Go Cycle Portsmouth Road | Kingston Upon Thames, UK | Atkins

Go Cycle Portsmouth Road is a truly transformational scheme for Kingston. It has opened up a much-loved but tired and deteriorating part of the Thames in Kingston through the conversion of Portsmouth Road into an amicable environment for pedestrians and cyclists of all ages and proficiencies whilst retaining its function as a vehicular route.

Investment has seen the delivery of a 1.6km segregated cycle facility along the top of the riverside embankment on Portsmouth Road, connecting Surbiton & Thames Ditton in the south to Kingston Town Centre in the north, together with new and revived destination points along the river. The scheme has created a safe and attractive environment for people of all ages and abilities to cycle along, xand is greatly contributing to make cycling the norm, by reaching out to residents and commuters alike who wouldn’t normally consider cycling.

The scheme has introduced terraced gardens, creative seating, accessible ramps, engaging children’s play equipment, and a revamped café environ along Queens Promenade. Alongside enhancing Kingston’s historic vista towards Hampton Court Palace, the riverside location has been transformed into a bustling new destination in Kingston.

High quality design that respects its context and enhances London’s rich mix of old and new – The Queens Promenade proposals open up access to the riverfront for all user groups introducing gentle ramps, direct steps with integrated rain gardens and seating terraces with a planted backdrop separating from the traffic of Portsmouth Road. The rich heritage of the area has been respected through the use of stone materials for the paving and timber introduced for the terraces and seating that fits well with the natural character of the River Thames and planting. The historic view to Hampton Court aligned with Palace Road has been restored, there is reference to the Queens Promenade included in the corten steel wall detailing and paving features and the memorial plaques incorporated into the new seating and terraces. The healthy streets agenda has been realised by integrating cycle routes, play equipment, riverside seating, pedestrian access routes and large swathes of planting.

A wider contribution to placemaking – The scheme has opened up a much-loved but deteriorating part of the historic Queens Promenade along the river Thames in Kingston. The scheme has helped to extend the town-end part of Kingston, by encouraging activity further south along the river, with the introduction of striking terraced gardens, creative seating, enhancements to the riverside café setting and children’s play equipment, and an enhanced historic vista towards Hampton Court Palace has really made this an exciting destination.

Improving the social, cultural and economic character of the local area – The design of the scheme is for young and old alike and the riverside is now properly accessible for people with mobility impairments, meaning that all can enjoy the benefits of this enhanced riverside setting in Kingston. The number of zebra crossings has doubled from 3 to 6 and traffic speeds have reduced meaning that the local communities are better connected to the river, and connect with the river more safely. The scheme is supporting cycling by all abilities through a fully segregated cycle lane along the top of the embankment along Portsmouth Road. Local businesses in the area are also starting to benefit from the higher levels of footfall and cycling in the area.

Advancing knowledge and skills around the design, delivery, construction and funding of projects for the capital – The scheme is very much a prototype for the Mayor’s emerging Healthy Streets Agenda. It has broadened the sponsor’s original funding objectives beyond cycling by incorporating walking and place-making. The scheme has implemented innovations in highway design including cycle and pedestrian zebras and shared-use bus stops.

Go Cycle Portsmouth Road, Kingston Upon Thames

Client | Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames
Project Sponsor | TfL
Landscape Architect, Highway Design, Structural Engineers | Atkins
Contractor | Kier

About Damian Holmes 3314 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/