Sutton Cycle Forum January 2018

Overview

The first Sutton Cycle Forum of 2018 (and the ninth since the borough’s Cycling Strategy was approved in November 2015, and subsequently published in February 2016) took place on 9 January 2018 at the offices of Sutton Council, Denmark Road.

Notes on the previous forum meeting, held on 26 September 2017, are available in Sutton Cycle Forum September 2017.

SuttonCycleForumJanuary2018_v33_05_SuttonGreen_CycleParking

Agenda for 9 January 2018 Cycle Forum

The following agenda for the January meeting had been received on 2 January 2018:

  1. Minutes of meeting held on 26 September 2017
  2. Schemes update and discussion of 2018/19 priorities
  3. Date of next meeting
  4. Any Other Business

A disappointing agenda again, especially when you consider that the minutes of the Cycle Forum held on 26 September 2017 provided suggested agenda items for this January Cycle Forum to include:

  • Quietway update
  • Sutton Town Centre Masterplan
  • Liveable Neighbourhoods update – Opportunity Sutton Town Centre
  • Cycling Strategy Update.

Note: Item 1 (Minutes of meeting held on 26 September 2017) involved reviewing the actions from the September 2017 forum. There was little, if any, discussion on priorities for 2018/19 (item 2), as there did not appear to be any in the pipeline (perhaps due to uncertainties around LIP funding and, possibly, new interim guidance).

A ‘Schemes Update’  document had been received on 5 January 2018.

Attendees, 9 January 2018: Lynn Robinson (Kingston and Sutton Shared Services, with responsibility for two Local Committee areas (Cheam North and Worcester Park; Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont)), Leigh Gravenor (Chair, Kingston and Sutton Shared Services), Hitesh Wadher (Kingston and Sutton Shared Services, with responsibility for two Local Committee areas (Sutton; St Helier, The Wrythe and Wandle Valley)), plus cycling group representatives John Kinnear, Charles Martin, Colin Quemby, Shirley Quemby, Maeve Tomlinson. We were joined briefly by Kevin Williams (Kingston and Sutton Shared Services, with responsibilities for the Beddington North TfL Major Scheme). Apologies had been received from Cllr. Manual Abellan (Liberal Democrat, Beddington South, Vice-chair Environment and Neighbourhood Committee).

Headlines from the January 2018 meeting…

What has happened since the September 2017 Cycle Forum? What is new on the horizon?

Mixed outcomes, and a couple of disappointments…..

Good news

It was announced that funding has been confirmed for the major Beddington Lane scheme. There is now also a dedicated website Beddington North TfL Major Scheme, which provides background details, progress reports, and a link to the feedback on the consultation survey.

New cycle stands have been installed by Sutton Green on Sutton High Street (Sutton North). However, it would also be useful to have cycle stands installed further south on Sutton High Street, by the new development (including new shops) between Crown Road and Vale Road. (Why these have not been secured as part of a planning obligation here is not known). Our request for the provision of cycle parking at the various venues used for the local committee meetings across the borough was first requested at the Cycle Forum in March 2016. This still appears not to have materialised.

Unsurfaced track between Green Lane and The Hamptons in Worcester Park has been upgraded with a tarmac surface.

Five (small) areas of the borough are currently being considered as future 20mph zones. We are asking for all future engagement with residents on 20mph consultations to embrace the Healthy Streets approach and aspire to deliver Liveable Neighbourhoods so that active travel will be the obvious first choice for local journeys. A 20mph speed limit, although very welcome, will not result in many people cycling if streets continue to carry high traffic volumes.

An assessment of Sutton’s streets, in terms of the Cycling Level of Service, has began. It is hoped to have feedback on this, in a Cycle Network Plan, at the next Cycle Forum in April 2018. 

Disappointments

The Beddington Lane project is to go ahead as originally proposed (in other words, the improvements we suggested for the Marlowe Way (Asda) intersection layout, as detailed in our response to consultation, are not being incorporated).

A plan for proposed cycle improvements on Middleton Road was presented to the forum, essentially consisting of paint on the carriageway! (We rejected the proposal, so hopefully something better will be delivered).

There was no real news on the Quietway (St Helier to Sutton). There is now the expectation that progress has been put on hold until after the Council elections on 3 May 2018.

Our request for cycling levels to be monitored on the Green Wrythe Lane shared-use footway (from April 2017) had not been progressed.

The complexity of reporting cycling related issues through the Report It portal on Sutton Council’s website have not been fully resolved. We restated that this is not a maintenance issue, but rather a design issue.

Since the last Cycle Forum in September, we had learned that Sutton did not submit a bid in for Liveable Neighbourhood funding 2018/2019.

Staff resources remains an issue. No replacement has been found for Yinak Danityan, former Senior Professional Engineer with responsibilities for Beddington and Wallington, Carshalton and Clockhouse, who had left the council in the spring or early summer 2017. Ian Price is continuing to take on responsibilities for these areas.

As was the case at the Cycle Forum in September 2017, there were no updates, or substantive progress reports, on:

The first three items on that seven-point bullet list had been requested in the AOB to the July 2017 Cycle Forum (and pre-date that as points of interest). Butter Hill (by Mill Lane) was mentioned at the Cycle Forum meeting of September 2016. Safety issues at the Ross Parade/Clarendon Road/Ross Road junction have been of a concern for a number of years. The TfL Report Summary (an action outstanding from April 2017), not reported on. Effectively forgotten about, and no even sure what it referred too. So we that will not be mentioned again in future forum notes!

There was an update on the redevelopment of the former Felnex site in Hackbridge (original action from the April 2017 Cycle Forum). This update reported that Sutton Council officers (LG and PG) had met with with developers on 15th November 2017. The general view from the developers was that agreement had already been reached with Sutton Council regarding provision for cycling through the site. Construction was well underway, and junctions are all but complete.

Well, our view is that the provision (if that is what it is called) is likely to be next to useless, and the council should have been more aspirational on delivery.

Basically, we have lost the argument on this redevelopment. The opportunity to provide worthwhile infrastructure at a brown field site in Hackbridge, cited by the council as London’s most sustainable suburb, was not taken. For background, see Felnex redevelopment – an acid test for cycling. Also see, Felnex crossing and Hackbridge parking (Get Sutton Cycling, November 2016) (Specifically, at this forum meeting, there was concern that the proposed supermarket entrance could conflict with the proposed shared use path (and a shared-use path is not want is wanted); the road through the New Mill Quarter could become a rat-run (despite being designated as bus only); and the new crossing on Hackbridge Road was in the wrong place (and totally inadequate anyway).

A summary of our ‘tweets’ relating the January 2018 Cycle Forum can be viewed in the Notes from our January 2018 meeting.

Borough scheme updates by area

The notes to previous Cycle Forum meetings contain more detail on many of the schemes outlined here. In this review, a new approach of considering schemes on an area by area is being taken. All schemes relate to the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) current financial year (2017-2018), unless otherwise stated.

Beddington and Wallington

The big project in Beddington and Wallington is clearly the Beddington North TfL Major Scheme for Beddington Lane. (This is outside the remit of the LIP programme).

Funding had been secured for Beddington Lane: £3.5m (£1.86m from TfL, plus £1.7m from Sutton Council). The first phase of construction will begin on 22 January 2018 and last for approximately 16 weeks (to May 2018). A second phase will begin later in 2018-19. (Note that the Sutton Council’s website subsequently reported that the construction would start on 26 February).

Good news. However, the potentially not so good news is that the improvements we suggested for the Marlowe Way (Asda) intersection layout, to provide an aligned cycle path as detailed in our response to consultation, are not being incorporated. The reasons given for this where that funding was limited, and that the proposed path, if constructed in alignment across Marlowe Way, would need be built over contaminated land adjacent to the Asda petrol station.

On the funding point, surely £3.5m should be enough to get it right (and, if not, how much would be required?). As to the land constraints, if it was know that the land was contaminated, and therefore not possible to provide an aligned cycle path, why was the proposal for a roundabout here suggested in the first place? The retention of a signalised junction would have potentially enabled the inclusion of ‘with-flow’ cycle paths on both sides of the road (or at lease a straight-across, robust, two-way path on the east side).

There had also been disappointment that we had not received an acknowledgement, or feedback, to our response. Apparently, tomorrow (10 January 2018) feedback will made available, in the form of “You said, we did”, on the Beddington North TfL Major Scheme website.

It was subsequently noted that the Sutton Council Newsroom reported the Beddington Lane work in ‘Work underway on major £3.65mm scheme to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians‘ on 24 January 2018. We responded with this tweet on 30 January, saying that this would have been better if it had been communicated differently, and suggested this text instead: “Work underway on major £3.56m scheme with the aim to make cycling the mode of choice for short local journeys“. Later the same day, we compared the language used by Sutton Council with that of the Mayor of London in this tweet. The mayor talked about making cycling easier and safer for “Londoners” (i.e. all of us) not, as was the case with Sutton Council communication, with its focus on “cyclists and pedestrians”.

Despite our reservations, we look forward to the successful completion of this project. The council representatives reiterated that ‘Copenhagen Crossings’ are proposed; the Coomber Way crossing next to the energy recovery facility will be upgraded to a parallel crossings; a new link will be created into Beddington Park; visual narrowing of the carriageway will be introduced in Beddington Village, and lorries will be banned from using this section of the road.

The section of Beddington Lane in Merton had closed yesterday (8 January 2018), for carriageway widening and the construction of a three-metre wide shared-use footway/cycleway. The work here is anticipated to take three months.

What else is happening in Beddington and Wallington? A few non-cycling specific schemes elsewhere in the local committee were discussed. Included in this category  are proposals to try and tame the traffic on Foresters Drive (between Sandy Lane and Mollinson Drive) [Open Street Map and Google Streetview]. We cannot help thinking that had our 2014 Space for Cycling ‘ward ask’ for the Beddington South been delivered (and, by the way, all three ward councillors showed their support for the ‘ask’ at the time), issues here this would have largely been resolved by now.

Meanwhile, issues pertaining to the petition by residents of Tharp Road [Open Street Map] to convert their street to one-way appears to still be unresolved. (Tharp Road is not currently a LIP funded scheme, but Tharp Road is part of the London Cycle Network). The Forum was assured that it would be informed on any decisions or plans. No room for bikes: how Tharp Road could show borough-wide failure for cycling has the background.

Proposals for the Stafford Road and Woodcote Road intersection in Wallington [Open Street Map and Google Streetview] are back with consultants (WSP). Assurance was given that the scheme (details unknown) will be designed with consideration to a north-south cycle route [Open Street Map and Google Streetview] to run parallel to Woodcote Road, and that designs will be shared with the forum. No report on Ross Parade/Clarendon Road/Ross Road [Open Street Map].

Although nothing to do with the LIP programme (but rather a legacy of the Wallington Integrated Transport Package from 2009), it was reported that clear parking restriction signs have now been installed for the loading bays on nearby Woodcote Road (Wallington’s main retail street) [Open Street Map]. There is a Monday to Saturday restriction, that specifies goods vehicles only. This has helped reduce general parking here, that has been an issue for several years. However, delivery vehicles are still parking almost perpendicular to (rather than parallel to) the footway and so are reducing the footway width. (This raises the question, are people parking perpendicular to the footway because the bays are too deep? Would marking the areas help?).

No report on proposed 20mph zone for Butter Hill, Leachcroft Road and Caledon Road (Wallington North) [Open Street Map].

Carshalton and Clockhouse

There are no cycle-specific proposals for this local committee area at the moment. The forum reported, again, on a proposal to introduce a 20mph speed limit around Stanley Park High School (Carshalton South and Clockhouse) [Open Street Map and Google Streetview]. Traffic speed may be an issue, but clearly speed of delivery of the 20mph zone is not.

Our Space for Cycling ‘ward ask’ for Carshalton South and Clockhouse in 2014 noted that “There is a lot of potential for access improvements to Stanley Park High School by bicycle, and this requires a review and audit for suitability of many local streets”.  This included the idea that Fountain Drive being redesigned as a linear park. Two of the three ward councillors supported the ask, but, hey, we still wait.

There was no news on the proposals for improvements at Butter Hill by Mill Lane (Carshalton Central). We are hoping that work here will bring benefits to those cycling, as well as those on foot. Butter Hill (and Mill Lane to the north) carry around 700 motor vehicles an hour during the morning peak period. Clearly an excessive amount of rat-running through an attractive residential area.

Cheam North and Worcester Park

The only cycle-specific scheme for the Cheam North and Worcester Park local committee area relates to the surfacing of a path linking Green Lane (Worcester Park) with The Hamptons [Open Street Map and Google Streetview]. This upgrade has delivered a two-metre wide, forty-metre long shared, path. The width has been limited to two metres in order to accommodate a track for horses to one side). This surfacing may be extended to join the Worcester Park footway next year.

SuttonCycleForumJanuary2018_v36_02_IMG_1975_Sutton_WorcesterPark_GreenLane_Path_Signage_v2

SuttonCycleForumJanuary2018_v36_01_IMG_1974_Sutton_WorcesterPark_GreenLane_Path_v2

Elsewhere, 20 mph zones around Cheam Common Junior School (Nonsuch) [Open Street Map] and in Church Hill Road and surrounding streets (Nonsuch) [Open Street Map] are (still) in the pipeline. In the case of Cheam Common Junior School, the consultation finished 4th January, and it looks as though 20mph and zebra crossing will be supported. Residents also want parking control to stop parents parking during school drop off/pick up. For Church Hill Road, the consultation has also finished, and the recommendation has been made to Councillors to go ahead as proposed. A speed table may be installed at Matlock Crescent, along with a vehicle-activated speed sign. In both cases, decision are awaited from councillors.

No progress has been made on taking forward a safe routes to school project for Brookfield Primary School (Stonecot) [Open Street Map and Google Streetview].

The accident remedial scheme for Cheam Common Road (Worcester Park) [Open Street Map] has been completed. Tactile paving, Pedestrian Guard Rail, flashing speed signs, and sunken gullys have been installed (what is there not to like?). Apparently, and possibly unsurprisingly, it was reported that the sunken gullys are proving to be an issue.

Lincoln Road (Worcester Park) [Open Street Map]: A scheme to introduce a one-way on this street has been abandoned. Residents had requested one-way working (narrow street, parking stress), but when the idea went to wider consultation the majority of respondents did not like the idea. Lincoln Road forms part of the LCN. No doubt, Lincoln Road will be revisited when (and if) the borough’s proposed second Quietway (Worcester Park to Sutton) takes the spotlight.

St Helier, The Wrythe and Wandle Valley

Middleton Road (Wandle Valley): This was a scheme that was first brought to our attention at the Sutton Cycle Forum in April 2017. The options for Middleton Road [Open Street Map and Google Streetview] were to either “repaint advisory lanes and make more visible on existing section only”, or “continue advisory cycle lanes to Middleton Circle – will include removing 2 traffic island and replacing with zebras”, with a further option (on ‘reserve list’) “to widen the road to provide kerb separated mandatory cycle lanes between Budge Lane and Middleton Circle”. Clearly, from our point of view a kerb-seperated (but not mandatory) cycle lane was the best option. We made that know at the time.

In fact, at the April 2017 Cycle Forum our comment had been that we would only support the provision of separated cycle lanes. At the July 2017 Cycle Forum, and again at the September 2017 Cycle Forum, we again said that separate cycle tracks were required and that painted, or re-painted, lanes were not supported

So what happened at the January 2018 Cycle Forum?

A plan that was presented for Middleton Road that was essentially just paint on the carriageway, complete with nasty width restrictions at traffic islands (down to 3.3m crucial width). No sign of a kerb-seperated cycle lane.

SuttonCycleForumJanuary2018_v36_03_IMG_5065_DetailMiddletonRoadPlan

Why the paint option, and not a kerb-seperated cycle lane? Well, apparently it came down to two reasons. One, not enough money; and, two, not enough space. But if either of those reasons were valid (and, frankly, the lack of space argument does not hold up), why was the protected space option suggested for the ‘reserve list’ in the first place? No answer given to that.

Our message was that the paint was not a good idea (although by all means repaint the existing logos on Middleton Road), and that the officers should go back to the drawing board. After all, the purpose of the scheme is defined as “Scheme purpose to improve safety”. How does paint on the carriageway do that? We suggested that the money should be spent elsewhere. Following a discussion, the possibility of improvements at the Middleton Road / Budge Lane junction were suggested.

In July 2017 and September 2017: Essentially, separate cycle tracks are required. Painted, or re-painted, lanes are not supported (same as comment in July 2017. In April 2017 our comment had been: Only support the provision of separated cycle lanes).

Other schemes in the St Helier, The Wrythe and Wandle valley Local Committee area that came under discussion were not particularly specific to cycling.

Designs for some sort of scheme on Wrythe Lane (between Welbeck Road and Muschamp Road) [Open Street Map] were shared with the forum. All relating to accident remedial work essentially, and driver safety. Looked like paint, and fiddling around with the removal of the existing cycle track on carriageway and putting it on the footway instead.

Meanwhile, monitoring of cycling on Green Wrythe Lane, an outstanding action from September 2017 (originally requested April 2017), has not been instigated yet. Surely TfL would like to know, in future, if money is well spent?

New Mill Quarter, Hackbridge, the former Felnex site – see comments in Overview above. Specifically, at this forum meeting, it was noted that there was concern that the proposed new supermarket entrance could conflict with the proposed shared use path (and a shared-use path is not want is wanted); the road through the New Mill Quarter could become a rat-run (despite being designated as bus only); and the new crossing on Hackbridge Road was in the wrong place (and totally inadequate anyway).

Looking ahead to 2018-2019, and proposals to finally look at making improvements at the London Road / Goat Road junction (Wandle Valley, and just into the London Borough of Merton) [Open Street Map]. Sutton (HW) is taking the lead on this, although clearly working with the London Borough of Merton too). Designs will be shared with us, but again it is worth reminding ourselves of the ‘ward ask’ for Wandle Valley: “There is space for the creation of a boulevard on London Road that would make cycling a safe and attractive option, but on-street parking would need to be addressed”. Distressingly, there was a fatality close to this location in April 2014 (as reported here by the Sutton Guardian) and a collision in which two people were hospitalised in April 2017 (again, Sutton Guardian reports here). It is quite disgraceful that this location has not been given the top priority for work before this.

No report on Denmark Road (The Wrythe) [Open Street Map and Google Streetview], or Camden Road (The Wrythe) [Open Street Map and Google Streetview].

Sutton

The big item for the Sutton Local Committee area is, of course, the borough’s proposed first Quietway. Although the conversation with residents has began (back in the summer of 2017), it has all gone rather quiet at the moment. Apparently, everything is on hold until after the local elections on 3 May 2018. The council was supposed to have reported back on the outcome of last summer’s informal Highways Quietways Survey by now. It is believed that this has not happened because it would have required the simultaneous publication of the plans for the next phase, and these may be contentious. It is recognised that a gap where nothing happens could lead to a loss of momentum. We are aware that TfL want the whole route agreed before going ahead. Action: Charles Martin to write to the Sutton Central and Sutton North councillors for clarification.

In other news for this committee area, new cycle stands were installed at Sutton Green in the autumn of 2017 [Open Street Map].

There was no news on the development of a Liveable Neighbourhood, beyond the fact that Sutton did not submit a bid for funding at the first opportunity in October 2017. The reason for this is that all the information to make a successful bid was not ready. There was a very short timescale available too. All of this discussed here and here. Council officers agreed to get information on Sutton’s 2018/19 Liveable Neighbourhood bid, and to see if anything can be learned from Kingston’s bid for Liveable Neighbourhood funding.

The following non-cycling specific schemes for the Sutton Local Committee, were discussed.

Lower Road / Benhill Road (Sutton Central) Open Street Map and Google Streetview Forum agreed this re-modelled junction was an improvement over the previous layout. Lower Road is part of the London Cycling Network. There is still a incredible amount of traffic through the area. Not sure whether the final safety audit on this has been finalised (but taken that it has).

Bushy Lane / Vale Road (Sutton North) [Open Street Map]. Footway build-outs to be installed on Bushy Lane near Sutton Bus Garage (rear of new Sainsbury’s. There are no plans to make Vale Road two-way. (Talking of the new Sainsbury’s, the redevelopment of the former North Sutton Gas Holder Site was another lost opportunity).

Sutton High Street (by Vermont Road, Sutton Common Road, All Saints Road) (Sutton North) Open Street Map and Google Streetview. No report on the signalised, staggered, pedestrian crossing proposed here. (Previously reported as delayed due to coordination with TfL work on lighting column replacement on the Sutton bypass temporarily closing one lane on the A217 (and, therefore, potentially causing increased volume of traffic through this junction). (Study had being carried out in 2015/16, funding in LIP 2016/17).

A pedestrian safety scheme for Rose Hill (Sutton North) between Rosehill Park West and Waverley Avenue is in development [Open Street Map]. The consultants WSP have found no major accidents or pattern of accidents. (This road is straight and believed to be subject to speeding traffic). The plan is to widen refuge islands, create dropped kerbs, and put in tactile paving (designs were shared). Visibility is to be improved by moving railings and changing road markings. The Space for Cycling ‘ward ask’ for Sutton North included a request to provide protected space on Rose Hill, Angel Hill, the northern section of Sutton High Street and Sutton Common Road. ACTION: HW to take on board comments and make Forum aware of consultation stage.

South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont

There are no specific cycling related schemes for the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont area.

Proposals to improve the Brighton Road / Cotswold Road junction (Belmont) originated in the LIP proposals in 2016/2017 [Open Street Map and Google Streetview]. Nothing further is known, except that the redesign of this area is now likely to be part of the redevelopment of the adjacent site for the new secondary school and London Cancer Hub.

A consultation on changes to the informal pedestrian crossing on Sandy Lane by Burdon Road (Cheam) [Open Street Map], along with junction improvements on Upper Mulgrave Road at the intersection with Sandy Lane had not received many responses. Councillors are happy to progress with the scheme as consulted on.

There are traffic calming proposals for Grange Road / Worcester Road (Sutton South) [Open Street Map]. These are likely to go to Local Committee at the end of January 2018, with a consultation to follow. LR will share consultation dates and proposals.

Our Space for Cycling ‘ward ask’ for Sutton South related to the provision of quieter routes for cycling in the area by discouraging through traffic on residential roads. Whether the proposals for Grange Road / Worcester Road helps with that remains to be seen.

A width-restriction on Grange Vale (Sutton South) [Open Street Map] is to be installed at the end of January 2018. ACTION: Charles Martin to write to councillors (to ask whether a temporary, trial closure, road closure had been considered here).

A consultation on a proposal for a 20mph zone around the St. Dunstan’s School area (Cheam) [Open Street Map and Google Streetview] finished on 21 December. Councillors are likely to support the 20mph area and a new zebra crossing. Expect work to be carried out during February 2018 half-term. See A small enclave of Cheam to benefit from 20mph speed limit (Get Sutton Cycling, November 2017).

Note on 2018-2019 schemes

The LIP 2018/19 allocation has been reduced by TfL. A discussion with TfL about where the cuts will fall is ongoing. More on this at the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee in February 2018.

Schemes to be funded and delivered between April 2018 and March 2019 may have been presented to local committees during the spring/summer of 2017. It is customary for the local committee proposals to then be collated into a Local Implementation Plan report and presented to the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee in September (in this case, September 2017). Following approval of the proposals by the E&N committee, the list of schemes are then sent to TfL in October (2017), with the expectation that funding will be agreed by TfL in December (2017). However, the September 2017 meeting of the E&N committee was cancelled. Although there were two E&N meetings in November 2017, a LIP report was not presented at either. The LIP guidance for 2018-19 is, like 2017-18, in an interim phase. For more on LIP see Local Implementation Plans (TfL).

First published 09.04.2018, with some minor additions 12.04.2018.

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