Monday, 1 June 2020

Bishopsford Road Bridge Consultation - a missed opportunity

On Tuesday 25 February 2020, Merton Council's Cabinet gave the go-ahead to demolish and re-build Bishopsford Bridge, following its partial collapse into the River Wandle after heavy rainfall last June. In May, the Council has been consulting on the design options for the new Bishopsford Bridge

MCC are alarmed to see that the proposals are not demonstrating Merton Council's policies for promoting active travel, particularly cycling. The designs show no segregated space for cycling and the Consultation asks only for opinions on the designs of the bridge's handrails and reflect a 'heritage' design ethos. Of the two options offered Option 2 handrail design looks as though it will take up least width. The greater imperative is that the new bridge does not maintain 'heritage' space standards, and we would hope that they do not become a reason for denying a bridge fit for everyone and which meets the future needs of the Borough. The impact of the Merton's declared Climate emergency and also Covid 19 is that active travel is the future for Merton. 

The Borough of Merton is fortunate to have the River Wandle passing centrally through the Borough, but this coupled with the fact that the railways were here when the Borough was largely agricultural, means that Merton's elderly road and river bridges and ‘cattle’ arches are extremely limiting in providing adequate space for active travel alongside vehicular traffic. The now defunct Bishopsford Road bridge was an example of this bridge/arch heritage, although Bishopsford Road itself demonstrates a generous approach to road design. 

The unfortunate collapse of the old bridge presents an opportunity for a fit-for-purpose replacement bridge for Bishopsford Road across the Wandle. As we face the challenges of climate change and potentially radical changes to our travel patterns in a post-pandemic world, that opportunity must surely be taken and the new bridge designed to be wider than the failed bridge in order to safely accommodate walking and cycling alongside vehicular traffic. The new Bridge must be wide enough to take pedestrians and a protected cycle way in both directions. It would not be satisfactory for cyclists to have to cross the carriageway to get to an ancillary bridge.  

Ideally this would be implemented at the same time as measures that provide safe space for cycling on the road as it approaches the Bridge, but modification of the bridge layout is potentially a once in 200 years event that should not be wasted while funding is secured for the road approaches.  If 'active travel' can dominate immediately, then providing a cycle/pedestrian bridge without any vehicular crossing could be an option, but looking some way ahead to a more populated Merton there is no question that a wider bridge for Bishopsford Road which accommodates all the future need is desirable.

If the river bank of the Watermeads Nature Reserve is to be locally affected by a widening it is possible to visualise a slim cantilevered footway design that would minimise the impact and land required from neighbouring land owners, the National Trust. The slogan for active travel could well follow the National Trust’s optimistic slogan ‘For everyone, for ever’. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Covid 19 and Cycling - How you can help

There's no doubt we live in unprecedented times. We face a huge challenge to change the way we travel to school, work and the shops in order to keep ourselves and those we love save. This means huge and rapid changes to our roads to create safe space for cycling and walking so that people can get where they need to safely and confidently. People of all ages are returning to cycling or taking it up for the first time.

Everyone is facing at least one challenge of some sort at the moment (we're no different) and we're really heartened by how many people are getting in touch to offer to help make sure that people can safely walk and cycle and enjoy the benefits of improved air quality, better health and economic benefits for local shops and businesses that comes with that. So we've put together a list of ways that you can help.

Tell the Leader of Merton Council that you want to #StopTheTrafficTide

Take part in LCC's #StopTheTrafficTide Campaign and ask the Leader of Merton Council to commit to delivering a radical transformation of the roads, so that we can all cycle and walk safely across London. Send an email here https://membership.lcc.org.uk/help-london-stop-tide-motor-traffic-returning 

Tell your local Councillor that you support creating safe space for cycling in Merton 

Merton Council must implement bold and ambitious changes to create safe space for cycling quickly. Councillors need to know that residents (that's you) support these measures to give them confidence to take this action.
Please write to your local Councillor with general support for safe space for cycling, or specific ideas for changes you'd like in your local streets or ideas for safe routes. You can find the contact details for your local Councillor here  (click 'search by address or postcode if you don't know which ward you live in)

Submit your ideas for cycling improvements to the Officers at Merton Council  

Merton Council have proposed an emergency transport response to the Coronavirus pandemic to aid social distancing in the borough. We think they need to go further, faster.
Email your ideas for changes you'd like in your local streets or ideas for safe routes to future.merton@merton.gov.uk. They can be the same ideas you sent to your ward councillor.

You can also read MCC's response to the Council's plans here. When you write to your local Councillor you can express support for our ideas, or submit the ones we've missed. (We know we'll have missed out some great ideas.)

Sign this petition 

This petition is asking Merton Council to do more to create safe space for walking and cycling on our streets. Add your name and don't forget to share it with your friends, neighbours or colleagues.

Join the Merton Transport Resident's group 

This is a group of residents and community groups who want to see Merton Council act more quickly to: make walking and cycling viable options for all (including children and older people) while maintaining social distancing; create low traffic neighbourhoods and make Merton a more pleasant place to shop, visit and live. If you'd like to join, take part, or just keep up with plans please go to:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/merton-transport-residents-group/join  and Request to Join. You can find out more and read the latest news of the group here. 


Tell everyone

Talk to your neighbours, workmates and friends about your ideas for where cycle routes could be provided or improved and why you support these changes. Get people talkign about how we can all benefit if more of us are able to safely walk and cycle - the more voices of support we have, the better!

Become a Member of London Cycling Campaign 

MCC is a Local Group of the London Cycling Campaign which is an 11,500-strong membership charity, making sure that everyone who cycles, or wants to cycle, has a voice in Greater London. They're working hard to ensure the GLA and TfL are implementing safe space for cycling. LCC membership means you’re helping to build a better London. But it also means peace of mind; the latest cycling news; great discounts; and the chance to get involved and #ridetogether.

Join up here - and don't forget if you work for a London NHS Trust or hospital and cycle to work, LCC is offering you free membership during the coronavirus crisis.

Come along to one of our meetings 

We're currently meeting via zoom on the first Thursday of the month at 8pm. We're only a small team so the more people who can help, the better. Find out more here.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Response to “Merton’s Active & Healthy Travel Response to Covid-19” Plan

On 2nd May Merton Council published their Strategy to implement measures to repurpose roadspace to facilitate walking and cycling to accommodate the tenfold increase in cycling that is expected as a result of the travel challenges presented by Covid-19. We’re pleased Merton Council has recognized the consequences of worsening air quality, road danger and congestion that will be caused by increased motor if they fail to act swiftly at this time. However, their proposals need to go further, faster if we are to meet the challenges we face. We have submitted a response to Future Merton, and this is set out below. You can read Merton's proposals and suggest a location where the Council could take action, by emailing future.merton@merton.gov.uk.

We note and support Merton’s acknowledgement that these changes are necessary not only to meet the immediate Covid-19 imperatives, but also to meet longer-term goals on air quality, climate action and public health. We fully back Merton's stated intention to make permanent improvements to cycling infrastructure to support the required modal shift to active travel.

But we have a number of concerns with the Council's proposals, which don't go far enough, fast enough. These are :

  • There are no cycling measures in the proposed ‘immediate measures’. This means people will return to work or school with no additional cycling routes introduced. This will not enable the switch to cycling that the document acknowledges is required.
  • There are no continuous cycle routes proposed in Appendix A, only “spot” improvements. Such key routes will have to be segregated end-to-end, and ensure that road danger to cyclists at junctions is  addressed. Additionally, the density of the network is key, and the topology needs to ensure that cyclists can access all destinations safely. Simply providing space along "key routes" is not enough: cyclists need to be able to get to and from the key routes safely. For example, the planned cycle lanes along London Rd between Mitcham Jct Stn and Cricket Green are welcome, but users will need to cycle all the way along London Rd through Mitcham to the Borough boundary at Tooting Stn. The same criticism applies to Merton High St to CS7.
  • There must be a clear commitment to safe cycle routes to all schools. The wording “promote measures for greater walking and cycling routes to schools” is rather ambiguous. The “school run” is notorious for its contribution to congestion, but school travel is almost all local and achievable by bike - if routes safe enough to be used by children are available. 
  • Introduce Low Traffic Neighborhoods so that residential areas don’t experience an increase in rat-running as car traffic is displaced from congested main roads. 
  • Work with TfL to leverage all available funding. The document, in particular the specific proposals in Appendix A, appears to have been prepared with budgetary constraints in mind. We believe this is problematic: the financial backdrop is changing on an almost daily basis, there is a need to determine what interventions are necessary to facilitate the travel needs (and particularly, active travel needs) of Merton’s residents and businesses. We need “shovel-ready” schemes that can be implemented in a logical order as funding and resources become available. Furthermore, it appears that with the revised Network Management guidance, that local authorities will be mandated to provide for safe cycling, so Merton’s plan will need to be oriented around that.

Comments on the specific proposals 

The national government is encouraging new commuting cyclists onto the roads en masse creating an urgent need for safe, continuous cycle routes. The specific proposals in Appendix A contain no such routes. There are some "spot" improvements, but no proposals for continuous routes that form a network that would enable safe cycle journeys. It is worth noting that our understanding of the revised Network Management guidance issued on 9th May requires that such routes be implemented. This document does not meet this requirement and will need to be revised.

A few spot improvements will not fix a network which is of very variable quality, discontinuous, and largely requires interventions to bring it up to a basic standard of safety required so that the many new and inexperienced commuting cyclists will not be brought into conflict with motor traffic. Cycling must be subjectively safe if people are to choose to cycle rather than drive and for us to avoid widespread gridlock on our streets.

According to the "Costs" section of the main document, it is implied that this plan is for 6 months. The government is already asking people to go back to work. Safe cycle routes - whether by virtue of LTNs, segregated lanes on main roads, or a combination of both - are needed immediately. Not in 6 months. It appears this document was prepared with a budget in mind. This is a flawed approach. The funding picture is changing on a daily basis. The Council needs to plan what needs to be done and if there is a budgetary issue, priorities will need to be determined.

We would like to see the following changes made to the proposals: 


  • Wimbledon Bridge: This location is very congested and problematic for cyclists, and because of the railway, there are no alternative routes nearby (nearest being Ashcombe Road and Lower Downs Road, both 1km distant). There needs to be proper provision for cycling in this location.
  • Wimbledon Hill Road: Traffic always accelerates sharply away from the lights at the St George's Rd crossroads, and road width is compromised, worsened by the presence of the traffic island making it a dangerous location for cyclists. Reducing the width without mitigating measures will make a bad situation worse. The St Georges Rd Wimbledon pavement widening outside Elys will be unhelpful for cyclists who will find it even more difficult than ever to get through the traffic backlog from the crossroads. We reecommend taking a lane out of the westbound carriageway. 
  • Kingston Road: While removing the footway parking is welcome, far more needs to be done to make Kingston Road safe for cycling. The existing cycle lanes are dangerous, encouraging cyclists to position far too close to the kerb. Segregation is required due to high traffic volumes and speeds (20MPH is almost universally ignored). 
  • London Road: We support the proposals, but this but must be 24/7. Cycling doesn't only take place in peak hours; people need to know they can get home safely if they get delayed plus fewer people will work 9-5 as companies are encouraged to stagger their start/finish times.
  • Wimbledon Village High Street: The proposed narrowing of lanes needs to be mitigated; at a minimum "DO NOT OVERTAKE CYCLISTS" signage and camera enforcement.
  • Haydons Rd Bridge: We support this proposal, but just having lanes over the bridge doesn't achieve anything in isolation. There need to be continuous safe routes to and from the bridge, not just a route that is safe for 100 metres.
  • Merton High Street: Remove parking and provide properly segregated cycle lanes.
  • Wimbledon Mini Holland: Implement segregated two-way cycling along the Broadway.  Cycle routes to Wimbledon need to join up with this, creating continuous safe routes.

Additional Measures

The proposals in the existing plan simply do not go far enough to provide safe space for cycling on key routes. This will hamper people returning to work, kids getting to school, and locals visiting our shops and high streets. Merton Council must do more in our Town Centres, introduce Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, work with TfL to provide segregated routes on all of the TLRN routes in the borough, and introduce segregated cycling routes on key routes through the Borough. We’ve outlined our proposals below, along with some comments on enforcement and signage and information.

Additional Town Centre proposals


  • In Raynes Park from the station east to the railway arch should be closed to traffic except cyclists and pedestrians; consider incorporating a large batch cycle park. Alternative covered cycle park in the skew arch.
  • In Morden all traffic should go down Aberconway Road. Morden station east to Morden Road should be pedestrian except for bus and cycle lanes. Remove two-stage signalled road crossing and railings and rephrase traffic lights for full carriageway crossing. 
  • In Mitcham it’s good that London Road is being treated to facilitate cycling. This should be for its full extent as well as approaching the town centre.  Commonside West needs to be added and continuous cycling segregation with proper connection between the Mitcham Town centre cycle facilities and Croydon Road. Remove the two-stage signalled road crossing and the railings and rephrase traffic lights for full carriageway crossing.

Safe Routes to Schools 

Safe routes to all schools are essential. These can be provided for to a significant extent using Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

Introduce Low Traffic Neighbourhoods 

Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs)  need to be implemented as soon as possible in all residential areas that do not already have filtered permeability, to manage the potential for motor traffic displacement from main roads. LTNs have the advantage that they are easy/cheap to implement, initially with filtered permeability provided by a few carefully-located planters. These could be replaced by more targeted measures over time, if need be.
Additional measures may be needed in some locations in addition to filtered permeability, to ensure cyclist and pedestrian safety.

Strategic Roads

All TLRN roads should be treated for segregated cycle lane access:

  • The entire length of the A24, the A238 through Merton High Street to Bushey Road, A236 through Western Road to Croydon Road the A297 and St.Helier are not too badly provided but may require extra help at the A297 St Helier roundabout
  • Elsewhere it would be good to push for Parkside through to Tibetts corner (and the length of London Road A217 through Mitcham mentioned above).
  • Martin Way, West Barnes lane and Copse Hill could also benefit. (the Strategic Cycling Analysis shows Copse Hill as surprisingly cycle active)

Create additional cycle routes to support Covid-Cycling travel


  • Create safe cycling routes to schools for every Merton school  
  • Colliers wood to Mitcham: implement item 34 from the LIP3 cycling proposals map: Tandem Way to London Road Mitcham
  • Morden to Mitcham: implement route through Morden Hall Park to east-west section of Phipps Bridge Road then Miles Road and Love Lane.
  • Raynes Park to the South: implement Item 15 LIP3 proposals map: Proposed toucan crossing Bushey Road.
  • Implement route along the eastern perimeter of Mitcham Common Pollards Hill to Croydon Road.

Severely constricted roads


There are several key routes that are very narrow at one or more locations. These will require special consideration and potentially bold and creative thinking.
The introduction of ‘road works’ style one-way traffic control lights with segregated cycle by-pass lanes, and the use of the Japanese type one-way pedestrian streaming on opposite pavements, could be implemented where roadways are particularly tight. Alternatively, the cycle route could
bypass the location provided the bypass is reasonably direct, does not delay unreasonably and safety is not compromised.
Locations where measures like this should be considered:

  • Durnsford Road railway bridge
  • Western Road at the Colliers Wood end
  • Kingston Road through Merton Park 
  • The Parkside squiggle (close to the Wandsworth boundary) where housing is on both sides of the road.

Cycling and pedestrian shared use

Shared use routes are likely to see an increase in both cycling and pedestrian use. These routes will need to be well sign-posted and managed to prevent conflict and confusion.
It is important, particularly at this time of year, that a broad swathe of vegetation is deliberately cut back around shared-use paths.  Suggest a minimum of 6 metres wide for social distancing and overtaking.

Wimbledon and Mitcham Commons Conservators and the National Trust should consider their Covid 19 policies in Merton. In terms of cycling accessibility, and especially in winter, these policies should include the installation of discreet artificial lighting. (This particularly applies to the National Trust in terms of lighting the Wandle Trail between Colliers Wood and Morden)

Regarding the Wandle Trail constrictions, the arch work at Merantun Way should be carried out forthwith. The northern Wandle Trail approach to the tram crossing should have a new generous rivulet bridge installed.

Signage and Information 

Due to the unfamiliar nature of new road layouts, it is important that everyone understands how they work. Pedestrians and cyclists need to be aware of how to stay safe in the new environment, and drivers need to know what to expect and how layouts work.

New cyclists will need information on where to get advice and support about the range of bikes available for different journeys, (including electric-assist bikes, cargo bikes for the weekly shop or passenger bikes for the school run) as well as cycle training.

Enforcement

This would also be an appropriate moment to consider factors that support cycling:
Implement existing laws and guidelines.  Enforcing the 20 mph limit, publicising the safe passing
distance and clearing ASL boxes for legitimate users would be three obvious examples.

Cycle Hire

Merton Council should be  engaged with all cycle hire schemes, including electric bikes, to ensure that these schemes are expanded and promoted across the borough.

Cycle Shops

Finally, cycle shops are one section of our local economy that is booming. They should be provided with help to provide a safe and effective service to their customers (old and new). Thought should be given to staff safety, as well and queuing.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

MCC meetings during Corona Virus

During the Corona Virus Pandemic we're continuing to meet virtually on the first Thursday of the month at 8pm. We're hosting our meetings via Zoom, and you would be very welcome to join us, even if you haven't previously made it along to a meeting. 

Link to the Zoom meeting: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/242142541?pwd=YUZabzg4UzlUczh3NmNIeUFvdW5lUT09
Meeting ID: 242 142 541

You will need a password - so please email hello@mertoncyclingcampaign.org.uk to let us know you're planning to join and we'll send you the details.

A few notes from our Zoom administrator Charles:

  • There is a waiting room for getting to the meetings and faffing around with your equipment and general chat.
  • By default, your camera may be on, and your audio.
  • So inappropriate noises off, and dress offences will be visible; but you have control, if only of your camera and microphone. 
  • So do make sure you know where the controls are on your screen!


We hope you can join us!

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

MCC's Response to the Climate Emergency

The climate emergency requires us to act now, and we welcome Merton Council committing to making Merton carbon neutral by 2050. However, transport emissions have remained stubbornly high and must be reduced to tackle the Climate Crisis. Cycling is fast, cheap and is a near-zero-carbon alternative for many journeys but is unattractive to many potential users due to poor-quality infrastructure. Experience in Continental Europe is that cycling modal share is directly related to quality of cycle infrastructure. 

Whilst public transport and electrical vehicles (EV’s) have a part to play in decarbonization, it is difficult to imagine a credible climate action plan without a prominent role for cycling, as increasing cycling modal share is the quickest and cheapest way to decarbonize.  We have produced A Response to the Climate Emergency and submitted it to Merton Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group with both short and long term measures that we believe any credible response to the Climate Emergency Action Plan should incorporate and cycling is a key element of this. 

Quick Wins 

Our Response to the Climate Emergency identifies a number of “quick wins” that could be implemented in a short timescale and at low cost. These would significantly improve cycling conditions and demonstrate a clear commitment to cycling as a preferred transport mode.  These would both give a clear and visible signal that Merton is changing and now embraces cycling, and to make cycling easier, more direct and safer. It won’t be possible to build a Continental-quality cycle network overnight, but it is possible both to make meaningful progress towards that goal by picking the “low-hanging fruit”.

MCC’s proposed “Quick Win” interventions are:

  1. Cycle exceptions for no-entry and one-way restrictions. 
  2. Removal of chicane barriers. 
  3. Cycling allowed in most green spaces. 
  4. Shared-use on pavement. 
  5. Shared-use paths. 
  6. Filtered permeability by removing through-traffic from a route by closing one end of a road off using bollards is a cheap way to provide a low-traffic route. 
  7. Changing priority to favour cycle routes. 
  8. Replacing speed cushions with full-width sinusoidal humps which are more suitable to 20mph roads that Merton are introducing. 
  9. Improving existing traffic calming which creates pedestrian pinch-points or are dangerous for cyclists. 
  10. Dropped kerbs where needed, flush with the carriageway. 
  11. Restricting traffic in school streets which improves conditions for cycling, both for children cycling to school and for cyclists in general, as well as addressing air quality and road danger in the immediate vicinity of schools. 
  12. Upgrade existing poor-quality infrastructure, such as part-time/advisory cycle lanes/bus lanes, and remove parking on cycle infrastructure. 
  13. Promote School “Cycle Buses” to reduce school-run traffic. 

Strategic, Longer-Term Interventions 

While the “Quick Wins” provide useful short-term improvements to conditions for cycling, the longer-term goal is to provide a borough-wide network of consistent quality, so that anyone can cycle with confidence, secure in the knowledge that the route to their destination will be continuously safe, comfortable and clean in all weathers, easy to navigate and reasonably direct. With such a network in place, conditions for cycling modal share at Continental levels will have been created.
Merton Council at times gives the appearance that cycling is considered a separate subject to general highway engineering. Often road schemes are introduced with little or no thought given to the impact on cyclists, or to the opportunities for improving conditions for cyclists which would be possible in the affected area.  This culture needs to change. Climate impact - and in particular cycling - needs to be front and centre of highway engineering and needs to be everyone’s  concern. All road schemes need to make conditions better for cycling. There needs to be an end to the culture where preservation of existing traffic volumes are the sole measure of success. Instead, modal shift away from private motor traffic needs to be the goal, because without it transport emissions will remain at current levels. 

MCC have identified the following longer-term measures that should be considered by Merton in developing its response:

  1. Improve the permeability of routes for cyclists to quickly, easily and directly access a destination.  
  2. Increase the number of roads that offer Filtered Permeability - road designs that allows through-access for walking and cycling, but removes it for motor traffic on quiet streets. 
  3. Provide safe, smooth, well-lit Off-road Paths that both cyclists and pedestrians feel confident using.  
  4. Segregated cycleways on busy roads 
  5. Junctions that are designed with cycle safety as a priority. 
  6. Removal of gyratory systems which result in a particularly hostile environment for cyclists where conflict with motor vehicles is almost impossible to avoid, and makes many journeys longer, slower, more dangerous and more polluted than they could be. 
  7. An adequate supply of cycle parking that is conveniently located at people’s destinations and includes non-standard cycles.
  8. Initiatives that give more people access to bikes, such as storage and parking, short-term hire of cargo bikes, cycle-to-work schemes and training in bike maintenance. 


Saturday, 15 February 2020

LIP Service?

To most people ‘lips’ are those bodily elements that crack open for a good laugh, but in the singular the LIP has quite serious connotations, particularly for those who cycle or fancy cycling - and especially those think that encouraging more people to cycle is crucial to taking action to tackle the climate emergency.

Merton Council’s ‘Local Implementation Plan’ sets out how the Council hopes to satisfy London’s Mayoral Transport Strategy in order that, the keeper of the purse, Transport for London (TfL), can cough up the cash for cycling infrastructure.

The London Borough of Merton’s LIP follows the Mayor’s advice in proposing a local cycle infrastructure plan and it picks up those Strategic areas and corridors currently prioritised for TfL funding. The extent of Merton’s cycling infrastructure plan means that, if implemented, everyone can have reasonable access to a satisfactory cycle route. An essential provision in zero emissions initiatives.

The problem is that the first financial year of LIP action (2019-2020) has, thus far, produced little in results. Nine of Merton's ten proposed actions have yet to show signs of any action at all.

‘Quietways’ are part of the package- these have a tendency to get cyclists off the roads to share space with pedestrians- (‘roudy ways’ might be a better title). Four of the 2019-2020 LIP items involve connecting up Quietways. These are currently eligible for TfL cash but we have seen no progress on them.

A ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ is not something that estate agents have cottoned on to yet; they have always assumed that any neighbourhood is liveable provided you can drive to it. But more TfL cash is available to make neighbourhoods more liveable by encouraging cycling and walking. Three of the 2019-2020 LIP items involve preparing a TfL ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ application for either Pollards Hill or Western Road. Both areas could benefit from cycling and walking encouragement but Western Road is more strategic and more likely to attract the cash. The opportunity is lost for 2019; will the Council decide to act in 2020?

Two top-of-the-list items still crying out for action are:
The Beddington Lane/Croydon Road junction; right in the middle of Mitcham Common. Half a million pounds worth of shared-use path converging on a cross-roads that can’t be crossed safely by pedestrians or cyclists. There is an approved  design and until it happens TfL’s half a million is wasted.

The South Wimbledon junction; the busiest in the Borough. After much modelling, scrutinising and blue-sky thinking TfL conclude it is over capacity and irredeemably unpleasant for anyone using it. For the fourth time in recent memory they are having another crack at it in 2020-21 (So the LIP predicts). The, still-to-be-enacted, action in Merton’s 2019-2020 LIP is for cyclists to have sign-posted by-passes to the junction as an option.

With 9 actions outstanding for 2019-2020 there are 9 new actions listed for 2020-2021, that’s 18 before 2021. Having declared a Climate emergency Merton might like to consider the benefits of quickly moving to take action on cycling in order to take action on the climate. You can read the full LIP on Merton’s website here, but here are the details of the schemes that will need to come forward over the next 6 years to achieve their ambitious targets, and we’ll be pushing them to do just that.

Merton's "Proposed Cycle Infrastructure Delivery Programme"

The project numbers match the Plan at the bottom of the page. 

Financial year 2019/2020 

1) Install a Toucan/Pedestrian phase across Windmill Road and Croydon Road. Works are due to commence summer 2019 and will require uptake of common land.
2) Investigate walking/cycling connections in the region of Pollards Hill including connections into Croydon (links to liveable neighbourhood bid at Pollards Hill).
3) Investigate improvements on Sandy Lane and Streatham Road, including wayfinding interventions.
4) Signed wayfinding scheme connecting Mitcham/Tooting & Colliers Wood (avoiding the northern end of Western Road). 5) Investigate bus depot area for improved cycling facilities to link up Colliers Wood to City cycle route with Colliers Wood to Sutton cycle route.
6) Investigate measures to link up the cycle superhighway (CS7) with Clapham Common to Wimbledon quietway.
7) Tighten up kerb geometry at junction of East Road/South Road and the mini roundabout on North Road/East Road.
8) Signing and wayfinding scheme to avoid the South Wimbledon junction.
9) Improve pedestrian/cycle timings at junction of Coombe Lane/West Barnes Lane financial year 2020-2021.
10) Segregated path to link Raynes Park with New Malden alongside railway line. Works expected to be complete June 2019.

Financial year 2020-2021 

11) Provide a 2.5m shared use path in town green alongside Commonside West. This is likely to need Secretary of State sign-off, if stakeholder comments are negative.
12) Improve existing footpath alongside western side of Lavender Park. This will involve resurfacing existing block paved path and possibly widening by relocation the fence line in the park.
13) Proposed compacted gravel path through Abbey Park with minimum width of 2m shared-use.
14) Potential cycle contra-flow on Lingfield Road
15) Proposed toucan crossing across Bushey Road
16) Improve existing link from Whatley Avenue to grand drive to create shared-use path. This will need approval from the land owner, which is currently being investigated.
17) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Martin Way
18) Investigate measures to improve cycle infrastructure between Motspur Park/Wimbledon Chase and Merton Park
19) Investigate walking/cycling connections in the region of Willow Lane Industrial Estate.

Financial year 2021-2022 

20) Investigate potential 2-way cycle track on common land between Cedars Avenue and Watneys Road (subject to approval from the Mitcham Common Conservators).
21) Re-explore improving south Wimbledon Junction incorporating measures to make the junction safer for cyclists.
22) Investigate improvement measures for roundabout and improve cycle infrastructure on Garth Road, Lower Morden Lane and Hillcross Avenue.
23) Explore improving Bushey Road junction particularly the east bound movement from Bushey Road into Martin Way. Investigate improvement measures on approach to junction from Kingston Road.

Financial years 2022-2024 

24) Morden Town Centre Regeneration scheme to provide cycle improvements. Works estimated to commence 2022.
25) Improve cycle facilities on London Road between Figges Marsh and Mitcham Town Centre.
26) Investigate bridge widening/improvements at Durnsford Road.
27) Develop cycle proposals for "missing link and bridge crossing along Wandle
Trail in partnership with Wandsworth Council.
28) Investigate potential to upgrade existing tracks on Wimbledon Common with hardbound gravel surface.
29) Proposed new walk/cycleway through railway embankment improve safety for cyclists crossing of Lower Downs Road from Railway Path.
30) Proposed wheel channel on footbridges subject to rebuilding.
31) Investigate measures to improve the north/south link from Home Park Road to Morden Road via Gap and Trinity roads.
32) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Morden Road.
33) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Merantun Way and use as a night time alternative to using Morden Hall Park for the Colliers Wood to Sutton Quietway.
34) Propose improvements to existing traffic free route from tandem way to Fleming Mead and improve link to London Road.
35) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure from Ridgeway to Kingston Road.
36) Investigate measures to improve cycling infrastructure on Church Road.



Monday, 16 September 2019

Raleigh Mustang e-Comp review

Mark continues our sporadic 'Best Loved Kit' series with a review of the Raleigh Mustang e-Comp. 

For some time, I had been considering going over to the “Dark Side,”....ie getting an e-bike. Much as I love cycling, I tend only to ride on flat routes, as climbing just makes me depressed about how unfit/weak I am. Way back in 2008, I had a cerebellar stroke, although I recovered, it knocked the stuffing out of me. My once powerful leg muscles are now soft and jelly like, the guy who used to ride 44x17 fixed on club rides, and push new riders up steep hills has long gone....going out on a beginners group ride a couple of years ago, I watched guys 10 years older than me, and beginner ladies pedal merrily away uphill chatting to each other, as I coughed wheezed and searched for my lowest crawler gear.

Moving on, this year I decided to bite the bullet, and get the best e-bike I could afford. Halfords were doing a good trade in deal, which brought the price down from £2100 to about £1300 once extras added, about £1600 for the Raleigh Mustang.

I chose it because it is lighter than most of the sub £3000 ebikes... (still a hefty 18kg....although my Pashley weighs about the same without a battery and motor!) It also has a decent (claimed) range of up to 85 miles, plus a bottom bracket motor.

The spec is....Kinesis built alloy frame with carbon fibre fork, SRAM Apex 1x11 gearing with 42 tooth biggest sprocket. 650b gravel spec wheels, Shimano Steps motor and 400w/h battery. SRAM hydraulic disc brakes and drop bars.

So, what’s it like to ride/own?

The bike is a fairly understated affair in all black, not necessarily the prettiest of machines, but to be fair, the looks have grown on me. There are 4 possible settings....Off...Eco....Normal...High, the STEPS motor is fairly low drag, so once above the 15.5mph legal cut off it’s just like riding a heavy standard bicycle...Oh and it absolutely flies downhill...saw 42mph on display coming off the North Downs!

Starting in Eco mode, you feel a little assistance, just a little help.....Normal is probably about the best, and depending on variables....wind/terrain/weight etc, should still be good for 40 plus miles.
High....rapid acceleration lots of help, although can feel a little jerky when assistance cutting in/out at limit.

I have used the bike over the last 3-4 months for a mixture of commuting (25+ mile round trip), leisure, shopping, and touring, including with camping kit. One thing that is frustrating is the rather low cut off speed, most fit cyclists can maintain 18-22mph on the flat, so you are still not able to keep up with the skinny Lycra boys and girls!.... many roads in London have a 20mph speed limit now, also so I feel that would be a more logical limit, enabling better integration with traffic...or even 25mph....(decent club cyclist speed.)

I can actually do my commute in the same time....(about 1hr5) on my lightweight single speed on a good day. Where the Raleigh really scores, though is against a headwind or uphill... same time, predictable commute time.

Steep hills?.....”I am Contador!” Lol!....
Flying up with minimal effort, you still have to pedal, of course, but no longer exhausted at top.
There are a few niggles though...
The main one being the bottom bracket is far too low, especially for a so called “gravel bike”....On a rutted stony track, the pedals ground out far too easily...and don’t even think of trying to pedal around a corner when leaning!
The sizing....Not much choice... for me a 50cm or 54cm?......Went for the 54, as thought 50 a bit too small.... it works ok, but have now fitted a shorter reach stem....much better!
Disc brakes...work well, but short pad life, and expensive to replace!

To sum up?....Raleigh have produced an excellent touring bike....it’s stable, carries load well, perfect for maybe an older cycle tourist?... It’s comfortable especially after putting the Brooks B17 on....oe saddle ok, but needed padded shorts.

On the whole though? I really like it, encourages me to ride more often... I’ve even given it a name.....Due to its looks, and Dark Side nature?....
Folks....meet Darth Vader!