Banner From Original ChiCycle Webpage

Some views on the Local Plan and Peter Brett Associates Report January 2019 

ChiCycle – Some views on the Local Plan and Peter Brett Associates Report January 2019 

Research from New Zealand has shown that congestion and carbon emissions can be reduced by investing in safe walking and cycling paths. https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago701085.html?mc_cid=00a14af008&mc_eid=5c9c8f87c6

This is news that appears to have escaped the policy makers at CDC and planners at Peter Brett Associates.

As Coordinator of ChiCycle, Chichester’s Cycle Campaign, I am reading the Local Plan Review with caution as walking and cycling should be put at the top of the list according to NICE whereas the measures listed in the local plan are vague and promised in a multitude of future studies.  NICE statistics reveal that physical inactivity is responsible for one in six deaths and one in four adults are obese in the UK.  However whatever the Plan promises, WSCC has committed to only building 28km of cycle routes over the whole of the county for the next 5 years.

We need to prioritize other means of getting around not always the car. The Peter Brett Associates document is particularly disappointing as it doesn’t include a single crossing for people to cross the road, dangerous inner city junctions aren’t on the list for any improvements, our walking and cycling links over the A27 seem to be impacted.  Cycle paths are mentioned in the Local Plan but it doesn’t spell out what we mean by this – painted lines on the road are not going to deliver the modal shift we need. We need the plan to qualify the routes as direct, convenient, attractive, inclusive, segregated and safe.

A Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan is being developed by the councils but unless we know there are earmarked reserves to implement the plan, the fear is that these routes won’t be of good enough quality or joined up.

The previous Local Plan was counting on modal shift levels of 7%. This has now been reduced to 5%. This is disappointing considering the need to reduce our carbon footprint and increase physical activity.

There are no plans to increase safety at Eastgate, the roundabout at the junction of New Park and Spitalfields near the University or, the roundabout near Sainsbury’s at the end of Westhampnett Road. The fact that we were supposed to have a crossing of Oaklands Way linked to the Graylingwell development and this isn’t included in this Local Plan as a junction needing upgrading doesn’t inspire confidence that 12,000 new houses will make it any easier to walk or cycle in the city.

The plan also includes no practical measures on how to improve our air quality. Indeed the report states that there are no constraints on the plan due to air pollution, which is difficult to believe. Residents are already making decisions to avoid walking down certain streets as they know the air quality is bad.

Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets*, the UK charity for everyday walking, said: “For decades our towns and cities have been built to prioritise motor vehicles resulting in unhealthy air, congested roads and a decline in people walking everyday journeys.” It appears that these plans are pretty similar – a priority has been put on traffic flow on the A27 and scant attention has been paid to getting people fitter and enabling them to cycle or walk safely.

*https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/new-roads-cyclists-pedestrians-priority-safety-cars-deaths-nice-planning-guidelines-obesity-a8710836.html

3 thoughts on “Some views on the Local Plan and Peter Brett Associates Report January 2019 ”

  1. Cyclists would gain a great deal more support for their proposals if they stopped behaving in thoroughly antisocial and illegal ways in Chichester. Every day when I walk into and out of the city I encounter cyclists using pavements designed solely for pedestrians. When the illegality of their behaviour is pointed out I’m usually met with verbal abuse and, on one occasion, the threat of physical violence. Most cyclists behave as if they have the right to use any space they choose. Similarly, on the “shared” path by Broyle Road/Oaklands Park cyclists never alert pedestrians to the fact that they are approaching from behind, often at high speed. It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt. I have reported these incidents to the police and the Council, the latter saying that they aware of cyclists’s illegal behaviour but have been unable to prevent it. The police claim that they have more serious crimes to deal with.

    1. Sorry about your unpleasant experiences Barbara.
      In some areas of Chichester it is understandable that cyclists use pedestrian ways because cycling provision is so poor. For example if cyclists are to exclusively use the roadway to get to the Portfield Way retail park they must negotiate a 360 degree turn around a busy roundabout on the A27. I found this to be a particularly frightening manoeuvrer. An experience which I do not wish to repeat.
      I agree that antisocial, inconsiderate and abusive behaviour does not help promote cycling. I like to think that most cyclists are responsible and considerate people but realise we have a few idiots that paint us in a poor light. I find using my bell (it’s pink with flowers on because it’s all I could find to buy when my old bell dropped off) and being polite goes a long way to preventing conflict with people when I make my daily commute by bike.

  2. Hi Barbara,
    I am sorry that you have had problems with cyclists when in Chichester. I can only apologise, but I would like to explain why you might find more and more people on bikes having to use the pavements. The simple fact is that we have been scared off using the roads. The speed of the cars and the numbers of near misses that people on bikes experience is the root of the problem. I was speaking to two members of staff in a Chichester shop on Thursday – they both cycle in from Fishbourne and Donnington to work in the city centre – but nearly each day they almost get knocked off their bikes and are just pleased that they make it in alive. I am very wary of the councils’ idea to put people on bikes on more and more shared used paths. This is the cheap way of dealing with people on bikes but it takes away one sort of conflict (car vs bike) and risk to life but makes another conflict area between people on bikes and on foot. The key thing is that we need to reintroduce a bit of politeness and civility between all road users. We need to prioritize people on foot first, followed by bikes and we need people in cars to slow down and drive more sensibly and carefully too. Recently I helped put forward a petition to West Sussex County Council signed by people who had been knocked off their bikes on the road – I was astounded at how many people had been involved in incidents – several had been airlifted to hospital. We are building 12,000 new houses in the local area and this will bring so many more cars onto our small streets. We will need to share the space between our houses more carefully so that we all manage to get where we need to be in the safest manner. I cycle very slowly and yes, since being knocked off my bike in December 2015 I am much more cautious about going on the road than I used to be. But I have a bell and slow right down when passing people. Sometimes I just lose the ability to cycle on the road – a few weeks ago I was going to a meeting in the Baptist Church and needed to go down Westgate – there was so much traffic I just had to get off and took a different route completely.
    We are aiming to work with the councils to work towards a better sort of infrastructure that separates people on bikes and on foot but we have failed to get the councils and developers to understand this and at White House Farm we have more shared paths going in which do not correspond to the London Cycling Design Standards. I am sorry about this but we need more people to write in to their councillors and ask for better standards of design on our streets to prioritise both sustainable modes.
    I am in touch with the various cycle groups and the Cycle Forum locally and we do our utmost to promote safe and responsible cycling. But as there are some really bad drivers out there, there are some less respectable people who cycle. These are the people who give the rest of us a bad name.
    I have a bell which is very old – it had a heart on it and it said “I love cycling” I still do despite my accident, but I am definitely more nervous on the streets.
    There are very few police and they are very stretched. There are new people employed by BID and the City Council who have 3 main jobs – one of which is to patrol the city streets to stop people on bikes. The laws have recently been changed to prevent people cycling on Sundays through the city streets – which only puts more people on bikes onto the dangerous roads. Sadly the numbers of people injured by cars is much, much higher than those injured by people on bikes. I will try and look up the statistics for you but it is under 1% I think.
    The bigger danger to both pedestrians and people on bikes is motorised vehicles. The key thing we must keep in mind as well is that we need to enable more people to walk and cycle in safety to reduce pollution (a risk to us all) and to reduce our reliance on cars as we need to burn less fossil fuel (to reduce climate change) and we all need to get more exercise!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *