June 2017 Kingston Consultations

Background

Kingston Council has already completed one of its GoCycle (formerly mini-Holland) schemes and has several more at various stages of implementation.

The council is now inviting feedback for two new, smaller, schemes. The first extends the Portsmouth Road scheme to the town centre, while the second revives the New Malden to Raynes Park link that was postponed amidst the threat of massive bills from Thames Water and hysterical claims in local newspapers.

Interestingly, both consultations follow a different pattern to the previous ones, with neither asking whether the reader actually supports the proposal. This should make for a lot of qualitative data in the Comments section.

Note that the New Malden route has been published before but didn’t reach consultation stage.

 

Kingston High Street

Link to consultation page.

Closing date: 17 July 2017

Kingston HIgh St
Kingston High Street route. (c) Kingston council

As the map suggests, this is a short route, completing the recently finished Portsmouth Road section. The detail is shown below:

Kingston High Street Detail (c) Kingston Council
Kingston High Street Detail (c) Kingston Council

Here’s the overview provided in the consultation:

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Overall this seems good. There’s one opportunity for comments – here are some thoughts to bear in mind:

  • How will the loading bays be funded? These should be funded from the roads budget, not the GoCycle money
  • Loading bay hours should be clear and no longer than strictly necessary. This will create a hazard and should not become a spare parking bay
  • The route generally looks acceptable; it’s a logical extension of the existing Portsmouth Road route.
  • However, the shared use section at the bus stop may well be busier to what has been observed on the existing section. This will require very careful review.
  • Are the dual purpose pedestrian / cyclist crossings clear enough to drivers? From observation, drivers often seem unwilling to let cyclists cross what they believe is a crossing for pedestrians
  • How will this route work for cyclists wishing to head down Kingston Hall Road towards the new Wheatfield Way route? It’s unclear whether a cyclist will be able to leave the separate route at the roundabout or will have to leave the route earlier.

 

 

New Malden to Raynes Park

Link to consultation page

Closing date: 17 July 2017

This route opens up a link for pedestrians and cyclists between two town centres. As mentioned earlier in this post, this route was one of the original routes that was postponed. Here’s my take from first time round.

New Malden to Raynes Park (c) Kingston Council
New Malden to Raynes Park (c) Kingston Council

 

The first page of consultation focuses on the wildlife and access to the environment. Which is reasonable, riding somewhere peaceful is always pleasant.

Moving onto the second page, this focuses on security and seems to be addressing some of the complaints from last time.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 22.08.29.png

This is interesting. And largely reasonable. More of a community space is likely to attract use, which makes this safer for people. But… does the community space money come out of Mini Holland funding? This might appear churlish, but this is a limited pot that is designed to make cycling safer, not provide a peaceful space for dog walkers. As a reasonable test, we could ask whether the road budget pays for similar public realm improvements? It would certainly be useful if we could offset the impact of motoring in this manner.

The picture above this raises other concerns, however.

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This image shows a shared space for cyclists and walkers. See how the two pedestrians have been forced apart for a sprinting cyclist! Hardly ideal. Given the desire (see above) to make this a community space, it’s not unreasonable to expect people to be meandering and pausing as they walk dogs. This will undoubtedly cause conflict with people wishing to ride from one town centre to another. Even without the high-speed lycra warrior beloved of the local-news letter-writer, there is a need to separate these different users.

Onto some questions.

Firstly about usage and how the respondent would use the link. While this is out of the way for my typical usage, it’s definitely something that is an improvement for people nipping to the shops by bike and that’s worth noting.

The following page has four questions about journeys and the space. Again, nothing about support or otherwise.

Moving on, there are questions about what you’d like to see here. We are asked about seating and public art but not about separate pedestrian and cyclist lanes.

And finally there is the opportunity to provide free-form notes under Further Comments. Some thoughts:

  • The cycle route must be sufficiently wide to allow people to cycle next to each other, holding a conversation, with cyclists coming the other way.
  • The cycle route should be clearly separated from the pedestrian space, allowing for dogs wandering on long leads.
  • The protected nature of the nature trail is welcome. However, the Taunton Avenue end needs to be better specified. This has parking on both sides of the road and exits onto a main road. Care will need to be taken here to ensure that this is truly suitable for all cyclists, from 8 – 80 year olds. Do Merton Council have plans for this?
  • Regular maintenance will be required – including winter gritting – to ensure that this route remains usable and safe

 

Finally

Please do fill out the consultation forms. The only way that this will be a success will be via a network of high quality infrastructure that allows cycling to be the default choice for short trips around the borough. Low quality routes that are mixed with pedestrians will not achieve this aim.

Portsmouth Road Opening

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.

The proposed scheme was, let’s be frank, shoddy.

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.

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Finally open!
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Usable by all cyclists
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The end of the route… for now

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..

Designing for Failure: Wheatfield Way

TL;DR

Wheatfield Way is a key route for the Kingston upon Thames GoCycle scheme, providing what is likely to become a busy bypass of the town centre that connects the station with Surbiton and the university buildings. A safe and convenient cycle route for all people on bikes, separate to pedestrians, is vital for this corridor.

Instead, the designs merge cyclists with pedestrians at each of the frequent junctions along this route. This is poor for pedestrians, especially those with disabilities. It is particularly poor for cyclists and will fail to encourage the take-up of cycling that Kingston needs to switch short journeys from car use.

Context

Wheatfield Way joins Kingston’s one way system. This section has at least two lanes for motor traffic in each direction, with further lanes added for filtering. It is often busy, but in quieter times the posted 30mph limit appears to be observed in the breach. There are several pedestrian crossings, all of which are two stage (i.e. the pedestrian has to wait for two light changes).

Subjectively, it isn’t fun to cycle along, even on a road bike.

wheatfield way.PNG

This route was part of the summer 2016 consultations. Significantly, it took no space from road traffic, instead taking space from pedestrians.

My response to the original proposals is here, as is a further review of the shared space.

The consultations include a plan to reduce the speed limit to 20mph. However, there appears to be little change in road design to make a driver feel that 20mph is an appropriate maximum speed. Crucially, there is presently a central barrier between the carriageways which varies in width to provide filters for turning traffic. While this barrier might be helpful for a 30mph zone, it is unhelpful for a 20mph limit. By removing the separation between directions, the perceived danger increases and drivers naturally slow down towards the posted limit. Mark Treasure covers this in an excellent article on designing streets so speed limits are self-enforcing

Removing the barrier gives several benefits:

  • A self-enforcing speed limit
  • A shorter crossing distance, allowing pedestrians to cross the road in one movement
  • Frees up space for a proper cycle route

The Council Response.

The consultation report for Wheatfield Way, produced by Atkins, can be found here. It is not stated what experience Atkins has in designing high-quality cycling facilities.

It is notable that opposition to the Shared Use Footways is a theme to the responses throughout the document. People know that mixing cycles and pedestrians is inappropriate and dangerous, particularly for those people with sight or hearing disabilities.

The council response to this is to state that this shared use is going ahead anyway. The reasons given in the consultation are that there is no space and that drivers would be adversely impacted otherwise.

This felt like nonsense, so I submitted an FOI request why this was so. Here are the key parts of their response.

FOI response.PNG

Poor car drivers.PNG

So there are two elements to this. Firstly, Kingston upon Thames believe that the guidelines back shared space. And secondly, they’re concerned about the impact on motor traffic.

 

The Guidelines

Let’s start with the Shared Use document. This dates from 2012 – i.e. before the learning from the Embankment separated cycle route, etc. In fact, the flow chart for design of a route on page 8 doesn’t appear to offer an option for creating a separated route. So this appears to be somewhat irrelevant to a scheme is largely separated from motor and pedestrian traffic.

Nonetheless, here’s what they say about Share Use (between cyclists and pedestrians):

shared-use-poorly-designed

And

shared-use-disability-act

…and when segregation of modes is helpful, the document states:

preferred-means-of-segregation-shared-use-doc

I would contend that directly merging cyclists (on what is intended to be a speedy town-centre bypass) into pedestrians walking from a car park to a shopping centre will create conflict, no matter how many surfaces of “different colour and texture” the council uses. This signage only tells people that there is shared space. It does nothing to remove the problem shared use causes.

Onto the London Cycling Design Standards. The relevant section is 4. Cycle Lanes and Tracks.

This clearly states that Shared Use is poor for both cyclists and pedestrians and is only an option where pedestrian flows are light. This is not the case, especially at the junction adjacent to the Cattle Market car park.

lcds-shared-use

What’s more, this quite sensibly states that pedestrians will have priority.

lcds pedestrian priority.PNG

Yet this is meant to be a flagship cycle route. Can you imagine a flagship road route being unveiled with shared pedestrian space and pedestrian priority, purely because it was thought to be a little difficult to overcome a relatively simple problem? It would be laughable.

Interestingly, the Junctions and Crossings section has nothing on merging cyclists and pedestrians. Presumably, this is not seen as an effective, coherent or safe solution

Traffic

Part 4 of the FOI response stated that other designs were rejected “because of the unacceptable impact on highway traffic capacity”. It’s worth looking at the designs in more detail.

 

A Better Design

So what can we do here to provide space for cycling? And will this really harm the space for motor traffic?

 

The first two images remove barely any space for motorists. However, they provide a much-improved space for both pedestrians and cyclists, keeping the two modes separate and allowing pedestrians to cross the road in a single movement.

The second images will be more controversial to the council as they involve a reallocation of space from motorists to other modes. The single lane out of town should not be too impactful; this route is rarely busy for both lanes. This design widens the route to two lanes to allow for the turn into Fairfield South but removes the right turn to Ashdown Road. The design also provides for a better line of sight for drivers turning left into Fairfield Road.

fairfield-b

The final design involves cutting the number of lanes through town from three to two. Ultimately, this answers the question of whether towns are for motor cars or people. The routes into town are all single or double lane at most. Widening the roads through town simply means that our town centre is temporary storage for through traffic, adding pollution and noise to a place for people.

wheatfield (2).png

My proposal for town allows for the large number of people crossing the roads from the cattle market as well as from Old London Road. Furthermore, I provide a dedicated bike route parallel to Old London Road which avoids cyclists being pushed down a road that regularly closes for events and thus invites conflict with pedestrians.

IMG_20161030_130329108.jpg
Old London Road. Proposed as a cycle route.

I must confess that the left turn to Eden Street is unresolved and I invite comment. My present thoughts are that traffic light timing could allow for a crossing to be made parallel (but separately) to pedestrians.

 

Vital to all these images is that turns on the cycle lane are kept smooth – the initial designs showed tight turns that will not be possible for cycles with trailers. Furthermore, a high quality bike lane without obstruction is an ideal route for emergency vehicles to bypass those occasions where there is significant traffic.

Yes, these final options take away some space from motor vehicles. However, a five lane road through a town centre is excessive and induces much traffic. Removing some space will initially add a degree of congestion, but if compensated for by a high quality cycle route we actually add more capacity and convenience for Kingston citizens.

Conclusion.

Finally, we should look at whether this facility works for all cyclists. Certainly, faster cyclists are unlikely to wish to use the current design. The mess at junctions is simply not worth getting off the road for. What we have seen from Embankment is that high quality facilities are used by cyclists of all ages and speeds.

This scheme as it stands might work for slower cyclists. But it’s unlikely to persuade people out of their cars into bicycles. It’s clear that this scheme does nothing to redress the imbalance that presently favours drivers.

However, it is easy to see how this scheme can be improved. A small squeeze on motor traffic provides large benefits in safety, convenience and comfort to those travelling by other means. The funding for GoCycle was provided by TfL to provide world-class cycle schemes. It should be used for that.

Kingston Go Cycle: Kingston to Tolworth

The third route from Kingston in the Go Cycle Autumn Consultations is from Kingston to Tolworth. This follows a busy route to the A3, passing along two shopping high streets.

route

You’ll notice there’s a massive gap in the middle: more on this later.

As before, here are the links to fill in the consultation. It’s vital that Kingston council receive as many responses as possible.

Link to consultation

Link to PDF  of the route (copied and scribbled on in this post)

Summary of Responses

My responses to the consultation are below. A more detailed view of the proposal follows.

 

In Depth Comments

The scheme continues from Wheatfield Way, past the university on Penrhyn Road.

tolworth 1.png

This scheme is largely sound, but some areas require thought. The continuous footways we saw across junctions on the Kingston Vale route are missing here. The crossing to the university should also be made available to cyclists as it is likely that this will be heavily used once cycling is made more subjectively safe.

The scheme avoids Surbiton Hill Road, which makes sense. This is a narrow hill with an unsighted bend and a 20mph limit that many drivers view as advisory. However, details on the actual route for cyclists are scant: Surbiton Crescent is presently undergoing a trial closure to through traffic, while Avenue Elmers is a designated “quiet road” yet there are no provisions to ensure the road is quiet. This will be of particular concern at school times; we should be aiming to encourage school children to ride to school rather than retaining the status quo.

tolworth missing link.png

Once onto Ewell Road, the scheme is largely sensible. The cycle route is sensibly positioned behind parking spaces. There isn’t any note of cycle parking provision; this should be investigated.

And again, continuous footways are required. These are vital for pedestrian welfare; it means that people pushing buggies or those in wheelchairs don’t have to negotiate awkwardly placed drop kerbs or constantly cede priority to motorists.

tolworth 2.png

tolworth 3.png

Further down the road there are two staggered traffic islands. No doubt these will have railings, giving the effect of caging in pedestrians and cyclists. Care should be taken to ensure that cargo bikes and bikes with trailers can easily negotiate these islands – this is not the case with the current island.

tolworth traffic island.png

The route ends at Tolworth, with a curious centre cycle lane that is presumably designed to link up with the existing green centre space on Tolworth Broadway.

tolworth4

There is a gap from the shared crossing over Ewell Road to the single-width lane towards Kingston. A continuous footway over Lenelby Road would resolve this. And yet again, continuous footways are needed throughout the scheme.

Here’s where the route ends up.

tolworth centre space.png

The plans indicate that cycles will be routed down the green island in the middle of the road. The island is presently used as a safe haven by pedestrians attempting to safely use the advisory crossings. It is to be hoped that formal crossings will be put in place to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross safely.

A far better solution would be to continue the single carriageway cycle lanes on the pavement side of the parking, put in some proper crossings, and remove the centre island. Forcing the traffic closer is known to have a calming effect on speed and would help ensure that the 20mph limit is observed (the photo above suggests that Google’s car wasn’t…). Given that this area was recently renovated, I suspect that won’t be an option.

Conclusion

Again, a reasonable route but this definitely needs more work in places. The gap between Surbiton Road and Ewell Road needs addressing, as does the lack of continuous footways.

Road crossings need particular attention, especially where a two stage crossing is used, to ensure that they’re suitable for all types of cycle as well as less able pedestrians.

Link to consultation

 

Kingston Go Cycle: Kingston to Kingston Vale

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.

kingston vale i.png

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 consultation

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.

kingston station crossing.png

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.

kingston vale a.png

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.

kingston-vale-b

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:

kingston vale c.png

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?

kingston vale d.png

norbiton rail bridge.png

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.

kingston vale e.png

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.

kingston-vale-fmanorgate-roundabout

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.

kingston-vale-g

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:

 

Conclusion

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.

Wheatfield Way Shared Space

On Wednesday 14th September, I attended a Residents Meeting at Kingston Guildhall. Much of this was allocated to discussion on the next tranche of Go Cycle [Mini-Holland] developments. However, the meeting soon became a heated debate focussed around New Malden and its fountain. Time went on, and I unfortunately had to leave before the rest of the programme was discussed at 11pm.

While I support much of the non-New Malden briefs in principle, there is much that needs to be cleared up before the building begins. In particular, the proposal to share space between people on foot and people on bikes must be changed. This bodge is done at practically every junction on the Wheatfield Way scheme, changing what should be a useful link route into a conflict-ridden mess.

So let’s look at this.

Background

Wheatfield Way is a busy road with often fast-moving traffic, being part of Kingston’s infamous one-way system. At one of its junctions it acts to cuts off small shops and a Wilcos from the rest of the shopping area. The crossing is typically busy, with pedestrians often struggling to pass each other and cross the three-lane road in the brief time they’re allocated. There is a cycle lane here, linking Old London Road with Eden Street.

 

Mini Holland

To recap, mini-Holland was provided to redress the balance of car-dominated boroughs. Money was provided to generate real change, providing high quality cycling facilities that would enable the latent demand of people who want an alternative to their cars, but are fearful of the present cycling environment.

Given that many journeys are short (a third are under 2km) shifting a reasonable proportion of short journeys out of cars and onto cycles has huge potential to reduce town centre congestion with the corresponding health benefits.

The Unacceptability of Shared Space

The present proposal has a two way cycle lane along Wheatfield Way, that merges with the pavement at junctions to provide shared space between cycles and pedestrians.

This is shoddy, lazy and invites conflict.

Bad for Cyclists

One of the major benefits of good cycling infrastructure is the ability for all riders to travel as fast or slow as they like away from the dangers of traffic or from pedestrians who travel at a very different speed, often stopping without warning. Conversely, poor infrastructure gives up at junctions, bundling people on bikes into conflict with either motorists or pedestrians, both of whom resent the interlopers for very different reasons.

This is that latter type of infrastructure. Confident road cyclists will simply avoid it, undoubtedly attracting the ire of drivers as they cycle on the road. And less confident cyclists or those accompanying children will simply take the car, rather than trying to “share” space that is already full of pedestrians. Certainly, attempting to find a route through people waiting for a traffic light to change will prove difficult for cyclists with trailers or cargo bikes: exactly the sort of practical bicycles mini-Holland should attract.

Bad for Pedestrians

Who loves waiting at traffic lights while people on bikes try weaving their way past you? You’re clearly in their way, but where else can you wait? Nobody likes this. It’s rubbish. A busy road in front of you and cyclists around you trying to get through a busy junction. It’s awful. The only possible outcomes from this are conflict and anger.

Appalling for Disabled Groups

Picture that inconvenience for fully sighted pedestrians. And now do it blindfold. You can’t see where cycles are; indeed there’s little indication for you that cycles should be expected in the same place. And you can’t hear bicycles either – one of the reasons streets can be more pleasant with bicycles than motor vehicles is the reduced noise.

You’re simply going to avoid this space. It’s dangerous and not somewhere to be if you can’t see. The same applies if you’re deaf and can’t hear people calling to let you know they’re passing on one side or another.  I ride a bike and would call myself a cyclist. I’m also deaf in one ear and frequently miss such verbal cues. Personally, I would not feel comfortable in a shared space environment and that’s with a disability I regard as an annoyance rather than debilitating. 

The Equalities Act 2010 requires that all UK Local Authorities have an obligation to ensure that all streets and public areas are accessible to everyone, including people who have physical or sensory disabilities (from here, retrieved September 2016).

While Kingston council believes this to be the case, I strongly disagree. This will be extremely uncomfortable, unpleasant and dangerous for the disabled and impaired.

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Kingston Council on Equalities Impact Assessment

 

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Kingston Council statement on accessibility

I do not believe, despite the council assurances, that this meets the Equalities Act requirements.

 

Fine for drivers

Naturally, this scheme is fine for drivers. No space is removed from those causing a polluted, hostile, environment for people. The council will continue to provide a three-vehicle wide space for motors that are frequently occupied by a single person.

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One person for three lanes of space. Contrast this with the space for many pedestrians.

 

A Better Option

Here are the current plans. The three lanes of traffic are retained and the light blue cycle path merges into the pedestrian space where this is orange. The existing cycle path to Old London Road – under the row of telephone boxes here – is lost to shared space.

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Existing plans. No change for drivers, shoddy for everyone else

And here’s what they could look like.

wheatfield-way-revised
As things good be. Good for cyclists, good for pedestrians. Still not terrible for drivers.

Both roads that feed into this space are widened from two lanes. So let’s instead widen them after the station, with early “get in lane” signage to prevent jockeying for position.

This allows a full two-way separated cycle lane through the junction. There is some question about the cycle route joins with Old London Road and Clarence Street. At present there’s a short cycle route that joins roads on each end of the cycle route. There needs to be some provision for cyclists travelling along Wheatfield Way to be able to turn into Clarence Street but this should be relatively easy to fix.

 

How this Works

  • This resolves the problem that shoddy infrastructure won’t be used.
  • This resolves the problem that bicycles and pedestrians do not mix well.
  • This resolves the problem that disabled people will feel excluded by the ambiguity of shared space.
  • And this redresses the balance in a fair allocation of space away from being dominated motor traffic.

In short, it’s a better project that’s worthy of the mini-Holland moniker and will works towards the goal of getting people onto sustainable means of transport

As an aside, the other shared space junctions along the road are equally appalling. They’re easily resolvable and I expect to see continuous cycle lanes in the final designs.

Response to Summer 2016 Consultations, Part Two

Here’s the follow-up to yesterday’s post. This covers the Kingston Go Cycle (was Mini Holland) consultations for the Kingston Station and the Surbiton-Kingston schemes. There’s a bonus response to the proposed road closure on Surbiton Crescent.

My initial thoughts on the schemes are here. This is going to be a long post, but please do respond to these consultations. Feel free to copy, adapt and share these responses: these schemes are promising but need work to make them truly useful.

 

Kingston Station

Link to consultation

My responses

To what extent do you support the scheme as a whole?

Somewhat favour

How likely are you to use the area for walking and cycling following the improvements?

Extremely likely
Further comments

The segregated cycle routes to the south side of Wood Street are a welcome improvement to the current mix of shared space and pedestrian only space. Similarly, the widened bridge alongside the railway station is welcome and provides a useful link for riding.

As a regular pedestrian in this area I have grave concerns about the use of shared space. This lack of clarity feels dangerous for pedestrians and is unwelcome for cyclists. This needs to be addressed.
The route under John Lewis along Horse Fair needs to be clearer: a separated cycle track should be provided.
The route through the bus stops outside John Lewis should be separated: the current mix of cycles and buses is dangerous, particularly given that buses and taxis are pulling out into cycle routes.

Station Forecourt

To what extent are you in favour of the proposed improvements to the station forecourt?

Neutral
Further comments

It is difficult to endorse this given that all the schemes within this box contain Shared Space.

The Wheatfield Way cycle route must continue to be separated past the station and into both the Wood Street routes and under the railway bridge. This is easy to achieve. The current station forecourt shared space is awful and should be removed. A “tiger crossing” will help pedestrians.
The shared space in Fife Road is unclear. Does this mean cycles, pedestrians and motor vehicles all sharing space? Given that HGVs use this road for deliveries, cycles must be separated from motor vehicles.
The 20mph restriction is welcome but the street layout must be such that this is a speed drivers naturally choose.

Hub and Storage

To what extent do you agree with the provision of the hub and storage facility within the station forecourt area?

Agree

Further comments

More parking at the station is welcome, as is a hub. However, the indicated size of the hub leaves little room for pedestrians and cyclists when heading toward the cinema. This is likely to cause pedestrian overspill onto the cycle route.

Green Link

To what extent are you in favour of the proposed improvements and the making of the Green Link to the riverbank?

Agree
Further comments
The two directional routes and separate pedestrian space are welcome, both north and south of Wood Street.
The bridge is likely to be popular with cyclists as well as pedestrians: space should be provided for separate cycle and pedestrian space.
The green link is a pleasant idea but the route should not be completely shielded from the road: visibility is important for subjective safety for all users.
The junction treatment from Wood Street to Fife Road (at the Bentalls end) is unclear. The cycle and pedestrian routes should continue, with inbound traffic ceding priority. Given that the inbound traffic will be joining from a 20mph road this should be achievable as traffic should already be slow.
The 20mph restriction is welcome but the street layout must be such that this is a speed drivers naturally choose.

Gateway to Kingston Bridge

To what extent are you in favour of the proposed improvements to the gateway to Kingston Bridge?

Disagree
Further comments
These proposals offer little to cyclists. There is no improvement to the shared route with buses and taxis pulling into the carriageway. A separate cycle route would be welcomed by both cyclists and motorists not having to worry about approaching cyclists.
The use of road space under John Lewis should be re-examined. With a rigidly enforced 20mph limit it may be possible to move lanes closer and fit a cycle lane under here. Removal of the road divider should also make the 20mph limit more self-enforcing.
The Horse Fair crossing to the west of the scheme should be single stage so that pedestrians and cyclists are not penalised: it is a nuisance to have to wait for two separate stages.

 

 

Surbiton to Kingston Area

Link to Consultation

My responses

Palace Road

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for Palace Road? (NB the Portsmouth Road junction improvements are already under construction)

Somewhat oppose
Do you have any comments on the proposals for Palace Road?
These proposals do not help cyclists.
While this is marked as a “Quiet Road”, the closure of Surbiton Crescent may very well increase traffic down here. With the road being open to motor traffic, there is nothing to prevent such an increase. Before stating the cyclists can share with motorised traffic, we should be very clear about both quantity and speed of that traffic.
The on-road cycle markings do little to add to cyclist safety and road bumps are an unwelcome distraction: they are difficult to cycle around (as the gaps are in the gutter and centre of the road) and awkward to cycle over, particularly when towing children.
Cycling provision should be made here: sharing space with motor traffic with no traffic reduction is inappropriate.

Claremont Road

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for Claremont Road?

Somewhat favour
Do you have any comments on the proposals for Claremont Road?
The two lane cycle route is welcome.
However, the junction treatment at Maple Road needs to have separate pedestrian, cycle and motor vehicle space. Creating shared space for cyclists and pedestrians does not help pedestrian safety nor convenience or safety for cyclists.
Along Claremont road, we need to see separated cycle tracks and pavement for pedestrians. Shared space should not feature in such a scheme; if necessary space should be allocated to the pavement from Claremont Road or narrowed motor vehicle space.
Specifically, the route past the bus stand and at the Surbiton Station end need separate space rather than shared space.
The space at the Surbiton Station end of the scheme is poor. Cyclists are directed over the road to nothing – not even an advisory cycle lane. This will not entice usage. At the least, the scheme should continue to the station rather than abandoning people just before it.

St Mark’s Hill

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for St Mark’s Hill?
Somewhat favour
Do you have any comments on the proposals for St Mark’s Hill?

The segregated cycle lane is welcome, as is its position between parked cars and the pavement.

The lack of a segregated route down the hill is of concern. On road cycle markings frequently do little for safety; some kind of cycle priority is required here.
The junction over Adelaide Road needs to have a continuous pavement and cycle route, with motor traffic being clearly obliged to cede priority.
As with the Surbiton – Kingston route, this should continue to the roundabout outside Surbiton Station.

Avenue Elmers

To what extent do you agree with the proposals for Avenue Elmers?

Somewhat oppose
Do you have any comments on the proposals for Avenue Elmers?

As the scheme stands, there is little to make things safer for cycling. Surbiton Hill Road is the main road for motor traffic; this road could be made far safer for cyclists by simply removing through motor traffic (cycle and pedestrian permeable). There would be little inconvenience for residents (max 5 minutes driving), but cyclists using this route would not have to share with rat running traffic.

This would make the complete lack of useful cycling facilities on this route understandable; the motor traffic would be low enough to justify this.

Overall

To what extent do you support the scheme as a whole (Palace Road, Claremont Road, St Mark’s Hill and Avenue Elmers?

Somewhat favour
Your comments

The segregated routes are welcome, but must include segregated junction treatment. The shared pedestrian and cycle space must be removed; it is not acceptable to mix these modes.

The routes down the “Quiet Roads” must be supported by removal of through traffic. Mere paint on roads and speed humps do not make cycling safer and will not attract people who wish to cycle but who do not feel supported by the current facilities.

How likely are you to use the area for cycling following the improvements?

Neutral
Your comments

As they stand, I would not use the facilities when on my road bike, nor would I feel protected enough when out with my children.

My four year old can ride a bicycle competently. He would be fine on the separated sections; however, the route does not extend anywhere useful so I would not let him use the present proposals.

How likely are you to use the area for walking following the improvements?

Unlikely
Your comments

The shared space with bicycles does not appeal to me as a pedestrian. The lack of pavement along Claremont Road is unhelpful.

As a pedestrian I welcome segregated cycle routes: these increase the distance between my family and motor traffic.

Bonus Questions: Surbiton Crescent

Do you have any comments on the trial bus / cycle / access only section for Surbiton Crescent (between Surbiton Road and Anglesea Road)?

This is an excellent plan; however this should be reproduced on Palace Road to prevent through traffic using that designated Quiet Road as a rat run.

If successful, this approach should be used elsewhere. Residential routes such as this should not bear through traffic.