Albion Way protected cycle lanes coming soon

Pop-up cycle lanes along Albion Way – the first phase of social distancing measures in Horsham – are due to be installed shortly.

The lanes will initially be temporary but could be made permanent “if there is demand”.

West Sussex Highways will be monitoring the scheme closely for their impact. There will inevitably be some initial disruption as any change to the road layout takes time to bed in and people adjust to the new normal.

We have asked that the impact on the safety of cyclists and pedestrians also be monitored, including qualitative measures, such as whether cycle journeys feel more pleasant and whether non-confident cyclists are happy to use the route.

By enabling people to safely walk and cycle there will be less motor traffic, which will benefit everyone – including drivers.

Pop-up cycle lane in Manchester (pic: @LawCherly)

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the Government issued statutory guidance for local authorities to reallocate road space to walking and cycling to allow social distancing and to enable people to cycle safely – taking pressure off public transport.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps explicitly tasked councils with making “significant changes to their road layouts” so as to “embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel”.

We have all benefited from cleaner air during the lockdown and one thing we don’t need right now is more air pollution during a respiratory pandemic.

Freeing up road space for people also provides an opportunity to improve the public realm with planters, flower borders and maybe even some more benches.

With the need to revitalise the town centre economy and the switch to online shopping, Horsham has to offer something special to draw in visitors: an attractive, peaceful place where people will want to linger and sit and eat.

Al fresco dining in a London street (pic: @simonmcmichael)

The Albion Way scheme is being funded out of the first tranche of £781,000 from the Emergency Active Travel Fund awarded to West Sussex. The money has been spread over seven schemes throughout the county.

The second tranche will be for the remainder of the £3.9m awarded to West Sussex. The government has made it clear that councils must demonstrate success with the first tranche, otherwise they will not be considered for further funding in trance two.

Local authorities must have swift and significant plans to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians: “Anything that does not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded.”

Pop-up cycle lane in Reigate (pic: @MarkJCallaghan)

Schemes can include pop-up cycle lanes, widened pavements, “school streets” (where motor traffic is restricted at pick-up and drop-off times), 20mph zones and low-traffic neighbourhoods.

Emergency cycle lanes have been popping up all over the country, enabling ordinary people to safely get about by bike, to work or to the shops, to school – or just out for a ride with friends.

Pop-up cycle lane in Leicester (pic: Leicester City Council)

Many of our lowest paid key workers cannot afford cars, and with public transport not an option due to the need for social distancing, many are turning to cycling – provided there are safe routes to cycle on.

Enabling a shift to active travel means less cars, less congestion, less pollution, less noise and less road danger.

With public transport unable to return to full capacity, if everyone starts driving there will be gridlock.

Pop-up cycle lane in Reigate (pic: @MarkJCallaghan)

The benefits of more people cycling are well known. We face an obesity and mental health crisis and – in the Government’s own words – enabling active travel “delivers significant health benefits”.

The cycle lanes on Albion Way will initially run from Worthing Road up to Springfield Road, although we are hopeful this will be extended to Madeira Avenue to link up with Horsham Park and provide access to the GP surgery and the station, making the route even more useable.

If extended all the way to East Street this has the potential to be a key town centre “backbone” route that opens up access to major supermarkets and town centre shops.

Proposed cycleway – will it be extended eastwards?

This will hopefully be just the first step in making more space for walking and cycling, helping people to stay healthy and safe as economic activity resumes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What measures would you like to see next?


  1. Whilst agree with the benefits that come with specific cycle and pedestrian traffic, my main concern would be the safety of cyclists and pedestrians from regular road traffic and genuine road traffic accidents in pop up lanes? Even more important, could the cyclists and pedestrians become targets for Vehicle Ramming Attacks or Vehicle as Weapon attacks as seen in the recent past?

    I can’t imagine cones or anything non permanent providing much protection.

    Should WSCC Highways just make the decision for a permanent solution?

  2. John Scuillo says

    Tremendous step forward. At last there is provision for cycling! Perhaps the commencement of cycling allocation through, to/from the town. Less priority to cars is a welcome step forward.
    Marked contra route through the Carfax would be good and alert drivers to the fact that cyclists are there. Currently cyclists do cycle and it would be good for a route to be regularised. Mobility appliances need provision too, unnecessary priority to cars in the town does nothing to make the town center pedestrian friendly.

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