A27 East of Lewes Consultation Closes Thursday

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Highways England is consulting on proposals for the A27 East of Lewes. The consultation closes on Thursday 8 December.

Proposals include a continuous route for cyclists from Lewes to Polegate, a route which includes Firle, Middle Farm, Charleston, Selmeston, Berwick, Drusillas and Wilmington. These are familiar names for anyone who cycles out of town into East Sussex. To view the consultation documents. look HERE and to complete an online consultation form look HERE.

We believe that the best option is for the  “walking and cycle path” as this benefits walking and cycling without supporting damaging proposals which will take more land for motor transport and encourage private car use. We also would like to insist on high quality infrastructure for walking and cycling and a proper transport strategy which encourages walking, cycling and public transport.

 If you would like to add your voice to support these improvements, please follow the links above to the consultation pages.

Its Newsletter time

One of the great things about Bricycles is the informative, entertaining and comprehensive newsletter which has been produce a few times a year since sometime last century.

The latest one – issue 110 is out now. here it is!

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Or more properly, here is a picture of its front page.

Members will have received it, sent direct to their inbox, but non-members will have to wait a while before it turns up on our website

If you would like to be among the first to receive the bumper Brighton & Hove bike stuff roundup that is the Bricycles Newsletter, join HERE

 

Hanover Parking – its not just about cars.

Following a process initiated by the Hanover & Elm Grove Local Action Team a couple of years back, the area is currently being considered for a controlled parking scheme, with the council due to publish proposals in December 1st.

Whilst the major outcome of the proposal will be to regulate and organise the way that private motor vehicles are stored on the highway, there are also implications and opportunities for other aspects:

  • A controlled parking scheme will also mostly likely include additional cycle parking spaces – will there be enough and in the right places?
  • Some streets may be converted to one way operation – should they be two-way operational for cycles?
  • Overparking at some junctions reduces visibility of and for cyclists. Are these locations being addressed?

As well as the standard council consultation, the Local Action team have organised a series of public events around the ward for people to have a look at the plans and make comment (see above for details). A great many Hanover & Elm Grove residents use cycles for transport, and if you are one of them and can attend any of the events listed to comment on proposals, your input would be most welcome.

In our ward pages, Bricycles have been collecting comments and ideas for improving cycling facilities and infrastructure across the city. For the Hanover & Elm Grove page, look HERE

 

Mayor to join the bonfire biketrain

Mayor to ride the Bonfire Bike Train to Lewes

Two mass cycle-rides from The Level in central Brighton

Saturday 5th November, 3pm & 5pm

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 “Remember, remember…. getting to Lewes Bonfire can be tricky by rail, bus or car and not half as much fun as the totally massive and amazing Bonfire Bike Train” say the organisers of the annual ride from Brighton to Lewes.

This Saturday 5th November, two ‘bike train’ mass cycle rides will roll off from the Level in central Brighton, via the University of Sussex at Falmer.

The first ride will be joined by the city’s cycling mayor, Cllr Pete West, on the mayoral tandem. A total of up to 200 people are expected on each of the bike trains which will snake up the Lewes Road with lights and music blazing.  More will board at the University of Sussex (Falmer House).

From Falmer the ride will use the inside lane of the A27 dual carriageway. Organisers say this is a safer option than the very dark and narrow cycle path alongside it.

Organiser Duncan Blinkhorn said: “This will our seventh Bonfire Bike Train to Lewes. It is always hugely popular, bringing light, music and laughter to the Lewes Road and demonstrating that group cycle rides can provide a safe and efficient means for getting from A to B, even on such a busy road. We are delighted that our cycling Mayor Pete West will joining us and we look forward to escorting him on his mayoral tandem, flying the flag for a low carbon Brighton and Hove ”

He added: “The narrow shared cycle and foot path from Falmer to Lewes is not really fit for purpose for such a big ride and desperately needs major improvement if more people are to use it during the darker months of the year . The main road has a much better quality surface and more space making it safer. We will have warning lights, reflective signs, flags and a support vehicle at the rear to ensure we are seen by approaching traffic and there will be plenty of space for vehicles to overtake us, so we won’t be holding anyone up.”

Riders will pedal along to classic firey tunes like ‘This Wheels on Fire’ and Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire’ blasting out from a fleet of cycle mounted sound systems.

In response to concerns expressed by Lewes residents involved with processions about bikes being brought into crowded areas, Mr Blinkhorn said: “We will brief all our riders, advising them to park their bikes away from central Lewes to ensure that we do not get in the way of any processions or add to the pressures on crowded streets.”

 

The bike train is free to join.  Participants are asked to:

·      ensure they bring a road-worthy bike with lights

·      register on the Facebook event page or when they arrive at the start point.

·      assemble from 2.30pm and 4.30pm to get ready for the respective departures.

Return rides will depart from outside Lewes Prison, at 11pm, midnight and 1am.

What might a safer Elm Grove junction look like?

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When I was collecting signatures for my petition about the road crash hotspot at the bottom of Elm Grove, a few people asked how redesigning the road could improve safety. How different could it really be?

Following the council’s invitation to submit ideas for their forthcoming review of this junction, I got together with a few friends and we have come up with two options for a safer junction, plus some other ideas to think about. I’ll be emailing all these ideas to the council’s Travel Planning team tomorrow, just in time for their 1st November deadline.

If you think these are good suggestions, there’s still time for you to drop them a line to say so – feel free to link to this blog post if you want to. Or, of course, send in your own thoughts about what’s wrong with the junction and how it could be…

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Council bits & pieces

It has been a packed week for the council as ever, with a few bike related things floating to the surface.

Last Wednesday the road safety team held an exchanging places event, where cyclists get to swap with bus drivers to see what the other experiences. Anyone hoping that this would involve Stagecoach drivers being put on bikes and chased up North Street by a Deliveroo cycle courier behind the wheel of the number 49 will have  been disappointed, as the main thrust of this sort of thing is that cyclists sit in the driving seat of a large vehicle to better experience all the things that the driver cannot see, and through this process understand how they may be squashed without the driver noticing. And what they might do about it.

Found this cartoon by @beztweets which I think I will just leave here for a bit…

Being autumn, the council road safety team are also running their annual Be Seen – Be Bright awareness campaign reminding people walking and cycling about the advent of winter and the importance of being seen in the dark. They will be out and about advising cyclists to get lit, and if you head to their facebook page there is the chance to enter a draw to win some lights.

The big council news of the week has been the resuscitation of the Valley Gardens Scheme – a proposal aiming to improve the stretch between the Aquarium roundabout and the Level, which involves shifting private vehicle movements to the eastern side of the gardens, simplifying the crossings and leaving the western side just for public transport and access.

The scheme has been on the cards for years, but was substantially developed by the last council. When the change of administration happened in 2015, the new administration called a pause because they wanted to review the scheme – particular the traffic modelling, and this done, it is now back on track. this is a good thing, as it promises to provide high quality protected cycle routes along the north south length, as well as improved east west connections.

The final scheme has not yet been announced, and some consultation is still taking place, and Bricycles continue to participate in this and be represented as opportunities arise. The word from Tony, who has been attending consultation events is that it looks good for cyclists, although there are some aspects of the design that may require tweaking. watch this space.

And finally….another award for the Lewes Road scheme. Last Friday, the council Transport Team celebrated scooping first place as Transport Local Authority of the Year in the National Transport Awards. Congrats to the council and hoping that this inspires them to continue developing safe and accessible transport options for all.

Elm Grove Junction Update

“The message that everyone is trying to kill you outweighs some croissants from the Mayor on Cycle to Work day.”

Essential reading of the week is Dani Ahrens powerful and pertinent summary of the last leg in the journey of the petition which she started to seek improvements at the Elm grove Junction. The quote above is from the speech she made to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee last week, and the full submission and her commentary can be found on her blog HERE

The response from the council to her petition of 781 signatures wanting improvements at this junction was – on the face of it – promising, with the council announcing that the junction will receive an upgrade in 2016/17,  but as the only detail given was the possibility of cycle advance signals, the suspicion is that the key problems with the junction will remain untouched. A suspicion backed up by another council ambition to “improve the efficiency of the junction” – some thing which Dani points out in her blog, can be a counter productive priority;

“I think it’s more important to make the road safer for people on bikes and on foot. In the long run, making roads feel safer for people travelling by bike is the best way to improve the efficiency of the road system. But the changes necessary to do that can’t be made if they have to happen without altering the existing capacity of junctions and roads to accommodate motor traffic.”

Also Dani is concerned that the suggestions made in her petition – for example introduction of a simultaneous green light phase for cyclists – have not been responded to, which may indicate that the council are reluctant to look beyond the limited palette of standard response to consider something more innovative or imaginative.

Whilst the council warn that they are working on a very tight schedule for this, and don’t have time or resources for a wide ranging consultation, they do invite contributions, and  if anyone would like to put forward suggestions then they are very welcome to do so by emailing Travel.Planning@brighton-hove.gov.uk. by November 1st.

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What about the Cuckoo Trail?

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Unlike the actual cuckoo – only with us in the summer – the Cuckoo Trail, an off road surfaced 14 mile Sussex cycle, riding and walking route, has things to offer all year round.

This picturesque trail follows the former ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway track and stretches from Heathfield to Eastbourne Park. It passes through Horam, Hailsham and Polegate. Gentle gradients and a sealed surface along the whole route, makes the Cuckoo Trail usable in all weathers, by all users, and the trail forms part of the National Cycle Network in East Sussex.

Enhancing the Cuckoo Trail

We have been contacted by Hailsham Active, to support their  campaign for walking and cycling infrastructure within any new proposed housing estates.  South Wealden  is planning  on building 13,000 homes in the Hailsham and Willingdon area and the current walking and cycling strategy has a plan that does not include these estates and many of these sites are not within the 2016 Local Plan. To remedy this and try to ensure that the importance of the Cuckoo Trail is recognised and supported, a petition has been put together:

We the undersigned petition the Council to Ensure that the Cuckoo Trail is developed, extended and protected as the main “traffic free” route in South Wealden.

Much of the current ESCC planning for walking and cycling revolves around 5 year strategies and plans. Routes therefore reflect the priorities of a few years ago when many of the new housing developments were unknown. In the current planning climate, where sites that are not even in the Wealden Local Plan are being considered, the approach must be much more proactive. The possibility of more than 10,000 additional houses in South Wealden requires that clear guidance is given to developers.

This early guidance to developers, especially in the Hailsham area, should include:-

1) The Cuckoo Trail is the main north-south “traffic free” route in the South Wealden area and must be both protected and enhanced. It is part of the National Cycle Route 21 from London to Eastbourne and has a direct route into the centre of Hailsham.

2) Developments should, where possible, include a “traffic free” pedestrian and cycle link to the Cuckoo Trail. Ideally sites should also have a “traffic free” route around the edge of the site as part of this wider network.

3) New estates should provide healthy more direct routes, away from main roads, for pedestrians and cyclists and provide permeability between estates, shops, community resources and schools. This will encourage exercise and a healthier population.

If you would like to support this petition by adding your name, click HERE

If you would like to know more about the Cuckoo Trail see the East Sussex website HERE

For maps of the trail, click HERE and HERE

Cuckoo Trail cycling   Cuckoo Trail walking  The Cuckoo Trail

Fire and Fruit

Autumn Equinox is upon us and the nights will be getting longer…but along with shorter days and chillier times, this season also brings two of our best local group rides – courtesy of Brighton BikeTrain.

Starting with the celebration of the humble apple, which gets bigger and fuller each year, BikeTrain to Apple Day at Stanmer Park takes place on  Sunday October 2nd, with two scheduled rides leaving the Level at 11am and noon.

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The next ride is the huge BikeTrain to the Lewes Bonfire celebrations on November 5th.  BikeTrain is an entirely voluntary group, dependent completely on people coming out to help. If anyone is free to lend a hand at either of these events, here is a note from Duncan – the group co-ordinator – explaing what they need:

With Lewes Bonfire being on a Saturday – and coinciding with a Southern Rail rail strike – it has the potential to be a huge with 500+ riders.  Last year we did an amazing job of pushing it to a new level by using the A27 dual carriageway. The challenge will be to do that again on a bigger scale and with two rides there instead on one. It will really help to have enough of us involved with experience from last year.
We will also need a Bike Train Station on the Level (a marquee with tools, lights information and a base for sound systems)   from about 2pm to 5pm. We could do with some people who are not coming on the ride but can help with that. Any offers?

For Apple Day, in addition to the rides,  we will be running a Bike Cafe and a bike parking area throughout the day (10am – 5pm)
The Apple Day ride will be a good opportunity to give some new ride marshals a bit of experience prior to Bonfire.

bonfire-biketrain-poster-nov2016-2If you can help in any way, contact Duncan on 07944 152607 or find the group on Facebook

Improve Elm Grove – Petition

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Back in July, following an incident where a cyclist was hit and injured by a left turning lorry at the Brighton Elm grove junction, local resident Dani Ahrens felt something needed to be done and put together a petition calling for a junction review at this spot. For more on this, look HERE.

The petition has so far gathered 200+ signatures and will be submitted to the council Transport and Environment Committee in October. Signatures can still be added until September 29th – to do so, look HERE.

To outline just how hazardous the current junction layout is, a new flyer has been put together detailing past incidents. See above and below for details or download a copy HERE

As we noted back in July,Brighton & Hove City Council has committed itself to supporting the  Space For Cycling Campaign  which includes support for:

  1. Protected space on main roads and junctions
  2. Removing through motor traffic in residential areas
  3. Lower speed limits
  4. Cycle-friendly town centres
  5. Safe routes to school
  6. Routes through green spaces

We very much hope that the council is willing to live up to this commitment and to have another look at this junction with a view to making it safe for all.

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