New measures to improve Dukes Meadows to make it safer for people to enjoy for both cycling and walking will come into force this month.
Published: Monday, 4th May 2020
The implementation of Dukes Meadows masterplan focusing on improving the public realm and encouraging safe cycling and pedestrian use has continued over recent weeks, with workers onsite adhering to government guidance on social distancing. Verges have been tidied up, overhanging vegetation cut back, drainage improved and over 5.5km of yellow lines have been painted to make it clear where parking is or isn’t permitted.
Further work starting this week will include the installation of ’bodpave’ – permeable hardstanding which allows grass to grow through it - parking bays on the northern side of the promenade. These will be fenced off for a number of weeks to allow the grass seed to grow through. Additional facilities for cycle parking are also being explored.
This new approach to parking will help in regulating the inconsiderate vehicle use on site and will start being enforced this month. Charging for the remaining parking at the weekends will start later in the summer.
The Council will also implement a trial closure of the road through Dukes Meadows at the point it passes through the tunnel under the railway bridge. Passage through the tunnel will only be possible on foot or by bike, removing a dangerous pinch-point where pedestrians and cyclists often come into conflict with vehicles in a narrow space with limited visibility. It is hoped this would provide a safer and more pleasant environment for those using and travelling through the park by foot or by bike. The trial would be in place for a minimum of six months and reviewed before determining whether or not to make any permanent change.
The Dukes Meadows masterplan has attracted a high level of external funding and improved the site since consultation and planning consent was given in February 2018.
Over £1m has been secured for the development of a pedestrian bridge that will further increase the opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to use the site. Though the main objective of the bridge is to facilitate a safe and inviting route along the Thames Path, the bridge aligns with Hounslow commitments for a cleaner, greener borough and a contribution towards a modern and more sustainable transport network. As well as creating wider transport links, the bridge will encourage a more sustainable access to this great asset for local residents.
Other notable improvements to the site as part of the implementation of the Masterplan:
*Secured over £2.2m to improve sporting facilities *Improvements of the public realm at Dan Mason Drive including installation of bollards and grounds maintenance improvements *Repairs to the Bandstand area *Access improvements for cyclists and pedestrians at the Edensor road entrance *Regular repairs to the road *Treatment of Japanese knotweed *Improvements to the nature reserve and installation of bat boxes *Improved tree management and opening of views *Fence repairs *Regular enforcement presence to make the site safer *An events management plan with all the stakeholders on site *A new event to celebrate the Oxford-Cambridge boat race
Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said: “It is fantastic we have managed to carry on our ambitious investment programme into Dukes Meadows park even during this difficult time. The teams have done a great job tidying up the verges, trimming back vegetation and formalising the parking spaces. Undertaking this work at a time when people are making fewer trips by car will give the maximum chance of the planting to establishing itself in these parking areas.
“We are also keen to trial changes to how people access the park by car to provide more space for those walking and cycling in this beautiful space – we look forward to user feedback on that. There could well be varying requirements for social distancing for many months to come, so it’s important we develop plans to provide as much space for people as possible.”