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Controversial Plans to Convert A259 pavements into Cycle-Tracks

On Friday the 5th of February 2021,  ChiCycle members Gabby Adams, Sarah-Sharp and Mark Record attended a virtual meeting hosted by Highways England. This meeting was held to discuss revised proposals described as improvements to the Chichester to Emsworth Route for non-motorised users. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 people representing the Borne communities, and advocates for pedestrians, cyclists and people with sensory impairment.

There was wide concern over the proposal to convert pavements along the A259 into shared use cycle tracks. Jeremy Board who was representing the group Gina’s Cycle Path, was the only person I could identify from the local community who voiced support for converting town/village pavements to shared use.

ChiCycle are strongly opposed to the proposals primarily because placing cyclists on the pavement will be a huge reduction in the level of provision for pedestrians. Conversion of pavements is likely to have a particularly severe impact on elderly residents and people with sensory impairment. Other concerns include the failure for the scheme to meet essential visibility criteria so cyclists can be seen at junctions and that cyclists will loose right of way at many junctions making use of the route impractical.

Details of matters discussed in the Chichester to Emsworth Route for Non-Motorised Users Cycling/Road Users Workshop

After introductions and a preamble about health and safety when working from home, a series of slides were shown to explain the revised proposals for the route.

Slides Showing Highways England’s Revised proposal for the route between Chichester and Emsworth

It is nessesary to click on the 1 to 3 numbers buttons at the bottom of the gallery to access the full three sets of slides!

Key points revealed about the new proposals by the workshop meeting.

At Emsworth just east of Queens st narrowing of the road to 6 metres is being considered to allow a shared use pavement to the North side of the road of 3 metres width. ChiCycle note that since the cycle track is bounded by vertical features, the shared use cycle track would need to be 3.7 metres width to comply with current guidelines LTN1/20 sections Table 5-3 and Table 6-3.

Between Emsworth and Southbourne pinch points were described along the route likely to limit the width of the path below the recommendations in LTN1/20. Visibility issues of the scheme were also acknowledged at driveways and shops.

At Southbourne Highways England suggested a re location of the bus stop to allow the narrow pavement past St John’s Church to be used as a two way cycle-track.

A section of two way segregated cycle track is proposed parallel to the pavement just after the Eastern exit from the Southbourne roundabout. This would stretch slightly beyond Inlands Road before reverting to being a shared use cycle track as Nutbourne is approached. It was acknowledged that there were issues with Chichester Caravans crossing the proposed cycle track.

It is being proposed to reduce the speed limit through Nutbourne to 20 MPH incorporating the use of traffic calming features such as build outs.

From just East of Inlands Road to Broad Road the pavement on the North Side of the road is proposed to be converted to a two way shared use cycle-track.

East of Broad road to Cutmill Creak a two way segregated cycle track is proposed that will be predominantly 3 metres wide but narrowing at some pinch points.

From Cutmill creak to Bosham, the proposal suggested allowing two routes for walking and cycling. A new route on the North side of the A259 was suggested following existing quiet roads. However Ian Sumnall of the Chichester District forum later voiced doubts that these were public roads that WSCC highways has jurisdiction over.  To the South of the A259 the existing shared use path would be retained but users would still be required to cross over the road to the north side before reaching Bosham to use existing residential quiet streets to reach the village.

The northern arm of the Bosham roundabout is proposed to be modified by the inclusion of a crossing island for pedestrians and cyclists.

The route through Bosham is proposed to remain as is  apart fom the posibility of it being widened in places. The provision will remain leaving the Bisham village on a two way shared use pavement. It was claimed by Highways England that they were constrained from acquiring additional land to improve facilities but Ian Sumnall later pointed out this land was part of a development proposal and was available for carrying walking and cycling provision.

Using highway land between Bosham and Fishbourne currently occupied by existing hedges was ruled out from use on the grounds it might disturb ecological habitats.

It was proposed to improve the path to the North of the A259 between Hilliers Garden centre and Fishbourne as a two way shared use facility.

It is proposed to introduce a 20 MPH zone through Fishbourne incorporating the use of traffic calming features such as build outs. They gave an example of the proposed type or build outs and road narrowing shown below.

ChiCycle have doubts a road intervention as shown above is realistic without other revisions to the road network to reduce traffic volume to below 16,000 vehicles a day.

From the entrance to the West of Fishbourne Village to the start of Legionnaires Way, it is proposed to use the Northern pavement as a two way shared use path,

It was acknowledged that although Legionnaires Way and Roman Way would remain a route for cyclists, many cyclists would find these routes inconvenient and would cycle in the carriageway through Fishbourne.

Fishbourne Road East was deemed from traffic data and Highways England site visits to be very quiet street and therefore it was claimed additional provision for cycling is not necessary at this location. However, ChiCycle have searched WSCC database of traffic data and can only find implausibly low traffic volume figures recorded in August 2009!

It was explained that once the route crossed the cycle/pedestrian bridge between Tesco and Bishop Luffa, the route would join where other proposals are happening. It was not made clear what these other proposals were or who was responsible for them. It was explained that they were outside of the Highways England scheme.

Key discussion issues

Andrew Gould (secretary of Chichester District Cycle Forum) raised the point that LTN1/20 states that…

LTN1/20 page 9 – 1.6 Summary Principles: (The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance) …
(2) 1.6 Summary Principles
Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as
pedestrians. On urban streets, cyclists must be
physically separated from pedestrians and
should not share space with pedestrians.
Where cycle routes cross pavements, a
physically segregated track should always
be provided. At crossings and junctions,
cyclists should not share the space used by
pedestrians but should be provided with a
separate parallel route.

Paul Goodenough of WSP relied to this by saying that “so I take on board what you are saying Andrew in terms of that summary principal, however it is a principal within the guidance and not a mandate,  and I would draw your attention to paragraph 6.5.6 paragraph 3 (shown below)

LTN1/20 page 67- 6.5.6
Shared use may be appropriate in some situations, if well-designed and implemented. Some are
listed below:….
>In situations where a length of shared use may be acceptable to achieve continuity of a cycle route

ChiCycle do not accept Paul Goodenough’s position in regard to this critical element of LTN1/20 section 1.6 summary principals not being mandatory. The specification states that “On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated from pedestrians”. It is also states that “The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance”.

Paragraph 3 in section employs the use of the word “may” which suggests there could be situations where achieving continuity of a cycle path might not be appropriate (such as on an urban high street with shops a church and a bus stop)

ChiCycle will be contacting Paul Goodenough to ask him why he feels summary principles preceded by the instruction “must” might be considered optional guidance rather than mandatory directives.

Andrew Gould (secretary of Chichester District Cycle Forum) raised the point that LTN1/20 states that…

LTN1/20 page 9 – 1.6 Summary Principles: (The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance) …
(2) 1.6 Summary Principles
Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as
pedestrians. On urban streets, cyclists must be
physically separated from pedestrians and
should not share space with pedestrians.
Where cycle routes cross pavements, a
physically segregated track should always
be provided. At crossings and junctions,
cyclists should not share the space used by
pedestrians but should be provided with a
separate parallel route.

Paul Goodenough of WSP relied to this by saying that “so I take on board what you are saying Andrew in terms of that summary principal, however it is a principal within the guidance and not a mandate,  and I would draw your attention to paragraph 6.5.6 paragraph 3 (shown below)

LTN1/20 page 67- 6.5.6
Shared use may be appropriate in some situations, if well-designed and implemented. Some are
listed below:….
>In situations where a length of shared use may be acceptable to achieve continuity of a cycle route

ChiCycle do not accept Paul Goodenough’s position in regard to this critical element of LTN1/20 section 1.6 summary principals not being mandatory. The specification states that “On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated from pedestrians”. It is also states that “The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance”.

Paragraph 3 in section 6.5.6 employs the word “may” which suggests there could be situations where achieving continuity of a cycle path might not be appropriate (such as on an urban high street with shops a church and a bus stop)

ChiCycle will be contacting Paul Goodenough to ask him why he feels summary principles preceded by the instruction “must” might be considered optional guidance rather than mandatory directives.

 

 

 

 

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