It seems a lifetime since the first proposals for the Portsmouth Road mini-Holland scheme came out. Back then we had a coalition government, we weren’t leaving the EU and Kingston’s cycle scheme was still termed Mini-Holland rather than Go Cycle.
We had councillors claiming that the current “balance” that overwhelmingly favoured motor traffic should be maintained. We had protests that nobody would use this. And we were offered a scheme that would do nothing for those who wanted to cycle but felt that it was too dangerous.
And the council listened to the response. The scheme was inevitably delayed while it was rethought. It opened, in part, some time ago. The remaining part of stage one dragged on. And on.
Today, it was formally opened. And it’s good. I had a very brief hello with Terry Paton who, with Hillary Gander, has continued to push for this facility and more at council level. Kingston Cycling Campaign have tirelessly pushed for this and Andy Allen has been working with the council snagging the route so it can be used as a template for future routes.
No, the route doesn’t go all the way to town. And as a single route rather than a network, it won’t transform Kingston cycling. But forget the snark.
This proves that we can create bike routes in Kingston.
This shows that safe, separate, routes away from traffic are popular and encourage people to use their bikes.
The route is already being used by all manner of cyclists: tandems, families, people pootling to the drops and groups of roadies on a long ride. The mission is now to roll out more schemes, adding in the learning from this scheme.
Now, if only the riverside cafe starts serving a decent latte, they’ll find a huge trade from passing cyclists given the new ease of access from the bike route..