Bulletin #19, July 2019

Each month, we email a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent in July. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

ENJOYABLE HOLLY DAY

After two years of exploring a clear, sensible concept that could make cycling and walking in Richmond Park even better, we were delighted to receive an invite to last week’s presentation at Holly Lodge where The Royal Parks set out its Movement Strategy. This process is likely to be the start of exciting changes that should benefit everyone who rides a bike or walks in the park - but before anything can happen, Mat Bonomi, TRP’s access and transport manager, needs your input. 

The public consultation finishes on July 14, and while the initial response has been good, TRP needs many more people to fill out its survey - which is why we are sending this edition of our monthly bulletin a week earlier than planned.

We’ll give you the link to the survey later on. First, though, a couple of salient points on what was said during the meeting, which was presented by Mat and attended by councillors from Kingston and Richmond, the Friends of Richmond Park, the park’s police and other stakeholders.

GATED COMMUNITIES

For everyone who rides in the park, the most significant statement made in the meeting is this: The Royal Parks is committed over time to reduce through-movement of motor vehicles in Richmond Park and their seven other green spaces. It is also aware that any changes could have a knock-on effect outside the park, so TRP will collaborate with local authorities and groups before anything is implemented.

The mood in the room was broadly supportive. One concern that did come up a number of times was the question of possible gate closures and the impact they would have on local communities. Intelligent Road Charging, which we have been speaking to many stakeholders about, would be a great way of avoiding this. By charging a fee only for shortcut journeys made by motor vehicles, Richmond Park could remain open to all users while discouraging through-movement of traffic.

If you’d like to know a bit more about what was said at the meeting, have a look at our live tweeting of the event (scroll up to get to the start of the thread, which is in chronological order).


FILL IN THE BLANKS

And now on to the important bit: please fill out the survey! You can find it right here, under the heading “Give us your feedback”. It’s best if you use your own words as they will then carry more weight, but we have set out below some ideas that you may want to consider in your response.  

  • Intelligent Road Charging would fit well with The Royal Parks’ stated aim to reduce the through-movement of motor vehicles while keeping access open to all. It could be used to eliminate commercial vehicles illegally using the park as a shortcut, to identify speeding vehicles and long-term parking by commuters working outside the park, and to further discourage the most heavily polluting vehicles.

  • As a general principle, the fewer cars driving in Richmond Park the better.  Any child drawing a picture of a park would not include a busy road running through it, so why do we accept this as normal in our park?

  • TRP wishes to improve diversity among the users of Richmond Park. Reducing through motor traffic will make it an even more welcoming and safer place. This will attract less confident and less outgoing people of all ages and physical ability (whether they choose to ride a bike in the park or not). It would also give them access to a wonderful public place that could improve their health and wellbeing.

  • The Movement Strategy Discussion Paper talks about prioritising walking and is broadly supportive of cycling.  But we would like to see a stronger commitment to maintaining accessibility for cyclists who use it for commuting, and a stronger commitment to enabling and encouraging cyclists using the park for leisure and for exercise.

  • The Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy targets a significant shift towards sustainable transport. To be consistent with this, The Royal Parks should actively enable and encourage more use of bicycles as a means of accessing the park. 

  • We recognise the concerns of local communities such as Ham and Petersham who rely on Richmond Park for access to and from their neighbourhoods.  We think that Intelligent Road Charging would be a highly appropriate solution. Paying for the access the park would reflect how much they value it. 

Remember: you have less than a month to complete the survey - so please do it as soon as you can! Once the deadline has passed, TRP will develop a strategy paper which will be put back to us for consultation around October. Whatever evidence-based proposals have emerged from the process should be finalised and adopted by TRP’s board by December. Implementation will begin next year.

 

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH...

...well, at the very end of next month. Because this bulletin has come out a week earlier than planned, the next one will appear in your inbox in five weeks’ time. As ever, please share our newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too. The more subscribers we have, the bigger our voice.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #18, June 2019

Each month, we email a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent in June. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

MOVING QUICKLY

The prospect of Richmond Park becoming an even better place to ride your bike could become a reality - and much sooner than we had anticipated - as the goal of improving visitors’ experiences across all royal parks gets moving. The Royal Parks has invited Richmond Park Cyclists to attend its presentation on June 14 where we expect Intelligent Road Charging to feature. Longtime subscribers will know that for the past couple of years we have been exploring the idea of reducing traffic in the park by introducing a fee for shortcut journeys made by motor vehicles, so we are pleased that we have been given a seat at the table. Please let us know what else you would like us to bring up at the meeting. One idea we are considering to submit is guidance notes for all road users to ensure everyone treats each other with courtesy and respect.

The meeting forms part of The Royal Parks’ movement strategy which will, in its words, “set a long-term vision for how visitors will move within, access and experience the parks”. It will include reducing the impact of motor traffic and increasing safety. Mat Bonomi, the Royal Parks’ access and transport manager, has asked us to publicise the consultation as part of TRP’s effort to gather input from the public. Please sign up on its website - you will receive regular updates from TRP on the strategy’s progress and we will, of course, provide info on our own monthly bulletins.

The first part of the consultation starts today and ends on July 14. Phase two will take place in September and October. By December, whatever evidence-based proposals have emerged from the process should be finalised and adopted by TRP’s board. This timescale is much quicker than we thought it would be. We hope you are as excited by this welcome development as we are!

CLOSING IN

The recent spate of bicycles stolen from the area outside Colicci cafe may have evaporated - but the cops’ investigation hasn’t. Richmond Park’s police unit say they now have a suspect and are confident that the process of tracing the person could begin soon - which may hopefully lead to an arrest. Every one of you reading this will hope the thief, whoever they are, is caught - but in the meantime please continue to take care when you stop for a coffee. Get a friend, if you are riding with one, to keep an eye on your pride and joy, or pop a wheel out or invest in a portable lock to make sure your bike is less likely to be nicked. Don’t give a toerag the opportunity to spoil your ride!

DOUBLE THE HASSLE

By now, you may already know that Kingston Gate has reopened following roadworks just outside it. There is now a raised crossing on Queen’s Road close to its junction with King’s Road, and another around the corner on Liverpool Road (which is part of a popular shortcut route that runs parallel to Broomfield Hill). It will be interesting to see what effect they will have on the high levels of motor traffic in the immediate area. At the time of this bulletin reaching your inbox, temporary traffic lights are still in place by the Queen’s Road crossing, and we are unsure if there will be a permanent set installed eventually. 

In the meantime, we have been speaking to The Royal Parks about the box-shaped gates on pedestrian entrances which a cyclist has pointed out to us make it impossible for those riding larger bicycles to enter the park at night when the main gates are closed. With most bikes, it’s relatively easy to open the door, manoeuvre into the box and turn 90 degrees to enter the park, particularly when you lift the bicycle onto its back wheel to turn it as you walk through the tight space. With cargo bikes, bicycles with a trailer or anything similar this is not an option.

These gates are meant to prevent deer from wandering out at night, although Bushey Park has entrances that are more open and useable for larger bikes - and it also has deer. There may be another very good reason why Richmond Park needs its right-angled entrances. Either way, we’ll let you know when we find out.

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR...

...when Richmond Park graciously welcomes dozens of riders in funny pointy hats. That’s right - the park’s two annual official time trials are happening on Sunday 16 and Sunday 30 June. The park’s main road will remain open during the ten-mile competition, but please remember that there will be many more cyclists there than you would usually expect to see between 6am and 7:30am. And if you are dedicated enough to be riding at that time of the morning at the weekend, why not enter the 10.4-mile ride yourself? The first event has sold out, but the organisers London Dynamo opened entries for the second time trial yesterday. You don’t even need pointy hat or a TT bike - the standard road category is the most popular, and it is an ideal event for first-timers. Best of luck if you do take part - and get your entry in soon as it will sell out very quickly!

TAKE CARE WITH OUR DEER FRIENDS

Finally, we’d like to send our sympathy to Olympic triathlete Stuart Hayes who was knocked off his bike by a running deer while he was descending Broomfield Hill last week. He suffered multiple fractures and was taken to Kingston Hospital.

Everyone who rides a bike in Richmond Park will have stories about having to abruptly slow down, stop or otherwise avoid one of our antlered chums - tales which, by their very nature, will always go unreported. It’s a testament to the care that people like you typically take in these situations - and the fact it’s possible to ride for months in the park without seeing a single deer cross the tarmac - that collisions of this kind are relatively rare. Nevertheless, please remember to ride with due care and attention. They are camouflaged animals, easily spooked, and can run out at any time!

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too. The more subscribers we have, the bigger our voice.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #17, May 2019

Each month, we email a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent in May. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

THIEVES TAKE THEIR LEAVE

After the theft of 13 bicycles - one of which has been returned to its owner - and quite a few more that the police believe have not been reported, it seems that the thieves targeting Richmond Park have slung their collective hook for now. The park’s resident copper PC Paul Barber tells us there has not been a bike nicked since March 17th, marking an end to the spate of thefts that began on January 31st. It seems the same miscreants are flexing their light fingers elsewhere as bikes have now gone missing from nearby Roehampton University and Ibstock Place School, so the police are still on the lookout. From what they have told us, their investigation is making headway, although we have been asked not to reveal details in case it compromises enquiries. Hopefully the thieves will be caught soon - but in the meantime please make sure you keep an eye on your pride and joy or make it’s secure if you are stopping at Colicci cafe. Don’t be fooled into thinking the thieves will never return! 

HEART OF THE MATTER

The things you learn when you meet park stakeholders! Dr Fiona Moore, head of the South East Coast Ambulance Service, now also sits on the Richmond Park Police Panel, and she gave us some useful information and tips regarding medical assistance in the park and outside it.

It turns out the park has defibrillators in four locations: one each in Collici cafe at Roehampton Gate, the Royal Parks and police offices at Holly Lodge, in the park police’s patrol car and at Pembroke Lodge (which is due to have a second unit installed outside). There is an additional defibrillator at the Parkrun, which is available only during the event on Saturdays from 8:30-10am. 

Dr Moore also explained what happens when you call 999 for an ambulance. Most cycle accidents in the park are classed as C3 and C4, which means they are not life-threatening. The target response times for such cases is 80 to 120 minutes, although it could be quicker at quiet times. Life-threatening accidents (C1) get a response time of seven to 14 minutes while potentially life-threatening cases (C2) are 18-40 minutes. Again, response times may be quicker.

When you dial for an ambulance, the aim is to answer your call within six seconds.  You will then be asked a series of questions to determine the nearest paramedic to your location, as well as the severity of your injury or nature of your illness. During the conversation - and without necessarily telling you - the operator may send a paramedic or despatch the ambulance if available. Additional info can be passed to the crew en route.

Obviously, we hope you never have cause to ask for medical assistance of any sort, but it is worth becoming familiar with landmarks such as the park’s entrance gates and buildings in case you ever need to call for help and give your location. If you want to get to A&E by yourself, the one at Kingston Hospital is the closest. Go straight out of Kingston Gate, keep going until you reach Kingston Hill, and the hospital is over the road on your left.

KINGSTON WAIT

Speaking of Kingston Gate, you may already be aware that it closed yesterday to motor traffic. It will be shut for three weeks while the council carries out essential roadworks just outside the park on Queen’s Road and King’s Road. The pedestrian gates will remain open but could get busy at peak times - so please be patient!

IT MAY BE TIME FOR BREAKFAST

Finally, we will be getting May off to a superb start by attending Richmond Park’s Stakeholders’ Breakfast meeting tomorrow, where we will raise a number of issues you have brought to our attention. We also hope to find out if Intelligent Road Charging - a small fee for shortcut journeys made using motor vehicles - will be incorporated into The Royal Parks’ movement strategy report. We’ll keep you posted!

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists


Bulletin #16, April 2019

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent in April. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

BIKES, CAMERA… ACTION!

Our followers on social media will already be aware that we have spread the word about a spate of bike thefts from Richmond Park. Further to the figures that we have already released, we now believe there has been a total of ten incidents that the police are aware of, resulting in 12 bikes being nicked. The first reported theft took place on January 30th, and the latest was on March 17th.  One other theft was thwarted when three quick-thinking cyclists confronted the man and took a photo of him, which you can see on our Facebook page along with descriptions of stolen bicycles and some of the suspects (the link is at the foot of this bulletin). Keep an eye out for both - one of the bikes, a Canyon, has already been returned to its owner Tom Boshell after it was put up for sale on Gumtree, so let’s see if we can reunite more victims with their pride and joy!

Richmond Park Cyclists has been speaking to The Royal Parks about granting permission for Colicci cafe to install CCTV outside its premises near Roehampton Gate as that is where all but one of the thefts have taken place (the other was from outside the nearby toilets). The police are alert to cyclists’ concerns, and we are hopeful that this issue will be nipped in the bud quite soon.


In the meantime, we recommend popping a good-quality portable lock in your jersey pocket or bag before coming to the park. Thieves want to make a quick getaway, so removing the skewer from your front wheel, or resting the tyre against the brake pad, as well as putting the bike into its biggest gear are all pretty good deterrents (an additional tip for those of you who you are lucky enough to have electronic gears: remove the battery as well). And if you are riding with a pal, one of you could sit outside to keep an eye on your bikes while the other buys coffee.

If you have any information regarding the thefts or want to report an incident, you can give the police a bell by dialling 101 and asking for The Royal Parks Command Unit. For an emergency, call 999. We’ll provide an update on social media and in next month’s bulletin.

SLOW PROGRESS… AND PROGRESS ON SLOWING

March saw the conclusion of two public consultations that we asked you to respond to - a proposal to make the three east-west roads closest to Kingston Gate one-way, and Richmond Council’s bid to impose a 20mph limit throughout the borough. The former will not go ahead, but the latter will albeit with a few exemptions.

With regard to the Kingston Gate scheme, councillors voted it down at a meeting after 70 per cent of residents on the affected roads objected. Kingston Cycling Campaign was also against the plan, citing concerns that incidents of cyclists riding into opened car doors would increase. But it was residents who held sway: according to one of our contacts, if you exclude their responses, a majority of correspondents were in favour. Even though this particular scheme has been shelved, the council will be holding another meeting that could address the safety issues of these busy roads, especially if there is good representation from cyclists. Slow progress, but we’ll let you know when a date is set.

Meanwhile, Richmond Council’s idea to create a 20mph limit on all its roads prompted 9,910 responses - one of the highest rates for a borough-wide consultation - and is set to go ahead subject to some A roads being excluded. A speed limit order will be advertised and any representations considered before the decision is implemented.

A total of 52.4 per cent of respondents said they believed a 20mph limit will reduce the number of road accidents and their seriousness, although there was no overall majority for the specific proposal, with 47.7 per cent agreeing and 49.7 per cent not in favour. So the council has exempted some roads from the limit, including areas that objected heavily. Richmond Road and Kingston Road are two notable areas that are excluded, along with two A-roads that are controlled by Transport for London and therefore cannot be subject to Richmond Council’s plan. You can see the full list of exempted roads in the report on the council’s website.

One of the six aims of the proposal is to create an environment that is more conducive to cycling, and the council’s report expresses its duty of care to vulnerable road users (those under 19 and the over-75s), so we are pleased that a majority of Richmond’s roads will soon have a safer speed limit. The outcome is also encouraging as we continue to explore the idea of Intelligent Road Charging for shortcut journeys through the park in motor vehicles. After making a big call on speed limits, could Richmond Council also recognise there will be another benefit to cycling if some traffic is displaced from the park to some of its roads?

HOP SPRINGS ETERNAL

As one type of wildlife goes into hiding for another year, another far rarer beast emerges. The annual toad migration near Ham Gate has ended, which means you can cycle all the way down Church Road now the restrictions have been lifted - although your journey to Richmond Park might still be a little slower thanks to a talking hare. That’s because filmmakers are shooting Peter Rabbit 2 around Richmond’s one-way system and other areas around the borough from Thursday. Despite RPC’s HQ being very close to the toads’ road, we have never seen one of the loveable amphibious scamps. Will Peter be just as elusive? Photographs of either will be gratefully received!

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #15, March 2019

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent in March. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

THAT’S ONE WAY TO SOLVE A PROBLEM

We all love riding in Richmond Park - although getting into it is another matter, with traffic levels around the entrances increasing over the past few years. The area by Kingston Gate has become an accident blackspot, so you may want to have your say about a proposal drawn up by the borough’s officials, prompted by a petition by local residents, to ease congestion around the area.

The central idea is a one-way system for motor vehicles on the east-west roads that connect Park Road with Queen’s Road, the latter of which which directly faces Kingston Gate. Cyclists would still be able to travel both ways.

The three east-west roads are King’s Road, which has Kingston Gate at its easternmost point, New Road and Tudor Road. The plan is to have no entry to motor vehicles at King’s Road and New Road’s west junctions with Park Road, and the eastern entry to Tudor Road (the junction with Queen’s Road). From what we can make out of the low-resolution images on the council’s website, there is a cycle lane sketched on King’s Road which appears to be a contraflow - west to east heading towards Kingston Gate, with motor traffic going the other way.

We believe that accessibility and cyclists’ safety would be improved if the scheme is implemented. If you would like to have your say, please fill in the questionnaire that the council is using to gauge public opinion. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the plan.

KEEPING YOU IN THE LOOP

We’d like to extend a special hello and thank you to everyone who met us when we recently handed you one of our promotional postcards and subsequently signed up to our little monthly bulletin. One of the commonest queries we get on such occasions, and via our inbox, is about ideas to improve cyclists’ experience of the main loop. Why can’t there be specific infrastructure for cyclists, or a one-way system for motor traffic?

The truth is, most of the ideas suggested to us have already been considered by The Royal Parks following a public meeting held by Richmond’s MP Zac Goldsmith at the end of 2014. At this stage, the idea borne from that event that is most likely to gain traction is Intelligent Road Charging - setting a fee for shortcut journeys through the park made by motor vehicles - which is why we have been exploring the idea with stakeholders and local politicians.

But we thought it would be useful to outline why some of the ideas have not been adopted, so here is a brief explainer of each.

One-way for motor vehicles only: Cyclists would get one direction all to themselves - but emissions would increase due to the additional mileage, and it was felt that some visitors driving to the park would be deterred from coming. As a consequence, the income that The Royal Parks derive from tenant businesses (calculated as a proportion of their turnover) would fall.

Separate cycle paths parallel to road: A road engineer on the panel of Zac Goldsmith’s 2014 meeting suggested that a separate cycle lane could be placed next to the existing road on the climb of Broomfield Hill, thereby allowing motorists to overtake cyclists who, naturally, slow down as they go up. But in keeping with Richmond Park’s status as a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, The Royal Parks has a policy of not removing any more green space - which would be necessary if more tarmac was laid down.

Painted cycle lane on road: The circuit road varies in width, but in theory a cycle lane could be painted in one direction, at least, on the widest parts. The drawback is that it would encourage motorists to drive closer to the middle of the carriageway, even when not overtaking cyclists - which could endanger oncoming riders overtaking cars.

Close the roads to motor vehicles at regular, specific periods: At the 2014 public meeting, a vote put by Goldsmith to the attendees decided that The Royal Parks and interested stakeholders would look at the the possibility of barring cars from entering at certain times of day. Saturday mornings, for example, when cyclists flock to the park, could be completely free of motor traffic. But after discussion, it was felt that it would simply increase the number of cars left outside the gates to unmanageable levels, particularly in free parking zones. Also, the elderly, disabled visitors and families with young children would have their access restricted or made impossible during the specified periods, particularly if they had to travel long distances without the use of a car.

Even though all of the above are unlikely to be implemented, you can still tell us about other ideas you may have, and we will put them to the authorities to find out what they think.

KEEP ’EM PEELED

Cycle thefts in the park are rare - but sadly, as you will already know if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, there have been three reported to the police in the past few weeks. We asked The Royal Parks to put up signs at Roehampton Gate Cafe warning cyclists to be aware that a miscreant or two might make off with your pride and joy if you are not too careful. TRP speedily acted on our suggestion, getting the signage up in time for the usual weekend influx of cyclists, and we thank them for doing so. Now we are doing our bit by spreading the word about the three incidents. All of them occurred outside the cafe.

The first took place in late January when a young white male, approximately 18 years old wearing grey tracksuit trousers and a black hooded coat, took a red ladies Trek Emonda which had been parked unsecured by the decking. He had an accomplice who appeared to be on his own bike. The owner of the Trek, who had been having a coffee with a friend, gave chase until the two disappeared out of Roehampton Gate.

The other two bikes - a Specialized and a Canyon - were taken on Sunday 17th February at approximately 10:15am. We do not have any more details about these two thefts.

The three cyclists who had their bikes stolen have our sympathy. Most of us find it impractical to bring a heavy lock to the park, but if you want to deter a thief you may want to consider popping a portable cafe lock into your pocket before heading out. Alternatively, if you are riding with a friend, wrap the straps of your helmets around the top tube of your frames and release the front wheels so the tyres are resting against the brake pads. If a thief can’t make a quick getaway, they are less likely to take your bike.

If you have any information about the stolen bikes or any other theft-related news, let us know and we’ll pass the information on to PC Paul Barber from Richmond Park’s police team.

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #14, February 2019

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent in February. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

DON’T BE LATE...

...because your gate will be closed when the clock strikes eight. Keep this handy rhyme in mind for the next six weeks or so, because it’s that time of year again when access to the park is limited at night while the bi-annual deer cull is carried out. From Monday 4th February until Monday 18th March the pedestrian gates will be locked from 8pm until 7:30am. For your own safety, do not be tempted to enter if you happen to find a gate open after 8pm - your exit will almost certainly be locked. And your entry gate might be as well by the time you get back to it!

BON CHANCE

You may remember in Bulletin #12 we told you about the appointment of Matthew Bonomi, The Royal Parks’ new Head of Transport and Access. We understand he is going to report his initial findings on all eight parks which are run by TRP. We also believe the idea of generating much-needed funds by charging for shortcut drives through Richmond Park will form part of a raft of proposals for consideration by the board. Having explored the concept of Intelligent Road Charging with park stakeholders and local politicians for some time, we are, of course, cautiously pleased that the deployment of smart, affordable technology to reduce park traffic might get traction soon. We’ll keep you updated.

BADGER ABATING

Badgers have become regular fixtures in our recent bulletins, but this should be the last you hear from our black-and-white buddies for some time - unless the cheeky scamps once again manage to weaken the roads we cycle on by burrowing under them. The road resurfacing, which was the final phase of the works, has been completed quickly. Thank you to The Royal Parks for sorting everything out with a minimum of disruption and accommodating cyclists on the ballet school loop through the middle of the park while the repairs were being carried out. And thanks to all of you for avoiding the site during that time!

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

As ever, Richmond Park Cyclists will be meeting up throughout the year with the people who look after the park. On April 10th we will be attending the second Richmond Park Police Panel of 2019. The third one will be on July 17th. Between them will be The Royal Parks’ Richmond Park Stakeholder Breakfast, which will take place on May 1st. Email us at this address to express any concerns regarding cycling in the park you would like us to bring up. We will remind you of these meetings in our bulletins closer to the dates.


SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #13, December 2018/January 2019

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent at the end of December. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

SETT-ING A QUICK PACE

It’s a Christmas miracle! After a survey revealed that burrowing badgers had done untold damage below ground, the subsequent installation of an underground fence around their sett has been completed early, which means the road from Robin Hood Roundabout to Beverley Brook is now reopened. Many thanks to The Royal Parks and their contractors for getting the first phase finished in double-quick time - and thank you to all the cyclists who avoided the site while the works took place. The second phase, which is to reconstruct the ground beneath the road and remove all cavities, is scheduled to start on Monday 14 January and will take two weeks, so look out for the signs confirming the dates. As before, you should cycle on alternative routes along the Tamsin Trail or the roads through the middle of the park. And remember - the area is a working site, so no tip-toeing around the barriers!

KICK-OFF FOR RANGERS

The number of people coming to the park has been steadily growing for years - and now a recruitment scheme has begun to create a team of community rangers who will make visitors’ experience even better. They will be on hand to provide information about the park, including its wildlife, heritage and management. Volunteers will be vetted, given a uniform and trained by The Royal Parks who have already appointed a ranger manager and who will be based at Holly Lodge. There will also be rangers in Bushy Park. All rangers will encourage best behaviour and welcome cyclists - so give them a wave if you see them when they start to appear during Easter next year. Or if you fancy becoming a ranger yourself, you can fill out an application form. Let us know how you get on!


SITE UPDATE

After the Christmas break we will be putting up information about the committees and meetings we attend, opening and closing times for the park, and other useful bits and pieces for the year ahead. Most have appeared as items in our bulletins, but it will be useful for all of you to have them in one place for easy reference in the future. In the meantime, have a look at our brilliant sponsors on our website and click the links to find out more about them. They enable us to pay our modest expenses, and we thank them for backing us this past year.


SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and most importantly, enjoy your riding. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.


All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists


website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists


Bulletin #12, November 2018

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout from November 2018. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

A BIG UP-SETT

Another round of road closures is looming - and although it may sound like we’re making this up, the blame can be firmly placed on the park’s pesky badgers. You may recall from a previous bulletin that the black-and-white blighters have made tunnels and a sett near Robin Hood roundabout. Now a survey has revealed that their underground burrowing has caused such extensive damage that the road, believe it or not, could collapse at any time.

That means the road from Robin Hood Roundabout to the bridge over Beverley Brook is due to close for approximately five weeks while works take place. Keep an eye on Facebook for the announcement of the start date. Depending on progress, the road may reopen over Christmas. In the meantime, you are advised to ride the Tamsin Trail instead while the works are ongoing, although some may prefer the tarmac route past Pen Ponds car park to Sheen Cross.

So why, you may be wondering, will the process take so long? Because Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which means the welfare of the badgers has to pass a higher test than elsewhere. Permits for this kind of work can take several months to be granted, so if The Royal Parks had waited for signs of structural failure before acting, then the outcome would probably be more chaotic and take even longer to resolve.

The badgers are thought to have left the sett, but to avoid the risk of harm if they return, the contractors will install 106 metres of fence going two metres into the ground, hand-digging and weaving around the protected tree roots. They can only do this work from the road, so it will be closed in advance of the excavation and reconstruction. The Royal Parks is asking all cyclists not to ride up to the barriers and walk around them as the verge will be a working site. Keep a lookout for signs and respect their instructions. Courtesy to the contractors and other park users is much appreciated by The Royal Parks and genuinely helps.

Let’s hope the badgers are equally courteous to the contractors and don’t decide to break back in to their abandoned home - or the work may take much longer than anticipated!

MEETING THE NEW GUY

The Royal Parks has recently appointed a new head of transport, and we had a very encouraging meeting with him this week. Matthew Bonomi, who is a cyclist himself, previously lived in Melbourne where he was responsible for implementing transport programmes for nine years. We presented our proposal for Intelligent Road Charging to reduce the number of shortcut journeys made by motor vehicles through the park, and Matthew’s response was very reassuring. After many months of meetings and consultations with interested parties regarding IRC, we think it may be time to hand over the idea to The Royal Parks. Richmond Park Cyclists will be keeping a watch on its progress and checking if it has traction at board level. Onwards and upwards!


BANGING NIGHTS

It’s that time of year when you can sometimes hear the faint echo of gunshot if you are riding on a quiet road near the park at night. That sound should be enough to warn you off from entering, but for the avoidance of doubt you should avoid the park after dark until the deer cull ends, which is pencilled in for the morning of Friday 14 December. The cull may take longer or be over sooner than anticipated, so keep an eye out for signs by the gates.


SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. Thank you to all those who have picked up one of our postcards in the past few weeks and become new subscribers as a result. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.


All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #11, October 2018

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout from October 2018. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

TAR VERY MUCH

If you haven’t already tried out the park’s brand new Tarmac on the ring road, then what are you waiting for? The silky smooth blacktop is a joy to ride on and a welcome relief from the worn patches all of us had grown accustomed to. We at Richmond Park Cyclists had reported the areas that had experienced wear and tear but we had not anticipated such a timely response. So thank you, Royal Parks! Works are near complete with the remaining stretch from Robin Hood roundabout to Pen Ponds pencilled in for Spring next year. Watch this space!

 

POUR US!

The heavens opened for Richmond Park’s Open Day last month at Pembroke Lodge, so thank you to everyone who braved the elements to say hello to us. A superb display of bikes from past and present - including a Penny Farthing and a selection of Raleigh Choppers - was kept dry underneath our gazebo. A big thank you to Cicli Artigianali, Twickenham CC, Kingston Wheelers, London Dynamo and the Gray family for loaning bikes and helping out at our stall. We were pleased to make a valued contribution to the event alongside other stakeholders and visitors, and the Royal Parks showed much appreciation. The event also saw the debut of our postcards which we are handing out to spread the word about Richmond Park Cyclists. Look out for them appearing at a cafe or shop near you soon!

 

STAKE YOUR CLAIM

Here’s your chance to get us doing what we do best - representing your interests in Richmond Park. We will be attending the Safer Parks Panel with the Met Police on Wednesday 17th October and the Stakeholders’ Breakfast on 19th November, so let us know what issues, good and bad, you would like us to bring up.  And here’s another date for your diary - the second of the twice-yearly deer cull will commence in early November and last approximately six weeks, during which time you should aim to exit the park by 8pm or risk a long delay to your journey as the gates are locked in rotation. Look out for the signs appearing at the gates!

 

SLOW NEWS DAY

Interesting news from the councillors of Richmond - they are consulting on slowing traffic to a maximum of 20mph on all roads throughout the borough (except on the two TfL-controlled Red Routes). You will undoubtedly have an opinion on the pros and cons of reducing the speed limit. Have a look at this link and fill in the survey at the end of the page to let the council know what you think.

 

LAPS OF JUDGEMENT

Those naughty scamps at Road Cycling UK got a slap on the wrist after one of their journalists posted footage of himself doing three laps of the park at an average speed of around 23mph. The video and article could have been interpreted as an encouragement to exceed the 20mph limit, but thankfully, the RCUK website took down the video and article after being contacted. The police and Royal Parks are under renewed pressure to apply the limit to all road users - so please keep an eye on your speed!

 

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. Thank you to all those who have picked up one of our postcards in the past few weeks and become new subscribers as a result. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.

 

All the best, 

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #10, September 2018

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout from September 2018. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.

SURFACE WITH A SMILE

First, the good news - you are all going to get a brand new road surface in Richmond Park to ride your bikes on! The bad news, as you might guess, is that the necessary roadworks may disrupt your riding - although not too much, as all gates and roads should remain open. 

The work begins today (Monday 3rd September) and is scheduled to last six weeks. Weekend cycling will not be impacted, except for the London Duathlon on Sunday 16th September (and good luck if you are taking part!). During the week, you will need to walk on the pavement, use pedestrian gates and wait for two-way traffic lights. From week three (around 17th September onwards), you may need to use the Tamsin trail or the pedestrian path between Richmond and Ham at times. 

If the schedule changes or the Royal Parks give us any more information, we will let you know. Check our Facebook and Twitter for updates before our next monthly bulletin.

We also hope to have confirmation that any gravel used for the resurfacing will be higher quality than the type used in 2009, which was a widespread cause of punctures due to the sharpness of the small stones.

So without further ado, here is your handy guide to which parts of the park will be closed and when...

Week 1, Monday 3 to Sunday 9 September

Location: Kingston Gate and Kingston roundabout

From Monday: Park gates will be closed to cars. Cyclists can use pedestrian gates Wednesday to Friday.

Friday: Kingston Gate roundabout will have two-way traffic lights at all times. Cyclists can use pedestrian paths and gates.

Saturday and Sunday: All gates and roads open as usual.

 

Week 2, Monday 10 to Sunday 16 September

Location: Sheen Cross and road to Sheen Gate

Monday-Friday: Sheen gates, road and pedestrian, will remain open as usual. Two-way traffic lights will be in operation on road and Sheen Cross roundabout, so expect delays. Car park shut for resurfacing of drive. Road to White Lodge and Royal Ballet school will be closed, so staff and residents will drive via Pen Ponds.

Saturday: All gates and roads open.

Sunday: All road gates and roads closed for London Duathlon.

 

Week 3, Monday 17 to Sunday 23 September       

Location: Roehampton Gate and roundabouts

Monday: Roehampton Gate will be closed for works in carriageway between the gate and the roundabout.

Friday: Two-way traffic lights at roundabout at times.

Saturday and Sunday: All gates and roads open as usual.

 

Weeks 4-6, Monday 24 September to Friday 13 October

Location: Richmond to Ham

Details to be confirmed. There will be works to Richmond Gate, Richmond Roundabout and the road between Richmond Gate and Ham Cross. Expect road closures and diversions for this stage of the programme. Roads will be open as usual at weekends.

 

Autumn 2018/Spring or Summer 2019

Location: Robin Hood Roundabout to Pen Ponds Car Park

Resurfacing. Dates and details to be confirmed.

 

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list.

All the best, 

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists