Shoreham and Worthing among Sussex cycle lanes to be removed

A NETWORK of cycle lanes introduced during lockdown will be removed due to low use and complaints over congestion.

The majority of feedback on the lanes in Crawley, East Grinstead, Horsham, Shoreham and Worthing was negative, according to West Sussex County Council.

The government-funded cycle lanes were introduced as part of an emergency response to the first national coronavirus lockdown, with the aim of increasing travel options.

West Sussex County Council launched a consultation on the future of the lanes and, last month, encouraged people to use them if they wanted them to stay.

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But, today, the council announced all lanes in Crawley, East Grinstead, Horsham, Shoreham and Worthing will be removed after the results of the consultation were overwhelmingly negative.

A council spokesman said: “The impact of the schemes has been monitored during their operation.

“Feedback showed the majority of responses were opposed to the cycleways, citing increased congestion as a key issue.

“Automatic traffic counters also indicated relatively low usage by cyclists in comparison with other traffic.”

Roger Elkins, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said the schemes had been introduced to meet the needs of people during the first lockdown.

But, he said, this environment no longer exists.

Mr Elkins said: “The schemes fulfilled their main objectives of offering people dedicated space to cycle rather than using public transport, or to leave the car at home and use their bike instead.

“This was in response to the unique set of circumstances during the first national lockdown, including schools and colleges having been closed for months and vastly-reduced public transport capacity.

“The extraordinary environment that led to their installation no longer exists even though we are about to enter into a new national lockdown.

“Schools and colleges are open, traffic volumes have increased and, although public transport capacity is not back to pre-March levels, it is significantly improved.”

But he said the council remains committed to its walking and cycling strategy, and would be continuing to invest in sustainable and active travel.

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“The data gathered and the experience of providing these cycleways will help us when delivering future schemes,” he said.

A decision to remove the cycleway in Chichester was reached last month.

A request to call-in the decision has been received and will be debated by the scrutiny committee at a date to be decided.

West Sussex County Council explained why the schemes had been introduced.

A spokesman said: “The pop-up cycleways for West Sussex were an emergency response to increase travel options as part of the government-led recovery plan from COVID-19.

“As an emergency response, the government required the trial schemes to be planned and installed within three months.

“Given the timeframe, we consulted key partners including district and borough councils, emergency services and bus operators.

“Normally schemes of this nature would take years to develop and be subject to various stages of public consultation that might last two or more months and involve exhibitions, etc.

“This was not possible given the timescale limitations required.

“The cycleway routes are the result of collaborative work with the district and borough councils.”

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