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.

 

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