WSCC announces Adur’s first temporary Covid cycleway

West Sussex County Council has announced the first of what we hope will be a series of short-term measures to help us move around Shoreham easily and safely.

Why do we need short-term changes to our streets?

As the UK works out how best to transition from Covid-19 lockdown to a new kind of life-as-usual, the Department for Transport has issued statutory guidance for West Sussex County Council and all local authorities – effectively ordering them to take bold temporary measures to help people get around their towns and cities. And now we are starting to see these changes come to Shoreham.

In Adur, as elsewhere, we’ve all noticed a huge increase in the numbers of people riding bikes. Of course, during lockdown, some of this was due to a sudden increase in leisure time, but when we asked people for their feelings about cycling, hundreds of you told us you feel safer and more able to ride bikes when the fear of sharing space with motor vehicles is reduced.

As schools and workplaces begin the process of re-opening, and with public transport still being discouraged, there’s a possibility that the use of cars for short journeys will increase – with the pollution and congestion that goes along with this.

So the point of temporary cycling measures is to make transport options easier. If more people feel able to make short journeys without using cars, what a difference we can make to life in Shoreham.

Where will the changes be?

The first temporary measure will be a cycleway along Upper Shoreham Road and Old Shoreham Road, connecting the River Adur to our border with Brighton & Hove. We don’t yet know the details (these are being worked on by engineers), but it’s likely this will take the form of a lane to separate people on bikes from cars and lorries. Usually, we feel strongly that a simple painted line isn’t enough to provide real protection, so we’re keen to see the details when this is ready.
Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 21.05.52

Where’s next?

We are hoping that further measures will follow shortly. We hoped that Shoreham’s Middle Road – a major school route – would make the first cut, but sadly, this was not the case. This really must be a priority before many more children begin returning to school.

What about people in Shoreham who don’t ride bikes?

Of course, riding a bike isn’t for everyone, and we know some people are worried about losing road space for motor vehicle use. We understand this, but there are some things worth remembering:

  • Many people who don’t currently ride bikes feel more able to do so when danger is reduced. We saw this during lockdown, and research bears it out.
  • People who don’t ever ride bikes still stand to benefit. By encouraging others to leave their cars at home, there’s a hope of increased air quality, reduced congestion and fewer delays for people who need to drive.
  • We know there’s often discomfort and conflict when people ride bikes on pavements. With somewhere safer to ride, we know people feel less tempted to ride bikes where they shouldn’t.

Funded by central government

West Sussex County Council is being awarded £784,000 to introduce various changes around the county. And if successful in reducing pollution and congestion, more funds will follow.

Temporary facilities are a chance to experiment

Will this work perfectly? Maybe. Possibly not. But that’s the great thing about temporary measures, in that they can be tried, tested, and then decisions taken later for longer term changes.

Thanks to everyone who has worked on this so far

This recent decision is the result of much conversation between district, county and national levels of government. We know Cllr Kevin Boram has been working hard on getting things sorted out at County Hall. Support has come from across political parties, including from Cllr Catherine Arnold, who has been involved in really understanding what will most help the people of Shoreham.

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