Horsham to get “pop-up” cycle lanes on Albion Way

Last month the Government called on councils to make “swift and significant” changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. West Sussex County Council has responded with seven schemes across the county, including a proposal to cone off one lane of Albion Way in each direction from Sainsbury’s to the Bishopric.

In announcing the emergency funding, Transport Minister Grants Shapps said: “We have a window of opportunity to act now to embed walking and cycling as part of new long-term habits and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.”

In the first tranche of funding, West Sussex has been allocated £784,000. The Government have made it clear that measures must be delivered quickly, otherwise this will adversely affect the ability to secure any future funding.

Pop-up cycle lane on Kingston Bridge (pic: @johnstreetdales)

Although initially only for a short length of road, the Cycle Forum supports this plan since it will enable local people to walk and cycle safely whilst maintaining social distancing – particularly along the busy stretch of road between the Bishopric and Waitrose. This will be good news for key workers getting to work, for children on their way to school (once they’re back!), as well as for people going to the shops.

However, for the new lanes to be a success it is vital that there are safe and easy access points, such as to the existing cycle track by Prewitts Mill near the Sainsbury’s roundabout. The cycle lanes could be extended at a later date to the junction with North Parade and beyond to East Street so as to create a “backbone” safe cycle route across the town.

Pop-up cycle lane in Leeds (pic: @LeedsCC_News)

We know that Horsham residents want to continue to experience the benefits of safer streets, cleaner air and quieter neighbourhoods that they experienced during the early stages of the lockdown. In our recent survey of cycling during the pandemic an overwhelming number of respondents wanted more protected cycle lanes to enable them to keep cycling when the traffic returns.

When first installed the lanes are likely to be temporary but the Goverenment has advised councils to monitor and evaluate any temporary measures they install “with a view to making them permanent, and embedding a long-term shift to active travel as we move from restart to recovery”.

Pop-up cycle lane in Leicester (pic: @WeAreCyclingUK)

Ruth Fletcher, Councillor for Denne ward, welcomes the prospect of Horsham getting a pop-up lane in Albion Way and says:

“Councils across the country have responded quickly to the Covid crisis by creating wider pavements, pop-up cycle lanes, school streets and low traffic neighbourhoods. Horsham Lib Dems have been calling for urgent action here as well.

Although ours is only a small scheme, it is important because the government has said it will make much bigger sums available to those councils which deliver successful first projects.”

The local Green Party have called this “a good start” that needs to be extended to bring further benefits:

“We believe that an opportunity is being lost if the scheme does not link up to other cycle and walking routes near the proposed scheme.”

XR Horsham “love the idea” of the pop-up cycle lanes on Albion Way:

“They will improve the local environment, be healthier for the users, and be better for the planet. We would support any future extension towards East Street. Ideas like these pop-up cycle lanes, are the ideas that our future needs.”

Sussex Green Living say we “urgently need more pop-up cycle lanes” while people are in the habit of cycling and enjoying it:

“We are delighted to hear a pop-up cycling lane is being installed in Albion Way in Horsham. Covid has devastated so many people, families and businesses, we must try and find something positive to come out of the current health and economic crisis and what better way than to address the climate crisis with sustainable and safe transport!”

Pop-up cycle lanes are just one of several measures recommended in the new Government guidance, such as widened pavements, “school streets” (where motor traffic is restricted at pick-up and drop-off times) and low-traffic or traffic free neighbourhoods.

West Sussex has been allocated £3.9m in total to provide emergency measures for walking and cycling, but to access this money local authorities must demonstrate “meaningful plans to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians”.

Where in Horsham District would you like to see safer streets for people?

Low-traffic neighbourhood in Waltham Forest (pic: barnetlcc.org)

Comments

  1. Andre Pallett says

    This is a total disgrace.
    I simply cannot believe people are tolerating this rubbish. The arbitrary removal of 50% of the most crucial traffic flow in the centre of town for the use of nobody. No cyclists are using this nonsense.
    We are about to enter winter, the morons that approved this political virtue signaling insanity will not be sat on their bikes in the wind, rain and sleet to get into town, to buy what exactly, nothing you can’t carry on bicycle.
    I would gladly refuse to pay my extreme high end and pointless council tax over this issue, but then our utterly useless and corrupt police would soon be knocking at my door.

    At what point were any of the population of the town consulted over this incredibly stupid plan. They tried the same garbage thinking in Reigate at few weeks back, it failed monumentally and was quickly removed. I have little faith that the idiots that have remarkably found themselves deciding matters for the citizens of Horsham rather than just dribbling into their daily Guardian will have the sense to do the same.

    This is getting utterly insane and needs to stop.

  2. I’m a cyclist. During the covid lockdown the roads and downlink paths were full of families on new cycles ” exercising”. Don’t see many now!
    Now we have the pop up cycle lane. It is a waste of money that perhaps could have been used to fill the many holes in the roads that are more dangerous to cyclists.
    Everyone is agreeing it just causes traffic build up and frustration. I too have not seen a cyclist on it yet. If the Council wish to waste more money why not sit someone near the new lane and count up how many times it is used in a day.
    Let’s hope common sense prevails and it is removed asap.

  3. james russell says

    You would struggle to find a more ludicrous use for public money than I just witnessed in Albion Way, Horsham on 17 Sept.
    Traffic was backed up in a single lane each way due to the so called “COVID 19 POPUP Bicycle Lanes” which are now monopolising two of the four lanes of traffic. Waitrose customers were having difficulty leaving the store at their roundabout. Traffic was barely moving and not a Bicycle in sight the whole time.
    Does anyone know who is responsible for this? Let’s hope they are elected officials and not just Administrative Functionaries. You cannot cure “stupid” but you can have the satisfaction of a recall election if petitions to remove this are insufficient

  4. Fred the Groundskeeper says

    Absolute waste of time and money. The council decides to implement this crazy idea yet the local schools do not practice any social distancing. Nothing has changed. Horsham council is a corrupt institution that refuses to use any form of common sense.

  5. Andrew Shepherd says

    What a ridiculous thing for the council to do not long enough to be of any use. All it will do is cause congestion in town cause more pollution. Not seen anyone use it either. Oh and by the way if anyone from the council references Kingston bridge it was put in at the beginning of lockdown when it was needed and now it has been removed. Trust our lot to do this now !

  6. christopher burgess says

    The new temporary pop up cycle lane down Albion Way is a total waste of money. All it is doing is causing tail backs, which in turn will delay emergency services.I have yet to see anyone actually using it. Should be removed immediately.

  7. What a stupid idea, how many people are going to use it, more pullution in town, as cars sitting in it, how are emergency vehicles meant to get anywhere?

  8. James Whitston says

    Lockdown provided a perfect opportunity to hit the reset switch on our transport priorities, for people to try cycling as a serious and viable form of transport, and for local government to get behind this by switching their priorities from motorists to cyclists and pedestrians, and providing comprehensive infrastructure to back this. I’m not sure that a temporary 0.4km cycle lane along Horsham’s Albion Way represents a proper test of the kind of uptake that might be seen were we to commit now to a fully integrated network of safe, segregated cycle lanes. Sadly I have a cynical suspicion that it’s just an exercise in providing data reflecting a poor uptake, which can then be used to deflect pressure for an expanded network. I get it: it’s a really tough ask for any council to say ‘sorry motorists, but you’re not going to have such an easy time of it from now on, because as a society we need to make room for these better alternatives’. However, if not now, then when? 0.4km isn’t going to cut it. We need to find the courage and leadership to think much, much bigger, commit to it now, and be prepared to ride the backlash out for long enough to effect a widespread change of mindset.

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