With medals galore for Team GB’s cyclists at London 2012 you might wonder what Wiggins, Pendleton, Hoy, Armitstead, Rowsell and the rest of the gang would make of a town centre improvement scheme which got rid of cycle lanes rather than improved them. OK, so the velodrome is not a street and it’s even got a roof, for Pete’s sake, but despite their cushy number we reckon Hoy & Co wouldn’t be impressed. But getting rid of some key cycle lanes is what will happen under El Brute’s “Street Scene and Highways Scheme”. It’s a piece of work linked to the Twickenham Area Action Plan but which is being covered by a separate consultation.
Everyone (or every sane person) agrees that improving King Street is an important part of making Twickenham town centre a more attractive and vibrant place. The idea of moving the bus stops to nearby roads and getting rid of the bus lanes in King Street has met with a mixed response. It should dispense with the steady flow of buses clogging up the road as they collect and drop off passengers but will also inconvenience people needing to change buses. Widening the pavements by getting rid of the bus/cycle lanes will certainly improve the look of King Street but we’ll still have the same number of vehicles driving through it, just in fewer lanes than before.
And what of the cyclists? They’ll now be thrown into the mix with the rest of the traffic, although under current arrangements many King Street cyclists are forced into the main lanes rather than do battle with the buses. But surely any plan to get rid of bus/cycle lanes could easily see the introduction of dedicated bike lanes and still have scope to increase pavement width?
The same goes for the changes in London Road. Getting rid of cycle lanes near the station doesn’t smack of a plan that will encourage people to get on their bikes as part of their commute. It’s more likely to have a deterrent effect.
Although some bus/cycle lanes will remain and the scheme does provide for cycles to stop in front of cars at junctions, with the profile of cycling in the ascendant, plans to reduce rather than increase cycle lanes seems counter-intuitive. Perhaps the consultant who came up with it knows a lot more than we do. Or perhaps they’ve never actually cycled through Twickenham Town Centre. Or anywhere.
The street scene plan is currently in consultation mode and so if you have a view on reducing cycle lane provision in the town centre then you’ve got until 31st August to tell LBRuT about it.