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Cyclists and pedestrians to share space in new Southend seafront scheme

Bike path to be marked out on promenade instead of separate cycle lane on road

It’s becoming as established a part of the coming of spring as cuckoos being heard, daffodils blooming and the clocks going forward – the arrival of the first ‘Prom Wars’ story of the year, which in 2011 comes courtesy of Southend-on-Sea in Essex.

A new £7.6 million scheme called City Beach, due to be completed by the end of this month, will see cyclists share the promenade with pedestrians rather than a separate cycle lane along Marine Parade, according to a report in the Southend Standard.

The newspaper says that the council has allocated £10,000 from its highways budget so that a cycle path can be marked out on the promenade, and is keen that the facility not be used for cycling quickly.

“The enhanced paving area at City Beach is designed to be used by both pedestrians and cyclists,” explained cabinet member for transport and planning, Mark Flewitt.

“We are currently looking at ways of managing this designated shared space, but it will not involve the type of engineering measures employed elsewhere on the seafront where sections of pavement have been removed and coloured cycle tracks have been introduced,” he continued.

“Provision for cyclists will be met from the annual highways budget and is therefore not subject to the March 31 deadline set for the main City Beach works.”

Funded by the government, the City Beach project needs to be finished by the end of March if the council is to avoid having to fund any uncompleted work itself. However, since the cycle path markings are to be paid for by the council, they will not be subject to that deadline.

Graham Pearl from local cycle club Southend Wheelers, who is also a Sustrans Bike-It officer, said: “Anything that allows us to cycle in more places is beneficial.

“When it comes to shared use, it’s all about respect for each other, both cyclists and pedestrians.”

One local resident was less enthusiastic, however. Carmel Bishop, aged 42 from Bishopsteignton, Shoebury, commented: “You used to get serious problems, particularly in Chalkwell during busy periods when pedestrians were dodging cyclists.

“It looks like we’re going back to that,” she added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Paul M | 13 years ago

People who know both cities might not see the similarity, but if you look at Nice's Promenade dees Anglais, there is a cycle path laid out across the pedestrian area the full length of the seafront from the old Port down to the Airport, a distance of some 7 kilometres. It serves as a commuter route to the city from the airport and from suburbs to the west towards Antibes etc, but users seem to travel at quite a leisurely pace - it must be the relaxing effect of having a breathtaking sea view to take in as you ride.

OldRidgeback | 13 years ago

What measures will be introduced to keep cyclists from going fast? Will it have speed bumps? And surely if there's a dedicated cycle lane, the pedestrians won't have to dodge cyclists because they'll know where the cyclists are?

STATO replied to OldRidgeback | 13 years ago
OldRidgeback wrote:

And surely if there's a dedicated cycle lane, the pedestrians won't have to dodge cyclists because they'll know where the cyclists are?

That only works if you can guarantee cyclists will stick to the cycle path bit, but we all know there will be plenty that wont, just as there will be plenty of pedestrians walking about on the nice wide promenade.

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