, especially on the entrance to Asda which presently has no pedestrian phase on the traffic lights.
I’ve also marked that Birkenhead Avenue should be made one-way. This is presently a rat-run, with traffic avoiding the one-way system using this residential road. Making this one-way back into the one-way would avoid this behaviour, with the bonus of removing an always-stop pedestrian light at the other end.
Continuing past the railway bridge, we reach Manorgate Roundabout. It’s clear that the council have attempted a Dutch style roundabout in the limited space available. On the good side, there is a zebra crossing on every arm of the roundabout – a big improvement on the present situation. On the downside, this incorporates pedal / foot shared space, which is unhelpful for cyclists and dangerous for pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities. I’d be very interested to hear of alternative designs.
This is a busy roundabout, with many buses and HGVs using it. The likelihood of these blocking at least the cycle crossings, if not the zebra crossings, is extremely high if current behaviour continues.
Progressing up Kingston Hill, the road narrows and we’re forced back into shared space.
As noted, there needs to be space for cyclists to overtake downhill. In reality, I suspect many road cyclists will continue to use the road to avoid conflict with slower riders.
Note also the need for a pedestrian crossing from the Albert to the downhill bus stop. Without this, there’s a scramble to cross the road or a lengthy detour.
The remainder of the route has a mixture of some shared pedal / foot space where the road narrows excessively and continuous footways over side roads. While not ideal, I can see why the shared space is employed. I’m most concerned about the shared space employed around the shops at Kingston Vale; there must be a better solution available here:
Overall, this is far better than earlier Mini-Holland proposals, although operating on different roads to those seen in the summer consultations. It is encouraging that the Shared Space at Wheatfield Way / Old London Road will be reconsidered. With a few tweaks and the question of Manorgate Roundabout notwithstanding, this is a good scheme. Looking forward to spades in the ground.