Is Kingston really a 'Biking Borough'?

Tonight (13th Feb) Kingston Council has a scrutiny panel to consider the Town neighbourhood's decision to progress with a 160 metre long segregated cycle path across the Fairfield from Fairfield South to Fairfield Road (between The Cricketers and The Albion).

It is proposed that in place of the existing 1.5 metre footway, a new 2.5m footway and a 2 metre cycle track be constructed. Some people have asked the council to reconsider - they say that cyclists will be a danger to their children and pet dogs.

The 'Antis' point to a southbound-only cycle lane on Fairfield West and say that a cycle track is not needed across the Fairfield recreation ground. They also point out the awful condition of that cycle lane. What they don't take into account that the alternative to the Fairfield cycle track is a route about 490 metres including Fairfield South (a bus route) and two right turns (one at traffic signals). Oh, and a motorcyclist was killed two years ago on a 20 mph road which has almost no traffic calming. Is it any wonder that people sometimes prefer off-carriageway routes?   We know that people using bikes like the central Fairfield route because they cycle it already (witness the tracks in the mud - not on the footway).

Today we will find out whether this administration is in favour of promoting routes that might attract non-cyclists to get cycling, and to help existing cyclists or whether it really is not a 'Biking Borough'.

 

 

 

 

Replies

  • By paul at 8:21pm 13 February 2013

Let us know how things go. A similar proposal for Barnes Common as part of NCR 4 got squashed by Richmond Council a few years ago - I hope that Kingston will do better.

The Scrutiny committee, after hearing representations from the 'Antis', from the chairman of the Neighbourhood Committee that made the decision and from the Kingston Cycling Campaign, decided to send the matter back to a future Neighbourhood Committee for further consideration. It came to light that the Tiffin Foundation (approx. Tiffin School) own a strip of the Fairfield that would lie under a segregated path. The Council officers were hoping that a land swap could be arranged or that the Foundation might allow change of use. The Foundation said they were open to considering a democratically arrived at decision, but couldn't say they would endorse such a decision. The Scrutiny said that the issue with the ownership of the land should be clarified before the matter is further considered by the Neighbourhood.

We heard all sorts of ramblings and spurious arguments. Cllr Doe referred to his growing-up in Lincolnshire and that he used to get off his bike and walk when required.

We learned that Councillor Doe had not allowed residents (Antis) to speak at the neighbourhood meeting and that had obviously made them more irate. It was identified that for years members of the public had been allowed their say but on this occasion Cllr Doe was working to a different set of rules.

We also heard a retired mid-wife make the claim that predominantly it's women who walk with children and therefore there was gender-bias in the decision! The same person seemed adamant that no one needs to cycle in Mill Street - even though it is residential, has a University residential campus at the end of it, there's a public art gallery at the end and a pub in the middle. It was astonishingly  NIMBY.   One of the councillors told us he no longer takes his children to Richmond Park because of the danger they might face from cyclists on the shared paths. Give me strength.

 

 

 

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