East Grinstead cycle forum gets off to a flying start

The fledgling East Grinstead cycle forum has chalked up its first success as a cycle contra-flow closed since 2011 is finally reinstated!

The new cycle forum was set up by local residents Paul Brown and Ros Furley in frustration at the lack of safe space for cycling in the town and after being inspired by attending the West Sussex Cycle Summit last September.

The following article appeared in the East Grinstead Courier.

Bike lane open after five years of going nowhere

Cycle path dispute resolved at last as pedallers enjoy safe routes

A cycle lane in East Grinstead has finally reopened more than five years after it was closed following a dispute between a council and network rail over who should pay to bring it back into use.

The cycle route on Park Road was closed back in 2011 while the weak railway bridge was being repaired by network rail.

While the stretch of road soon reopened to cars, temporary bollards remained in place which blocked bikes from using the cycle lane. The bollards were eventually removed in 2015, but by then the lines for the path had faded and caused confusion for both drivers and cyclists.

Rosemary Furley, a cycling campaigner in East Grinstead complained about the situation but it took until the start of this year for the cycle route to actually reopen.


Ros Furley cycling in Park Road

Mrs Furley of Mason close, said “when the road first opened they tried to keep the traffic in the middle of the bridge with painted lines but that didn’t work so they put these red and white buttons in the cycle lane and on the other side so you could only get a car between them. It’s stayed like that for some time. After the work was finished the ballades just state. Know one who didn’t cycle mind it very much because they could just drive.”

Mrs Furley, 72, said the bollards were not removed until just after Christmas 2015.

Mrs Furley raised the issue with West Sussex county council and was told that towards the end of 2016 the council was in dispute with network rail over who should have to pay for the cycle route to be reopened.

When Mrs Furley, who doesn’t have a car and rides a bike everywhere she goes, cycled by Park Road on January 24(actually the 23rd) it was the first time she had seen the cycle path lanes painted again.

She said “it took a year from the removal of the bollards for the cycle lane to be redone. If no one had asked them, I don’t think they would ever have done it.”

A West Sussex county council spokesman said “our traffic engineer Nick do Sousa was made aware of the problem a year ago after being informed that the cycle path was still out of action following the railway bridge repair in 2011 by rail track now network rail.

“It was recently agreed that the county council would cover the cost to reinstate the cycle lane following failed discussions with network rail to cover the costs directly”.

Mrs Furley has set up the East Grinstead cycle forum with fellow cyclist Paul Brown to campaign for better cycling around East Grinstead and have less congestion.

“A route avoiding the one-way system on the A22 for example, would be very helpful and encourage more people to use their bikes instead of clogging up the town with so many cars.”

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