Sunday, 17 May 2015

Wimbledon Quietway

The Wimbledon Town Centre to Plough Lane section of the London Quietway network is currently being planned for delivery in 2016. The work is at an early stage, and will continue to change before formal public consultation.

This article takes a look at the current configuration of Merton Councils planned route, along with an alternative route in order to examine the problems and benefits of each. The Merton Cycling Campaign have not yet taken a position on its preference, and would welcome comments from anyone interested in this important project.

The New London Quietways

The London Quietway network was first announced in the Mayor's Vision for Cycling published in 2013. Intended to compliment the high capacity Superhighways, the Quietways would be designed for those wanting a more relaxed journey on low-traffic side streets.

The Mayor declared the following objectives for these new routes:

  • They will be direct.
  • They will be better-surfaced.
  • They will be clearly signed.
  • Each route will be delivered as a whole, not piecemeal.
  • They will not give up at the difficult places.
  • Barriers and ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs will be removed as far as possible.
  • Where directness demands the Quietway briefly join a main road, full segregation and direct crossing points will be provided, wherever possible, on that stretch.
  • We will use judicious capital investment to overcome barriers (such as railway lines) which are often currently only crossed by extremely busy main roads. Subject to funding, land and planning issues, we will build new cycling and pedestrian bridges across such barriers to link up Quietway side-street routes.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

VoteBike replies from Merton's election candidates.

In the run up to the General Election the national cycling charity CTC encouraged voters to contact their candidates to ask them their views on cycling and five specific policy measures as recommended in the "Get Britain Cycling" parliamentary report.

Ambition
Increase levels of cycling to 10% of trips by 2025 and 25% by 2050.

Funding
An average government spend of at least £10 per person per year on cycling.

Design standards
Create consistently high design standards for cycling in all highway and traffic schemes, new developments and planned road maintenance work.

Safety
Measures to improve cycle safety by strengthening road traffic law and its enforcement and revising the Highway Code.

Positive promotion
Support positive promotion of cycling, including cycle skills training, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

An update on the Merton Park level crossing

MCC finally get a promise of action on ‘multiple failures’ Level Crossing

Risk life and limb and stand in the middle of the Tramlink crossing of Kingston Road in Merton Park and your feet will be in 3 wards at the same time. Merton Park, Dundonald and Abbey wards meet here, each represented by a different political party. But there is even greater risk to life and limb if you try to cycle over this badly neglected but very busy level crossing.

After 3 years of unsuccessful attempts to get the Council and TfL to sort this political no-mans-land out MCC finally brought in the Constituency MP and the Greater London Assembly representative. This has resulted in the Council admitting to multiple failures: failure between the tracks, failure of recent resurfacing leading up to the tracks and failure round utility boxes.

As a result of MCC’s latest intervention, Merton met Tramlink on site, for the first time, on April 2nd to discuss scope of the works and a temporary fix. The full works can only take place at night after the trams have stopped running; Tramlink admit that the only window available to do the work is in October. Until then MCC recommends that cyclists should continue to expect a rough and dangerous ride over this crossing.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Raynes Park to Wimbledon Town Centre Cycle Route

MCC member Harry Cole takes a closer look at one of Merton's present day cycle routes.

With the news that Kingston Council have had a public exhibition of their plan for a Cycle Path from New Malden Station to the Car Park at the Raynes Park Social Club, and are apparently keen to press ahead with the construction phase, I decided to take a critical look at the existing path it will connect to from Raynes Park Station to Wimbledon station.

This is a shared path throughout its length, except for the short sections at Wyke Road and Alt Grove before it joins St George's Road in Wimbledon. It is a generally good quality Tarmac surface with the railway fence on one side, and the rear fences of properties along the other. The railway fence is a good quality one, more than can be said for many on the other side with are generally in poor repair and covered in graffiti. There are lampposts along the whole length, though I imagine that in the dark it might seem rather unsafe.

My main concerns are the crossings by the Raynes Park and the Lower Downs Road tunnels, the variable width in places, and the ending of the path in Wimbledon.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Bicycle storage locations

Merton Council have advised the MCC that they have placed an initial order for eight Bikehangers in order to test their use in the borough.

The Bikehanger is a secure cycle parking device designed by Cyclehoop. Each unit can hold six bicycles, protecting them from theft, vandalism and providing shelter from rain. They can be installed in place of a car parking space on street, or away from the road such as within the grounds of a residential estate.

Merton Council would welcome suggestions for where these first eight Bikehangers could be best used. If you have a proposal, please email info@mertcyclists.org or tweet @LCCinMerton with your ideas.

Following this initial set of eight units, the total order will eventually amount to thirty seven for the borough of Merton.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

New Malden to Raynes Park Link

Our neighbouring borough of Kingston is holding a drop in session today to show the next stage of their Mini-Holland programme. This will provide a new route from Raynes Park in Merton to New Malden in Kingston for those on foot and on bicycle. Described as a "green link", it will run parallel with railway tracks and pass under the A3 away from motor vehicle traffic.

The plans can be seen today (25th March) at the Methodist Church Hall, New Malden High Street, from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Staff from Sustrans and the Royal Borough of Kingston will be attending to answer questions and listen to comments.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Wimbledon Town Centre Gyratory

TFL's relationship with Merton is described as a "partnership" by TFL's Commissioner Hendy. What might have been a Mini-Holland cycling partnership, is now a Local Implementation Plan (LIP) partnership to improve Wimbledon Town Centre. In 2015-2016 this means £200,000 towards improving cycling conditions in Wimbledon Town Centre, to include "identifying" how the gyratory can be madesafer and easier for cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Newham have £1m to remove Stratford gyratory.
  • Haringey have £1m for green spaces and 20mph zones.
  • Hammersmith & Fulham have £0.6m for cycling improvements and 20mph zones.
  • What will Merton make of their £0.2m?

The Mini Holland proposals for the Town Centre appear to have bitten the dust as the "partnership" seems intent on a gyratory, but with "safe" gyrations, and the funds are to include "identifying" how. Which sounds like another expensive report and little else…

BUT WAIT…Merton Voluntary Service to the rescue, they headlined this as
"Merton set to make cycling provision reality'

They proudly herald TfL's 2015-2016 allocation and state that: "the Council will look at the best ways to spend this funding to make cycling as safe and convenient for everyone, including children and families, as it is in the Netherlands". So that's alright.

Hugh Morgan