ChEmRouteVision is an alternative approach to providing walking and cycling provision from the Highways England NMU proposals for the A259. Rather than force cyclists to ride on the pavements allowing heavier motor vehicle traffic to flow through the Harbour Villages, the ChEmRouteVision aims to take a Dutch style perspective at routing heavy through traffic away from population centres. This approach will not only enable safe and convenient walking and cycling between Chichester and Emsworth but it will also enable the existing village centres to develop into lively and welcoming community hubs. The ChEmRouteVision website has only just gone live on Sunday the 18th October 2020 and it is sure to be updated with even more information about walking and cycling to the West of Chichester in the near future.
A pdf format document is also available on this link, outlining the ideas contained within the ChEmRouteVision.
Also published by the DfT on 27 July 2020 is Cycle infrastructure design (LTN 1/20), Guidance for local authorities on designing high-quality, safe cycle infrastructure. This is a rather lengthy but comprehensive PDF document, 15.9MB, 188 pages. Importantly it emphasises that cycleways should not be run on urban pavements.
Gear change: a bold vision for cycling and walking has announced that the DfT want to:
We will choose up to 12 willing local authority areas, to benefit from intensive investment in mini-Holland schemes.
ChEmRoute Goes Dutch working group is making its first zoom meeting on Tues 11th August. The intention is to work up some bold, aspirational and exciting concepts worthy of making ChEmRoute into one of the 12 DfT Mini Holland beacon schemes.
Please watch this space to find out what ideas and solutions we will bring forward as a vision for walking and cycling through the Harbour Villages.
The Chichester District Cycle Forum made a freedom of information request to government to publish the National Highways fund feasibility study plans for the Chichester to Emsworth Cycle Route. As a result the document has been publicly released. A few sensitive commercial details have been blanked out from the report but all the information likely to be of interest to the community has been disclosed.
The full report is available on this link. It can also be reached from the www.gov.uk website (expires 10th July) by entering the following text into the search facility “Chichester to Emsworth cycle route”.
The plans show the existing cycle lanes will be removed from the roadway and cyclists travelling in both directions will be relocated onto one pavement that is also to be shared with pedestrians. According to the feasibility study plans, cyclists will no longer have priority where many side roads join the A259 and will have to stop and give way at many of these junctions (for safety).
Some ChiCycle members have had difficulty viewing the very large PDF format document so we are making some of the text and plans available in alternative formats. (available soon)
Please feel free to share your views on these plans but please be patient because it may take time for us to moderate your comments.
The ChiCycle team found it difficult to match the plans with the broader surrounding area so we hope this rough guide showing the approximate relationship with OS maps is a help.
Images of the plans taken from the feasibility study are available as follows
Plan 1of10 South of Emsworth is shown below but a higher resolution images is available here.
Plan 2of10 Emsworth, is shown below but a higher resolution images is available here.
Plan 3of10 between Emsworth and Southbourne is shown below but higher resolution image available here.
Plan 4of10 showing plans for Southbourne are shown below. A higher resolution image is available here.
Plan 5of10 showing plans in Nutborne are shown below. A higher resolution image is available here.
Plan 6of10 plan between Nutborne and Bosham shown below. Higher resolution image available here.
Plans for the area around the Bosham roundabout are shown below. Higher resolution images are available here.
Plans 8of10 between Bosham and Fishbourne are shown below. A higher resolution image is available here.
Plans 9of10 through Fishbourne are shown below and a higher resolution image image is available here.
Plans 10of10 into Chichester are shown below and a higher resolution image is available here.
The following planning application contains details of junctions on the development spine road. CC/20/01046/REM – Case Officer: Steve Harris. 50 dwellings with associated parking, landscaping, informal open space and associated works (Phase 5, Parcel F, permission 14/04301/OUT).
A typical junction from this plan is shown in the image clipped from document CB_70_068_P5_F_000 (SITE LOCATION PLAN) is shown below.
Developers have proposed that the pavement shown to the north east side of the spine road could be designated as a shared use path carrying both pedestrians and two way cycle traffic.
Proposed Junctions do not Pass DfT Recommended Visibility Splay Analysis
9.1 Visibility criteria at junctions and crossings
9.1.1 Where a cycle track meets a road, visibility splays are required to ensure cyclists can see and be seen by approaching motorists. Splays are defined by their X and Y distances.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9.1.2 MfS normally recommends an X distance (of 2.4 metres) which allows one car driver at a time to check along the main alignment before exiting the minor arm.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9.1.3 The circumstances are different at a cycle track junction–for one thing, the speeds involved are lower. In this case, longer X distances are preferred, as they can reduce cycling effort and may enhance safety. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
22 metres is appropriate for Y as the DfT recommend a 20 mph Cycle-way Design Speed for routes intended predominantly for utility cycling. Cyclists commuting towards Chichester Station travelling South East, will be running on a significant down hill incline and will easily be able to achieve 20 mph.
DfT Manual for Streets page 93 gives an examples of Splay Analysis and an appropriate example is shown in the image below.
Chichester Cycle Forum visibility splay analysis of the proposed development plans highlight road safety issues. Images of analysis shown below.
Developers have Submitted Splay Analysis that Ignores Visibility of Cyclists
An example of the developers junction splay analysis can be seen by viewing document PRIMARY_ACCESS_ROAD_VISIBILITY_SPLAY_ANALYSIS_SHEET_4_OF_4__A1 that is part of planning application 18/01587/REM
A section of this drawing is shown below.
Notice that the splay lines do not include the cycleway that motorists will need to see clearly in order to give way to cyclists who are intended to have priority.
Part of the drawing key is shown below
Although it is usual to analyse viability splays that align with the main axis carriageway kerb, this will clearly not be appropriate in this case because cycle traffic has been diverted onto the pavement and motor vehicles are intended to give way to the cyclists at the side road junctions. It will not be possible for motor vehicles to give priority to cyclists unless it is made possible; for the cyclists to be within the drivers visibility spay.
7.7.3 The Y distance represents the distance that a driver who is about to exit from the minor arm can see to his left and right along the main alignment. For simplicity it is measured along the nearside kerb line of the main arm, although vehicles will normally be travelling a distance from the kerb line. The measurement is taken from the point where this line intersects the centreline of the minor arm (unless, as above, there is a splitter island in the minor arm).
1.3.2 The road network is the most basic (and important) cycling facility available , and the preferred way of providing for cyclists is to create conditions on the carriage way where cyclists are content to use it, particularly in urban areas. There is seldom the opportunity to provide an off carriage way route within the highway boundary that does not compromise pedestrian facilities or create potential hazards for cyclists, particularly at side roads. Measures that reduce the volume or speed of motor traffic benefit other road users by making the roads safer and more pleasant for them to use. New build situations provide good opportunities for creating attractive high quality infrastructure for cyclists, either in the form of quieter roads or direct cycle routes away from motor traffic.
9.1.1 Where a cycle track meets a road, visibility splays are required to ensure cyclists can see and be seen by approaching motorists.
Clearly it is vital for everyone safety that there is adequate visibility provided at side road junctions so that cars do not pull out in front of the cyclists who have right of way.
Visibility Compliance Relies on Miniature Front Garden Architecture
It is also of concern that developers splay analysis states compliance with DfT visibility criteria will rely on peoples front gardens having fencing, shrubs and hedges that must remain under 600mm (24 inches) in height.
Landscaping & any External Works Fencing (i.e. Picket Fencing within property curtilage) to be kept below 600mm in height where located within visibility splays.
A brief survey around the Chichester area should quickly confirm that most residents choose taller planting and landscaping in their front gardens. Very few popular hedges or shrubs will be happy to be pruned down to 600mm (24 inches) in height!
The Cycleway Width will be Constrained at Junctions.
At the mouth of the junctions is a traffic calming feature. Its start and finish has inclines leading to a level “table” section in its middle part. Because the level “table” section is offset from the pathway, cyclists will have to hug the side of the pavement furthest from the kerb when transitioning onto the table to cross the side roads. It is presumed the transition between pavement and the inclined sections of the traffic calming will not be flush. This issue is illustrated in the image below..
The cycleway width is shown to be severely restricted at junction by uneven kerb area
Minimum Path Width Should be 3.45 Metres because Path is Bounded by Shrubs, Hedges and a Kerb
On page 42 it gives the following guidance on path widths for off-road cycleways.
8.5 Width requirements
8.5.1 The minimum widths given in this section relate to what is physically required for the convenient passage of a small number of users. They do not take into account the need for increased width to accommodate larger user flows. Wherever it is possible, widths larger than the minimum should be used. Practitioners should not regard minimum widths as design targets.
On page 43 the guidance on path widths continues.
8.5.3 Where there is no segregation between pedestrians and cyclists, a route width of 3 metres should generally be regarded as the minimum acceptable, although in areas with few cyclists or pedestrians a narrower route might suffice. In all cases where a cycle track or foot way is bounded by a vertical feature such as a wall, railings or kerb, an additional allowance should be made, as the very edge of the path cannot be used. Table 8.2 provides the recommended width additions for various vertical features.
The shrubs and hedges that border the path at the junction are vertical features and should be taken into account as requiring additional path width. The same apples to the up stand kerb. The DfT guidelines suggest a minimum path width of 3.45 meters, whereas the usable width shown on the plans narrows to only two metres wide at side junctions (approximately).
Pedestrians have Insufficient Visibility of Oncoming Cyclists
Siting Properties with Shrubs and Hedges Immediately Bordering Cycleway Path Boundary gives Pedestrians Insufficient Visibility of Oncoming Cyclists. This issue is compounded by cyclists having to swerve into the mouth of side junctions to cross the traffic calming table. It is important to remember many footpath users may not be tall enough to sight approaching cycles over the tops of shrubs and hedges. The issue is illustrated in the graphic below.
Visibility of Home Owners Emerging from Houses and Junctions Appears Inadequate for DfT Recommended 20 mph Cycle-way Design Speed
8.2.1 On commuter routes, cyclists usually want to be able to travel at speeds of between 12mph and 20mph, preferably without having to lose momentum. Frequent road crossings, tight corner radii, the presence of other users and restricted width or forward visibility all affect the speed with which cyclists can travel and the effort required. Cyclists tend not to favour cycle routes that frequently require them to adjust their speed or stop.
8.2.2 A design speed of 20mph is preferred for off-road routes intended predominantly for utility cycling. This provides a margin of safety for most cyclists. The average speed of cyclists on a level surface is around 12mph.
It may be practical for a property entrance to be on a pavement but is it really a realistic proposal to have a property entrance on a cycleway with a design speed of 20mph? As discusses earlier, the cycles will often have to ride away from the kerbside and closes to house entrances to have a continuous flush surface for the wheels to run on. Chichester Cycle Forum members feel this arrangement may make both homeowners and cyclists feel uncomfortable.
Lamp Posts will be set in the middle of the Cycle-Way
18/01587/REM document MLR/E4517/058 STREET LIGHTING LAYOUT SHEET 4 OF 4 (A1) shows a street light layout and a diagram of how the lampposts will be positioned almost in the centre of the cycleway, less than 2 meters from the curb. The lamp-post positioning positioning diagram from the drawing is shown below.
2.2.1 At low speeds, cyclists are prone to wobble and deviate from a straight line. For most cyclists, a speed of 7 mph (11km/h) or more is required to ride comfortably in a straight line without a conscious effort to maintain balance. Above 7mph, the amount of deviation, i.e. the additional width needed when moving, is 0.2 metres. Below this, deviation increases–at 3mph deviation is typically 0.8 metres (seeFigure2.1). Hazards such as uneven gully gratings may cause cyclists to deviate from their chosen line. Additional width for cyclists is recommended where such hazards exist. 2.2.2 For simplicity, the dynamic width (actual width plus deviation) of a cyclist on the road may be taken as 1 metre.
2.3 Critical distances to fixed objects
2.3.1 The following minimum clearances (Table2.1) are recommended and should be increased where possible. They are measured between the wheel and the object
The Chichester Cycle Forum interpret this as a single cycle requires 1 meter “wobble room” and an additional 750 mm clearance on one side to pass a lamp-post, plus an additional 250 mm clearance on the other side from the kerb edge.
This indicates that according to the DfT guidelines, there will not be enough clearance for cyclists to ride along the cycleway even in a single direction or without sharing the space with pedestrians. There will not be enough room either side of the lamp-posts for them to safely ride on the pavement.
An illustration of the proposed lamp-post position in the cycleway is illustrated below.
Email from Andy Ekinsmyth of WSCC regarding Gina McWilliam’s death. Share by Jeremy Gould:
Thank you for your email message. I am deeply saddened by this terrible event and my thoughts are with the family, friends and all of those affected.
The tragic accident on the A259 at Salthill Road is currently subject to a police investigation. I am sure you will appreciate that that these matters are both complex and sensitive and that it would be wrong to try to draw any conclusions until such time as the police investigation is complete and the matter has been concluded either in a criminal court or following a Coroner’s inquest. While the police investigation is ongoing I am unable to comment specifically with regard to the recent accident as it is essential the police inquiry remains open and transparent and that nothing enters the public domain which could prejudice the outcome of that investigation. This is of course true for all such investigations.
I would like to assure you that WSCC takes road safety extremely seriously. WSCC has an established group that specifically considers each and every road death or potential road death with a view to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident from reoccurring. The group consists of staff experienced in all aspects of road safety, and highways and traffic engineering. Sussex Police also have a representative who acts as a conduit between the police and highway authority investigations. As part of the WSCC investigation traffic officers from one of the local highways team attend and inspect the scene within 72 working hours following notification of an incident, initially to establish if there are any immediate safety issues which need an immediate fix. This inspection took place on the 25th November 2019.
I can confirm that the Chichester to Emsworth route achieved a high score using Sustrans’ RATE tool, and as such is the second highest ranking inter-community utility route featured in the West Sussex Walking and Cycling Strategy 2016-2026. The Strategy prioritises schemes for feasibility investigation, with feasible schemes progressing to the design stage with a view to identifying funding to enable future delivery.
In light of this, and with the advent of the LCWIPs (local cycling and walking infrastructure plans) in 2017 along with the awarding of 60 days technical support from the Department for Transport via their consultants WSP. Chichester to Emsworth is one of 6 inter-community utility routes that will feature in the ‘Draft West Sussex LCWIP’, which is due to be submitted to the Department for Transport in mid-December. The LCWIP process involves: auditing routes, recommending feasible improvements in line with best practice guidance, highlighting challenges/proposing alternative options and a high level costing. I am yet to see the draft final report which I expect will be made more widely available once it has been approved.
The LCWIP is not in itself a delivery mechanism – it is a document that can help to make the case for directing investment and securing external funding where this may be required. It can also help secure improvements through local development sites where these are proposed. This is vital because, due to their long-distance nature, improvements to routes featured in the West Sussex LCWIP are likely to cost many millions of pounds, and so external funding contributions will be required in order to deliver them. To put this in context, our annual budget for all local transport improvements (the Integrated Transport Block allocation from the government) is £3.7m. To provide one kilometre of 3m wide shared path adjacent to the highway costs approximately £550,000.
In addition, we have asked Highways England to complete a feasibility study for the Chichester to Emsworth route through its Designated Fund programme (Cycling Safety and Integration). A study was commissioned during 2018/19 but work on this route was paused alongside other similar projects due to funding concerns. Highways England have been reviewing the programme of projects and we await their decision.
As you are aware the ‘Chichester District Council LCWIP’ looks at routes within the city boundary. In terms of Chichester to Emsworth this means from the A27 underpass at Fishbourne Road East. In addition, I can advise that improvements to Westgate will be provided as part of the Whitehouse Farm development.
With regard to collision data, I note that Sarah has forwarded the link to the casualty data on our website, however you can also request a more specific data study by contacting the data team at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of many responses to this email shared on facebook- this from Rupert Emerson:
It is worth just reading this statement carefully. Note for example “recommending feasible improvements in line with best practice guidance”. I see no best practise anywhere in Sussex. There might be something in London I think but it is as rare as hen’s teeth. The Department for Transport guidance is quite good having said that, but somehow it never happens that way. On another point, money. There is money already being spent by WSCC but it is being wasted on pots of paint. I wish they would stop doing that. Instead save it up and build 100 metres of a cycle route properly, say for example out from The Cross. Then when funds allow internally or externally build another piece. One of the beauties of the Chemroute design is that it can be done this way. However when you hit something like a roundabout you have to be decisive in changing the infrastructure but what I think will happen is that bits and bobs will be done and difficult bits left, which is worse than doing nothing. Now we come to the really worrying bit. Shared path. Is the idea to create a shared path alongside the road? If so £550,000 for one kilometre is a hell of a waste of money. Don’t do it. A separated cycle path is what is required. I hope you are not saying cyclists share with pedestrians, please! Of course the whole decision making process and the plans are kept so secret. Not once has WSCC thought to bother to write and tell me what they have in mind, or tell me of something in the public domain that I could look at. Having been one of the UK’s leading transport researchers I find this very disappointing. Talk of high priority, reports etc. therefore strike me as a smokescreen for inaction as summed up by Dick Pratt. If you think I am being unfair Andy Ekinsmyth then send me your current plans and ask me to comment.
ChiCycle is seeking advice as to whether the “West of Chichester Strategic Housing Development Cycle Strategy for Phase 1” plans have already been approved by local government. The document includes a sketch of a new arrangement of the Sherborne Road mini roundabout. The details included in the sketch are vague but viewed in conjunction with other draft plans they show a cycle route layout that is worse (more dangerous and less practical) than no cycle provision whatsoever.
The Southern Access Rd enters the mini roundabout as shown from the left of the plan. When compared to the existing road layout the position of the kerb-stones on the road’s North side are identical to the existing roadway. In fact the road encroaches slightly closer to the Northern property boundaries where the “overrun area removed” section runs.
The distance between the Mile “Stone” marked on the sketched plan and the existing kerb-stone is only 252 cm. There is no cycle way shown running along the southern side of the access Rd on this section of the plan and indeed other draft plans show no cycleway is intended to run along the southern side of the roadway either.
According to the developers “The northern side of the spine road has principally been chosen for the shared cycle/pedestrian way as it facilitates the creation of a continuous, cycle friendly recreational route which requires no crossings of the primary access road. A subsidiary benefit is that, by being located on the northern side of the road, it facilitates easy access to the local centre, which includes the primary school, community centre and local shopping parade.”
Therefore evidence suggests, the intention is to run a cycleway carrying all bike traffic (in both directions) only along the northern side of the Southern Access Road. As this traffic passes the Mile “Stone” it will be on the start of a blind curve running on a pavement width of only 252 cm. This narrow pavement will presumably be carrying the entire cycle traffic from two national cycleways, the “South Coast Route No2” and “Centurion Way Route 88”. This will also be in addition to cycle traffic from the Saltern’s Way and the residents of the new West of Chichester development who are unlikely to brave heavy traffic on the St Pauls Rd B2178 which has no plans for cycle provision.
It is important to note that this heavy two way cycle traffic, pinching onto the start of blind bend along the 252cm wide track, will also be shared with, children accessing and leaving Bishop Luffa School, parents with prams, disabled and elderly pedestrians from the new Whitehouse farm development, Fishbourne and also Centurion Way. It seems unlikely that “These features follow the principles outlined in page 21 of the Sustrans Handbook for Cycle Friendly Design (2014) and section 3.5.3 of the London Cycling Design Standards” as the Lindon Miller developers claim. It is merely a narrow pavement only running along one side of a road that is barely adequate for current pedestrian use alone.
A significant risk associated with inadequate and dangerous cycle infrastructure, is that it provides motorists with an expectation that cyclists are not entitled to use other parts of the highway. This is exemplified by cyclist experiences on the Northgate Gyratory where cyclists avoiding the poorly designed road layout regularly experience life threatening aggression from motorists. This type of aggression will eventually lead to fatalities and maiming of people adopting responsible, sustainable transport modes.
Another area of concern with the Housing Development Cycle Strategy is the indication that a short section of pavement opposite Chichester College will be considered a shared use Cycleway/Footway. The plans indicate that the visibility at the crossing pedestrian crossing is 28.7 meters. Field measurements indicate this is an overly optimistic estimate, especially when trees are in leaf. It is hard to imagine anyone would cycle this pavement because it is such a short length of path running around a blind bend. However the vulnerability of people attempting to cross onto it is a serious concern.
This post has only touched on a couple of the issues presented by the Housing Development Cycle Strategy but these all indicate that the proposed plans are both impractical and dangerous. If similar plans are put into action they will prevent practical cycling for anyone wishing to head out of Chichester to the West. The road layout will prevent residents of the new housing development adopting sustainable transport modes. The National cycleways will effectively be isolated from the city centre. It is essential that we act quickly to reverse these retrograde plans that condemn Chichester residents to a life of motorcar dependency.
You might imagine, after many years of campaigning about extending cycleways, ChiCycle would be excited and enthused over the prospect of a cycle route being made longer! However, we are concerned that the National Cycle Network South Coast Route (No2) is destined to become longer only by virtue of it being made increasingly convoluted. People will soon have to travel even further just to reach the same destinations. Unfortunately the section from the City’s Market Cross to the Fishbourne underpass is threatened with being diverted yet again!
Prior to 2013, the route between the Market Cross and the Fishbourne underpass followed virtually a straight line as can be seen in the map below.
Google maps still show images from the railway level crossing arrangement.
There were several accidents on the crossing and the Bishop Luffa School had safety concerns for students, so a foot bridge was erected. Unfortunately the footbridge adds approximately 225 meters distance to the journeys between the Fishbourne underpass and the Market cross. It would have been convenient if both the footbridge and the level crossing options were left open for the cycle route users to choose between. A map of the current route can be seen below.
There is often congestion on the narrow bridge when pedestrians and cyclists use the bridge at busy times of the day.
Although the bridge does provide safety from train collisions, cyclists (and anyone else using the ramps) are now required to make two huge zig zags with sharp 180º turns at each end. This considerably lengthens journey times.
Draft plans drawn up by the White House Farm Development show a much bigger diversion is being considered. It stands to increase journey lengths by 501 meters over the original cycle route’s length (from when the route included the level crossing). This represents an increase of 276 meters above the increased length caused by the footbridge. Bearing in mind many commuters follow the route in opposite directions at the start and end of the day, this would add over one kilometre to the distance they travel each day. To put that distance into perspective, it is approximately one kilometre (as the crow flies) between the Chichester Waitrose and Tesco supermarket car parks. The map below shows the route outlined by the draft Whitehouse Farm plans.
The red lines indicate the proposed cycleways. Once the bridge has been crossed coming from the Fishbourne side, there will be no path to follow directly towards the city along the south side of the new Southern Access Rd. Instead, pedestrians and cyclists will be directed North West away from the city centre. The new diversion first takes people past the south side of a new roundabout where shortly afterwards they will reach a toucan crossing. After using the toucan crossing to cross the road it will then be necessary to pass the roundabout a second time on its opposite north side (that is if cycleway users wish to travel to the city centre).
The draft plans do not make it clear how cyclists should negotiate the spur road going from the roundabout into Bishop Luffa School. Shortly after passing this entrance to Bishop Luffa School, people will find themselves passing a spot they have past for an incredible fourth time! Indeed they will have been past the spot twice in both directions on the zig zag ramp on the bridge. Then they will have also been past the same spot going in either direction on both sides of the new road. The ChiCycle team feel this may seriously dissuade people from wanting to commute. Even more concerning, it may persuade cyclists to adopt the alternative route past the Tesco petrol station. However this alternative route requires filtering across two lanes of a dual carriageway before then crossing the additional two lanes travelling in the opposite direction. This route appears a significantly less safe option.
The draft plans show a bus pull in area is situated next to the cycleway on the north side of the Southern Access Rd. It seems likely crowds of students will gather on the pavement area here. The plan does not make it clear if or how the cycle way will be separated from crowds of students using the school buses. Without separation this will cause a serious impediment to the passage of cycles along the pathway.
The Whitehouse Farm draft plan referred to here has previously been published by the Friends of Centurion Way in their Dossier. A copy of the draft plan is shown below.
Following the 5th April County Council meeting where our councillors unanimously supported Mr Michael Jones motion on Climate Change, ChiCycle wish to promote focus on sustainable transport and pressure our local politicians into adhering to their commitments. If our elected representative are genuinely committed to the objective of a zero carbon society, then this must be reflected immediately in our local town planning decisions. All new housing development must now be designed to promote sustainable modes of transport over and above the conventionally accepted desires of the motoring lobby.
Unfortunately current planning decisions for local housing developments do not follow the high aspirations of our elected officials. Draft plans for Whitehouse farm development show significant potential for down grading at least three local cycleways and footpaths. Local cyclists, pedestrians and environmentalists must reject these sub standard plans and demand a reappraisal targeted towards provision towards sustainable transport infrastructure.
To emphasise the importance of preserving existing cycle and footpath networks, ChiCycle is beginning production of a few short videos documenting the benefits local people enjoy from these community assets. The first of these videos follows Centurion Way from the bridge over Newlands lane to Chichester City centre.
The project is very much inspired by the work of Richard Vobes who produces videos under the name of the Bald Explorer. Indeed we are shamelessly copying (stealing) some of his mobile video making techniques but are unlikely to achieve his high levels of production quality. His website and videos are an enjoyable and fun look at local history and community and worth a watch.
Saltern’s way is a delightful cycleway that leads from the Market Cross in Chichester all the way to West Wittering beach. It leads through miles of rural countryside and around the perimeter of Chichester harbour.
ChEmRoute is the name of the project to upgrade the cycle way provision between the centres of Chichester and Emsworth. This also forms a vital section at middle of the National Cycle Network South Coast Route (No 2). The South Coast Route covers a distance of 361 miles from Dover to St Austell.
The Centurion Way is a much loved 5.5 mile (9km) path that runs between Chichester, Lavant and West Dean following the old dismantled Chichester to Midhurst railway line, which closed in 1991. There are plans to extend it all the way to Cocking in the heart of the South Downs.
The ChiCycle team has seen draft plans showing a new busy road dissecting Saltern’s way and the ChEmRoute paths and the removal of the entire section of Centurion Way that runs adjacent with Bishop Luffa school. The 1600 home Whitehouse Farm development is destined to be the largest ever in Chichester’s history. The developers have pledged to open a new southern access road by occupation of the 225th home – and even earlier for construction traffic. The ground is already broken for construction of the new homes, it cannot be long before construction of the access road must begin. Unless high quality provision for cycling is provided for the existing cycleways they will become less appealing, less direct and significantly more dangerous with the heavy increase in traffic. Segregated cycle ways are needed between the green railway bridge and the town centre or existing local sustainable transport users will be forced towards motor-vehicle dependency. We need the local authorities to encourage the cities new residents to walk or cycle into town by making sound planning dissensions before construction begins on the new access road.
Despite grave concerns for the future of the path, our group still see room for optimism. Many of us attended the recent 5th April County Council meeting and heard the motion on Climate Change being debated. Reducing local carbon dioxide emissions was stated as being of highest priority with particular attention being drawn to the importance of promoting and enabling walking and cycling.
Councillors Peter Catchpole (Holbrook speech) and Dr Kate O’Kelly (Midhurst speech) declared that all West Sussex housing developments must now include at their earliest stages adequate infrastructure to allow a future modal shift towards sustainable transport.
Jacquie Russell (East Grinstead South and Ashurst Wood speech) pledged West Sussex Counties ongoing commitment to their Walking and Cycling strategy.
Jamie Fitzjohn (Chichester South speech) overcame his issue with the term “humans have caused climate change” after speaking of the influence of subterranean rivers of molten iron. He concluded that humans do indeed have a climatic impact and compromised on the term to then support the motion.
There was also a substantial public demonstration of support for the motion calling for emergency climate action to be taken and a report from the Chicheter Post can be read here.
West Sussex county council’s concrete committent to reducing transport driven CO2 emissions gives the Friends of Centurion Way enormous hope for the future. The Whitehouse Farm Southern access road threatens to dissect three popular cycle routes: Saltern’s Way, the Chichester to Emsworth coastal route and Centurion Way. Our local planing priorities are rapidly changing to embrace sustainable transport. We now look forward to local residents participating in constructive consultation so we can find ideal solutions to these challenging planing issues.