Far From the Madding Crowd

Swans canoodling on the Broad Water.

If you want to explore a newly opened part of Weybridge, simply walk around the new Broad Water path circuit.  The walk is about three miles long and can be accessed in several places.  From the Thames Path at Cowey Sale car park, Shepperton and Thames Path opposite D’Oyly Carte Island bridge, Weybridge.  From Weybridge town centre at Grenside Road (turn right at the St Georges School barrier).  From Walton a couple of hundred metres beyond Walton Lodge, along Oatlands Drive.

The green line indicates the new public footpath alongside the Weybridge Broad Water.

It is not yet completely wheel chair friendly – which is the intention.  But you can cycle around it.  There is one bridge yet to be built but you can easily cycle across the temporary construction.  Two bridges over the Engine River still have steps but just dismount to cross. The western stretch from Grenside to Thames path has two kissing gates so a tandem will not get though.

Engine River Bridge

You have to cross Walton Lane at the western and the eastern end to complete the circuit but both crossings are in or near 20mph limited areas.

Its great for all the family and, for a while at least, it is a well kept secret.

The hidden entrance at the Walton end along Oatlands Drive.

If you have never seen Broad water field you will not be aware that it has goal posts – no jumpers for goal posts as in Churchfields Rec.

 

 

Cycling Vs Driving

Are you safer as a driver or as a cyclist?  In other words would you live longer as a cyclist or a motorist?  You might be surprised to find out that cycling is safer than driving.  Although many people think cycling is more dangerous than driving.  Studies show that driver mortality and morbidity is higher than that for cyclists.  Many studies have shown that cyclists live longer than non-cyclists – even when taking into consideration other relevant factors.

In Britain fatalities have been falling for all modes – walking, cycling and driving.  In 2000, there were 30 fatalities per billion kilometres travelled for cyclists, compared to 48 for pedestrians and 3 for cars.

However, because people drive so many more miles than they cycle, the risk per exposure hour is much higher for motorists.  Per hour traveling, driving is twice a dangerous as cycling.  Driving presents almost twice the risk of cycling at 0.47 fatalities per exposure hour against 0.26 fatalities per exposure hour for cycling.  Here’s a table showing risks for a variety of activities:

Modal Danger

See that cycling is more dangerous than airline flying but safer than being in a car.

But the real advantage of cycling is that cyclists are healthier than non-cyclists.  Even after adjustment for other risk factors, including leisure time physical activity, those who do not cycle to work experience a 39% higher mortality rate than those who do.

While the fear of being hit by a car is a really great reason for cyclists to be absolutely defensive “drivers,” it is in fact counterproductive in terms of prolonging your life if you allow it to prevent you from choosing to cycle.

As you can see below cyclists have a greater life expectancy than non-cyclists.

Cycling Expectancy

Further research has shown that school children who cycle to school are more attentive and fair better than those who do not  – this also takes into account other factors, for example, the propensity for the parents of cycling children to be better educated than those who are not.

That is why I think that it is vital that we consider, as when and where we can, facilities for what many people believe is the best form of transport yet invented by humankind.

Grotto Pub Site

Grotto Pub Site webMany of you will know of the Grotto Pub Site.  It was my local when I moved here over thirty years ago.

On Monday next a planning application (2015/2042) will be presented for the demolition of the pub and the building of nine one-bedroom flats.

There will be no provision for cars on the site because the site is adjacent to the town centre and therefore it is considered to be in a sustainable location.  What do you think the likelihood is that none of the new 9 to 18 occupants of this development would have a car?   Where would they park?  A local told be recently that if a development was not expected to be occupied by car-owners then that should be written into the lease of the occupancy – as it is in London.  Interesting idea – what do you think?

The junction of Monument Hill and Baker Street is not, to say the least, optimal.  The sight lines are poor – the new wall might make it worse.  The curvature of the Baker Street entrance encourages speed.  The new development will reduce the width of the pavement – presently people walk over the front of the Grotto to pass each other.  These are not the fault of the proposal.

The flats are entirely north facing – so the occupants could not be in their flats and overlook Hillcrest.

I welcome your views on this prominent site.

Cycling Strategy comes to Weybridge

CyclistThe Weybridge cycling campaign welcomes the move to set Weybridge as the town in Elmbridge to begin the new cycling strategy.  This five year strategy looks to the present and future needs of the town in planning new facilities for cyclists.  The main trust will be to plan for a network of safe cycling routes between Weybridge and its neighbours (Shepperton, Walton, Hersham, Cobham, Byfleet, Woodham and Addlestone) especially in relation to the main locations in Weybridge: the riverside, town centre, Heathside School/Brooklands College (along with the primary schools), station, Brooklands offices and out-of-town shopping.

The aim is for safe cycling between all of these locations.  Our aim is to catch up with the Netherlands.  They began a while ago but look at this video to see how they managed the change.

Prudential RideLondon

Prudential Ride LogoDepending on your point of view, on Sunday, 2 August Weybridge will be either in lockdown or witnessing first-hand the biggest event of the year.  The Prudential RideLondon is the world’s greatest festival of cycling with 95,000+ cyclists participating in events on traffic free roads in London and Surrey.  There are lots of great places to watch the cycling in Weybridge so get to your chosen spot early to avoid disappointment and enjoy the festive atmosphere as they fly though the town. For full details click here

There will be road closures in Weybridge on the day. The riders will be coming along Oatlands Drive, through the town and then out along Heath Road and Brooklands Road.

To avoid the race either do not expect to travel far or move before the roads are closed.Prudential Ride Map

Elmbridge Cycling Strategy

CyclingEvery time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.  H G. Wells

Cllr Margaret Hicks, who represents Hersham at Surrey and is also the chair of Surrey Elmbridge Local Committee, has been keen to develop strategies in a number of areas under her purview.  This is all to the good in my opinion – it aids joined up thinking for one.

Margaret has already begun on a parking strategy and now it is the turn for the committee to develop a joint Surrey/Elmbridge strategy for cycling in the borough.

Vision  An Elmbridge of physically, mentally and spiritually healthy people of all ages enjoying fresh air and a high quality of life.

Mission To enable all the people of Elmbridge – who wish to do so – to cycle safely.

Strategy
To achieve our mission our strategy is based on our being:

  • Utilitarian. We focus on a person’s ability to cycle from home to the key places that make their life work: their school or workplace, their station, their town centre. Therefore routes to these places are dealt with first.
  • Network based. We understand that the benefits are far greater if networks are created
  • Inclusive.  We bring as many agencies, organisations and groups and people together to compound the benefits and spread the message.
  • Incremental. Although we have a clear and ambitious vision we know that many small steps made by many people eases the journey
  • Anticipatory. We take advantage of possible opportunities that might arise by anticipating requirements before they occur
  • Communicative. We engage with everyone and keep them informed
  • Sustainable. We strive to be socially and environmentally sustainable in everything that we do.

What would you like to see in a cycling strategy?

When I see most parents cycling with their children to primary school then I know we’d have cracked it.  It is much quicker to cycle than walk – although walking can be fun too.

All my family are fortunate enough to walk to school/work as they are so close.

Baker Street Traffic

Baker Street websiteNow that the associated roadworks for Morrison’s development are largely complete traffic should reduce along Baker Street.  These are the “developer’s” draft proposals for Baker Street.  The scheme is currently with Surrey’s Transportation Development Planning Team to agree as a condition of the planning permission.  There might be an option for a 20mph limit (or 20mph zone).

Just when the vanguard countries like Denmark and the Netherlands are removing road humps – Surrey is still putting them in place.  Just make sure the humps are not near your house!!  Ask the people of Portmore Park Road, Thames Street and Walton Lane.

Weybridge Point

River Grant for car park-01Elmbridge has received an application for a grant of £82,000 to change the layout of the path through the car park at the end of Thames Street with an aim to highlight the Thames Path and focus on the view of the Thames.

 

 

River View-01This bid is competing with many other bids from around the borough. What do you think? If you want to know more about it click on  Weybridge Point Car Park. The meeting to decide on this is being held on Monday, 29 September.

River Grant-02