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Kingston overhauls Mini Holland plans after criticism

London borough's new proposals include segregation absent from previous version...

Kingston Council has responded to criticism that its ‘Mini Holland’ plans for a busy road in the borough did not give enough protection to people riding bikes by unveiling revised proposals including a fully segregated cycle lane.

Last month, the council’s former lead member for transport who led its successful bid for £32 million from Transport for London criticised plans that showed only around a quarter of a planned cycle route on Portsmouth Road would be physically separated from motor traffic.

Local cycling campaigners had earlier expressed their disappointment at the plans, shown below, but have welcomed the revamped proposals which were drawn up following a consultation that attracted more than 700 responses.

Under the new plans, 600 metres of Portsmouth Road will be fully segregated, running from the junction with South Lane to the one with Palace Road. Beyond that, and running to the junction with Brighton Road, a 700 metre stretch will have lighter segregation in the form of ‘armadillos.’

The council says that a toucan crossing will be installed at the junction with Palace Road to enable cyclists to switch between the two sections of the route, which will also have floating bus stops similar to those introduced on Cycle Superhighway 2 in east London.

Councillor Richard Hudson, who heads Kingston Council’s Mini-Holland programme, said: “Over 700 people took part in the consultation on our first set of plans and we thank all of those who took the time to consider our original proposals and get involved. I believe that this second proposal shows we’ve listened.

“There was a clear desire for more segregation between cyclists and motor vehicles and the new plans have increased this segregation from 20 per cent originally, to 85 per cent now.

“We have a vision where cyclists, new and experienced, will feel safe and confident taking trips along Portsmouth Road, whether it be for work, study or pleasure. We want to create a route that is fully accessible and attractive to pedestrians and where motor traffic can continue to move freely,” he added.

More information about all of the council’s Mini Holland proposals can be found on its website, and plans are also being exhibited in the reception of the borough’s Guildhall on Kingston’s High Street.

Kingston Cycling Campaign said: “These proposals are a considerable improvement on the original proposals. We will be seeking further assurances about the design but, in the round, we support it.”

However, they did express concerns over the use of armadillos, including “whether they represent a sufficient measure of segregation to encourage family and novice cyclists.”

They added:  “We welcome that the Borough are being innovative which is the intention of the Mini Holland programme,” and that “If armadillos are not the success all hope they can be, a greater measure of protected space will be needed.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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