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.
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