Portsmouth Road

Riverside route revitalises public realm

The Portsmouth Road Go Cycle scheme involves improvements to the road linking Surbiton and Kingston. The changes have:

  • transformed parts of the Queens Promenade with landscaping, new planted terraces, seating and natural stone paving
  • created a two-way cycle lane separate from motorised traffic
  • revitalised the riverside near Palace Road
  • increased and improved road crossings and access to the riverfront.

The new area was officially opened by Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross and London Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman in April 2017. A two-way cycle lane separate from motorised traffic, new green man pedestrian crossings and a revitalised riverfront area are now being enjoyed by the general public. 

Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport:

"Portsmouth Road is a brilliant scheme. Whether you want to pop down to the river, walk around the local area, or cycle safely into the centre of Kingston, these improvements will benefit everyone. We must help Londoners become more active and healthy, and this is a great example of how we can improve the physical environment, while encouraging more Londoners to make walking and cycling a part of their everyday routine. We will continue to work closely with Kingston as they push ahead with their plans to get more people walking and cycling all across the borough."

Will Norman, London's first full-time Walking and Cycling Commissioner:

"It's wonderful that Kingston shares the ambition of me and the Mayor to make cycling a safer and easier option for residents across their borough.This fantastic new scheme not only links Surbiton and Kingston with a calm and safe cycle route, but also improves their iconic riverside for pedestrians too. Getting more people walking and cycling can really improve quality of life for everyone - improving our health, tackling poor air quality, and improving our high streets." 

Key Aspects

  • Two-way segregated cycle lanes running along the river side of the Portsmouth Road, provides protection for cyclists from road vehicles.
  • Clearly marked pedestrian and cycle ways ensure easy and visible safe passage of everyone as they travel along the road, across junctions, or board and alight from buses.  
  • Refurbished riverfront Queens Promenade - restoring a historical section of the river, which was purposely built in the 1850's, and designed for local residents to walk and enjoy the sights and ambiance of the River Thames. Still a popular walk and gathering point, the promenade attracts people all year round, especially in the summer as visitors appreciate it's sunny aspect and views, and close proximity to Kingston's riverfront restaurants, bars, and attractions.
  • Calming road traffic is a key feature of the redesigned road space. Maintaining two lanes of traffic, the new design discourages driving at speed, allowing for calmer traffic flow and passage of road vehicles. 
  • Continuing the memories and dedications of families - many park benches along the riverside walk have been refurbished and replaced with new designs. New plaques and dedications have been installed in collaboration with the named families, and marked in reponse to their wishes. 
  • Award-winning initiative with Mayoral endorsement - in recognition of the design, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visited the Portsmouth Road scheme, to view the new standards being set in the delivery of the Mini-Holland programme in Kingston. Meeting local schoolchildren and residents he endorsed the the importance and benefits Kingston's Go Cycle programme will bring to the borough, and held up Portsmouth Road as a benchmark by which he would like to see Transport for London's 'Healthy Streets' transport strategy being applied across all London boroughs. His message is best captured in the words 'It's schemes like this that will help Londoners see new possibilities, of how they can make new choices about how they travel around London'.

Portsmouth Road - before and after

Local resident and filmmaker Alan Birkinshaw produced a short film - Fabulous Kingston: Go Cycle - about the changes to Portsmouth Road. Filmed over a year, the film captures the developments throughout construction up to the official opening celebrations.

The Go Cycle Portsmouth Road scheme was recognised at a prestigious award for architecture and design in July 2017. The scheme was commended in the Transport and Infrastructure category for the New London Architecture Awards for its attempt to make a better public space through the cycle route and better connections to the river. The NLA featured 160 projects across 15 categories recognising the very best new and proposed architecture, planning and development in the capital.

The Portsmouth Road scheme cost £2.7 million and was part of a project managed by Kingston Council, supported by Atkins in engineering and landscape architecture and Kier for construction.


  • Portsmouth Road scheme commended in the New London Architecture Awards in July 2017 for the Transport and Infrastructure category
  • formal opening of Portsmouth Road improvement works 22 April 2017
  • the full cycle lane opened for use on 8 November 2016
  • work started on 9 November 2015
  • the plans were approved by Infrastructure, Projects and Contracts Committee on 25 June 2015
  • public consultation took place from 19 January to 18 February 2015.

Last Modified: 13/10/2020 14:58:52