So there we have it, the plans on the tricky issues get the green light at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and now go back to the Council’s Cabinet for approval. However, the two controversial issues within the Street Scene and Highways Improvement plan have still not been resolved to the satisfaction of some. Moving the bus stops out of King Street to nearby roads looks set to proceed despite opposition from a local charity representing residents with mobility problems. And the battle of the bike lanes rumbles on. El Brute have made changes to the original plan (which would have seen cycle lanes disappear in King Street and London Road) by re-instating ‘advisory’ cycle lanes through the town centre but it still does not meet the expectations of those who want to make Twickenham a really great place for cyclists.

And in case you’re wondering what an advisory cycle lane is, it’s generally marked by a dashed line and cars are not supposed to drive in it… unless they really need/want to. This differs from a mandatory cycle lane which is something that cars have to keep out of. It’s da law. So, there has been some movement on the issue but the cycling lobby are still not impressed and there’s plenty of detail still to be worked through.

Meanwhile the other aspects of the plan such as advanced stops for cyclists at traffic lights, a 20mph limit, better street furniture, wider pavements, more bike parking all look set to proceed as previously planned, which is definite progress.

A Richmond Council meeting tonight (7th Jan) will see the next step on the road to improving Twickenham town centre. And when we say ‘on the road’ we really do mean it. That’s because El Brute’s ‘street scene and highways improvement’ plan goes before its Environment, Sustainability and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee tonight (yes, that’s what it’s really called). It’s all linked to the TWickenham Action Plan…

You will remember that this is the plan to improve the town centre by improving street furniture, widening the pavements, raising the road surface and getting rid of the bus lanes in King Street, moving the bus stops to nearby roads and changing (i.e. getting rid of) the cycle lanes in central Twickenham. Most people agree with most aspects of the plan – there’s some good stuff in it – but it’s also come in for criticism on two main fronts, first in the shape of those who think moving the bus stops will make transport interchange more difficult, especially for those with mobility problems, and second, from cyclists who would like to see better provision for bike riders rather than a reduction in the provision of cycle lanes.

Unsurprisingly it’s the bus stops and bike lanes which will get the most focus at tonight’s meeting. Moving the bus stops out of King Street and into surrounding roads, most specifically York Street, looks set to get the nod. However the cycle lane removal has been the subject of much heated debate and the Council has indicated some willingness to listen to alternative proposals. How far that actually manifests itself in the white heat of a local government committee meeting remains to be seen.

The outcome of the meeting will mark an important step to the plan becoming reality so check back soon for more exciting news from the London Borough of Richmond Environment, Sustainability and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee. You know it makes sense.

* Environment, Sustainability & Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee
* Richmond Cycling Campaign
* Street Scene Consultation Info (now closed for comments)

A bit of a squeeze
A bit of a squeeze (c. twickerman)