Last night I went to the council’s Cycling Liaison Group. And for a body whose objective is “to get more people cycling, more safely, more often”, it didn’t strike me as having particularly high expectations.
First off, we talked about Sky Rides, which are aimed at increasing leisure cycling. In August, the several hundred thousand people in Richmond sent less than 200 people on these rides, although it looks like later months may improve. Someone asked whether there’s any programme which looks at how you get people from SkyRides to consider commuting, or doing anything other than thinking of the bike as a leisure activity. That didn’t seem to be a big goal for SkyRide or Richmond, however, because no-one knew.
Later we talked about the plans to spend a grand total of £305,000 on ‘improvements’ around the borough. Most entertaining related to Kew Road:
Here you can see lovely mandatory cycle lanes down both sides, but the one on the left only operates for two hours a day, so the rest of the time it’s just a car park and the opportunity to be doored.
But that’s two hours too much dedicated cycling provision: soon they’re going to remove those cycle lanes altogether and urge people to cycle down the badly maintained car park known as Ennerdale Road.
More details in a later post, but I went away underwhelmed: Richmond had assembled the council cycling champion, councillors responsible for transport, Sustrans, CTC, LCC Richmond and a host of other interested bodies, and we spent two hours talking about piecemeal measures devoted to minor incremntal improvements to cycling in the borough.
Still, you only need to read the last draft of Richmond’s Local Implementation Plan to understand the grand depth and breadth of their ambition: single percentage points increase in cycling and walking modal share in three years, and more waffle about walking and cycling for leisure than as meaninfgul transport alternatives.