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Pop-up cycle lane from government cycling promo scrapped despite council backing

Scheme had huge support from local schools with usage peaking at 3pm each day

A popular pop-up cycle lane that featured in a government video promoting cycling investment is to be scrapped – even after the council voted to keep it. Campaigners say the decision was taken before the project had even been completed.

As we’ve previously reported, the segregated cycle lane on Upper Shoreham Road in Shoreham-on-Sea as much as tripled cycling levels without impacting car journeys. The route serves a hospital and several schools.

Despite its apparent benefits, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) cabinet member for highways, Roger Elkins, argued that the lane was an emergency response to a unique set of circumstances and that the transport network had now changed with public transport options restored.

A scrutiny committee last week voted 6:2 in favour of asking him to reconsider his decision but it was yesterday confirmed that the lane was to be removed.

The Shoreham-By-Cycle group said that virtually every school in Shoreham had co-signed a letter to Elkins, extolling the benefits of the project and pleading for its retention, while WSCC's own report said the scheme was a huge success, with thousands of additional cycle journeys.

A Shoreham-By-Cycle spokesperson said: “Councillor Roger Elkins' decision to go against advice and insist on the removal of Upper Shoreham Road's cycle lanes goes in the face of all the evidence that was presented to a WSCC scrutiny committee last week.

“The popular cycle lane was featured in a Department for Transport video highlighting the tremendous benefits of such projects.

“Even in its unfinished state, this DfT-funded scheme prompted a trebling of cycling numbers, with no delay to motor traffic, and a reduction in the numbers of children reliant on being driven to school – all evidenced in WSCC's own report.

“Yet despite a 6-2 vote from the scrutiny committee, asking Councillor Elkins to reconsider, he has decided to go against the sensible option of keeping our roads easier and safer for journeys by bike.”

The spokesperson added: “Ripping it out now – as we enter the darkest months of the year – will endanger children on their way to school, discourage use of bikes for short everyday journeys, and do away with the chance to gather more data on how routes like this are used.”

The council says it is now looking to construct a permanent cycle way in Shoreham given the support and enthusiasm shown for pop-up schemes.

It said: “Any scheme in the town would be redesigned to make sure it is suitable as a permanent scheme. If taken forward as a priority for the County Council, this would be subject to the Department for Transport agreeing additional investment as well as full and thorough consultation with the public and engagement with all relevant stakeholders.

“If agreed by the Department of Transport, this scheme would be added to the Tranche 2 cycle way work which will see permanent cycling improvements across the county.”

Shoreham-By-Cycle said the comments were “effectively empty” and that the Upper Shoreham Road pop-up scheme should have remained in place while alternatives were considered.

“There is no money with which to create this supposed permanent scheme,” said the group. “Tranche 2 of the Department for Transport's Active Travel Fund saw a huge cut in the amount hoped for by WSCC (one of the largest reductions of any local authority's funding bid) – an indication that the council's approach to cycling infrastructure is considered inadequate by central government.

“If a permanent scheme is to be built on Upper Shoreham Road, extra money will have to be found – and this will take time.

“At last week's scrutiny meeting, Shoreham councillor Kevin Boram proposed that this temporary scheme remain in place for further months while the possibility of a permanent solution is looked into.

“This would have retained the considerable benefits of the scheme, ensuring a continuity of the safer, easier cycling being experienced by so many.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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12 comments

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stevegs | 3 years ago
1 like

WSCC has a long anti-bike history.  During a cycling holiday in 2002, I was happily riding westwards from Brighton through Hove on a really good seafront cycle lane, which abruptly stopped on entering West Sussex.  It was clear that the white demarcations had been blacked over to obliterate the lane.  I continued on the former route, only to be accosted by foul-mouthed anti-cycling pedestrians.  Nobody could answer my question 'would they consider riding on the A259' (which was the only alternative - a horribly busy road then.  Heaven knows what it's like now!).  Naturally, I don't have very fond memories of Shoreham or its inhabitants...

Avatar
jerv | 3 years ago
1 like

So the issue on the road before was more to do with the fact it is lined with parked cars, which makes it unsafe for everyone. Its safter due to the suspension of the parked cars rather than the actual lane itself.

What ought to happen is when the lanes are removed, to put in double yellow lines on either 1 or both sides of the road, and then for WSCC to look into building actual proper cycle lanes/tracks along OSR.

The residents survived for the past 4 months without parking on the carriageway, so surely they can manage it 100% of the time.

OSR spans both WSCC and Brighton & Hove CC, B&H are looking still currently looking at expanding their OSR pop-up cycle lanes to the county boarder (as part of tranche 2), even with WSCC removing theirs...

Avatar
mr_pickles2 | 3 years ago
1 like

What a dinosaur. I bet he just hates cyclists and had no other justification for his awful decision. C***.

Avatar
Muddy Ford | 3 years ago
3 likes

From his Bio on the web "Away from politics Roger has an enthusiasm for F1 moto-sport and classic cars".  

Unlikely to be considerate to the needs of non motorised traffic.

 

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iandusud | 3 years ago
2 likes

What an encouraging, uplifting video. What a depressing article! 

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kil0ran | 3 years ago
0 likes

Paging XR, paging XR (are they still a thing?)

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Hirsute | 3 years ago
0 likes

And in Tier 2 High alert from 3 Dec

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eburtthebike | 3 years ago
2 likes

Great video!

I do hope locals are giving this sham councillor hell.  What possible justification can there be for removing something which has no drawbacks and multiple benefits, and which will cost the council thousands to remove, when it follows council transport policies?  Surely this is a deliberate waste of council funds, when they claim they have no money.  This is a problem with some of our local councils; decisions like this can be taken by one man who hates cyclists.

Come on local cyclists, parents and kids; email Roger Elkins demanding that the cycle lane is kept, pending making it permanent, take it to the press, local radio and tv, and take to your own local councillors.  Maybe also demand that the decision be referred to the full council.

Avatar
Sussexcyclist replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
4 likes

Shoreham-By-Cycle have been doing a lot of great campaigning work, but what can you do when the decision ultimately lies with one person?

I cannot fathom Cllr Roger Elkins' thought process here. From his actions, one assumes he simply dislikes cycling in any form.

Avatar
brooksby | 3 years ago
8 likes
Quote:

Roger Elkins, argued ... that the transport network had now changed with public transport options restored.

Is that the public transport that we are all still advised to avoid using unless there's no alternative.

Granted, if you remove the cycle lanes then I suppose there is no alternative...

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
5 likes

I hope this comes back to haunt WSCC somehow, please god not because a cyclist gets hurt though.

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Captain Badger replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
5 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

I hope this comes back to haunt WSCC somehow, please god not because a cyclist gets hurt though.

Cllr Elkins would no doubt use it as justification - " see, if we'd left it in there would have been 3 times as many riders, and so 3 times as many casualties. By removing this dangerous piece of infrastructure I've saved many lives"

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