For some weeks there have been extensive roadworks at the junction between Eastern Avenue and Middle Road in Shoreham. That’s the spot where a track cuts through the centre of Ham Field Allotment, connecting Nicolson Drive to Middle Road.
The work has finished and we’ve been down to take a look.
There are several positive changes, but also a bit of room for improvement.
Let’s start with the good news:
Alongside a load of great enhancements for people on foot, these new features will help you if you’re passing through the area on a bike:
✅ Cycle-specific traffic lights
If you’re coming from the east or west, traffic lights now have secondary bike-specific sets at eye level. These lights change to green a few seconds before the main lights, allowing a safety-boosting headstart if you’re on two wheels.
✅ Advance stop lines
An advance stop line has been created at the eastbound end of the allotment track – and one has been repainted at the end of Middle Road. These familiar-looking road markings allow extra space for cycles in front of waiting traffic. Their use is sometimes criticised in some locations, but they do have advantages.
✅ Better sensing for bikes leaving the allotment track
Have you ever sat by the Ham Field waiting to head into Middle Road – and waited, and waited, and waited? Before the recent work, people on bikes were often missed by the sensors controlling the lights. Not anymore. We’re not sure exactly how the new sensors work, but we didn’t have to wait long before lights changed green in our favour.
✅ Good quality surfacing
At the entrance to the allotment track, high quality tarmac has replaced a rough unsurfaced area. This is easier and safer to ride on – but only at the eastern end of the track.
All these measures combine to make the new junction much easier to negotiate by bike, as well as on foot. We’re grateful to West Sussex County Council, and we’ve spoken to them to tell them so.
There are a couple of aspects of the project that seem like missed opportunities. These concerns don’t spoil the great work that’s been described above, but we’re speaking to WSCC about them…
❌ Continued reliance on a ‘shared use’ path instead of enabling space for bikes
The eastern end of the allotment track has a brilliant new surface. But a few metres along, the tarmac stops and the original unsurfaced track takes over. A ‘drop kerb’ allows westbound people on bikes to join the existing ‘shared use’ path. This arrangement continues to bring bikes into close proximity with people walking through the area – including young children on their way to school.
In our view, a further strip of tarmac at the level of the existing wide track could have connected Middle Road to Nicolson Drive without having to awkwardly share space with vulnerable pedestrians.
Confusingly, there’s a stencilled ‘bike’ symbol on the tarmac, near the dropped kerb, but its position suggests bikes continue on the rough track – on a surface that is currently only suitable for mountain bikes, not regular cycles. This symbol seems like it should have been placed a few metres sooner if it is intended to guide westbound cyclists.
❌ No cycle provision on Eastern Avenue lights
East-west cycling (along National Cycle Network Route 2) has been improved by this recent work. But the new lights installed for traffic approaching the junction on Eastern Avenue from the north or south lack the same advance stop lines, or cycle-specific traffic lights. This means if you approach this junction on a bike from the north or south, you are less protected than if you approach from the west or east.
So, our overall verdict on this recent work is positive, but with some reservations, and perhaps some opportunity for future improvement.
What do you think?