Whitton Town Centre and Barnes (Castlenau/Church Road Jn) Consultations

Post Updated – 1 August 2013
An update on both these consultations. Barnes was rejected after overwhelming opposition to the proposals.

Whitton Town Centre plans went ahead with no consideration for cycling and no consideration for a 20mph limit, despite the council’s (welcome) enthusiasm for one in Twickenham. We suspect in the latter case it was an easy way to pretend they were doing something for cycling. We struggle to find the outcome to LBRUT consultations (compare with TfL where the situation is much different) but we did eventually manage to track down the consultation report. Frankly, it makes depressing reading, the council actually argues that pinch points which squeeze cyclists into the path of motorists are a safety feature. We don’t know about you, but we would rather not be mobile traffic calming.

You can read the full report here and make your own mind up – is LBRUT interested in cycling as their Mini Holland bid purports to be or is the reality on the ground somewhat different.

We used to say that the council planners, engineers and councillors should have to cycle the road designs they come up with and approve. (do Apple engineers design the iPhone without having ever used a mobile phone?) We’ve now changed our minds – they should not have to cycle the streets they design themselves, they should have to cycle along them with their son, daughter, nephew or niece, and then stand up and say they’re acceptable.

Original Post – 13 November 2012
We spotted two LBRUT consultations affecting cyclists that have come out this month.

Barnes Consultation – Deadline 26 November

This affects the junction of Castelnau, Rocks Lane, Elm Grove Road, Church Road and Queen Elizabeth Walk in Barnes (Map Link)

The main physical changes are:

  • Make Elm Grove Road one way in the southbound direction
  • Remove the existing banned left turn from Elm Grove Road to Ranelagh Avenue

There is no mention of cycling in any of the documentation, another missed opportunity as we receive frequent emails from local cyclists who are fearful of this busy junction. The main objective of the proposals is to smooth motorised traffic, but this will just shift it to the two following junctions in Rocks Lane ((i) with Mill Hill Road and (ii) with the Upper Richmond Road. This is key junction, used by many cycling towards Hammersmith Bridge or going to visit Barnes Wetland Centre and it is also part of Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 4, again not mentioned in the consultation documentation.

Full consultation details online – http://is.gd/P56wx3
Map showing the changes – http://is.gd/s1PoCn

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the tick box online consultation, even if just to say “please improve junction for cyclists” – http://is.gd/F2bYF7

Whitton Town Centre – Deadline 30 November

The main physical changes are:

  • Replacement the pavements on both sides of Whitton High Street and resurfacing the road
  • Provide kerb build-outs for on-street parking bays
  • Raised road at existing pedestrian crossings
  • Raised entries at the side road junctions off the High Street
  • Reduce the width of the road at and upgrade existing pedestrian crossings
  • Possible gateway features could be placed at each end of the High Street
  • Reduce the amount of street furniture and signs and planting new trees

The words cycling, cyclist or bicycle are not mentioned once in the document – similar to what we found 2 years ago at the start of the Twickenham consultation. Introduction of 20mph limits, consideration of cycle routes, cycle parking, increased risk from pinch points for cyclists at pedestrian crossings – none of these things are mentioned. As pointed out in the comments below, it looks like cycle parking is actually being taken out!

As with Twickenham, this is a real missed opportunity to attract more business to the town by encouraging people to come by bike to shop (as many studies have shown the financial benefits of this – here and here). As this site shows, a lot could be achieved in the space available. It should also be noted that Whitton High Street forms part of the London Cycle Network Route 174 (have a look on this map), the main route from Twickenham to Hounslow, again something the consultation does not mention.

Full consultation details online – http://is.gd/tDFmWx
Map showing the changes – http://is.gd/efQkqz

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the tick box online consultation even if just to say “please take into account cycling in redesign” – http://is.gd/Bz1iZA

Some useful resources to consider:
If you don’t design for cycling, conflict is the outcome – Hush Magazine and Copenhagenize

“Pedestrians and cyclists should be considered before other user groups in the design process [not] as an afterthought” – Recent NICE Guidelines

Businesses overestimate how important car parking is – Sustrans

Financial benefits of investing in cycle infrastructure – New York City and Bristol reports