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London's newest #Cycleway between New Malden and Raynes Park is now open! This is a (more than necessary) detailed thread reviewing it.
It is 1.2km long and starts next to New Malden Station, carries on parallel to the railway line, passing alongside Raynes Park recreation ground, connecting to Taunton Avenue and then along West Barnes Lane towards Raynes Park.
There is a 2.5m 2-way cycle track and a separate 2m wide path for for people walking all the way from near New Malden Station to Raynes Park recreation ground. Both paths have been laid very well and are really smooth👍 The middle verge was to be planted with wildflowers.
Paint markings have been added in a number of places to make clear which is the cycle path side. A couple more logos elsewhere might be helpful to make this clearer, especially as both paths are the same colour tarmac.
This new route reveals @TfL's new lime green #Cycleway branding with the route receiving the number 31. AFAIK, these are the first #Cycleway signs anywhere in London. The signage is clear but incomplete in places (I expect more to be installed shortly).
There's lots of new planting throughout the route already with room for more around the ramp area (again, I expect to be added soon - perhaps when we get to tree planting season). The pigeons seem to be enjoying the new grass seed too.
There are few clues to the real reason room was found for these paths in such an urban area but in a couple of places you can see the Thames Water manholes revealing that it is a major pipe route. You can also occasionally see the trains that follow the route too.
There's a very wide (4m) and gentle ramp part way along to connect the route to Alric and Duke's avenue. Unfortunately there's no signage yet from either road and the old barriers to previously restrict bikes haven't been removed ☹️
There's a focus on nature throughout the route, with a couple of wooden stakes pointing out tree species as well as an area for a nature trail and planned 'education opportunities' with some tree stump seating. More seating is needed elsewhere (only other by New Malden station).
New LED lighting has been installed throughout the route and over the bridge connecting to Alric and Dukes Avenue. It was going to be designed to be bat friendly. '#FunFact' it appears the lamp columns in Merton are dark green but are grey in Kingston😯
The subway under the A3 is really open and wide and has permanent lighting which should hopefully deter any antisocial behaviour here.
The paths from the new route up to the pedestrian and cycle route alongside the A3 , haven't been upgraded. It is unclear whether you can cycle to the A3 although the signage from the A3 suggests not. In any case the A3 signage is out of date now the route is open.
Some litter picking is desperately needed on one of the paths linking the A3 to the new route.
Then we reach Raynes Park recreation ground car park which has been resurfaced (I wouldn't be surprised if as much tarmac was used on the car park as the rest of the route!)
The route goes through the car park at the edge of the recreation grounds, past the bowling green onto Taunton Avenue which has also been resurfaced. The paint markings on Taunton Av need moving out of the 'dooring zone' as people should be cycling much more centrally here.
Taunton Road then joins Camberley Avenue at a wide junction which could have been narrowed.
The route ends at West Barnes Lane where Merton have built a new 2-way cycle track alongside W Barnes Lane between Camberley Avenue and Coombe Lane. The paint logos are the opposite way from usual (apparently deliberately) but the tactile paving has been fixed since my last visit
The route therefore connects to the sub-standard (but still reasonable) cycle tracks alongside Coombe Lane between Westcombe Avenue and Raynes Park station.
Going back to the start of the route. At New Malden station, a widened toucan over Coombe Rd (a not very🚲 friendly rd) connects to 'The Cut', an existing route with separate cycle and pedestrian paths towards Elm Rd. The Cut path is noticeably 'bumpy' as not laid by a machine☹️
A couple of abandoned bikes for @ContactKingston to sort by the toucan crossing over Coombe Road.
At the end of The Cut, you reach Elm Road which connects to Kingston Road (construction hopefully to start in 2020 on another #GoCycle scheme along Kingston Rd to Kingston). Elm Road is reasonably busy and could potentially do with a 'modal filter'. Signage also needs updating.
There's also a narrow footpath near the end of The Cut off Elm Road which it would be good if it could be widened. This follows the railway to Kingston Road linking to South Lane West
One other fact about The Cut. It has a cycle counter on it but there's none yet apparent on the new part of the route. Hopefully one to be installed soon!
So, we now have a 2km off-road route (including the Cut) with separate paths for people walking and people on bikes which links to relatively quiet roads onto W Barnes Lane at one end. At the other, via LCN 31, it links into the (future) Kingston Road #MiniHolland route
So, overall, what do I think? The new route itself: AMAZING 😀👍🎉🥳. Some snagging to sort (signage/barriers) but built to a really high standard. The next step should be to make the roads connecting to here even better so as many people as possible can enjoy it.
Bonus point for cycle infrastructure nerds 🤓, the new route is numbered #Cycleway 31. It is REALLY close to London Cycle Network 31 (The Cut joins it at Elm Road). Numbering therefore deliberate? But is this helpful or just confusing?! Green is Cycleway 31 with a map of LCN 31.
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