Positive signals at Ham Field

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

WhatsApp Image 2018-10-30 at 11.39.04If 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.

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✅ 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.

However…

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

IMG_0907The 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.

WhatsApp Image 2018-10-30 at 11.39.09Confusingly, 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?

 

Southlands by-election: Our questions to the candidates

On Thursday 11 October, there’s a by-election in the Southlands ward of Shoreham by Sea. That’s the area in the north-east Shoreham between Middle Road and Upper Shoreham Road. The successful candidate will be one of Southlands’ representatives on Adur District Council.

Three candidates are standing:

Southlands is a small area, but a busy one, with many houses and flats, and a couple of parks. People travel through Southlands on their way to multiple schools and a huge retail complex. In Southlands, many people make many journeys.

With this is mind, we’re keen to know how the by-election candidates see transport in Southlands, and in Shoreham more generally.

How do they feel about the transport choices people have, and the choices they make? What do they think of the facilities provided to enable people to make healthy, sustainable, considerate transport decisions?

Specifically, here are our questions:

  1. What do you think of the transport choices available to the people of Southlands, and of Shoreham more generally, particularly for short journeys within the town? Are there any improvements you would like to see?
  2. Shoreham Academy, with some 1,500 pupils, attracts large amounts of traffic, disruption and pollution, as many children are delivered and collected by car. How do you feel about this? Can the situation be improved around Shoreham Academy and around other local schools?
  3. The National Cycle Network’s Route 2 passes through Southlands, along Middle Road. Along with other local roads like Hammy Lane, Stoney Lane and Upper Shoreham Road, cycling facilities are poor or absent, driving standards are poor, and speeding is commonplace. Accidents involving vulnerable road users are not uncommon. How should this situation be improved?

We invite the three candidates to respond to these questions, and add any other thoughts they want to share. We’ll share those answers, so voters in Southlands can consider their vote this coming Thursday.

(Candidates: Tell us your responses via email, or via a comment beneath this post, or via our Facebook. We may copy your answers across between platforms, so more people see them.)

Response from Andrew Bradbury, Green Party

“In reply to your questions about transport in Southlands as the Green Party election candidate:
  • “1. Your third question asks about transport around Shoreham Academy, but I want to briefly mention that in first. When out canvassing (on my bicycle by the way!) I have noticed the flows of students walking from the Academy in the afternoon and it occurred to me that each of them represents an element in creating natural walking routes. It’s a small point but I think a valid one that transport infrastructure particularly in a local community like Southlands needs to respond to what people are actually doing or are prevented from doing. Moving around Southlands should be as safe for walkers, cyclists and disability scooter users as is possible. This means reducing the amount of car use for short journeys (which will partly be achieved by making the streets safer anyway) and calming the car speeds and activity. The way roads are structured and join each other is the central point here, together with what mode of transport people automatically reach for any given journey. There needs to be a small number of key routes for cars into and out of the neighbourhood, coinciding with the bus routes as well, with the rest of the network calmed by a combination of speed limits and junctions at which all vehicles must stop.
  • “2. In line with my suggestions above the NCNR2 is a natural route into and out of town for cyclists, walkers and others and should be renamed locally as the Shoreham Way. Communities along that route and organisations such as Shoreham-By-Cycle could be invited to suggest technical enhancements which would make the Shoreham Way fit and safe for multiple types of users with priority given to walking, cycling and people with disability scooters. Greening the route in places with community gardening or signage could also be a fun and healthy traffic calming element.
  • “3. Shoreham Academy is a hub within Southlands and should be seen as integral to the way the community develops. I would like to see more positive work done by the council with the senior staff, parents groups and bus operators to reconsider routes and dropping off points, multiple terminal points on the edges of the area for what motorised journeys to the Academy there are with several ‘protected’ ways about 10 minutes walking time out from hub. The Academy can lead the way as well in further promoting safe and sustainable transport solutions with its students.
“Andrew Bradbury. Green Party.”

Response from Debs Stainforth, Labour Party

“Sustainable transport has been in the hands of the Conservatives for a long time and now with a stronger presence on Adur District Council, our Councillors are in a position to push for change.
So I do need to be realistic about the fact that we are still in a minority, but nonetheless there are tangible projects that we can work on straight away.
  • “1. Lots of people in Southlands love the number 9 bus and many couldn’t manage without it. We also have the 46 which links us with Brighton, Southwick Square, Tesco and Sainsburys. It would be good to get more people out of their cars and on the buses. Bus journeys are hampered especially at school run times by inconsiderate parking, and in the town they are compromised the minute there are road works or an accident on the A259/A27. The cycle links to Tesco are good to a point, but improvements after the roundabout would be helpful and extending the cycle route to Middle Rd to join up with the NCNR along with drawing attention to the cycle route and adding signage and road markings would be beneficial. However it would be useful to point out that the road layouts are governed not by ADC but by WSCC and all of our local Tory County Cllrs appear to be uninterested in maintaining a public presence so making changes could be problematic but not necessarily unachievable.
  • “2. When Shoreham Academy was in the planning stages, local residents were told that all traffic would be on the Kingston Lane side of the site and drop-off and pick-up points would be provided on that side of the site. Concerns of the residents have proved founded as the gridlock that occurs in Stoney Lane is a major problem for public transport and causes obstruction of clear views for safe cycling. There is also the problem of people leaving cars idling whilst waiting, increasing pollution and pavement parking obstructing pedestrians, prams, bikes, pushchairs and mobility scooters. These matters need to be addressed and with the help of local policing teams and parking wardens hopefully this can be stopped, and people encouraged to use the correct waiting points within the SA site itself. There are journey-share options we can look into to reduce traffic to and from schools at drop-off and pick up times, and promote safe cycle use. I worry about the children cycling along Middle Road and negotiating parked cars along Stoney Lane, so there is certainly a need for safe routes and cycle-training.
  • “3. Residents are too confined to cars and cycling and walking could be opened up more via cycle infrastructure as part of long-term building strategy. I will work with my fellow councillors sitting on planning committee to link national and local cycle networks and that cycles, other non-motorised vehicles and their infrastructure are an integral part of any planning application that comes to the committee.  We have the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that in July 2018 states “applications for development should give priority first to pedestrians and cycle movements within the scheme and neighbouring areas “. This is currently not being considered fully by the officers and certainly surrounding road impacts/parking/bike lanes are not considered by WSCC as part of any new developments the NPPF will form part of our argument re: any planning application.
 
“What we are doing locally already: 
“Lobbying for any element of re-investment of parking revenue to subsidise a bus service to run along popular drop off school points and I support this.
Working to lobby for developers s106 infrastructure money (harbour developments) towards a specific cycle path investment into the surrounding Southlands area where possible (ring-fenced), ensuring any potential budget restraints by WSCC can be overcome. I understand that most of the s106 money for the Southlands development went on Buckingham Park, so it is very much our turn next.
Colleagues in Worthing are already supporting a comprehensive walking and cycling strategy via the working group – feeding into the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.
The traffic consultation orders need to work better regarding keep children safe when they cycle/walk to school. Lots of double yellows fail to work, so we need more traffic wardens to penalise poor parking (ensuring a clearer path for walkers/cyclists to the school gates).
We are raising again the cost of employing another traffic warden to enable this.
Colleagues are sat on the Joint Scrutiny Committee looking at gaps in Worthing & Adur’s transport policy. A tangible outcome from that group has already identified areas such as Safer Routes to School and we are actively seeking to ensure that schools have new relationships with organisations who will support them to fully utilise money and grants available to them for the cycle-scheme, for which there is low take-up at the moment.
“We believe an active school led programme will encourage parents to allow their kids to cycle to school.
“What we are doing nationally: The Labour Party’s cycle manifesto is week’s away from being released, and when this comes out I shall be working hard with fellow councillors to ensure this is integrated in structure, planning, road signage, markings and campaigns to get pupils/adults out of cars and walking or cycling.
“What I would do first:
“I’m completing my Masters in Community Psychology presently and my position when I work with community special interest groups is to listen and learn from people who know their subject, and people who would be affected by any changes, and build a strategy for change together. My priority is to meet with local groups who are the expert in their subject and make sure their voices and needs are represented in the Council and shape decisions.”
“Debs Stainforth. Labour Party.”

What’s the future for Southwick Square?

We’ve just had a really good chat with Councillor Stephen Chipp about Southwick Square and what might be done to improve it.

We like Southwick Square. It’s a great little hub of shops and facilities, within easy walking and cycling distance for thousands of local residents.

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But Southwick Square isn’t perfect, and Cllr Chipp recently asked, via Facebook, what could be done to bring improvements. So we met him in the Square for a conversation, as did several other local residents.

The main point we made to Cllr Chipp was that Southwick Square would be a more pleasant, less polluted, and more people-focussed place if walking and cycling to the square was an easier, more enjoyable thing to do. Many local shopping trips are only for a few items, and a car isn’t always needed.

With this in mind, we suggested:

  • An extension of the BTN BikeShare scheme into Southwick, enabling easy journeys by bike.
  • The need for more good quality bike infrastructure leading to Southwick Square, for example across Southwick Green or down Southwick Street
  • At present, Southwick Square is technically an ‘access only’ street – so not to be used as a through route. But this remains unenforced, with many people driving through. Perhaps physical measures like bollards would retain vehicular access while blocking ‘rat running’.
  • It is illegal to ‘idle’ a vehicle for no good reason, yet many people sit in vehicles with their engines running. This affects air quality in Southwick Square.

Solutions may not be quick and easy, but we’re glad Cllr Chipp discussed these ideas with us. We’ll keep in touch.

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(Photo above used under Creative Commons licence from Dauvit Alexander)

What ‘quick fixes’ would help cycling in Shoreham?

We need your help.

We are having conversations with Adur District Council and with West Sussex County Council about the future of cycling in Shoreham.

There are long-term plans and strategies in the works – new and improved cycle routes, and other big changes.

But in the meantime, what about the small stuff? What are the little changes that could make cycling in Shoreham easier and/or safer? What could the councils do NOW (or soon) that would make life better?

Give us your ideas. You don’t have to be an engineer or an accountant, but your perspective, from your neighbourhood of Shoreham, might make all the difference.

Comment here – or if you prefer, you can tell us via our contact form or our Facebook post.

‘Save Our Crossing’ – 15th July 2018 – A27 Sussex Pad Crossing Protest

At 10am on 15 July around 250 people gathered at the Sussex Pad crossing of the A27 to protest against the changes to the transport infrastructure proposed by the developers for New Monks Farm (Shoreham IKEA).

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Protestors calling for the Sussex Pad crossing to be saved

As well as 250 people on bicycles, tricycles, foot and horse there was a BBC South East camera crew and other media.

The protest was organised by Bricycles and Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth, and was not a protest against the development as a whole, but against sub-standard proposals not intended to give the people of Shoreham-by-Sea, Lancing and surrounding areas the infrastructure they not only deserve but that is recommended under the Government Standard for Highways Advice IAN195/16.

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Chris Todd of Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, talking to a BBC reporter.

A few days later, the Adur Planning Committee met on Wednesday 18 July to decide on the Monks Farm Development. This public meeting, at the Woodard Academy, Lancing, led to the planning decision being deferred while the developers compile evidence of how they will enhance the area’s environment:
https://www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/meetings-and-decisions/committees/adur/planning/committee,149643,en.html

A July update from Shoreham-By-Cycle

These early days for Shoreham-By-Cycle have certainly been busy. Things are moving quickly, and our work is expanding.

In order to keep co-ordination and plan our next steps, the core team at the heart of Shoreham-By-Cycle get together every few weeks, to look at our progress, identify challenges, and make plans.

Here’s an overview of what we’re working on at the moment…

Sussex Yacht Club

Plans for the redevelopment of Sussex Yacht Club make for very positive news. We’re pleased to see that a cycle route – of some kind – will be provided along the northern edge of the site, but we are concerned about limited space and the precise design of the space. We’re in conversation with West Sussex County Council to get further clarity. As part of the improvement of National Cycle Network Route 2, it is vital that new facilities beside the A259 are of the highest quality – eventually connecting up to create a major direct cycle route between Shoreham and Southwick.

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New Salts Farm Road

The new speed bumps installed by Hyde Housing remain problematic, presenting a safety risk for people using bikes to travel between Lancing/Shoreham Beach and the airport area. We’re persisting with our conversation with Hyde Housing, offering to help with examples of how the design may be easily adjusted to provide a safer solution.

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Bike-Sharing in Shoreham

Many people have asked us about the possibility of extending bike-sharing schemes (like Brighton’s BTN BikeShare or Worthing’s Donkey Republic) into Shoreham, as our town is currently lost between the bike-sharing in our two larger neighbours. We know the huge benefits of bike-sharing, so we’ll be discussing the possibilities with councils and providers.

Riverside changes

We recently took part in a tour of the large-scale flood defence work that is currently underway beside the River Adur. Of particular interest were changes along the western riverbank beside the airport, where there will be an improvement in the path that runs parallel to Cecil Pashley Way. We’re on the case to press for maximum utility for people on bikes, with regard to factors like width and surfacing.

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As a temporary measure, an ad hoc ramp has been re-opened providing pedestrian access between the airport area and Shoreham Recreation Ground. This is a big improvement for people using bikes (or other mobility aids, like wheelchairs) to access the businesses around the airport, Lancing College, and recreational routes like the Downs Link. We’ll be contacting the airport management to thank them for this ramp, and asking them to make it a permanent facility. Our full report of the tour is on Facebook.

Adur and Worthing Cycling and Walking Action Group

We are now members of Adur and Worthing Cycling and Walking Action Group, which is a very positive gathering of parties interested in improving the situation for cycling a walking in our area. We’re working with AWCWAG to gather evidence that will help plan for better infrastructure for active travel.

New Monks Farm, IKEA and the A27 crossing

The proposed developments at New Monks Farm will have a major impact on Shoreham. We are extremely grateful to Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, who have commissioned and submitted a report to Adur and Worthing councils. Their report makes some clear constructive criticism of various aspects of current proposals, including proposed cycle infrastructure within new housing, and the removal of the ‘Sussex Pad’ crossing – currently a very useful facility for cyclists.

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Meeting local politicians and groups

It’s important that Shoreham-By-Cycle represents everyone in Shoreham who stands to benefit from better cycling facilities, so we’re always keen to make connections and have useful conversations with others.

We recently met with Catherine Arnold, councillor for the St Mary’s area, and also with the Shoreham Society, who keep a close eye on developments and changes in our town. We’ve also met with other cycling advocacy groups, like Sustrans, Bricycles and Horsham District Cycling Forum, all of whom have been really helpful and welcoming.

We’re lining up other meetings and chats with people involved in important conversations. If you’d like a chat, get in touch!

 

 

Our visit to Shoreham Port’s public meeting

On 15 May, we went along to Shoreham Port‘s annual public meeting. Many of us cycle through Shoreham Port, as it hosts part of National Cycle Network Route 2 between Hove and Southwick.

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It’s always good to hear what’s going on with the life of the port, and the Shoreham Port team made Clive and Irv very welcome, alongside representatives from residents’ groups, businesses, commercial mariners, leisure boaters, local politicians and others.

For most of the meeting, the topics being discussed were interesting, but not necessarily related to cycling.

However, towards the end of the meeting, a few cycling-related matters did crop up. Here’s a brief summary:

– It is acknowledged that the lock-gates can be very congested with pedestrian/cycle traffic. There is a potential opportunity to change the way people flow over the locks at Southwick, to make things easier and less crowded., but this would be part of a much larger, expensive, plan to widen the main lock, so won’t happen any time soon.

– Some local people do get annoyed when people ride bikes across the lock gates at Southwick. While we don’t want to get drawn into defending the behaviour of individuals, it does seem relevant to acknowledge that this was brought up. We can appreciate people’s annoyance, though we feel that rather than the port’s management focussing solely on prohibition and enforcement, there could be an opportunity to look at the design of the access. (If it was easier and quicker to cross over without breaking or bending rules, would fewer people do so?)

– Rodney Lunn, the boss of Shoreham Port, observed that one option he has thought about might involve keeping NCN2 cyclists to the A259 coast road, rather than Basin Road South. At this point, we spoke out to point out that the A259 really is a dreadful environment for cycling, and that Basin Road South is far preferable. We acknowledged that the HGV drivers visiting the port are – in general – very courteous drivers and we asked Rodney to accept our appreciation of this.

– There was a mention of the numerous developments that are planned for the area long the northern side of Shoreham Harbour, and some concern was voiced about the possible related parking and traffic issues. We feel there’s an opportunity to think boldly here about making decent bike infrastructure part of new developments, rather than assuming an inevitable two-cars-per-household situation.

We’re glad we went along to the meeting. We heard some interesting things, we had some worthwhile conversations, and we’ve decided we’d really like to arrange a more in-depth conversation with Shoreham Port to look at some of the issues that affect cycling through the port.