An open letter to Councillor Ian Lake:
I am writing to you, on behalf of the Elmbridge Cycle Group, to express our concerns about the lack of provision for cyclists during the closure periods of Seven Hills Road.
I appreciate that you are already aware of this and welcomed the statement you made yesterday at the Local Committee meeting indicating that you were still in discussion with Robert Haddlestone about possible solutions.
I’d like to take this opportunity to ensure that you are fully aware of the considerations that are important for cyclists during the closures.
1 There are very few north/south cycle routes in this area. The main choice for any cyclist crossing the borough in this direction is either Seven Hills Road or Brooklands Road. Neither are good routes but they are strategically important for cyclists that need to travel north/south, from Walton or Weybridge to Cobham for example.
2 The official car diversion route for 10 miles along the A3 is obviously unsafe and impractical for cyclists. The shorter alternative along Byfleet Road and Brooklands Road is busy and very unpleasant for cyclists.
3 While the movement of the main closure period to the summer months is welcome, it is the peak season for cycling and so the effects of no access along Seven Hills Road will be amplified. More cyclists would be inconvenienced than during the winter months.
4 I believe you are already aware that one of the difficulties with the orginal plan was that cyclists would not be permitted to make a right turn from Byfleet Road into Seven Hills Road when approaching from the Cobham direction. This was overlooked in the original proposals and I presume that this is one of the points that you are currently in discussion about.
5 I was unable to ascertain from the plans presented at the SCN open day whether there would be any provision for cyclists along the section between Burwood Road and Queens Road, which I believe will be used for equipment and materials storage during the project. The presumed diversion route if cyclists were not permitted to use this section would be Burwood Road, Westcar Lane and Queens Road. This is five times longer than the direct route, two thirds of which would be along fast and busy sections of the A317. Cyclists would inevitably take short cuts through either the St George’s Hill or the Burwood Park estates which would not be welcomed by those residents.
Finally, I understand that SGN will be resurfacing the Queens Road roundabout on completion of the works and presumably resurfacing the road at other places. This would seem like a good opportunity to look at ways that the junctions can be re-marked to better accommodate cyclists. In particular consideration could be given to advance stop lines at all the junctions onto Queens Road roundabout, the Burwood Road roundabout and especially the traffic lights at the southern end of Seven Hills Road. The other measure that could be achieved at this time would be the implementation of the much called for shared cycle path along the length of this road. I know you are already aware of this need and the issues around it, but I’m sure you’ll agree that there will be no better opportunity than this.
Please do contact me if you require any clarification about these points or would like to discuss anything.
Elmbridge Cycle Group