Our response to ESCC’s Local Transport Implementation Plan

Recently, East Sussex County Council drafted its “Local Transport Plan Implementation Plan 2016/17 – 2020/21”, which applies to Lewes and Ringmer and the South Downs National Park.

More information, and downloadable (PDF) documents of the draft plan can be found here at ESCC’s site. An online survey, to keep feedback, can also be found there.

Cycle Lewes’s chair, Simon Giddey, recently provided our response, saying, “… we would like to see a greater emphasis on steering a move towards the use of sustainable transport. We also feel strongly that clear and measurable targets should be established in order to measure progress in this respect. These targets should reflect recent Government aspirations for improvements in the numbers of people walking and cycling as part of their day to day activity.

“We would also like to see a clear recognition of the important health benefits which will accrue from increased levels of active travel and the significant impact that this would have in reducing the ever spiralling costs of the nation’s health and care services.”

He continued, “We welcome the broad statement of aims regarding ‘improvements to key walking and cycling corridors….’ However, there is a significant lack of detail showing how this might be achieved.

“We are pleased that the need to route NCN Regional Route 90 through Lewes town has been recognised as an important measure but it is disappointing that no other measures to support cycling (apart from ‘Improved cycle parking at key locations’) have been identified.”

For Future Measures, “Cycle Lewes would like to see the establishment of a signed network of cycle routes, with links to key transport hubs (railway station, bus station) and links to other major routes (NCN90, Egrets Way, Cuckoo Trail). Some of these measures would be relatively low cost but could help to facilitate cycling, particularly for visitors.

“As an example, the excellent Ringmer to Lewes cycle path leads cyclists heading towards Lewes to the bottom of Mill Road but fails to offer a signed route to the centre of town avoiding, as far as possible, travelling through heavy traffic. It could be done!

“Cycle Lewes believes that a traffic-free cycle route leading north out of town is needed. This would provide a corridor for inhabitants of the villages of Barcombe, Plumpton, Hamsey etc to reach Lewes and would be an attraction for those tourists visiting Lewes who are looking to explore the wonderful lanes in this area. Ideally, a route would be established along the old Lewes to Uckfield railway track, with a new bridge provided just south of Hamsey old church.

“The narrow streets and the hills are significant problems for cyclists in Lewes. Both of these combine to make junctions, when cyclists may have to stop or negotiate through traffic, quite dangerous. The introduction of advanced stop lines (ASLs) at all traffic light controlled junctions in the town would make cyclists much safer and would serve to increase cyclists’ confidence in riding in traffic. We believe that this could contribute to an increase in cycling as a travel choice and should be identified as a priority measure.”

Under ‘Maintenance’ we would like to see a reference to maintaining and improving cycle ways. For example we would like to see the completion of the Kingston to Lewes cycle path which currently directs cyclists travelling towards Lewes over a totally unsuitable section of road surface in Cockshut Road. Completion of this route, with appropriate surfacing and signage would encourage active travel between Lewes and Kingston.

In addition, Cycle Lewes would like to see a commitment in the plan for ESCC to work with Highways England to secure significant improvements to that section of the NCN Regional Route 90 which runs alongside the A27 between Lewes and Falmer. This route is very heavily used by commuters and every effort should be made to encourage cycling between Lewes and Falmer/ Brighton in preference to car use. The recently completed Lewes to Ringmer cycle path, where for most of the route there is a barrier of vegetation between the cycle path and the traffic, should serve as a useful example for the remodelling of what could be an important and well used cycling corridor.”

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