Posted: 10.06.21 at 06:00 by Rory Poulter
Cycling is to be put at the heart of Richmond’s recovery from the pandemic and its effects on the town centre, the council has announced.
A series of wide-ranging changes are planned to encourage and improve the safety of cycling, while improving air quality and the environment.
The proposals are centred on building a massive new multi-storey ‘cycle superhub’ for over 700 bikes at Richmond Station in partnership with South Western Railway.
The hope is that visitors and shoppers to the town centre will use the superhub, rather than attaching their bikes to railings and posts and blocking paths.
The council is contributing £402,000 to part-fund the scheme, which is currently in the design process amid hopes it will be ready for use as early as the autumn.
The council said: “Cycling is a sustainable, healthy and affordable means of travel.
"An increase in cycling will help us to reduce greenhouse gases and pollutants that cause poor air quality and are bad for our health and the environment.”
A discussion paper setting out the council’s plans states: “Richmond town centre is the economic centre of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
"It has traditionally had a strong offering of retail, hospitality, leisure, offices and culture, alongside its role as a transport hub for the borough.
“All of these elements have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Council is progressing proposals to ensure economic recover.
“A working group has been assembled comprising of local stakeholders, ward Councillors, Council officers and consultants. The group have been working to develop ideas and proposals to improve Richmond town centre in different ways.”
* A new multi-storey hub for over 700 bicycles at Richmond Station, in partnership with South Western Railway
* Better and safer route options through Richmond town centre for cyclists, including connectivity with a proposed new cycle hub at Richmond station
* Working with Transport for London to develop high-standard pedestrian and cycle options on the A316 - to make Richmond's natural bypass safer and more accessible to all
The council is planning a consultation exercise this summer to give residents the chance to review and comment on the plans.
Separately, the council is pushing ahead with the installation of bike hangars on streets, and supporting the introduction of an e-Cargo bike delivery service for local businesses and free cycling tuition for novices.
Many residents in Richmond borough are enthusiastic cyclists, however those who live in terraced streets and flats find it difficult to keep bicycles at home due to lack of storage space.
The council has received over 440 requests for bike hangars. To date, six have been installed and there are plans for another 24.
Bike hangars are priced at £72 per year and managed by Cycle Hoop.
They will be prioritised to residents who live on the same street as the bike hangar or an adjacent one.
The council is inviting local businesses to get in touch to help shape its shared eCargo bike scheme.
The electric bikes have storage space so can be used in place of larger vehicles in some instances, reducing journey times for short trips.
Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee, said: “There are a number of town centres across the borough that have serious issues with air pollution. We are encouraging local businesses and organisations to make the switch from polluting delivery vans to eCargo bikes.
“By making the switch you will be helping to reduce traffic on our roads and improve air quality across the borough. Switching to eCargo bikes will make both environmental and financial sense to you and your organisation.”
Cycling Champion at the Council, Councillor Gareth Richards, said: “This week is national Bike Week. If you own a bike but either do not ride it or ride it infrequently, now is the time to get it out of the shed, check it and rediscover the benefits and joys of cycling.
“Use your bicycle to commute, to go the shops or to just enjoy one of our many green spaces in the borough. Cycling is one of the best ways for people to achieve good health and fitness.
“By including active travel into your daily routine, you get to where you want to go while improving you physical and mental health. Use the #7daysofcycling hashtag and make bikes part of your future.”
Richmond has also recently installed some of the first traffic signals in London that stay green to encourage pedestrians in similar efforts to encourage pedestrianisation in the town centre.
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