Our questions for candidates: Liberal Democrats respond

With local elections coming soon, we have offered four questions to parties and candidates standing for WSCC and ADC.

Here are the responses we have received from Shoreham and Southwick Liberal Democrats

Our question: In recent years, the people of Shoreham have experienced a growing dependence on cars as a default means of transport – even for short journeys. New housing developments look to bring more challenges for congestion and air pollution. How do you see the future of transport in our town? What changes need to happen in order for people to feel they have more choices for getting around safely and sustainably?

The Liberal Democrats respond:

“This is a really good question. I would like to see the introduction of more cycle lanes. New cycle lanes should integrate with the current road layout and Shoreham-By-Cycle has provided some excellent mock-ups of how they could look once implemented. They should, of course, be implemented following a consultation with local residents. By having an infrastructure friendly to bikes, it will allow more people to make short journeys by bike and remove the dependency on cars.

“I would want to see ALL new-builds have an electric charge point for electric vehicles included. This shouldn’t be an afterthought – this should be part of the initial design. By having an electrical charge point people can think about buying an electric car without having to worry about additional costs relating to the installation of a charging point.

“It would be great to convert the taxi stand to a wireless charging platform so whilst taxis are waiting for fares they are also charging. This would minimise pollution and also move taxis over to be electric. They are trialling this in Nottingham (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-51140689)

“I also want to see pavements being prioritised over roads at junctions. If you take the Netherlands as an example, you can see that it is cars that need to slow down at junctions and not people for cars. (https://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/continuous-paths-across-minor-junctions/)

“I would like to see more areas pedestrianised. The pedestrianised areas minimise traffic whilst allowing people to walk around Shoreham without the fear of traffic. The areas also allow cafés and restaurants to provide more outdoor space and rejuvenate our High Street. I also want to see more mature trees planted along the High Street and the A259 to help combat air pollution but also to provide more greenery to the centre of town.”

Our question: Between district and county councils, there are many policies, strategies and consultation reports describing a need for cycle infrastructure. Though many councillors express support or sympathy for the cause of improving sustainable transport, an appetite for actual change is sometimes harder to find. Alongside the crucial task of listening to local people, what are your thoughts on the role of councillors as leaders, helping us to consider new, perhaps unfamiliar, ideas?

The Liberal Democrats respond:

“I believe as councillors we should be acting as intermediaries between people for and against a project. In order for a project to be more appealing, I think it needs to be carried out following a number of criteria:

“People need to be included in the consultation, design and decision-making process. By being part of the process, there will be greater acceptance to change.

“The changes need to show that they will be beneficial to the people being impacted but also to the wider community. People care less about the cost of a project or how much money it will save. They want to know how it will improve their lives.”

Our question: Certain measures are recognised as ways to create safety and choice on our streets, by improving conditions for people choosing to walk or cycle. What are your thoughts on options like these?

  • A network of high-quality separated cycle routes reaching every part of Shoreham.

The Liberal Democrats respond:

“Totally agree with this concept.”

  • ‘School streets’, where areas outside schools are closed to traffic at the start and end of the school day.

The Liberal Democrats respond:

“This could be challenging as some parents may need to use the car to take their children either because they live further afield or they are dropping off their children on the way to work. I think this would need to be investigated in more depth.”

  • 20 mph areas, reducing danger by lowering vehicle speeds in residential streets

The Liberal Democrats respond:

“Another great idea. This would help minimise risk of accidents and eventual fatalities. Better for the environment.”

  • Reducing excessive traffic in selected residential streets by installing filters that allow pedestrians, cycles, emergency services and buses through, while limiting other vehicles to access only.

The Liberal Democrats respond:

“This is a good idea and could integrate with my proposal for the continuous paths as in The Netherlands.”

Our question: What other ideas do you have for transport in and around Shoreham and Adur?

The Liberal Democrats respond:

“I think I have shared most of my ideas under question 1.”

Ian Jones makes the following additional comment:

“To support cycle lanes, a more realistic appreciation of the costs involved is required. The USR cycle lane would require proper curbing for segregation and perhaps lights on the Holmbush roundabout. Painting a few lines and planting orange rubber poles was a somewhat underwhelming way to spend the grant monies.”

David Batchelor provides this additional analysis:

“The questions are around two themes:

  • the quality of non-car infrastructure 
  • reducing dependence on owned cars 

“It is not about pedestrians versus car versus bikes. As the USR temporary cycle lane debacle showed, bad/zero thought and design is bad for everybody and causes friction and failure. Contrast that with Steine Gardens to the level in Brighton where there is a brilliantly thought-out scheme where cycles, pedestrians and cars live side-by-side – just brilliant.

“Shoreham is largely flat with multiple east-west routes for which we can, with more thought than money, create an environment.

“Dependence on cars – you need next-level commitment to go car free. Most of us just can’t do that. What we can do is take practical steps to give everyone options:

  • “We have bike rental schemes in Worthing and Brighton – we are in the middle of both let’s encourage them to embrace Shoreham.
  • “Car clubs – yeah, parking is a mare in Shoreham, but how many cars are a rarely-used first or second car. If we actively encourage car clubs – using the Pond Street car park as a base – that would provide options. Many second cars could go, as would the occasional sole-car user.

“Let’s do some work on the Shoreham to Bramber section of the Downs Link. We can easily separate out bike and pedestrians to make it better for all. “

Answers drafted by:

Nico Kearns (WSCC candidate for Shoreham North and Adur candidate for Southlands)

with support from:

Ian Jones (WSCC candidate for Southwick and Adur candidate for Southwick Green)

Neville Pressley (WSCC candidate for Shoreham South and Adur candidate for St Mary’s)

David Batchelor (Adur candidate for Buckingham)

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