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Our response to the cycling strategy

This is a Richmond Cycling Campaign’s detailed response to the Cycling Strategy.

You can see the current cycling strategy document here

You can see the consultation page here

General Notes

We welcome the new cycling strategy for

  • Its evidence-based approach to making
  • The emphasis on improving cycling through proper measures
  • The clear drive from both officers and councillors to understand cycling as an everyday mode of transport rather than an occasional leisure activity

As might be expected, we have a number of comments, and a number of areas we would like improved in the strategy.

These notes use the original copy of the Strategy Document, and their section numbers.

We’d like to see the possibility of many more 20mph areas – as in Wandsworth and many neighbouring boroughs – included in the strategy.

We would like the strategy to be much clearer about how cycling needs to be accessible to all. Our experience talking to council officers and councillors makes it clear that they understand that cycling can benefit almost everyone, with a wide range of impairments, and we’d like to see this knowledge shared more clearly in the strategy. An example would be a commitment to engage with organisations like Wheels 4 Wellbeing.

This should also be read in conjunction with our notes on this page.

Specific Comments

2.2 With regard to funding, we would like to see the borough commit to more clearly identifiable funding streams, including prioritisation of all s106 funds and CIL funds.

A1. Draft network plan: Ideally we would like to see some more analysis of this in the cycling strategy, to show that there is a clear plan to provide more routes, in a more dense configuration, throughout the area. It is also important to establish proper consultation on these: may people may object to specific local schemes if they can’t see how a change in their area is going to have a very beneficial impact to their area directly, as well as to the wider area. We think it is inappropriate to subject each specific change to the whim of overly-specific areas. Rather, the council must make the case for a comprehensive network of routes which will serve everyone, walking or cycling.

A2. While it is useful to review accident data, this doesn’t tell us the full story of why people choose not to cycle. Lots of evidence shows that things like close passes, dense traffic and inconsiderate driving all take their toll on someone’s willingness to try cycling. We would like the council to consider how it can find out why people in the area don’t cycle, and addressing this as well.

A4. “Integrating cycling into new schemes”. This needs strengthening. No traffic or construction scheme should go ahead without clear provision for safe walking and cycling both around the location, and to get to the location.

A7. FORS certification. The borough could be more ambitious here. 2020 is fully 4 years away, and we should be able to achieve gold by then. We would also like to see the council look at what jurisdiction it has over other larger vehicles using our roads – for example school buses, etc.

A8. We applaud this, but we would like the council and local police to follow the example of West Midlands Police and focus their enforcement activity on those behaviours which create the highest level of danger / risk. It’s fine to increase enforcement of cycling on footways, etc., but in reality this is far less dangerous to borough residents than driving while using a mobile phone, for example. The latter should be receiving far more police attention than the former.

A9. Speed limits and traffic calming. London now has clear guidance, with the London Cycle Design Standards. We’d like to see these form the basis of any changes and improvements.

B1. Improved cycle parking. A big ‘yes’ from us!

B4. Facilitate bike ownership. We really like this idea, and we would like the council to look at some kind of bike hire library to help families try cargo bikes and other types of bicycle, so that they can better understand their options.

C3. Schools engagement. This is also great news. We’d strengthen this, by asking that all schools have an up to date travel plan, sufficient bike parking, and safe routes for children to get there. We would stress the duty of the council to support schools in their travel plans, and to support parents and children in making healthy choices about their transport options.

C4. Business engagement. This is another great idea: we love the idea of helping businesses to realise the benefits of having more people walking and cycling.

2.2.4. Helping people get to attractions. A good idea – we would actively support making access to places like Kew Gardens and Ham House much better for cycling. As a part of the strategy, we’d like to see this connect better to the Network Plan in A1.

2.2.9. Air quality. This is an important issue for the borough. We’d like to see the borough starting to look at how to ct the volumes of through traffic in our town centres, and other key pollution areas.

2.4.1 This is a bit we’d like changed. We welcome the analysis the council has put into this, but we’d like to stress that people’s fear of safety can only really be addressed by actual, rather than perceptual, changes. We think this includes a commitment to facilities like those we now see in central London and other parts of our city.

2.4.2 This paragraph also discusses the same issue: it’s important to address actual changes to the cycling environment, and not to assume that training and confidence building is going to get more people cycling.

2.4.4 We worry about this bit. It suggests that investment in proper places to cycle is contingent upon people’s behaviour when cycling. We would argue two things here: (1) The council does not link money spent on anything else to behaviour – especially roads. (2) Only by improving the conditions for cycling will we be able to (for example) persuade fewer people not to cycle on the pavement.

Objectives

A1 Network improvements. We would like to see the proposed corridors included in the cycling strategy, as a clear statement of intent.

A2. Better junctions. This mentions trialling filtered permeability. We think this should be integral to plans not only to improve cycling, but also air quality.

A3. Better bridges. Great! Like many locals, we really support the provision of a new bridge for our borough.

A4. Integrating cycling into new schemes. Another great idea – we’d like to see it strengthened, though – as discussed above, new schemes should be required to actively support walking and cycling.

A8. Enforcement against poor road user behaviour. (See above)

3.2.1 Cycling as an everyday option. We like this too, and would propose that the council engages with cycle parking providers to look at how it can provide temporary bike parking for big events, and to trial new parking locations.

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