Highways England Official Statement 4th August

Dear Mr Record

Please find attached a statement that Highways England have jointly prepared with West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council regarding the proposed A259 Chichester to Emsworth Non-Motorised User (NMU) improvements.

This statement is being issued to local cycling groups in response to recent correspondence from them on the Highways England feasibility study recommendation. It clarifies the status of the project, our next steps and confirms that we will be testing the current proposals against the Dept for Transport’s recently issued LTN 1/20 guidance document on cycling as we move forward.

Kind Regards

Simon Elliott

Project Update : the proposed A259 Non-Motorised User improvements between
Chichester & Emsworth
The proposed improvement scheme seeks to provide a consistent and safe standard of provision for both pedestrians and cyclists along the A259 between Chichester and Emsworth. The proposals have been subject to a Highways England funded feasibility study which considered both on and off carriageway solutions.
Noting various constraints along the corridor, the study recommended that a shared pedestrian/cycle path would meet the core design principles of safety, directness, coherence, comfort and attractiveness, and could be delivered using the land available within the highway boundary. Funding has been allocated to develop this solution further.
The differing rural/urban characteristics of the corridor and the provision of a
consistent standard means Highways England cannot provide a segregated route
without significant changes to the road layout or the purchase of additional land.
Both of these constraints are currently outside of this project’s remit.
Highways England are currently procuring a delivery partner to take the project
forward. This commission consists of further data gathering, early engagement with interested parties, a review of the recommended solution against the recently published design guidance and production of a preliminary design. We currently anticipate that this stage of the project will commence during Autumn 2020.
We have received significant interest on the proposals published to date. We will be engaging with interested parties at key stages throughout the project’s development. Should you or your interest group wish to be included in the list of such parties, please let us know by emailing A27DesignatedFunds@highwaysengland.co.uk.
Highways England
West Sussex County Council
Chichester District Council
August 2020

Residents Concerned over Conversion of A259 Pavements into Cycle-Tracks

On the first weekend in August 2020 residents took to the streets to show concern over Highways England plans to turn their pavements into two way cycle-tracks. On Saturday the 1st August Clare and Harry Harrison protested on the pavement outside St.John’s Church in Southbourne. Clare and Harry live close by on New Rd in Southbourne. They both fear that when this section of pavement is converted into a two way cycle-track it will make it difficult for villagers to walk to the Co-Op, Church and Chemist. The picture below shows them discussing this issues with a local resident returning from the Co-Op with a bag loaded with shopping.

Fishbourne residents met on the A259 in the Village outside a Cottage owned by Gabrielle Adam’s who has put up signs asking for pavements to remain dedicated safe spaces for pedestrian use. Anne Thompson and Geoff Allen who also live on the main road can be seen at the left of the photo below.
The two concerned local residents in the middle of the picture and Laura Eccott from Chichester, is shown second to the right. She is an advocate for people with visual impairment. Philip Maber shown on the right, arrived on his E Bike from his home in Singleton.

The photograph highlights problems that will be encountered by many people when this scheme goes ahead. Many keen sports cyclists ride at speed through Fishbourne at the weekend and it is unthinkable that they should be expected to continue doing so, travelling in both directions on cycle tracks built on village pavements. It is difficult to imagine cyclists commuting  to work will want to negotiate pedestrians walking in the village and tackle cars exiting  blind driveways into their path. Numerous homeowners are anxious that their properties will exit directly onto a busy fast two way cycle-track.  

HIGHWAYS ENGLAND DESIGNATED FUNDS-A27 NMU LINK IMPROVEMENTS PACKAGE has had it’s funding agreed and Highways England is currently arranging a contract to implement the scheme. Simon Elliott of Highways England has been in contact with a local Group ChiCycle and explained “We are currently in the process of procuring a design partner to progress the recommendations of the WSP feasibility study for a shared path on the northern side of the A259 between Chichester and the border with Hampshire.” The plans show that virtually the entire provision for cyclists will involve the northern pavements of the A259 being re-designated as cycle-tracks. More details of the scheme can be found on the website  http://chiaction.co.uk.

Clare and Harry Harrison said:

My wife and I are elderly residents in New Road, Southbourne, and we cannot believe that they plan to re-engineer the A259 pavements into two-way 20mph cycle tracks!
Surely, in law, the pavements are only for use by pedestrians and should remain so.
How are children, elderly and vulnerable residents be able to walk safely, when cyclists are on the pavements coming both ways at the same time at 20 mph? This can only lead to accidents! Even if they keep to the speed limit!
Also, we residents will have to leave our driveways safely, avoiding the cyclists, to go to the local doctors surgery,the pharmacy and the shops.
The A259 already has proper cycle lanes in the roadway and, may be, could be improved, if necessary, to satisfy those campaigning for bike route improvements between Chichester and Emsworth.
We are totally against this highly dangerous plan.
By all means improve the A259 roadway for cyclists, but not at the cost of losing the rights of pedestrians and their safety.

Laura Eccott commented she is concerned over accessibility issues faced by visually impaired people, as using this pavement when it becomes a cycle track would be choosing a riskier route than non-shared paths. She is disappointed the majority of fully sighted people do not concern themselves that those spaces aren’t equally available to all. For example, when someone with a guide dog needs to use the path and there is no clear separation between walkers and cyclists, it’ll be even more dangerous for all involved.

Philip Maber said:

Plans for this shared use NMU are so so far short of what the Government are saying must happen. The planned NMU pavement would include the removal of existing white-line bits of cycle lane … we agree the existing cycle lanes intermittently along each side of the road, are dangerously unfit for purpose, but taking them away to provide more road space is totally wrong. This flat, wide, former trunk road nwould prefer to keep their names and addresses anonymous.ow only serves local traffic – volume is at or near pre-bypass levels with daily gridlock tailbacks. Cyclists and Walkers particularly must demand better. That Highways England won’t commit to consultation until the detailed design phase is completed is wasting time and money.

Mark Record who took the photos commented:

Removing cycle-lanes from the road and re-routing cyclists onto  pavements will only reduce the total space available for walking and cycling. The aims of this scheme are claimed to be to ” improve the existing level of cycling infrastructure on the A259, thereby facilitating active mode trips between Chichester and Emsworth”. However, this project threatens instead to reduce the level of provision for both pedestrians and cyclists alike. It will also encouraging faster and larger volumes of motor vehicle traffic along the A259 through our historic harbour villages.

 

Action Planning

Dear Demand-Better supporters,

We need to move swiftly if we are to prevent this poor quality scheme turning the pavements along the A259 between Chichester and Emsworth into shared use cycle-tracks.

This Tuesday 21st of July I phoned Simon Elliott who is the Highways England project manager for this scheme. Simon explained that funding is only allocated towards a scheme for shared use pavements and he is not able to consider alternative solutions. If this scheme goes ahead Highways England will deliver cycle tracks on our pavements. He seems a reasonable and polite man but his hands appear tied in this matter. The fine details of design will be finalised this Autumn and presumably construction will commence after that.

Unfortunately all local cycling groups who were invited to consultation have already declared support for this scheme. It is not clear why other community groups were neither contacted nor consulted. However, many cyclists oppose this scheme due to the obvious issues with riding on pavements.

If you haven’t done so already I strongly recommend you write or phone the contacts listed here, asking for this scheme to be halted.

On the first weekend of August on both Saturday 1st and Sunday the 2nd, I hope some of us can meet up to take photos we can send into the press. If we can get a diverse mix of young, adolescent, middle aged , elderly, parents with prams , sensory impaired pedestrians, wheelchair users and people with bikes, we will be able to make images showing how problematic this scheme will prove in everyday life.

Anyone who wishes to participate will be most welcome. It will also be a good opportunity to get to know each other. However, we will need to consider responsible social distancing. If the weather is bad we should reschedule.

I suggest we could meet in the car park at the Southbourne mini roundabout at 1pm Saturday 1st and/or at the Fishbourne centre at 1pm on Sunday the 2nd. I propose we all dress flamboyantly and look cheerful and friendly in photos. This will give a good impression that we are a positive minded group of residents with legitimate concerns over the future use of our pavements.

Perhaps some of might find some inspiring words for a press release can highlight our concerns.

As well as emailing, it is possible to comment and communicate by leaving  comments on the ChiAction website. Although it may take a short time before your first comment will appear because I moderate peoples first post to stop spammers.

Best Regards,

Mark Record


On Saturday 1st August Clare and Harry Harrison joined ChiAction protesting against the conversion of Southbourne Pavements into two way cycle tracks. Images of the Southbourne protest are shown in the photo gallery below.

Images Showing the Issues with Relocating Cycles from Roads onto Pavements

In a few situations cycle tracks shared with pedestrians can prove satisfactory. However relocating cyclists onto exiting pavements is generally considered an undesirable approach to highway design. All UK highway design manuals either list the conversion of pavements into cycle tracks as the very least favoured option or rule this idea out altogether.

Converting  Pavements into cycle tracks is particularly advised against under the following circumstances:

  • In built up areas
  • If cyclists are likely to frequently interact with pedestrians.
  • Where there are a large proportion of elderly, vulnerable, sensorily impaired residents.
  • In locations with frequent driveway exits.
  • Where there are concealed exits.
  • Locations with frequent side roads.
  • Residential areas with a relatively dense local population.
  • For longer distance cycle routes that may be used by fast utility, commuter or sports cyclists.
  • Where cyclists on a two way cycle-track are not separated from traffic and whose lights could confuse or dazzle oncoming traffic in dark winter evenings.

Please take a look at the following image gallery to help you determine if these issues could prove a problem on the new Highways England scheme that intends to remove all cyclists from the A259 and relocate them onto a single pavement between Chichester and Emsworth.

Click the images to obtain a larger view and you may use the arrows to the left and right to navigate forwards and backwards through the images. There are seven different sets of images that can be selected at the bottom of the gallery pane.

A Viewpoint from Southbourne

Plans to site fast two way cycle-tracks on the northern pavement of the A259 have been criticised by residents. Linda and Chris Saunders sent in the following remarks:

Looking at the proposals (in particular those between Emsworth and Southbourne as we live on this stretch) it would appear that the solution proposed is the worst of all worlds for pedestrians, cyclists and residents.

Where the cycle tracks will run
Two way cycle tracks will soon run along this pavement!
  • The idea of having cyclists and pedestrians on the same shared “current pavement” presents a high risk of serious injury to pedestrians, many of whom are either pensioners or families walking young children to/from school – particularly as cyclists will travel at speed.
  • The idea of having cyclists speeding past driveways where vehicles emerge creates a risk of serious injury for the cyclist as well as damage to vehicles. Many people leave for work in cars during rush hour which would seem to have been overlooked in the report.
  • Cyclists will have to stop at side roads in order to cross them as they will have no right of way as they won’t be on the main carriageway – this will slow the cyclist as in some stretches there are many such side roads.
  • the plan makes no mention of pushchairs, wheelchairs and non-road licensed mobility scooters – all of which have to use the current pavement.
  • Along many of the sections of the road; vehicles park with two wheels on the pavement (particularly where there are terraced cottages or other properties with no off road vehicle space).
  • Chichester District Council require their refuse bins to be positioned on the pavement so that they can easily be seen by the refuse, recycling and green waste collection teams and the “wheelie bins” at every property severely obstruct the pavement on collection days.
  • In some areas the state of the pavement is no better than the star of the roads which the report identified as an issue with using cycle lanes – WSCC have said that there is no money in their budgets to repair pavements (it appears they are even struggling to be able to fund road repairs!)

In summary the proposed solution doesn’t work for pedestrians because of the plan to mix them with cyclists on what is currently a pavement, doesn’t work for cyclists because of the need to stop at side roads and the increased risk of serious injury as vehicles emerge from numerous driveways, doesn’t work for wheelchair, pushchair or mobility scooter users because of the increased volume (and speed) of other users of the current pavement, doesn’t work for residents as cyclists on the pavement will be a greater risk when emerging from (or turning into) driveways and there will be an issue for those with no off-road vehicle space, and it doesn’t work for the Council Refuse Collection service. The only class of road user for whom it would seem to work will be the road users travelling along the A259 provided they don’t wish to join or leave the road at any stage!

We are totally in favour of better (and safer) facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles however, this plan doesn’t seem to address any of these in a meaningful way – in fact it probably worsens the situation for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users and mobility scooter users as well as residents.

Regards

Linda and Chris Saunders

Demand Safe Streets for Pedestrians!

Refuse to Accept 20 MPH Two-Way Cycle Tracks on Village High Street Pavements

Village, Town and City Pavements are a vital part of our street scene and are a completely inappropriate place for riding bicycles.

All the UK guidelines and standards acknowledged that reallocating pavements as cycle tracks is highly inadvisable. There are rare exceptions where pavements (called footways in the highway manuals) might be used for cycling:

  • Tracks parallel to remote rural roads, carrying only low volumes of walking and cycling traffic, can reasonably be designed as shared use paths.
  • Vastly wide city pavements where walking and cycling can be safely segregated, preferably with pedestrians and cyclists separated by a kerb, can safely accommodate cyclists.

It is self evident that in all other circumstances cycling on pavements is undesirable for a multitude of reasons. Some footpaths and bridal ways might be suitable for cycling. However unsegregated pavements/footways adjacent to roads that form the high streets of towns and villages are not suitable places to site heavily used cycle-ways!

Fishbourne Pavement
Fishbourne Pavement will become a bike track

Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council and Highways England Want to Re-Engineer Village High St Pavements into Fast Two-Way Cycle Track.

Our local authorities are rapidly producing schemes to remove cyclists from our road by moving them onto the pavements. This is presumably to avoid  responsibility for town planning needed to handle increasing levels of traffic. Removing cyclists from the road may slightly increase road capacity for motor vehicles but relocating them onto pavements will come at a huge expense to the future prospects for walking and cycling in the area.

Of particular concern are plans to remove existing cycle lanes on the road between Chichester and Emsworth and move the cycle way onto the pavements where the A259 passes through the harbour towns and villages. A link to a copy of the Feasibility Study is available here.

ChiAction are Organising a Campaign to Save Local Pavements and Demand any Highway Improvements Must Meet UK Highway Standards.

Demand Better:

  • Pavements to remain exclusively for pedestrian use only
  • Resident’s right to walk safely and with confidence
  • Cyclists and pedestrians safely separated at road crossings
  • Highway design that meets appropriate UK standards
  • Design where all road users can coexist in harmony

Refuse to Accept:

  • Fast 20 Mph two-way cycle traffic on your pavement
  • Young, vulnerable or elderly residents being too frightened to walk
  • Cyclists riding across the mouths of driveways and junctions
  • Poor highway design that fails to meet minimum UK standards
  • Conflict and anger between all road users at dangerous crossings

Recommended Actions

Sign up to the email list demand-better@chiaction.co.uk
Write to the newspapers info@thevillagemagazine.co.uk
news@chiobserver.co.uk
kelly.wickham@sussexpost.co.uk
ws.letters@jpimedia.co.uk
Write the council https://www.westsussex.gov.uk
https://www.chichester.gov.uk
https://www.fishbourne-pc.gov.uk
http://www.boshamvillage.co.uk
https://www.southbourne-pc.gov.uk
http://www.emsworthhub.co.uk/localauthority.html
https://chichestercity.gov.uk/
Write to English Highways A27DesignatedFunds@highwaysengland.co.uk
Write to your MP alan.mak.mp@parliament.uk
gillian.keegan.mp@parliament.uk
Start a social media group Please send any links to demand-better@chiaction.co.uk