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.


Linda and Chris Saunders

2 thoughts on “A Viewpoint from Southbourne”

  1. I totally agree with the above statement, I live in southbourne and the pavements on the main road are nowhere near wide enough to take cycle lanes, the pavement by travellers joy, is only about 1 m so how the hell are you going to have two lanes, plus somewhere for people to walk if two people come along at this moment one has to step out of the way for them to pass and not go onto the road this is not just here this is right the way through and up past chidham, and most of the way down emsworth.so surely it is better to spend the money on repairing the roads which cell are not up to scratch, cyclist already have a third of the main roads to cycle on up and down the 259 , making cars too close to each other as a pass, and surely if all this money is supposed to be spent on cyclists. Then they should started paying for the use of the road or whatever they end up with, if the council thinks all of a sudden people will give up their cars and get on bicycles then they are much deluded.

    1. Thanks for the comment Daniel,
      I’m not entirely convinced by the argument that cyclists should specifically pay for infrastructure. UK motorway infrastructure is hugely subsidised over and above any contributions made by motorists. Extending the same argument would also require some kind of specific tax for people who choose to walk locally too?
      In Holland where they make significant investments in walking and cycling, something like 90% of school kids walk or cycle to school so they don’t have the same grinding traffic jams that stress everyone out so badly in the South East of England.
      My view is this is a town planning issue. The design of the local road/transport network is simply not adequate for the thousands on new homes being rapidly built all along our coast.
      If this kind of poor quality infrastructure is installed as an alternative to proper street design, we will endure a gridlocked A259 each rush hour and huge conflict between people trying to walk or cycle. Pedestrians and cyclists will merely be trying to sensibly avoid the motor-vehicle gridlock but will be punished by having to share a ridiculously inadequate narrow pavement.
      It should be possible to drive if you need to but it should also be convenient to walk to a local pub/shop or bike to the station. Unfortunately all these options will be a nightmare under the current proposals. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will all badly loose out.

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