Kew Gardens on the 'significant impacts' of protected cycle lane

By The Editor

18th Feb 2021 | Local News

Kew Gardens has admitted to "concerns" about its new coach drop-off arrangements in its most expansive statement about the new protected cycle lane on Kew Road to date.

Installed in September on an 18-month trial period, the cycle lane consists of three sections roughly 500m each on both sides of the road, with a system of raised posts (known as wands and armadillos) separating cyclists from vehicular traffic.

Data from Richmond Council released last month showed its popularity has more than doubled to 831 weekly users.

The council's transport chief Cllr Alexander Ehmann told Richmond Nub News it was a "world class cycle facility" in a detailed argument of its merits.

Others have expressed concerns about the effect the segregated lane may be having on Kew Gardens visitor numbers and revenues, which were [l]https://richmond.nub.news/n/threat-to-kew-gardens-future-as-15-million-black-hole-opens[l+]down £15million last year.

In a statement this month, Kew Gardens said:

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a World Heritage Site with a strong commitment to sustainable travel. We do not oppose the provision of a protected cycle lane on Kew Road, which we hope will support increased uptake of active, sustainable travel for those able to cycle to Kew Gardens.

We are in regular discussion with London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames teams regarding changes to Kew Road and the proposed changes to Kew Green. We have specific concerns relating to the impact of directing all coaches [to a new drop-off point at] Elizabeth Gate, and the lack of support in enabling school minibuses and coaches to continue dropping off near our educational building (Victoria Gate).

This will have significant impacts on the 55,000 schoolchildren who visit Kew Gardens by coach in a normal year.

We remain hopeful that the council will work to identify safe options to allow coach drop-offs close to Victoria Gate, and expect to hear further information on these options soon.

The changes to Kew Road and Kew Green impact the gardens, our visitors and the local community and we hope to support the best possible outcomes that enable safe sustainable travel while preventing avoidable congestion or detrimental impacts on those seeking to reach the gardens by coach.

Our travel survey in 2019 showed that approximately one third of visitors arrived by car, taxi or coach and our Sustainable Travel plan sets targets to increase travel to the gardens.

For those who are unable to cycle or use public transport and need to drive to Kew Gardens, we have parking available in our Brentford car park and we open our Herbarium staff car park to visitors during busy periods.

We hope the final arrangements will reflect an improvement for people and plant, but careful consideration will be required to avoid unintended impacts.

     

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