Pop-up cycle lane on Albion Way now open

The Albion Way pop-up cycle lane is now open.

The lane runs from Sainsbury’s up to Madeira Avenue and is designed to provide safe space for people on bikes.

Riding home from school on the new pop-up cycle lane

In May the Government called on councils to “make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians”.  An Emergency Active Travel Fund was set up which councils could bid for to provide space for safe, socially distanced travel.

West Sussex County Council successfully bid for money for seven schemes across the county, one being the Albion Way cycle lane.

The purpose of the emergency funding is to get people on bikes who aren’t already cycling and to do so with measures like protected cycle lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods.

During the lockdown bike use rose by over 380% on some days as people felt safe to venture out on the roads, often for the first time in years. People reported hearing birdsong, smelling clean air and feeling safe on our streets.

Now that motor traffic has returned to pre-lockdown levels the number of people cycling has fallen back to previous levels. This makes it imperative that we reconfigure our streets so that those without cars have a safe way to make essential journeys.

Trying out the new pop-up cycle lane

During the development of the Albion Way scheme the cycling forum provided feedback and we’re pleased that some of our ideas have been taken on board.

We are however disappointed that the scheme has been cut in half. Only the eastbound lane will be built leaving anyone who wants to return the same way with no protected lane. This will clearly make the scheme much less useful to people on bikes. You can’t imagine a road or a railway being built like this.

A protected cycleway along Albion Way (in both directions!) will provide a crucial “backbone” cycle route enabling people to travel safely east-west across the town.

As well as making our towns Covid-safe the emergency measures can help to create places where people want to linger and where children and families feel safe to venture out on two wheels.

Riding on the new pop-up cycle lane

In order to fulfil the Government requirement to make bike use a normal part of everyday life this must be just the first step. The Government expressly called for the pop-up schemes to be put in swiftly and for councils to monitor and adapt them as they went along.

Whenever there’s a change to the road layout there’s always some initial disruption. It takes time for people to adapt to the new layout and adjust their travel habits.

What improvements would you like to see? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Is this cycle lane two way as it’s so wide? If not what’s the point? Usually we have to do a return journey! Needs clearer marking.

    • Francis Vernon says

      Fine point Kath. It’s only a one way cycle lane, not two way. The earlier design was for a bus and cycle lane on the westbound carriageway. Then Horsham DC called a meeting with West Sussex CC, following which the westbound lane was removed from the plan……

  2. What I’d like to know and have wanted to know for a long time is what is the Council doing about people, adults included, constantly riding on the pavement. It seems to be accepted now that it is ok for pavements to be used ! It’s not and it’s dangerous.

  3. Penny Connold says

    We tried it yesterday but we think there are some odd places; it’s not been properly thought out – yet. Only when families feel safe to ride on the roads, and oldies, as well as fit and confident riders, can we hope to start to swing the balance away from the car to the bike for shorter journeys. We could learn a lot from other Northern European countries such as Holland.

  4. Greg Collins says

    Why did they make it so darned wide. It’s a one-way lane and could be halfthe width it is and still be fine. In fact it is wide enough to be a two way lane!

    • Francis Vernon says

      It could be narrower, but you wouldn’t be able to keep more than one lane of traffic there. Being wider makes it feel safer, and I enjoyed riding side by side with someone there today.

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