TWAP! It’s the New Road Surface and Cycle Lanes

It’s not been long since we last talked about the Twickenham Action Plan (aka the TWAP) or about bikes for that matter. But as we begin to see a few signs that the road and pavement works in Twickenham may actually come to an end at some point this spring (or perhaps summer, but definitely, 100% definitely before the Rugby World Cup) we thought we’d take look at the brand new road surface and cycle lanes. The result? Confusion. Confusion for us, confusion for cyclists and, quite possibly, confusion for drivers.

Advance cycle stop markings at junctions?  Nothing says ‘stop your car here’ quite like a massive bicycle painted on the road, or so it seems. Some education is required.

Cycle lanes? We’ve got yes, no and maybe. All at the same time. It’s a very mixed picture.

We all know that the sheer volume of traffic through Twickenham means finding a solution that suits, cars, cyclists and pretty much anyone else is always going to be tricky but here at twickerati HQ we can’t help but feel that bike lanes that appear, disappear then re-appear will make life confusing for all.

Most troubling is the north side of King Street heading towards Richmond. Cars coming from Cross Deep are in two lanes as they turn right into King Street. Cars coming from Heath Road are also in two lanes (bus stop and regular M&S deliveries permitting). But King Street now has a cycle lane marked out and the road simply isn’t wide enough for two lanes and the cycle lane. Should cars merge into a single lane? Dunno. Should cars drive in the bike lane? Perhaps. Should they try to do both?  And what is supposed to happen when the road narrows to barely two lanes at the York Street / London Road junction. It’s unclear. Apart from giving a general indication that there might be cyclists around, these bike lane markings make things ambiguous for drivers as well as cyclists and that doesn’t seem like a good recipe for a safe and sensible approach. Maybe there’s still time for an early rethink or at least some clearer signs and a bit of education?

That’s our view as a driver, cyclist, pedestrian and bus passenger. What’s yours?

Two lanes plus bikes?

Two lanes plus bikes?

A brief video clip

A Vine

UPDATE: On May 11th @LBRUT responded to a question on Twitter about the lanes in King Street from @CindyCroucher. The LBRuT response was, “It operates as a single lane for most of the time, with an advisory cycle lane marked on the nearside… During peak periods traffic can travel in two lanes by over-running the cycle lane if not in use.”
To us that just sounds like usual road use, i.e. if there’s a cyclist in the left hand lane, try not to run him/her over. Perhaps that’s the ‘advice’ bit in the ‘advisory cycle lane’?

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Eel Pie Music Museum Update

Print Remember a few weeks ago when we told you all about the plans for a museum dedicated to Eel Pie Island’s music heritage? Of course you flippin’ do, although it was really the organiser Michele Whitby rather than us who told you all about it. Well Michele has an update for you on the state of the plans. And guess what? Here it is….

“Whilst still looking for permanent premises, the Eel Pie Island Museum will be running a pop-up version, renting two of the upstairs rooms at Twickenham Library, from early June until the end of October. We really wanted to have something in place for the Twickenham Festival and the Rugby World Cup so the chance to do this at the library is fantastic. Local businesses and residents have already come forward to help, both financially and with offers of skills and time. We would like to thank them all, particularly David McGeachie from Tenant Finder, the first business to offer sponsorship to the project. Dave has been active on the local music scene for 15 years and is really passionate about helping make the museum happen. We’re delighted to have him on board.

The museum is being run as a Community Interest Company, which means that all profits get ploughed back into the project. Anyone wishing to contribute any amount, no matter how small, can do so by bank transfer or cheque. Please email me at michelewhitby@hotmail.com for further details.

Really, every penny helps and will be greatly appreciated. We will be making a ‘wall of fame’ for contributors in the museum.”

Michele Whitby with David McGeachie

Michele Whitby with David McGeachie

LINKS:
* Previously on twickerati: Plans for an Eel Pie Island Museum
* Contact Michele at michelewhitby@hotmail.com

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High Street Update – Spring

Our last High Street Update was way, way back in February. It was a time when the election, new road surfaces, bust-ups over school sites and questions about landscape gardening seemed but distant dreams. Halcyon days some might think. But we are where we are. And where are we? We’re in the place where it’s time for a quick update.

Food Hall goes here...

Food Hall goes here…

Let us begin with some good news. The launch of the new food emporium in Twickenham is getting ever closer. The Church Street Food Hall plans to open its doors in May. It will be in the former Langtons book shop premises on Church Street. The responsible adults behind the scheme have steamed up with various providers of essential victuals, including the likes of Borough Wines, to bring a range of food and drink to the twickerati (that’s you, btw). It’s an interesting idea and we wish them well. Will the new food hall help bring in the extra footfall that Church Street so badly needs? Let’s hope so. It needs it.

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Staying in Church Street, Wild Goose has flown the nest and we hear rumours that another store very nearby may soon be bidding farewell to Twickenham. On a more positive note, the Lovers Lights pop-up shop that has been occupying the old Mercado store is moving a few doors down to take up residence in Monica Boxley’s old place.

My word, we’ve got all this way in our update without a single mention of a new cafe. How can this be? Well, to assuage your concern we can report that the former cafe Bellissimo on London Road has had a makeover and is now open longer and later and describing itself as a cafe / restaurant. Good luck to ’em is what we say. Continue reading

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Haymarket Media Twickenham Bound?

Bridge House from... the bridge.

Bridge House from… the bridge.

If, like us, you thought Bridge House, the nondescript office block opposite Twickenham station, was en route to becoming flats then think again. Word has reached twickerati HQ (yes, we do very occasionally get told things here) that the building on London Road is set to become the new headquarters of Haymarket Media. As you will know, Haymarket’s riverside base at Teddington Studios is set to be turned into an upmarket residential development, the plans for which were approved last year.  Although it will keep its Berners Street office as a central London hub, Bridge House will become the company’s new HQ. The company has previously said that it is also intends to have some staff based at the planned ‘REEC’ education campus in Egerton Road in Twickenham. Bridge House might not be the most impressive looking home for a modern media company but its central Twickenham location right opposite the station makes it attractive.

Given that Bridge House has been languishing in an unloved state for some time now, this move looks like a good result for Haymarket and a good result for Twickenham.

Bridge House on London Road  - to become home to Haymarket Media?

Bridge House on London Road – to become home to Haymarket Media?

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Springtime in Twickenham

The sun’s been making quite a few appearances over the last week. At bloody last. If all this sunshine has caused you to forget why you love Twickenham, here’s a quick reminder…

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The All New Twickenham General Election Spectacular…

polling station sign in lbrut
Our Election Result item will appear HERE.

PREVIOUSLY…
Deja vu all over again? You betcha! The previous thread got rather overloaded so we’ve re-launched our election item to allow for three more weeks of heated debate…

May 7th is looming and you’re asking yourself the very straightforward question, “What is the twickerati position on who to vote for in the election?”. It’s a great question. Let us make our position absolutely clear. We regard elections as the very bedrock of our democracy. In fact, over the last ten years we have seen year on year increases in the number of references to democracy across the internet. Furthermore, we’ve shown our support for the use of the internet and social media by opening accounts on Twitter and Facebook and regard good communication as vital for hard working British families. So let’s celebrate the creativity and diversity we have in our midst, right here in Twickenham. To the people at home we say, ‘We hope that clearly answers your question’. Next!

Oh dear. Here at twickerati HQ we’re not very good at politics because we find it so difficult to give a straight answer to a straight question. And that is why we asked five local candidates to write 500 words each setting out their stall for the 2015 election. We said we’d include a link to their website and their profile picture too. They agreed. This is what they have to say to you… Continue reading

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Pic of the Week: Fooled?

When we ran our April fool item about Richmond Council selling naming rights to the proposed Twickenham Town Square we didn’t really expect many people to take it seriously. In fact, we didn’t expect anybody to take it seriously. Imagine our delight when we discovered that someone had written to the Richmond and Twickenham Times to complain that the idea ‘lacks class’. Quite right too! Whether they really fell for it or just wanted to build on the joke we’re not entirely sure, but either way we appreciate that they took the time to write to their local paper about it. Respect, and indeed thanks, are due to Mr or Mrs “Name and address supplied”. Sir / Madam, we salute you!

Who's fooling who?

Who’s fooling who?

LINK:
* The original item
(complete with a couple of very minor edits made after midday on 1st April)

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Turing House Finds a Home. But…

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickeratiGood news for fans of Turing House School, the long awaited local free school. After much searching and a few setbacks along the way it has now found a site from which to launch in September 2015. It has secured Livingston House in Queen’s Road, Teddington. No, we don’t know it either but it’s actually next to Teddington Memorial Hospital. Refurbishment work will now take place make it ready to open its doors to Year 7 pupils later this year. The site is expected to be used for the first three years of the school’s life while the search for a suitable permanent home gets resolved.

Turing House has also consulted on its admissions policy and its ‘admissions point’ – the geographical point used to determine distance from the school. That location looks set to move for 2016 admissions from its current point near Waldegrave School in Twickenham to a new location in the Teddington / Fulwell area. There is also a proposal that 80% of places would be determined on the basis of the admissions policy and the admissions point, but that 20% of places will be allocated according to proximity to the eventual permanent site itself.

And speaking of permanent sites, Turing House says it’s looking at two options on the Middlesex side of the Borough. But guess what? Not everyone is happy with the ideas being put forward. The expansive Imperial College playing fields in Udney Park Road, Teddington is one option but it has met with local opposition. However a second option, just off Hospital Bridge Road in Whitton, has caused significant consternation Whitt-side. Locals there are concerned that Turing House, with a ‘centre of gravity’ for admissions close to Teddington, could end up as a Whitton-based school but one which Whitton children have very little chance of actually attending. Furthermore, there’s additional agitation associated with this proposal because the site is classed as Metropolitan Open Land and so has a certain degree of green space protection. It is currently owned by Hounslow Council. Opponents of the Whitton idea have set up a Facebook page and a petition.

LINKS:
* Turing House Site
* Turing House Admissions Point
* Whitton Against Turing House – Facebook

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El Brute in Sandys Flowers Flap – UPDATED

UPDATE 17/04/15: The Council and Sandys have now reached a solution to this issue. The flowers will stay! According to an El Brute press release: “In response to the Council’s request for action Sandys reduced their A-boards to one and pulled back their plants from along the pavements’ edge. There was some continuing uncertainty over the size of the planters that the Council had suggested could be retained, but losing Sandys’ flower display was not the aim. The Council and Sandys have now agreed that the existing tiered planters will stay”.  We hear that part of the original ‘misunderstanding’ revolved around differing interpretations between Councillors and Council officials of  how strict the enforcement of the regulations should be. Either way, we’re pleased the floral displays will stay. Or as they might say in Sandys, “brill”.
Continue reading

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