Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A better cycle route

Our hope is that the Radnor Bridge will become a strategic connector in the area. Improving accessibility to both sides of the river and opening up a more convenient route for commuters and pedestrians alike.


We have received emails from mums and dads in the area who long for a simpler and safer route for their children to take to schools on the opposite side of the river.


The crossing at Teddington lock is not particularly bike friendly but is also often overly busy with pedestrians and commuters at peak times. And yet to get to the bridge at Teddington many people have to make a detour along busy roads.


For example, this cycle route I found on CycleRoute.com describes a fabulous bike journey from Twickenham Green to St Paul's in Central London. I am sure it is enjoyed almost daily by fair number of our keen cycling commuters.


Wouldn't it be better if the cyclists could avoid delays at the Strawberry Hill railway crossing and simply turn left earlier to head out across a purpose built bridge for cycles and pedestrians from Radnor Gardens to Ham Lands? While avoiding the often busy and congested roads to Teddington, this could then lead them through to Ham Gate, and into Richmond Park, or alternatively offer the choice of entering at Richmond Gate too.


To get to across the river at Radnor Bridge will take a matter of minutes.


To travel via Teddington Lock, in order to cross the river, means adding to the existing congestion on the roads. And to travel by bus to the same position on the other side of the river will take the best part of an hour.


Let me leave you with this question; How many commuters on the congested roads between Ham and Twickenham do you think are people who could do the same route in a fraction of the time, by bike or on foot, if Radnor Bridge existed for real?

2 comments:

  1. Please note, with respect, that Ham Lands is a Nature Reserve. IF cyclists can be encouraged to cycle via Riverside Drive, then that is fine, but I am concerned that many will decide to travel via the tow path or across the Lands. The tow path already floods regularly and therefore, more people would chose to cut across the Lands at high tide. This would be detrimental to the ethos of the site. How do you propose to deal with this aspect?

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    1. Hi Claire, thank you for your insights here. While we respect that Ham Lands is a nature reserve we believe it is possible (perhaps desirable) for such a place to be designed so that it is open to use by people too. Clearly there needs to be no-go areas, to protect the more secretive wildlife and ensure their existence is not hampered in any way. But Ham Lands is a big space and, like Richmond Park, it is possible to create segregated spaces within it. The intention is to make it possible for cyclists and pedestrians to access the area without cluttering up the river tow path. I know it needs thought and proper debate, but perhaps The Avenue could be raised, to meet the landing point of the bridge without disturbing river walkers. If this raised path, preferably with steep grass verges either side (like Twickenham Bridge rise in the Old Deer Park), could travel some distance then it would keep the flow of people and cycles up and away from the nature reserve while also preserving the walkway in times of flooding - we are aware that the Ham Lands are sacrificial lands, should the London area be at risk from flooding in the future.

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