Putney Bridge RideLondon Plans 'Could Cause Chaos'

Confusion over vehicle access during cycling event

Picture: Positively Putney


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A number of Putney residents have reacted with dismay to the arrangements being proposed for the Prudential RideLondon event this year saying they are confusing and counterproductive. Thousands of cyclists, both amateur and professional, are expected to take part in a series of Mayoral and TfL supported bike events on Sunday, 4 August.

The event will see riders setting off from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London heading for the Surrey Hills before returning through Putney to central London and a finishing line in The Mall. The all-day event is based largely on the London 2012 Olympic cycling competition and will have a major effect on travel throughout south west London and in Putney town centre in particular.

Unlike in previous years it is being proposed that Putney Bridge remain open to ‘localised’ traffic between the Lower Richmond Road and Fulham High Street with Putney Hill and Putney High Street closed. However, in the same material issued by RideLondon a table is also shown suggesting the bridge will be closed to traffic from 7.30am to 7.30pm. It is believed this measure is being taken to reduce traffic pressures across west and south west London due to Hammersmith Bridge being closed this year. With Chiswick Bridge being closed and Wandsworth Bridge being made local access only, Kew Bridge is the nearest point at which many motorists will be able to cross the Thames and it is anticipated that traffic congestion will be particularly severe.

It is also unclear how the use of the bridge by both motor vehicles during the events will be handled. Thousands of amateur cyclists will be crossing the bridge over the course of the day and a peloton of professional cyclists will be into the final stage of the race by the time they reach this point.

One local said, “RideLondon provides one day a year in which the centre of Putney is largely traffic free and makes for an unmissable day out. I appreciate this may be at the cost of congestion elsewhere but this year particularly we deserve a bit of payback. However, looking through the confusing plans for handling the event this year there appears to be a danger they will be counterproductive. There is a high likelihood in my view these arrangement could cause chaos. The route should have been reconsidered – why on earth they didn’t take the opportunity to redirect it over Hammersmith Bridge defies explanation.”

It is not clear at this stage how what counts as localised traffic will be determined. Concerns have been expressed that, with the increasing prevalence of satellite navigational tools, some of which are updated on a live basis with road closure information, an unsustainable amount of traffic will be directed along the Lower Richmond Road in the hope of crossing Putney Bridge.

It is also being suggested that ambiguity in material released by RideLondon may also add to the problems with the report that Putney Bridge is to remain open being more prominent than any warnings that access may be limited. The event has been criticised in the past for being inadequately publicised particularly in the areas most likely to be hit by resutling disruption.

To accommodate the riders, the following local roads will be closed to all vehicle traffic from 7.30am on the day. They are expected to reopen at around 7.30pm, although this timing is subject to change.

• Wimbledon Parkside SW19
• Tibbet’s Corner SW19
• Tibbet’s Ride SW15
• Putney Hill SW15
• Putney High Street SW15

Bus services will also be subject to change. We have asked TfL for details of planned diversions but have not received a response.

Further details of road closures across London can be found here.

We have contacted RideLondon for comment and await a response.

July 19, 2019

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