We’ve seen comments on social media and in the local papers about the mini-Holland two-way cycle track that’s under construction on the Portsmouth Road, and we’d like to help clarify any issues and correct any misinformation that is in circulation. Therefore we have put together a list of responses to frequently raised issues. Kingston Council is responsible for the design and implementation of the scheme. We hope that you will find these answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” helpful.
- Why is the cycle track as wide as it is?
The two-way track is 3.0 metres wide which is the normal width for new cycle tracks designed to the London Cycling Design Standards. There are existing two-way tracks in Kingston narrower than this, but they are not comfortable or particularly safe to use.
- Can buses/ lorries pass each other on the Portsmouth Road? Yes. The road width is designed to allow large vehicles to pass with space to spare, which is greater than 6 metres. For comparison a bus is typically 2.5metres wide and a Range Rover is 2.2 metres wide including mirrors. Drivers will probably want to drive slower past each other than they have typically been used to doing.
- Why don’t all cyclists use the track that has been built? Phase 1 of the track between Brighton Road and Palace Road is not yet open for use and there are signs and barriers indicating that the track is closed. The track will be opened when the necessary signs, road markings and crossings are in place and a safety audit has been carried out. We have seen that all sorts of cyclists are already using the phase 1 section – families on bikes, people going shopping and sports cyclists too.
- Will cyclists have to use the new track? We believe most cyclists cycling along the Portsmouth Road will want to use the new two-way track. Some cyclists who are going just a short distance along it may not want to cross the road to get to it only to cross back again. Faster sports cyclists may or may not want to use it. Some cyclists may prefer to stay on the road and they are legally entitled to do so.
- Can motor vehicles safely overtake cycles on the Portsmouth Road? Yes. The carriageway between Brighton Road and Palace Road is not as wide as it was, however there is sufficient width for motor vehicles to pass slower people on bikes on the road when there is no vehicle coming in the opposite direction. Keep in mind that the speed limit is 30 mph when overtaking and that faster cyclists may be travelling close to this speed.
- Why are there no centre line markings? The council has decided not to mark in a centre line on the carriageway. Research has shown that drivers drive slower when there is no centre line marked, and slower vehicle speed is preferred to reduce the risk of collisions.
- Why is the cycle track so short? The first phase of the protected cycle track is between Brighton Road and Palace Road. It is approximately half a mile long. When the second phase of the track between Palace Road and the High Street is open there will be a continuous protected cycle track about a mile long.
- Where will the cycle track go? The two-way track is between the junction of Portsmouth Road with Brighton Road at the Surbiton end and the junction of South Lane/ High Street at the Kingston end. The council propose to create a ‘boardway’ for people on bikes and on foot alongside the Thames from South Lane to Kingston Bridge, so the Portsmouth Road track would meet up with that.
- How do cyclists get onto the new cycle track? Cyclists coming from the Brighton Road end will be able to naturally join the track from the road or cross over from the Surbiton side using the new zebra crossing. There are gaps in the new protecting kerbs to allow people on bikes to get to and from side roads onto the track. From the Kingston direction you will be able to get onto the Phase 1 track using a new traffic light controlled ‘Toucan’ crossing at the Palace Road junction.
- What happens to the track at bus stops? There are short areas of ‘shared use’ at bus stops where bus users will be expected to be getting on and off of buses. On most days there are two buses an hour in each direction and there are not usually many people boarding and alighting at the stops on Portsmouth Road. On Sundays there is only one bus per hour.
- When will the route be complete? We predict that Phase 1 of the route to be complete in July 2016 when it will be opened for use. Kingston Council says the whole route including phase 2 will be complete by ‘Autumn 2016’. We take that to mean it will be complete any time up to and including the end of November 2016.
- What are cyclists supposed to do travelling southbound when the track ends? People on bikes using the track in a southbound direction should use the zebra crossing to get across the Portsmouth Road to continue towards Surbiton or Thames Ditton.
Please also refer to the information about the Portsmouth Road mini-Holland scheme at the council’s website.