A long wait for serious change on Upper Shoreham Road

“There is no funding in the tranche 2 allocation for building a scheme in Shoreham.”

Cllr Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure

Will a permanent cycleway replace Upper Shoreham Road’s pop-up scheme? The West Sussex highways boss confirms: Shoreham can expect to wait a long time…

Anyone who has written to West Sussex County Council about the planned removal of Upper Shoreham Road’s successful pop-up cycle lane will be familiar with the council’s supposed assurance that, following the removal of our current cycle lane, plans will be set in motion regarding a higher quality, permanent, replacement.

This sounds positive, doesn’t it? But we became wary of this concept’s dependence on future funding, and distinct vagueness around timescales.

So we addressed some questions to Cllr Roger Elkins, WSCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure:

  1. What is the likelihood that efforts to secure funding and design for a permanent Upper Shoreham Road cycle scheme will be successful?
  2. Given the necessary process of design and consultation, what is the very soonest that a permanent scheme can be expected to be built on Upper Shoreham Road?
  3. Similarly, bearing in mind the process that must be gone through, what is the longest time this whole process and construction may take?
  4. In your view, what is the most likely period of time for which Upper Shoreham Road will be without any protection for people using bikes – between the imminent removal of pop-up safety measures and the completion of a possible new scheme?

In his reply to us, after mentioning that DfT Active Travel Fund Phase 2 funding will be used in early 2021 for the purpose of “engaging with stakeholders”, Cllr Elkins goes on to clarify that the future of cycling facilities on Upper Shoreham Road is dependent on the possibility of future – not yet announced – funding, and timescales simply can’t be determined:

“There is no funding in the tranche 2 allocation for building a scheme in Shoreham. Any scheme that is developed would need to be funded from further tranches of the Active Travel Fund which is subject to government budgetary processes and timescales. The success of a bid to the ATF will be dependent on the case we are able to make for the scheme. This will be informed by the engagement work mentioned above and the costs / benefits of whatever scheme proposal is agreed. Until there is clarity on these things it is not possible to determine the programme for delivery of a scheme.”

Realistically, this means a long wait between the removal of Upper Shoreham Road’s existing scheme (which has more than doubled cycling numbers) and the arrival of its replacement.

Our understanding is the wait looks certain to exceed a year. 18 months may be an optimistic estimate, and a longer timespan may be likely – all this, of course, dependent on a successful funding bid.

A perfectly reasonable compromise position exists – and was proposed by Cllr Kevin Boram, county councillor for south Shoreham. Cllr Boram suggested that the existing pop-up cycle lanes be allowed to stay for a few months longer, so that while engagement and consultation for a permanent scheme begins, the measurable benefits of the existing project are not lost – particularly for children, parents and people new to using bikes for their short journeys.

Sadly, while a WSCC scrutiny committee voted 6-2 that there was merit in Cllr Boram’s request to think again, Cllr Elkins declined this opportunity to retain facilities for safer cycling on Upper Shoreham Road in 2021.

The future of Upper Shoreham Road: What are our options?

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.

The Department for Transport’s new design guidance

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?

Minimum width

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?

Better junctions

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?

End-to-end connection

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.

Upper Shoreham Road: Tell WSCC what you think

The temporary cycle lanes on Upper Shoreham Road are nearing completion. Work still remains to complete some gaps and deal with parking blockages, but we hope there will soon be near-continuous cycle lanes to and from the River Adur to the Holmbush roundabout. There’s already been a noticable increase in cycling levels – and this looks set to continue when the project is complete.

Though West Sussex Highways are still working on the scheme, they’ve asked people to feed back, via an online form. The results of this survey will help West Sussex County Council to conduct a review in early November that will help them make important decisions on the future of the scheme.

We have taken a look at the survey wording, and we do think some of the questions are unfortunately put together – not always helping to build an accurate picture of how Shoreham people feel about using the lanes. We’ve told WSCC of our doubts with the form.

We would really encourage you to complete the survey – but taking particular care over the questions that aren’t clear.

It is important that enough of us fill in the form, so here are our tips and thoughts. You should complete the form personally and honestly, but if you find our observations helpful, then here they are:

The first question asks:
“We would like to understand the MAIN PERSPECTIVE from which you are responding to this survey (e.g. pedestrian, cyclist, motorist, business owner etc.).”



You can probably guess why we don’t like this question. We don’t think the people of Shoreham fit into boxes defined by a preferred mode of transport. But this question can’t be skipped – so fill it in as best you can.

Soon after this comes a very important question, that we think is unclearly worded:
“Would you support or oppose the Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham (2.7km) temporary (or pop-up cycle lane being made permanent in its current format?”

This is tricky. We don’t know exactly how literally the phrase “in its current format” will be interpreted, so our advice is, if you support the lanes in any form (even if you want to see major improvements), we suggest ticking ‘Support’ or ‘Strongly support’.

But importantly, there then comes a question that includes:
“If you would like to provide any additional comments”



Here’s the place where you can really open up with your thoughts. Even if you’re a fan of the cycle lanes in general, which parts aren’t up to scratch? What needs to change? What can be improved?

You’re very likely to have your own thoughts on this, but here are some ideas you may want to consider…

  • Would the lanes be easier and safer if they were wider? The Department for Transport says cycle lanes should be a minimum of 2 metres.
  • Are the ‘advisory’ sections with dashed lines too prone to blockage by parked cars? Would ‘mandatory’ sections with solid white lines discourage illegal parking?
  • What do you think of the orange ‘wands’? If you dislike them, what else would you suggest goes in their place?
  • Does the road surface need repairing, to make for a safer ride?
  • How safe do you feel when passing left turns? Are drivers aware that they musn’t cut across you? What would help here?
  • When passing parking spaces near Southlands shops and Southlands Hospital, how do you feel about riding in ‘door zone‘ of cars? Would you prefer a design that avoids this proximity?
  • By the Red Lion pub, a ‘toucan’ crossing (for people on foot and on bikes), was proposed, but then removed from the plans. Would a proper signalled crossing here be a helpful change, to help journeys to and from the Adur and north Lancing?
  • How about the other end of the cycle lanes, near Holmbush? Is the layout safe and clear? Should the pedestrian crossing be converted to help people make the connection when cycling? And how is the crossing over Stoney Lane?

Near the end comes an invitation to “provide any additional comments. Here’s where you can share anything else that’s on your mind. You might want to mention the difference that the cycle lanes are making to you, and your family.

WSCC’s review of Upper Shoreham Road’s lanes will take place in early November, so we would encourage you to fill in your feedback form as soon as possible.

BEGIN YOUR FEEDBACK HERE

More to say? Why not write?

If you have more to share, then emails can also be useful.

We would suggest emailing your county councillor to tell them how you’ve been using the cycle lanes. Additionally, you may want to copy in your district councillor, and WSCC’s specific email address for this project (but you might want to indicate that you don’t need an additional response from the addresses you copy in).

  • To find your county or district councillors, use WriteToThem.



Upper Shoreham Road: and so it begins!

Work has begun! West Sussex County Council contractors have made a start on installing temporary bike lanes along Upper Shoreham Road.

We’ve shared lots of information about what’s happening in an earlier detailed post.

But here are some additional thoughts from us, as the new lanes become real. We know that while some of us are excited about the temporary lanes, others are concerned. Alongside the celebrations, will there also be arguments? Disagreements? Very possibly.

1. Let’s hold our judgement until the lanes are finished

It’s hard to get the measure of the new lanes until we’ve seen them in full. The design being used is very different to the shape of projects you may have seen in places like Hove and Worthing. We predict it will have very little impact on the way we drive along Upper Shoreham Road.

2. Let’s give them time

When cycling becomes safer, we don’t always see an immediate rush in numbers of people on bikes. If takes a bit of time for people to get used to the idea, overcome their doubts and try and change in their transport habits.

3. Let’s be constructive in our feedback

Whether you are a fan or otherwise, let’s make our feedback to the councils as helpful as possible. If you’re a fan of the lanes, can you explain why? Are there any bits that are better than others? If you don’t like the new lanes, can you explain why? And if you could change them, how would you do this?

4. Let’s give them a try

When the new lanes are fully open (maybe in about 10 days), it’ll be time to try them out! These cycle lanes are being created so that more people in Shoreham have a wider choice about how they get around. Even if you wouldn’t describe yourself as ‘a cyclist’ (in fact, especially if you wouldn’t), this could be an opportunity to try a bike more often for those short journeys around our town. If you need help, you know we’re here if you need us.

Temporary cycle lanes for Shoreham: an information resource

Heard rumours about new cycle lanes for Upper Shoreham Road?
Excited? Worried?


We’ve put together this overview of what’s happening and what you may need to know and consider. As things change and develop, we may make edits to this page, so do look back later.

(last edited 02/09/20)

Screenshot 2020-08-15 at 08.52.05

What’s going on?

West Sussex County Council will soon be creating some temporary cycle lanes Upper Shoreham Road. This is part of the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

Work is scheduled to begin on Monday 7 September.

(Originally, there were plans to build temporary lanes along Old Shoreham Road, but this part of the project was cancelled.) 

Why is this happening?

As we recover from Covid, our transport habits are changing. During lockdown, huge numbers of local people got back on their bikes, and rediscovered how easy it can be to get around on two wheels. 

Now, with public transport still being considered risky for some, there is a proven appetite for people to continue using bikes. But without good quality road design to separate bikes and cars, many people don’t feel safe enough to ride, so may feel they have no option but to get back in their cars. With temporary cycle lanes, we have more options.

In particular, a return to school in September is looming. Will we have car-based school-run chaos, with congestion and pollution worse than before? Or can we help parents and children feel safe enough to ride (or walk) to school in greater numbers? If so, we’ll need more safe routes for them.

What are the details of the temporary cycle lane designs?

The designs have been published by West Sussex County Council. Most of the route will be made up of a 1.5m lane on each side of the road, separated from the main flow of traffic by plastic wands. In some sections, these wands are absent. 

1_Wands-have-been-installed-along-cycle-lanes-in-Kettering-to-protect-cyclists

(You may have heard other rumours. Not all will be accurate. Did you know, for example, that there’s never been a plan to route a cycle lane around the Holmbush roundabout as part of this project?)

Will the temporary cycle lane designs be high quality?

The government has a new standard for the design of cycle infrastructure, and virtually no aspect of the scheme’s design is up to these standards.

Parts, however, are not bad. Most of the route sees cycle lanes separated from traffic by plastic wands – so much safer and more effective than just a line of white paint.

There are some worrying parts of the design. For example…

  • At certain stretches of the route, the plastic wands will give way to ‘advisory’ sections. These sections can be essential for junctions and bus stops, but our fear is that some advisory sections, added late in the design phase, will attract dangerous parking, blocking the route for people on bikes.
  • In other parts of the route, painted cycle lanes are routed beside lines of parked cars. This brings a risk of drivers opening doors into the path of people cycling past.

We’ve stressed to councillors that badly designed cycle lanes can be dangerous – and we’ve encouraged them to follow the latest in government best practice. If the Department for Transport judges the designs to be poorly implemented, they may take their money back.

Why use a major road for these cycle lanes, not side streets?

Good question. Some of us may feel uneasy at the idea of routing cycle lanes along significant roads. But best practice – and the latest government guidance – points out that people on bikes need an easy, direct route to get to where they’re going, rather than being forced to wiggle through side streets full of parked cars and junctions.

Why do cyclists get special treatment?

It can be tempting to think of cyclists and drivers as an ‘us and them’ situation, can’t it? But we really don’t think this is the way it is. People who ride bikes aren’t a distinct group. They’re just regular people – including children -making short journeys on two wheels. Something we learned during lockdown is that cycling is an option for so many different types of people. Let’s make it easier for them – and for you, if you’d like.

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-06 at 12.30.06

Will I have to change how I drive, or where I park?

In some cases, yes, road layouts will change and parking spaces will change.

Parking will be suspended along most of Upper Shoreham Road.

Parking bays will stay by Buckingham Park, by the shopping parade, and near Southlands Hospital.

At the western end of the road, this probably won’t be very disruptive, as most houses have ample driveway space.

In areas near schools and nurseries, it may now be more difficult to make quick drop-offs by car. We suggested a design option for retaining more parking (a solution used elsewhere), but WSCC decided not to try it.

Around the Southlands area of Upper Shoreham Road, we know the reduction of parking on Upper Shoreham Road might be annoying for some. It might mean a slightly longer walk from home to your car or van. We know no-one wants added hassle.

But changes like this can be the key to freeing up space so that people can feel safer on their bikes. We think some changes are worth it, for the benefit of our friends, neighbours and children. Let’s see how this goes. It could be a change worth making – or it could be that between us, we work out how things can be improved for the better, and ask WSCC to make changes to the scheme.

I don’t ride a bike. Why would I want these temporary cycle lanes?

Even if you don’t think you’ll use the cycle lanes, there are plenty of reasons why they might be good news for you – even if it doesn’t seem that way at first.

  • Your friends and neighbours will feel safer and more able to use bikes
  • When more people decide to cycle, instead of driving, there’s an opportunity to reduce congestion, making essential driving easier.
  • We can reduce air pollution as people increasingly choose bikes over cars for local journeys.
  • Cycling on pavements causes annoyance, but often happens because people don’t feel safe on the road. Well-designed cycle infrastructure reduces people’s tendency to ride on pavements.
  • If people cycle instead of taking the bus, then buses become safer spaces for people who need to use them.

Who’s paying for this?

Central government, via the Department for Transport, has shared funds around councils who are willing to try ambitious new ideas to help improve the way we get around post-Covid. If West Sussex County Council do a good job, more money becomes available to improve our streets.

This is all very well in the summer. But will people cycle in the winter?

Another fair question. Of course, more people use bikes in the summer than in the colder, wetter months. But the decline in numbers isn’t as great as you may think. For most people, it isn’t actually cycling in the winter that they dislike, but the idea of dealing with motor traffic in the winter months. When people feel safe, they’re more likely to ride year-round. Let’s give them that opportunity.

What about consultation for local residents?

This is an important question. And it has three answers:

  1. The routes of these new lanes are included within a long-term plan called the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, published by Adur and Worthing Councils. There was a consultation last year on this plan, that received a very large number of responses, and a good level of support.
  2. These lanes are temporary, to help people adapt to new transport habits. They won’t become permanent without some serious procedures coming into play.
  3. Paper-based consultations are important, but they are not perfect. Without seeing actual schemes in the flesh, it can be hard to form an opinion. So, as these lanes are being built on a trial basis, this is a kind of consultation in itself, to help us all try out a new idea. As a temporary scheme, it’s a chance to ‘Try before you buy’!

Haven’t similar lanes caused congestion in Brighton and Hove?

You have probably seen or heard about cycle lanes further along Old Shoreham Road in Hove. The cycle lanes on Upper Shoreham Road will NOT be of the same lane-width design as used in Hove or Worthing. 

(By the way, did you know that since the trial scheme was constructed, cycling along Hove’s Old Shoreham Road has increased by 61%.)

Will anyone actually use the temporary cycle lanes?

If you’re driving, it can feel frustrating to see a cycle lane that looks like no-one is using it. We understand that. But a couple of things to bear in mind:

  • Cycle lanes move people very efficiently. A lane that doesn’t look busy might be moving more people than it seems.
  • People’s habits don’t change overnight. Many of us feel so wary about the current state of our roads that it’ll take us a while to get used to the new ability to ride in more safety. Some things need a little time.
  • Schools have not yet returned from summer holidays. These cycle lanes will provide ways for children to get to school.

Won’t plastic bollards be ugly?

Let’s face it, the kind of orange plastic bollards used for these schemes aren’t beautiful! But that’s OK. This scheme is temporary. If a trial period leads to a decision to make them permanent facilities, we can hope for the construction of something a little easier on the eye!

I still don’t like this idea. Why should I have to put up with it?

We know that not everyone will be a fan of the temporary cycle lanes. Of course. But our suggestion? Let’s give it a try. The way we get around is definitely changing. Let’s allow new ideas to be tested. They might just work! 

And if you do find yourself feeding back to councillors that you’re not a fan, our request is to be specific about the parts you don’t like – and to consider how else we can solve the problem of improving conditions for cycling and walking. What would you do?

We will keep listening

We know there’s lots of uncertainty about the new temporary cycle lanes. So we promise we’ll keep listening to people’s thoughts, and we’ll keep asking questions of the councillors and officers who have been tasked by central government to come up with ideas to help us get around more sustainably.