An open letter to Richmond Council

Dear Councillors,

Some of you were at the Cycling Liaison Group at the beginning of this month, and you saw the strength of feeling among cyclists about the Twickenham plans.

But I want to ask you to look at this differently. 

By choosing to provide dedicated, inviting cycling facilities in the new Twickenham development, you have a great chance to affect the lives of almost every person in the borough for the better.

There’s a lot of recent research which tells us: 
– People arriving by bicycle and foot are very good customers to have
– People don’t like hanging around in areas dominated by motor traffic
– Lots of people don’t cycle because they think it’s unsafe, and painting advisory cycle lanes on roads doesn’t make them feel safe
– If you build more space for cars, they will use it
– “If you build it, they will come”: towns and cities across the country have seen almost continuous growth in cycling as they provide dedicated facilities which don’t require cyclists to be in conflict with motor traffic. 
– That local people want to cycle

I believe that you can build Twickenham to be a really welcoming, vibrant place for the people who will visit in 2015, as well as for locals, and I believe that all the problems we hear about can be overcome:
– Deliveries can be scheduled or restructured so they don’t need to block cycle facilities
– Car parking can be provided without endangering cyclists or inconveniencing pedestrians
– Traffic in the area can be re-shaped to remove the need for so many journeys through Twickenham town centre

By making Twickenham town centre a genuinely inviting place to cycle, you can et the tone for the whole borough. Building quality cycle infrastructure has benefits for cyclists, pedestrians, and for drivers, and by showing local people how cycling really is an option, we can open opportunities across the borough to reduce congestion, increase life expectancy, and encourage more people to spend more time at our shops, in our leisure facilities, and enjoying our beautiful borough. 

If, however, you choose to carry on with the plans as they look at the moment, you’ll be re-creating a Twickenham which will continue to be a rat-run to the A316, a place where people stop for a minimal amount of time to do basic shopping, and a blot on our borough.

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