Kingston, Surbiton and New Malden Road Changes

The London Borough of Kingston upon Thames is consulting on proposals to change many roads in their borough as part of the “Go Cycle” programme to encourage cycling and walking. This is what one local resident had to say on the subject:

Kingston

The key points of this proposal are:

  1. Imposing a 20 limit on the main road (Wheatfield Way, then Clarence Street and Wood Street) affecting all traffic travelling in/out from/to the South (Surbiton, Tolworth, the A3) and the West (Hampton Court, Teddington)
  2. Filling this route with humps and raised tables, intending to create what appear to be ‘shared spaces’.
  3. Taking away a filter lane and a traffic light queuing lane, both on Wheatfield Way.
  4. Encouraging cyclists to use the route put partially in place of these traffic lanes, and a route running round the outside of main Kingston – ie the long way round.

All proposals need to be opposed:

  1. It is not remotely appropriate for the speed limit to be reduced.  This is deliberately designed to be a loop round the key parts of Kingston, one that through traffic can and should use as a main road, at a sensible speed.  On top of this, 20 is very bad for pollution, something Kingston is struggling with.
  2. They want to put humps in the main road – used by thousands of cars, buses and lorries.  Does this need an explanation as to why it should be opposed?!  Further, these are designed to be like shared spaces, especially round the station – and these are both dangerous and unpopular with vulnerable road users, as you have well documented.  Outside the station in particular is a shared cycle/pedestrian lane crossing a 3-lane road next to a T-junction.  It needs order, not chaos.
  3. These are not minor, just because they may be low use at many times.  The scheme talks of wanting to reduce congestion, but on a road that already easily gets heavily congested, taking away any road space like this will only lead to one thing.  (The scheme says “some journey times will change slightly” – I presume this is easily translated?).
  4. This is just not a good cycle route.  The short way from Surbiton to Kingston Station (Which incidentally is a heavy bus centre but very low traffic usage) is Brook Street, Eden Street, Castle Street and Fife Road.  Those using the mini-Holland mess on Portsmouth Road will use High Street, not join this.   This is a rotten proposal all round.

Surbiton:

The plans are:

  1. Narrow Claremont Road, removing parking spaces, for a separate cycleway
  2. Making a mess of the Claremont Road/Maple Road junction
  3. Adding more humps – to Avenue Elmers this time
  4. Closing Surbiton Crescent (which doesn’t appear to be up for consultation?!)
  5. Painting lots of bicycle signs on roads.

This should also be opposed:

  1. Those parking spaces are well used.  If not during operational hours, that’s because the restrictions are overly oppressive.  Their loss cannot be good for the residents or business along there.

Also, this seem to create a number of hazards with pedestrians, at the The Crescent junction, and at the bus stop half way down Claremont Road, which is quite well used, very well served, and incidentally also right by a crossing linking the park to a footpath.  This cycle land is a very bad design.

A better design would be a lane round The Crescent, which is not significantly longer, uses a much quieter road, can avoid issues where that road meets Claremont Road, and shouldn’t interfere nearly as much with pedestrians.

  1. I just don’t understand where cyclists and pedestrians are supposed to go on this junction.  It’s just not friendly to users.

3/4. These are completely pointless.  What benefit do they bring, other than to waste more money recklessly thrown at these schemes?

New Malden:

The plan here is to replace the Fountain Roundabout with a traffic light junction.

Actually, this I approve of.  Though roundabouts may have more capacity than traffic lights, it’s no good when they are naturally poorly designed, too small for the levels of traffic, and quite genuinely hazardous.  It is also true that, while ‘New Malden Fountain’ is a landmark of sorts, it is completely unreachable.  I do not agree that the crossings are pedestrian unfriendly, at least for a roundabout, but the alternative is better.

The only complaint is that No Right Turn from Malden Road to Burlington Road.  Quite apart from affecting the 265 bus route, this is unnecessary, and primarily a pain to locals.  This is a tweak, though.

The most important part of this proposal though is that it does (even if by accident) consider road users.

It is important to note that once again there is lots of money being thrown at big schemes on main roads that are designed to impede motor traffic.  The schemes even invite ‘cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users’ to respond – not even naming drivers as users of note!

This must be opposed.  It must have alarmed you and many of your readers to see absolutely no regard paid to drivers’ needs by any of the mayoral candidates in the London Mayoral elections, and here is another example of motorists being ignored.  Drivers must therefore speak up; planners must know that drivers care, drivers will fight for their space, and that drivers are going to keep on driving. Most of these plans ignore drivers, dismissing them as a problem, a nuisance, a disease that can be cured.  It must be heard that to ignore or treat drivers like this is unacceptable.

These plans will probably not be dumped regardless – so it is worth pointing out that the New Malden plan shows drivers’ needs can be considered too, and that schemes can be designed for their benefit.

I hope you, and all members in the area, take the time to respond, and strongly oppose the Kingston and Surbiton proposals.

The public consultations on these schemes are present here: http://consult.kingston.gov.uk/portal/planning/go/consultations_summer_2016/

But you need to respond by the 18th July.

Roger Lawson 13/7/2016

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