PSA: Motor Traffic in Royal Parks in that London

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  • PSA: Motor Traffic in Royal Parks in that London
  • Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Can those of you with an interest have a look at this from LCC have your say on the survey if you’ve got time.

    https://lcc.org.uk/articles/royal-parks-says-no-to-through-motor-traffic

    Ta.

    razorrazoo
    Member

    An interesting one this. I am local to Richmond and Bushy and cycle round/through both.

    Bushy is basically a single road through the park (with offshoots to car parks). I believe the impact of traffic is minimal, at least at the times I go through.

    Richmond is an interesting one. In selfish cyclist mode, no cars would be great, and significantly help cyclist safety (you get some really poor driving there, but on the other hand there is some bad road etiquette from cyclists too) and lap time improvement. However given the multitude of car parks and other facilities that require access it’s difficult to see how they will manage this effectively. Make parking difficult would have a huge impact on park visitors as parking in surrounding areas is poor (and a long way from the various ‘destinations’ in the park).

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Well Greenwich Park is only accessed from the top by cars, then they go directly into car parks, so no material difference there.

    The only real issues I see are Richmond/Regents/Hyde which a central London anyway.

    Regents inner roads have speed bumps on, and loads of restrictions but the outer ring is a training ground for racing cyclists. If they close that off to traffic it means London Zoo won’t be accessible and the Mosque neither. Quite often the gates at the southern end are shut to traffic, but the entrance near the RCoS is open and that’s probably going to remain so since it takes you up to London Zoo.

    Also there are some pretty swanky houses with armed guards on the gates, that suggests whoever resides there will have the means and funds to block any restrictions (unless they’re allowed to access their property..

    Tricky, but essentially doable.

    Richmonds probably the worst affected, but then not all humans are that mobile so how would they manage Blue Badge holders and Coaches and the like?

    aP
    Member

    Banning cars from the Royal Parks is likely to also within a short time result in significant restrictions on cycling in them as well. So be careful what you wish for.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Richmonds probably the worst affected, but then not all humans are that mobile so how would they manage Blue Badge holders and Coaches and the like?

    IMO, the one-way suggestion has merit in all the parks that have loops (Richmond in particular). You’ll still get some commuter traffic but hopefully reduce the number of those that would have to go all the way around the park to get where they are going.

    Agree on Bushy – It’s always fully of people trying to get to (or leave) the car park in the middle not sure how you can prevent people from using it as a cut through if the car park remains where it is.

    Don’t know much about the others…

    This thread seems to have gone a bit negative

    Richmond – given the multitude of car parks and other facilities that require access it’s difficult to see how they will manage this effectively. Make parking difficult would have a huge impact on park visitors as parking in surrounding areas is poor (and a long way from the various ‘destinations’ in the park).

    At certain times as much as 90% of motor traffic in Richmond is passing through. Even at weekends I think it’s 70% rat run. WRT parking, Majority of park visitors don’t come by car, <50% of London residents have access to a car and poorest own proportionatly less. Should be chargeable – providing car parking costs in terms of construction and maintenance (as well as wear to park roads) – Free parking is a subsidy to car owners with funds that could make park better for all. Would also help manage demand. I’ve seen local residents complain it’s taken them 30 minutes to drive 1 mile to the park (i see dog owners on my local streets drive 1m to a park to walk their dog for an hour….). You also get people ‘scenic driving’ – driving laps. it’s not 1960 any more.
    How – seems mad, but seems most likely is road user pricing – spend less than, say, 1 hour in the park and pay £X. Much simpler just to bollard it so you can only drive to nearest car park from any entrance. Either way could have disabled exemptions (electric gate and bell if necessary)

    Regents Park – If they close that off to traffic it means London Zoo won’t be accessible and the Mosque neither

    Again, why is anyone except disabled visitors driving to either of these? Disabled parking only. Single gate nearest them open, no through traffic, bollards. Houses in the park – electric gates and passes if necessary. There is a weird complication of the Crown Estates Paving Commission (which have prevented the gates being closed for the Cycle Superhighway) who represent the residents. Might again be a case of charging with ANPR cameras and exclusions for residents.

    Banning cars from the Royal Parks is likely to also within a short time result in significant restrictions on cycling in them as well. So be careful what you wish for.

    These principles seem really progressive to me –
    Our parks are for people: “Our parks are places that people visit for relaxation and recreation, and to escape the busy city. To make that possible, we will prioritise walking within our parks.”

    We will encourage the use of more sustainable ways to access our parks: “How visitors arrive at our parks plays a significant role in how they use and experience them. We will promote and encourage visitors to use active and sustainable modes of transport for park visits

    That ‘active and sustainable travel’ mention is directly referencing cycling.

    We should argue that Lycra Road Cycling is a completely valid leisure activity that doesn’t create noise or pollution. There are big tarmac roads thorugh the parks – they don’t need digging up, they need the motor traffic removed from them (and maybe Zebra crossings (maybe even keep signalised crossings at Regents?) to clearly give priority to peds over cyclists at points of high crossing demand next entrances, cafes, and car parks.

    this does miss use of parks as a part of a longer journey. Again, should be encouraged and provided for in a way that reduces conflict (separate, not shared, paths but clear priority crossings for pedestrians). Again, the existing park roads deliver most of this if you get rid of the cars from them/

    philjunior
    Member

    You also get people ‘scenic driving’ – driving laps. it’s not 1960 any more.

    I don’t see how this is any worse than, say, driving to somewhere nice? You’re just driving from a nice place to another nice place. For that matter I don’t see why it’s any more ridiculous than choosing to drive from a to b in London.

    “local residents” driving about are still just as much a part of the traffic as anybody else.

    My tuppence worth would be that it would be nice to see the rules (in particular speed limits) enforced properly in the parks, rather than banning through traffic.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Unless you absolutely have to drive in London……I really don’t see why you’d attempt to.

    It’s the ultimate exercise in frustration – I avoid it & take considerable efforts to do so. Fortunately public transport is reasonably good.

    The less cars in the parks the better!

    “local residents” driving about are still just as much a part of the traffic as anybody else.
    My tuppence worth would be that it would be nice to see the rules (in particular speed limits) enforced properly in the parks, rather than banning through traffic.

    Local residents comes down to the issue of the 70% of car journeys under 5miles, 40% under 2miles that really should walked or cycled not driven. If you’re fit enough to walk your dog around the park, you’re fit enough to walk your dog TO the park as well.

    On traffic in parks I think its’ worth thinking about the counter factual. If there was no through traffic in the parks, would anyone seriously suggest building a road through them?

    “Richmond Park has protected status as an important habitat for wildlife and is a National Nature Reserve, London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.”
    How is that compatible with what looks like 25k cars entering the park each day, over 20k of which are not park visitors?

    Richmond Park – the new South Circular

    mrlebowski
    Member

    In all likelihood it’ll be a congestion charging scheme.

    Premier Icon lucky7500
    Subscriber

    There aren’t actually any public roads through Hyde Park. There is one road that separates Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which can get busy at peak times because the alternatives mean significant detours. However, there have been bike and Horse lanes alongside the road for years. Closing it makes Kensington High Street, Church Street, Hyde Park Corner and Park Lane even more congested

    razorrazoo
    Member

    You also get people ‘scenic driving’ – driving laps. it’s not 1960 any more.

    I don’t see how this is any worse than, say, driving to somewhere nice? You’re just driving from a nice place to another nice place.

    It’s the constant stop starting and slow crawling to see herds of distant deer (usually without indicating or any thought that there is a queue of traffic behind) which is a big issue here. People do tend to treat RP like their private safari park.

    My tuppence worth would be that it would be nice to see the rules (in particular speed limits) enforced properly in the parks,

    I cycle round RP pretty frequently, I regularly see speed traps in 2 specific areas which are designed to catch both cars and cyclists.

    There aren’t actually any public roads through Hyde Park. There is one road that separates Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which can get busy at peak times because the alternatives mean significant detours. However, there have been bike and Horse lanes alongside the road for years. Closing it makes Kensington High Street, Church Street, Hyde Park Corner and Park Lane even more congested

    To all intents and purposes that road is through Hyde Park. If we’re honest, so is Park Lane – a huge chunk of Hyde Park that was tarmaced over.

    Traffic levels are not immutable – http://rachelaldred.org/writing/thoughts/disappearing-traffic/ – and London has a target for reducing motor traffic trips. to do that you need to take away road capacity.

    Sonor
    Member

    It’s the constant stop starting and slow crawling to see herds of distant deer (usually without indicating or any thought that there is a queue of traffic behind) which is a big issue here. People do tend to treat RP like their private safari park.

    Its a private road in a nature reserve. The idea was that people would drive around it looking at I dunno, Nature I suppose. What you have described is the problem with it, the traffic using it as a rat run. The park can close the roads to through traffic, just as they did when they closed robin hood gate a few decades back.

    I cycle round RP pretty frequently,

    Not with London Dynamo are you? They supposedly “own” that road.

    razorrazoo
    Member

    Its a private road in a nature reserve. The idea was that people would drive around it looking at I dunno, Nature I suppose. What you have described is the problem with it, the traffic using it as a rat run. The park can close the roads to through traffic, just as they did when they closed robin hood gate a few decades back.

    My issue is with drivers not being aware of other road users, rat runner or leisure user eg. stopping without warning (happens a lot, just slam on the brakes to look at some deer, don’t bother checking the mirror or indicating), crawling along at busy times without regard for other road users, risky overtakes (which are common) etc. This is actually more prevalent on the parts which are not the main rat run (which when I am there tends to be Richmond to Roehampton gates, though the report linked above suggests Richmond – Kingston).

    Not with London Dynamo are you? They supposedly “own” that road.

    Nope, I don’t ride with a club, I’m no mega serious roadie, and I certainly don’t have a sense of ‘ownership’ if that’s what you’re implying. The park is local and great for me to do a lap or 2 in the evening or at lunchtime if I WFH, it’s a great variation of ups and downs in a picturesque setting without buses and HGVs thundering past – what’s not to like. I tend to avoid it at peak car traffic times as it’s no fun. To be honest as a local resident I feel very lucky to have it there as both a great cycling location within a 15 minute ride, and somewhere to go for a walk with my family.

    Premier Icon Andy_B
    Subscriber

    The only sensible solution for Richmond Park would be to charge an excess fee for leaving the park within 30 minutes of entering. It’s essentially the Sheen bypass and those are the people that shouldn’t be there, not people driving to have a wander about, get an ice cream or take a bike out of the car and do a lap.
    Making it one way would likely turn it into a bit of a racetrack which at the moment is largely prevented by large numbers of cyclists.
    After that TfL needs to be looking at fast public transport that gets you around outer London without having to go in. There’s a reason why people travel on the north circular and m25 in huge numbers. There’s no realistic alternative.

    take a bike out of the car and do a lap.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I live less than a mile from Richmond Park and have used the car parks many times:

    My kids learnt to ride their bikes up there. I would put the bikes in the car, drive them up there and teach them in a much safer environment than our local streets.

    The park is huge. Walking small children up there would mean that they would only see a small part of it.

    Going up there for a picnic – not that easy to lug everything through the streets.

    The popularity of the car parks shows that the park would not be as popular without the car traffic. As a cyclist who rides in the park every day I can see the benefits of closing it to cars, but as a father and local resident I can also see that it would change the way the park is used by many people.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Perhaps if you’re living within a mile of the park you could be exempt. It would seem a bit punitive to force the parks neighbours to pay for access – but it would seem a good idea to deter the rat runners who say for eg. are going from Twickenham to Putney or Surbiton to Kew..

    Cameras & ANPR could easily monitor who came & went & where the car was registered.

    https://www.richmondparkcyclists.org/intelligent-road-charging

    Congestion, pollution, climate emergency – can you *really* not see that driving less than a mile to a park is an issue? We really are doomed. FFS.

    Even a small child can walk or scoot a mile. If the mile between you and the park isnt safe to walk or cycle along, campaign to do something about it. Cutting out all rat running traffic, and reducing the number of people driving to it would almost certainly make them much much quieter and safer.

    If i can do a weeks shop for three people on foot I really think you can manage to carry enough for a picnic. Here’s a picnic basket on wheels for you – other, cheaper, non wicker trolleys are available.

    Exemption for locals? I’d go the other way and say anyone within 2 miles of the park should have to pay treble.

    Maybe it would slightly change the way some people use the park (I’m pretty sure that even now its a minority who visit by car). Cars enable us to do many anti-social and environmentally negative things. Maybe your kids will see more of the part of the park nearer your house until they’re a bit older – I dont think that will really damage their development.

    Maybe there could even be an imaginative solution to wider access that doesn’t mean a load of people driving their Range Rovers from one side of the park to th either. How about one of those theme park style mini fake-trains running a loop around the park powered by electricity?

    Even a small child can walk or scoot a mile.

    Yes, that’s by far the best way to get a small child confident and stable on a bike. 🙄

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    I presumed the point about local’ish people not being charged was because if you’re right next door then driving somewhere else becomes a bigger detour everyday than for someone who lives 5 miles away and would barely notice their satnav now avoids the park.

    Yes, that’s by far the best way to get a small child confident and stable on a bike. 🙄

    Less than a mile is a less than 20min walk. If they can ride a bike they can manage that surely! And if they can’t, they’re still light enough to carry! Seriously. A mile! It’s not like he suggested you make the kid ride to Box Hill!

    The only time I ever drive inside the m25 is if I’m being paid by the hour.

    Scott, looking at a map it’s obvious there are no other parks, green areas, or quiet roads where a child could get confidant enough to ride 1m on pavements to get to Richmond Park.

    I know for a fact that the children in the c50% of london households that don’t have access to a car (higher car ownership in outer, lower in inner) never learn to walk, scoot or cycle.

    I also know that nothing i say is going to change your view that every one of your trips by car is 100% essential, and loading all this stuff into the car to drive to Richmond Park is a completely reasonable and rational decision. But you’re also not going to change my view that it’s an insane situation we’ve got to where it is socially acceptable and enabled, in a large part by free parking.

    Out of interest, what cost of parking charges would be enough to make you think again? If, say, it cost £10 to park for an hour in Richmond Park would you then walk? If you’d go somewhere else instead where would you go? It takes about 15minutes to walk a mile – how long does it take you to drive to the park (including packing up the car, parking – i frequently see queues for the car parks at weekends) – how long would it have to take to drive there before you’d walk instead (i can’t believe you’d sit in crawling traffic for, say, a hour).

    I presumed the point about local’ish people not being charged was because if you’re right next door then driving somewhere else becomes a bigger detour everyday than for someone who lives 5 miles away and would barely notice their satnav now avoids the park.

    This comes up time and time again in neighbourhood improvment/low traffic neighbourhood/rat run prevention schemes – residents complaining thier 5 minute car journey has now takes twice as long because they’ve got to drive around the block on the main road. You should not be making 5 minute car trips (20% of UK car trips are less than one mile, 40% less than 2miles). These detours aren’t going to have any material impact on the journey time for any trip for which a car is really an appropriate choice.

    Dealing with the 70% of car trips under 5 miles, a huge number of which would be cycled in the Netherlands, involves making short trips by car more difficult and less direct so that they are not a sensible, rational choice. Oh, and making parking difficult and expensive.

    To be honest, I can completely understand why quite a few parents drive their kids, with their bikes, to Richmond Park (Not if they live around a mile away, but hey). The one I have more of a struggle with is the fair few people I see driving there with quite expensive road bikes attached to their cars. It’s not as if Richmond Park is a quiet traffic free environment – you can have to deal with the same sort of shit tailgating, close passes and turning hooks in there as you do on the roads around it.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Yes but not all journeys are avoidable, the weekly shop, or if you commute by car for example.

    I agree people really need to break the habit of going everywhere locally by car. My OH is probably one of the worst offenders. She even bought an e-bike for cycling to work (used once) but her big moan at the moment is the loss of her free parking pass in town as her office has moved (fair enough her new office is not a reasonable cycle distance). It’s about 3 miles into town, 90% traffic free to get there and it winds me up that she still prefers to drive and pay the extortionate parking! I can actually beat her on the road bike even without traffic!

    My kids learnt to ride their bikes up there.

    Less than a mile is a less than 20min walk. If they can ride a bike they can manage that surely!

    They couldn’t ride their bikes – that was kind of the point of taking them to a safe environment with lots of space and paths that don’t have cars on to teach them to ride safely and with confidence. Is this concept really so difficult to comprehend?

    I also know that nothing i say is going to change your view that every one of your trips by car is 100% essential

    Where did I say it was 100% essential? How do you know that nothing you say is going to change my mind on anything? I said I had done this and I used it as an example of how people use cars to travel to the 2,500 acre expanse of parkland so that they can make the best use of it. You seem to be making a number of untrue assumptions regarding my initial post (Range Rover driver etc), which is a bit tiresome.

    If, say, it cost £10 to park for an hour in Richmond Park would you then walk?

    It’s a bit irrelevant as I haven’t parked up there for years. The only reason I might do is if we wanted to have a picnic (as I don’t have one of those handy trolleys you helpfully linked me to earlier and have no intention of buying one). If it was £10 per hour (ridiculous) then I would probably drive out to the surrey hills, where parking is free.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    The popularity of the car parks shows that the park would not be as popular without the car traffic. As a cyclist who rides in the park every day I can see the benefits of closing it to cars, but as a father and local resident I can also see that it would change the way the park is used by many people.

    Yet somehow Wimbledon common which is also pretty large,isn’t full of car parks is used by people picnicking, children, wombles etc

    Yet somehow Wimbledon common which is also pretty large,isn’t full of car parks is used by people picnicking, children, wombles etc

    You would be making a great point, if Wimbledon Common wasn’t served by 4 large car parks…

    mrlebowski
    Member

    4 car parks on the Common?

    I know of 2 small ones: 1 by the Windmill & the other by the golf club. There’s a fair amount on on-street round the village but where are the others?…

    As for local exemption & the Park – I really don’t know what the solution is. What RP really needs is a tube station but I can’t see that EVER happening..

    Scott, you still seem to be missing my points. Maybe i’ve expressed them badly.

    – the trolley was to point out that the volume of stuff needed for a picnic really donest need a car to carry. A pram, a shopping trolly, a rucksack, maybe just a couple of shopping bags – there are a load of ways in which you could carry a picnic. I’d really recommend a shopping trolley by the way – makes shopping locally without using a car much more practical. https://www.andersen-shopper.de/en/products/ Are great quality – some can even be towed as a bike trailer. Bag comes off and you can use the base bit with a crate to carry all sort of stuff – gets used for taking large parcels to post office quite a bit.

    – the parking cost question was to try to tease out what’s your price sensitivity is to driving to the park (which you say you dont do anyway). Free parking in the Surrey Hills? I’m hardline on parking – it should be in marked bays only, nationwide. the idea that you can just dump your car in a lane is ridiculous, and it should be chargeable pretty much everywhere as well. Pretty sure it’S already been said upthread but parking isnt free – building and maintaining the park roads and car parks costs and that’s money that isn’t spent on facilities that benefit the majority (?) who dont drive to the park. It’s an inequitable subsidy of driving and to (richer) car owners.

    What would you have done with your kids if you didn’t have a car? I’m guessing you’d have taught them to ride somewhere closer until they were good enough to ride to Richmond Park

    Better bus service to RP would be good – change some bus routes so that there are good links from public transport to park entrances. Some form of “green” shuttle bus within the park itself – could be paid for by parking charges….

    If the Royal Parks were really thinking about making the park accessible for all those feel like better answers than keeping the roads open and car parking free….

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    You would be making a great point, if Wimbledon Common wasn’t served by 4 large car parks…

    As pointed out it’s not served by four large car parks One large carpark which is actually opposite Richmond park on the a3 for the playing fields and two very small ones on the common itself, the one by the golf course fits about a dozen cars at most, so it is a great point after all.

    Scott, you still seem to be missing my points. Maybe i’ve expressed them badly.

    Yes, probably exclaiming “FFS” and accusing me of being ignorant to the environmental emergency set you off on the wrong foot.

    – the trolley was to point out that the volume of stuff needed for a picnic really donest need a car to carry. A pram, a shopping trolly, a rucksack, maybe just a couple of shopping bags – there are a load of ways in which you could carry a picnic. I’d really recommend a shopping trolley by the way – makes shopping locally without using a car much more practical. https://www.andersen-shopper.de/en/products/ Are great quality – some can even be towed as a bike trailer. Bag comes off and you can use the base bit with a crate to carry all sort of stuff – gets used for taking large parcels to post office quite a bit.

    Yes, that’s great thanks. People living in a short distance of the park could use those for a picnic. I do question how many will buy a trolley like that and how many will just not bother visiting the park.

    Free parking in the Surrey Hills? I’m hardline on parking – it should be in marked bays only, nationwide. the idea that you can just dump your car in a lane is ridiculous, and it should be chargeable pretty much everywhere as well.

    Again, you’re making assumptions. Who said I was dumping my car in the lanes? Surrey Hills are full of dedicated carparks.

    What would you have done with your kids if you didn’t have a car? I’m guessing you’d have taught them to ride somewhere closer until they were good enough to ride to Richmond Park

    Probably, yes. But that’s not really the point – I chose to take them somewhere nicer, using the car – I cycle more miles per year than the whole family drives, but hey, I’m the bad guy for taking my kids somewhere safe to learn that is accessible by car.

    The point I’m making is that we live in a world of convenience – banning cars from RP will change the usage of the park and I would be extremely surprised if the volumes of families enjoying the park would drop off – which I think is a shame. The fact of the matter is that many people will not buy the trolleys, will not want to cycle their kids a couple of miles to the nearest park gate – they simply won’t bother going.

    Kilo – Wimbledon common is one third of the size of Richmond Park and has four car parks. It’s really not a great point.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Where are these 4 car parks on Wimbledon Common?

    There are only 2 I know of that are actually on the common..

    Edit: found them – though I’d query the 2 not directly on the common slightly….but yes 4(ish)

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    As has been pointed out the car parks aren’t four large ones on the common as claimed, the two actually on the common are very small and if one includes Putney Heath where one of them actually is to the Wimbledon common size it then becomes half the size of RP. So by any standards a massive open space thriving with minimal need for parking

    This is quite tiresome…

    There are 4 car parks which provide access to the common without having to cross or go along roads. They serve the common because they are all used regularly by people utilising the common for the purposes that I mentioned in my original post. If you don’t believe me, go to any of those car parks on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

    Sonor
    Member

    The popularity of the car parks shows that the park would not be as popular without the car traffic. As a cyclist who rides in the park every day I can see the benefits of closing it to cars, but as a father and local resident I can also see that it would change the way the park is used by many people.

    I wouldn’t close the car parks, people should still be allowed to drive in the park, but only to the car parks, though that could be a tricky proposition.

    I know there were rumblings a few years back that the locals around the park wanted it closed to traffic completely, so it would become “exclusive” to those who only lived nearby. Certainly wouldn’t want those bunch of w****rs getting that.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    If in doubt Google is your friend. 2 on the common, 1 adjacent & another over the road:

    https://www.wpcc.org.uk/the-commons/location-and-parking

    Premier Icon akira
    Subscriber

    I often speak to people who ride often in Richmond park but have never ridden further out, even though an hour cycling from Richmond you could be in the Surrey hills.

    I often speak to people who ride often in Richmond park but have never ridden further out, even though an hour cycling from Richmond you could be in the Surrey hills.

    It’s completely mad. Our last place had a good view of the park and I was constantly amazed at the volume and groups of cyclists that would go there on a Saturday morning to just battle their way through the traffic. It really did not look like an enjoyable ride.

    Half an hours ride from this side of Kingston would see you in Cobham and the start of nice quiet country lanes.

    Quite a few people drive their bikes up to the park to do laps on the weekend. Yeah, the park can be a nice place to ride at certain times, but it’s not really worth driving a road bike up to.

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