As part of efforts to untangle the complicated business of Upper Shoreham Road’s disappearing cycle lanes, Tim Loughton MP is conducting a survey (top tip – turn your phone sideways if filling in the survey on mobile) to help understand the feelings of local people when it comes to what form a cycle lane in this location should take – assuming funding can be found to establish something more permanent.
First things first: While this discussion goes on – and while future funding is sought – there’s no reason not to keep our existing pop-up lanes for the time being: especially during the winter months when children travel to school in gloomy conditions. If you agree, do write to Tim, and to your county councillor, to make this point.
But turning to the future, we think all decisions should be informed by access to information and ideas. How else can we have a meaningful conversation? So we’ve assembled some of the options open to us as we discuss what the future of Upper Shoreham Road should look like.
Research shows most people agree that safer spaces for cycling should be created in our towns. Let’s look at some of the choices available to help us make that a reality. Many of the tricky points of cycling design have been made much easier by the publication of a new Department for Transport guide to Cycle Infrastructure Design, and some of the ideas below can be found in its pages.
Let’s get started…
Location, Location, Location
Is Upper Shoreham Road the right position for a cycle route? We know some people are suggesting alternatives. It’s worth knowing that in every single survey or study, Upper Shoreham Road always emerges as a key part of a future cycle network. It’s easy to see why: it’s a wide, useful road that connects together so many useful destinations. West Sussex County Council, the Department for Transport and Sustrans all agree on this – as do Adur & Worthing Councils, whose Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan received a huge positive response during its public consultation phase.
Separation for protection
It’s now standard practice in street design for people on bikes to be physically separated from motor traffic. But there are many ways to do this. Most don’t involve orange plastic wands. There are posts of other colours and materials; there are barriers, kerbs, and even flower beds. Which would you prefer?
Government guidance says one-way cycleways should be a minimum of 2m. This allows for safe overtaking, for parents riding beside children, and for people using trikes or wider cycles. Yet our current pop-up lanes are only 1.5m at their very widest. A longer-term lane must meet standards, and most of Upper Shoreham Road has enough space to easily accommodate this. Where possible, wider widths than this would create even more space for safe, easy use.
A smooth ride
No-one likes pot-holes and road debris. And when a cycleway is narrower than standard, it can be even harder to steer round irregularities in the road surface. So should an improved surface be part of future plans? Should it be a standard road material, or coloured?
One way or two?
Not all cycleways look like Upper Shoreham Road’s current pop-up lanes, with a lane each side of the street. Some other designs use a two-way layout, like a miniature road of its own. This way of using space has pros and cons. What do you think?
One of the weaknesses of our current pop-up lanes id the way they work at junctions. People on bikes can be vulnerable if they’re not noticed at junctions. Luckily, new government guidance makes is clear how junctions can be designed more safely – with greater visibility as lanes pass turnings, and reshaped corners to make crossing easier on foot – and encourage caution in people who are driving.
Creating more space for car parking
Even on roads where most people have large driveways, it can still be useful to allow for additional parking, for things like deliveries and visitors. Parking should never interrupt a cycle lane, and painted lanes running along the outside of parked cars are not safe, so there’s another option, called ‘floating parking’ – where parked cars act as a kind of protection between people and motor traffic.
Floating parking doesn’t work on every road – and sometimes it’s best used only for particular sections, rather than along a whole street. Might this be a good idea on parts of Upper Shoreham Road? Could it allow the best of both worlds?
We all know that the most useful cycleways connect up to other parts of a network, so journeys can continue. And that’s something our current Upper Shoreham Road lanes don’t do well. So what should happen by the River Adur, to allow journeys to connect to the Old Tollbridge and the Downs Link? Should there be a ‘toucan’ or ‘parallel’ crossing (a crossing that can be used on foot and by bike), as per WSCC’s original plans?
And at the Holmbush end, how should the scheme be improved to allow easy, safe journeys to places like Shoreham Academy, Tesco, M&S and onwards towards Brighton?
Tell Tim Loughton what you think
Whatever you think, fill in Tim’s survey (remembering to turn your phone sideways), to help inform the conversation about the future of Upper Shoreham Road. The more we discuss this, the more we all realise there are multiple ways to approach this challenge. Let’s work together to find the best one.