Cycling connectivity grows as Kingston High St goes ‘live’
Cllr Hilary Gander reviews the dedicated new Kingston High Street cycle lane to mark its completion, and the significance of this historic stretch of road being transformed by the Go Cycle Programme.
The completion of the third scheme over the summer marked a significant step in joining up Kingston’s cycling infrastructure, in time for families returning from school holidays, and as we head into the busy Autumn period towards Christmas.
The Kingston High St sheme connects the cycleway along the Portsmouth Road, and extends the route into the High Street, joining up with Market Place, the surrounding cycle lanes and shared pedestrian areas. It helps cyclists continue safely as they enter Kingston from Surbiton alongside the River Thames, and bypass the roundabout that joins the High St with Kingston Hall Road.
Kingston High St is the third Go Cycle scheme completed so far, and is part of plans to upgrade and build over 29 kilometres of premium cycleways across the Borough. With the recent commencement of construction work on two more Go schemes - from Kingston Vale to Kingston Town Centre along Kingston Hill, and a dedicated New Malden to Raynes Park route - the connectivity between transport hubs and routes across the borough is becoming increasingly more apparent and well used.
We know the newly improved cycleways are making a difference. Monitoring of cycling activity on the Portsmouth Road section, which now joins the newly completed Kingston High Street scheme, shows a leap in the the number of cyclists using this dedicated route. Counting numbers of cyclists six months before and then after completing the construction of the Portsmouth Rd scheme, there was a 59% increase in cycle lane usage throughout the day. Over the peak morning period, numbers of cyclists grew up to 104%, compared with the previous peak period measured before the build. There are notably more people cycling over the weekend. On Saturdays, between 39% to 50% more users have been recorded cycling along the Portsmouth Road.
Cllr Hilary Gander, portfolio holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport at Kingston Council, commented:
"We are already seeing the results of the investment and commitment being made. The completion of the Kingston High Street scheme means cyclists now enjoy a quality riding experience as they travel in from Surbiton, on a dedicated route along Portsmouth Road and the High Street all the way into the town centre.
"And this is just the start, as we press ahead with upgrading our cycling and walking infrastructure across the borough. We’re entering an exciting phase - some Go Cycle schemes are being completed, some are underway, and new schemes are just starting. When these schemes join up across Kingston, we’ll have spaces that reflect our commitment to making Kingston a healthy, safe, and friendly place to be."