A joint statement from Tim Loughton MP and Cllr Kevin Boram:
Firstly - a big thank you to everyone who filled in our survey on the Upper Shoreham Road pop-up cycle lane, and especially to those who provided a lot of extra details. As we said at the outset this was not intended to be a simple referendum (heaven forbid that we need another one!) on a single “Do you hate it ? / Do you love it? ” question but rather to get a measure of local people’s views to see if we could find a way ahead. We received 1555 completed surveys in total of which 1407 came from people with an Adur address - over 90%. We specified at the outset that this was only open to Adur constituents otherwise the results could be skewed by cycling/anti-cycling enthusiasts from well out of the area with no real knowledge of this scheme.
We also had a few complaints that when completing the survey on a mobile the last 2 questions drop off, but this can be corrected when turning the mobile horizontal. However, this did not appear to be a problem with any significant number of returns. The vast majority of completed surveys were online but we also delivered about 2000 paper copy surveys around central Shoreham in December and at the Farmer’s market. The survey was heavily promoted on Tim’s own and many local community social media sites. As it is the 1407 sample is considerably more than any of the other surveys or petitions organised by the County Council or local residents and so we think represents a rich source of data. We will respond directly to everyone who filled in a survey with the results and for keeping you up to date with future developments on this cycle lane only. Please let us know if you would prefer not to receive anything further from us on this subject.
Using the 1 to 10 scale of 1 being hate it / 10 being love it, the average figure came out at 4.43 (perilously close to the Brexit referendum margin in Adur but let’s not go there!). Whilst unsurprisingly there were many polarised views indicated by lots of 10 or 1 ratings, many of those who were against the cycle lanes gave suggestions of how it could be improved whilst many of its greatest fans admitted that it was not ideal and could be made safer. Everyone however did agree that the temporary orange bollards were hideous and not particularly safe and need replacing by something a lot better if a permanent lane was to be introduced.
The main stats are as follows:
50.1% rated cycle lane with the most negative score 1/10
38.0% rated cycle lane favourably (between 7-10)
Average rating (1-10) was 4.43
- For all people that drive, it’s 4.29
- For drivers that also cycle, it’s 5.98
- For drivers that don’t cycle, it’s 2.53
- For non-drivers that cycle, it’s 7.23
- For people that cycle and have used the cycle lane, it’s 7.12
- For people that cycle but haven’t used the lane, it’s 3.08
44.6% think the pop-up cycle lane provides safer cycling than before.
….however - 73.1% of cyclists that used the pop-up lane think it provides safer cycling than before.
43.6% think the road could be improved if a different version of the cycle lane were to be considered.
68.0% support the provision of other sustainable transport measures in Shoreham including additional cycle routes and walking schemes.
Councillor Kevin Boram and Tim have had meetings with the Upper Shoreham Road Action Group and representatives of the Shoreham Bicycle Group to keep them in touch with what has been going on and possible ways forward. We have both held meetings with councillors and officers and Tim has also spoken to the Transport Minister responsible for cycling and civil servants from the Department for Transport.
The Department for Transport recently announced a second tranche of cycle lane funding based on the experiences of the first temporary scheme and West Sussex has provisionally been awarded around £2.3m to develop the temporary schemes where they have worked, improve safety around schools and develop permanent cycle lanes in Findon Valley/Findon Village and Rustington. In the meantime the County Council announced that it was removing all the temporary cycle lanes because of problems raised and changing circumstances, though many people have taken issue with that is Shoreham especially. The other five temporary lanes in West Sussex have now been removed and it is likely that the Upper Shoreham Road bollards will be removed in mid-January.
The Department for Transport has also announced that there is likely to be a third tranche of cycle lane money announced in the summer so if a new scheme is to be looked at for Shoreham it needs to be decided on soon and that is why this survey is important in feeding into any work being undertaken by West Sussex County council to assess the feasibility of a permanent scheme. One crucial element of the new funding from the DfT is that any proposals have to be based of widespread consultation with the local community and this was obviously a major problem with the temporary schemes when they were installed in a hurry. If there is not extensive buy-in to whatever proposals come out of this consultation then the schemes will not go ahead, so nothing is guaranteed at this stage, but it is important that we explore every opportunity and make sure everyone can have their say, which has been our aim all along.
When considering any transport issues around Adur we do have to be mindful of the future impact of the development that is being delivered. This includes around 800-900 flats along Shoreham Harbour, redevelopment of the old Civic Centre, 600 homes at New Monks Farm and the new Ikea (whether we like it or not) as well as more and more children being attracted to Shoreham due to its great primary and senior schools. We also have expanding and successful local businesses.
Any decisions we make today will have a lasting impact and we may not have another opportunity given the current state of our national finances.
Major flaws identified from existing temporary scheme
- Lack of consultation with public before the scheme was implemented
- Orange bollards are dangerous for cyclist and driver
- Issues with the cycle lane lead to abuse from cyclists and drivers
- Dangerous for cyclists when having to exit lane due to puddles/debris/overtaking
- The general state of the road is poor which exacerbates problems
- Increased difficulty for parking on USR
- Issues with residents of the USR receiving deliveries and reversing out of their homes
Top lines for possible improvements that would make an Upper Shoreham Lane centred scheme more effective and/or acceptable.
- Dual direction double cycle lane on one side of the road only
- Grass verge to be removed and repurposed as cycle lane with floating parking on outside so cyclists are protected from traffic by parking lane
- Cycle lane to be re-routed at western end down St Nicolas Lane behind Red Lion pub taking a large chunk of USR houses out of scheme altogether.
- Cycle lane only to extend eastwards as far as Tesco metro junction at top of Eastern Avenue and continue south to met up with Middle Road which is already extensively used by cyclists especially travelling to Shoreham Academy. Middle Road is already a formal cycle route but without a cycle lane so various safety upgrades to create a lane through the chicanes etc could be added here. Alternatively the route could stop and turn south down Buckingham Road and carry on by the allotments at the end of Nicolson Drive. Combined with the lane on one side of the road only this would takeout something like 80% of the houses in USR currently bordering the cycle lanes.
- As part of the original ambition to link Shoreham Academy with the Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Sompting recognising that many Shoreham pupils now attend SWRA, a universally welcome suggestion has been the addition of a pedestrian crossing across the Steyning Road (A283) near the Old Toll Bridge. This would link the St Nicolas Lane route with the Old Toll Bridge /Adur river cycle lane route and then feed in to the new layout around New Monks Farm as part of the development there which need to be integrated into the rest of Adur’s cycle routes. The temporary crossing installed by the County Council after the Shoreham Air Show tragedy shows that it can be done and would be very popular with pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists alike regardless of what happened to the rest of the cycle lane.
These are just the main headlines of possible alternatives to the current layout and there are many other more detailed proposals that people have put forward. The results have been shared with the Upper Shoreham Road Action Group, the Shoreham-By-Cycle Group, West Sussex County Council and Adur District Council and published widely on Tim’s and other local social media. Officers at the County Council have been asked to look at these main options to assess whether they, or variations on them, are viable, before they are costed. Kevin and Tim will then be organising a ‘roundtable meeting’ of the main interested parties in January to see how this can be taken forward and whether these suggestions can form part of proposals which the County Council can then consult on formally as they are required to do by the Department for Transport.
Look out for my posts on my Facebook page, website and constituency newsletters for further developments. Again thank you to everyone who has taken part.
Have a very happy if socially distanced Christmas.