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
Wednesday September 14th is national cycle to work day This is an event which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for at least one day. As part of the national shindig, cyclists and employers are being invited to pledge their support and get the chance to win some rather fancy prizes.
Here in Brighton & Hove, probably our most prominent and dignified cyclist-to-work is the Mayor of our fine city. Ditching the company car whenever he can, Mayor Pete West is becoming a common sight on his tandem – with his chauffeur taking a back seat. Here he is captured by former Mayor Bill Randall taking a turn along the seafront.
He is also taking a front seat vis a vis cycle to work day, and is holding a breakfast mayoral reception at Brighton Town Hall on the 14th, offering croissants and other refreshments to cyclists for as long as stocks last. Happening from 8.30, there will be photoshoot at 8.45, so the more that can turn up for that, the happier we all will be.
All Brighton and Hove City Councillors have been invited. Please encourage your councillors to join us, and to check out the “Ward by Ward requests” posted on Bricycles website. This is where we are putting requests for specific improvements for cycling which we would like ward councillors to support as part of the commitment to the Space for Cycling campaign which Brighton and Hove City Council signed up to in November 2015.
Look forward to seeing you on the 14th!
Following an initial consultation earlier in the year, the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee have given the go ahead for a full consultation into provision of a residents parking scheme for Hanover and Elm Grove which will take place between August and October this year.
The Hanover scheme is unusual in that – having a history of two proposed schemes being locally rejected – it has been taken forward following extensive local consultation led by the Local Action team, and aimed at developing a community supported scheme to take to the council – setting out in detail what residents wanted, rather than just waiting for the council to come up with a scheme of its own devising.
Having taken it this far, the LAT are keen that residents continue to get involved and pass on ideas for improvement, not just about vehicle parking regulations, but also looking at matters such as one way streets, cycle storage facilities, traffic calming, changes to yellow lines, community maintained planters and dropped kerbs…and any other issues which affect the way that roads, streets and pavements are used.
Detailed designs will be out in the autumn, and in the meantime local views and ideas are being sought by ward councillor David Gibson – firstname.lastname@example.org and Hanover & Elm Grove Local Action team chair Chris Taylor email@example.com. For cycle specific suggestions, see also our Hanover and Elm Grove ward pages – and don’t forget to add your voice to the Elm grove junction review petition, asking the council to look at improvements at this difficult junction.
Bricycles members will have had the latest newsletter popping through their letterbox or inbox this weekend – and a treat of a read it is. Non members will need to wait a while for it to appear on this website for viewing. Being issue 108 suggests that Bricycles news has been around a while, and back issues are available on the website, but only going back to the early noughties. For last century stuff, a visit to the Keep is required, where the earliest copy on record is issue 21 from September 1984.
The front page news back then describes how we were within a hairs breadth of achieving a two way cycle lane along Western Road, but the scheme – which included a ban on all vehicles except cycles and buses – was dropped following opposition from “taxi drivers and private motorists”.
The other big spread in this issue complains of the illegality of cycling along the seafront.
“In 1934… Special constables were being drafted in to keep order during the summer. One of their duties was to prevent cycling on the undercliff walk. Hans Roth argues that it is time to change the two generations old attitude that still makes cycling illegal along most of the Brighton area coast”
So while Western Road remains a semi hostile, semi mess for all modes and a possible solution slipped away 30 years back, staunch and stalwart campaigning has changed minds and opened up the seafront as probably the most useful and pleasant cycle route around.
14th – 16th July ONCA Gallery, Brighton
A Series of Events and Discussions in collaboration with Brighton Bike Film Festival.
Thursday 14th July, 7pm: BFF Brighton’s opening night with a talk from the brilliant Boneshaker magazine‘s regular writer, Jet McDonald. Following Jet’s talk the BBQ will be on, the bar open and music playing – come down and say hello! Jet’s talk has been organised by Ride With A View, and sponsored by Boneshaker magazine. Free admission/£3 suggested donation.
Friday 15th July, 7pm: alongside local craftsmen Reilly Cycleworks, with some of their bespoke bike frames, join us here at ONCA as we explore the Art of Cycling in an exhibition, workshop and discussion. See technical blueprints, ask advice, learn skills and celebrate making. Doors open at 6pm. Free admission / £3 suggested donation.
Saturday 16th July, 11-6pm: (As well as the installation from Reilly) Kids and adults alike, get your creative (cycling) caps on in our colouring competition supported by Velodrome publishing, RichMitch, DropsCycling and Ridewithaview to win a ‘Grand Tour’ Colouring book. There are two to be won, one for children and one for adults.
Brighton BikeHub Re-Opens
Brighton BikeHub started life a couple of years back at the former municipal market on Circus Street, and with the support of the Groundwork Charity who had been given temporary use of some of the space prior to demolition and redevelopment. It offered a free to use community workshop and self help repair sessions as well as repairing donated bikes for sale.
Times move on – Circus Street is now demolished, Groundwork has opened its own shop on Lewes Road and the team of volunteers behind the original Circus Street workshop have opened up a second space at The Field (formerly Preston Barracks – next to B&Q on Lewes Road). With workshop space formed of a cluster of shipping containers, provided by u+i the developers of the site, Brighton BikeHub joins a collection of creative makers and start-ups who have found a home at The Field, which also includes The Old Tree Brewery Garden Cafe offering on site sustenance.
The Big Bike Revival
The Big Bike Revival is a series of events across the country, put together by Cycling UK and is aimed at getting bikes back on the road and riders back on their bikes, and Brighton BikeHub is taking part as a local centre, where you can get help to spruce and fettle your machine ready for a summer of cycling
BikeHub will be open each Friday and Saturday from 11-4 and will be providing a self-help community workshop where you can repair your own bike, and is looking for volunteers to help refurbish donated bikes for re-use.
Neighbourhood planning was introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act. A neighbourhood plan allows local residents and businesses to develop their own planning policies that reflect their priorities for their area and impact upon planning and development in the neighbourhood
What has this got to do with cycling?
The developing Neighbourhood Plan for the area has much to say on the need for an improved local environment:
“…both in terms of greening up and in terms of high quality hard landscaping with the station at its core. Associated traffic calming and management of pedestrian and cycle based flows, spaces for children to play, connections between Hove Park and Hove Station all aim to create an attractive environment to live,work and play in…”
Policies are being developed by the Forum which explicitly support cycle infrastructure and facilities:
Policy 21: Developer Contributions will be required to jointly contribute to the infrastructure requirements set out in the master plan to allow the Hove Station Quarter Area to be developed comprehensively.Reason: a number of requirements for example in terms of highways and utility infrastructure will be required to enable developments on site. The master plan sets out highways linkages and north south connection for cycling and pedestrian traffic as well as a number of place making features. These are seen to be critical to allow the area to be developed comprehensively in an attractive manner.
Policy 26: New developments should aim to minimise car based travel, which will require travel plans as well as a range of other measures such as designated car club spaces to be allocated throughout the area in discussion with the city’s car clubs and extensive cycle parking to standards as set out in SPD 13.
Policy 27: The Hove Station Quarter will be easily accessible on foot and by cycle; where car based through traffic is allowed this will be at low speeds typically on shared surfaces. Surrounding residential roads will also be subject to traffic calming measures to avoid rat runs and undue traffic pressure arising from new development.
Policy 30: The following improvements to the road network will be necessary:
- The opening up of Fonthill Road / Goldstone Lane southwards to allow better bus circulation following redevelopment of the bus station. (This is related to redevelopment of the areas between the high rise blocks of the Clarendon Estate);
- The closure of Fonthill Road under the railway tunnel, with access for pedestrians and cycles only. (This is to control rat running and allow the tunnel to become more user friendly)
- The continuation of the segregated cycleway along Old Shoreham Road;
- Provision of missing footway provisions such as by the petrol station off Station Approach and provision of safe pedestrian crossing outside Hove Station for visually impaired.
This week our campaigns team will be meeting council officers to talk about cycling in North Laine, and particularly provision Gloucester Road for two-way cycling.
North Laine was treated to a substantial cycle permeability scheme a few years back, where a number of one-way streets were opened up to two-way cycle traffic (see plan below). We think that this scheme has been a great success and should be built upon, both to include other streets in the North Laine and also extended more generally across the city.
Any thought on this in advance of the meeting, do let us know – either in the comments section below or in the discussion over on facebook
Do you live/work in St Peters & North Laine ward? Have a look at our ward page HERE and let us know what else needs improving.
The Government claims ambition for cycling. The forward to the draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy report reads:
“We will double cycling activity by 2025, and reduce each year the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured on English roads. We will reverse the decline in walking that we have seen over the last few years.For that to happen, cycling and walking should become the natural choice for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey. Cycling and walking should become safer, and, importantly, be perceived to be safe. In short, walking and cycling should be easy, normal and enjoyable.”
Here at Bricycles, we are positive, optimistic and ever-so slightly cynical – particularly as the money made available for this transformation appears woefully inadequate at present.
We took part in the consultation, and copied below is the text of the Bricycles submission (thanks – as ever – to Becky).
Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy – Bricycles Response
On behalf of Bricycles, (Brighton and Hove Cycling Campaign) and as a Cycling UK campaigner for Brighton and Hove, I am responding to the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy consultation. We strongly support the general approach but our main concern is that the proposed investment is completely inadequate to achieve the aims.
Q1. The government would be interested to hear views on the approach and actions set out in section 8 of this strategy
We support the general positive approach outlined in paragraphs 8.10 to 8.42, but there needs to be much, much greater funding and a requirement that local authorities and other national/local bodies take immediate steps to assist cycling and walking at local level with reference to best practice design guidance, and that the progress is monitored centrally against a submitted plan.
It is essential to closely monitor local progress to ensure that there is no foot dragging by pro-roads authorities, that the best value for money is assured, and that excellence in provision (or the opposite) is acknowledged.
The parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report called for investment in cycling of at least £10 per person annually, rising to £20, in order to boost cycle use to 10% of trips by 2025, and to 25% by 2050. By contrast, the Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy provides central overnment funding of just over £300m for period 2015-20, amounting to just £1.38 per person outside London and with the addition of several other major aims about turning the decline in walking into an increase and reducing the rising number of cycling casualties.
We recommend switching some of the £15bn earmarked for the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy to finance improvements for cycling and walking and the aims on casualty reduction.
Q2. The government would be interested to hear views on the potential roles of national government departments, local government, other public bodies, businesses and the voluntary sector in delivering the strategy and what arrangements could best support partnership working between them
Cross departmental collaboration is essential. The costing of health benefits and disbenefits needs to be properly factored in to highways and planning issues so that projects which encourage car use and discourage active travel are adversely weighted and not promoted on the basis of spurious economic benefits by politicians and developers.
Ministers should be positive about the many benefits of active travel. This would assist behaviour change.
We welcome the proposal for Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). Local cycling strategies and plans are in various formats and often out of date. There needs to be an organised approach to provision based on clear national guidelines and standards. This would reduce the construction of inadequate and poor quality infrastructure which frequently failed to deal with the main problems for walking and cycling e.g. hazardous junctions.
We would like to see clearer ring-fencing of money allocated for walking and cycling so that it cannot be used for other purposes.
We do not agree with the stop-start ‘funding lottery’ whereby funds are allocated for essential transport purposes. This encourages erratic and piecemeal planning and wastes officer time filling in lengthy (and often unsuccessful) funding applications.
We would like to see a fully funded national strategy that demands progress on walking and cycling by local authorities. Cycling and walking provision have been devolved to local level for many years e.g. through the underfunded National Cycling Strategy of 1996 which was not implemented at local level and therefore dropped in 2004. Localism has not so far delivered adequate provision and it’s unlikely that it will do so in any coherent way without national funding and oversight and proper guidance. Local Enterprise Partnerships are not democratic bodies and may not be positive about walking and cycling, and may erroneously prefer spending funds on major roads programmes instead.
The Active Travel (Wales) Act is a very useful model. It requires Ministers and Local Authorities to take reasonable steps to enhance the provision for walking and cycling when carrying out highway works etc. Also to map existing provision for active travel (the ‘Existing Routes map’) and proposed future provision (the ‘Integrated map’) and to deliver year-on-year high quality improvements in active travel routes and facilities.
We support knowledge-sharing and the pursuit of best practice in transport. There is a need for clear guidelines for high quality cycling and walking infrastructure and policies that support active travel. Currently there is a mass of guidance of varying status.
An expert committee could be very beneficial depending on its precise remit and membership. We would like to recommend that a representative of Cycling UK such as Roger Geffen is invited to join.
In addition, we recommend a change in the law to stricter liability so that the less vulnerable road user is assumed to be liable in cases of road traffic collisions. We strongly support a Road Justice agenda relevant to the Police and Crime Commissioners and the Department for Justice to reduce bad driving which is both a real and perceived deterrent to active travel. See http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/
Q3. The government would be interested to hear suggestions and evidence of innovative projects and programmes which could be developed to deliver the objectives outlined in section 4
- We recommend switching some of the £15bn earmarked for the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy to finance improvements for cycling and walking such as those below:
- Motor traffic must be restrained so that walking and cycling have a chance to grow.
- Legally backed frequent car free days in cities/towns clogged with traffic causing poor air quality.
- Prioritising walking and cycling improvements in popular areas, like Brighton sea front (Marine Parade)
- where thousands of people are daily exposed to traffic pollution, but motor vehicles are still given
- priority. The Aquarium Roundabout is a major disincentive and barrier for walking and cycling. There are many similar examples on the crowded south coast.
- Permit cycling on Eastbourne promenade and hasten arrangements to enable cycling on other coastal promenades.
- More accessible and public data on air quality (NOX and particulates) showing the benefits of lower emissions.
- Put housing on car parks to assist the homeless and those with housing need.
- Traffic-free safe routes for children to walk and cycle to school.
- Traffic free zones around schools.
- Bikeability training programme in all schools.
- Progress on school travel plans included in Ofsted and other assessments .
- Free public transport for young people subsidised by car parking charges.
- Personalised travel planning.
- Greater insurance reductions for those using in-car monitoring systems to track compliance with lower speeds etc.
- Roll-out of 20 mph speed limits in towns that have so far not introduced them.
- Default position for all one way streets to have two-way cycling in place. Removing car parking is sometimes necessary.
- Early green phase traffic lights are already in use in Brighton and Hove. These could be developed so that
- at the most difficult junctions, there is a longer cycling only phase for all arms of the junction/roundabout.
- “Floating bus stops” – keep the cycle traffic moving and prevent conflict with buses: more of these.
- Stricter liability to shift the balance of power on the streets towards the vulnerable road user.
- Implementation of Cycling UK’s “Road Justice” recommendations so that the police and prosecution services take cycling crashes more seriously, analyse incidents more fully and learn from them.
- There needs to be greater sanction for bad driving. Police need to take cycling incidents and near misses seriously.
- Extension of “Operation Crackdown” to areas that don’t have it, and for data to be retained longer than one year and to be analysed more fully. http://www.operationcrackdown.org/
- Review speed limits on rural roads particularly where “national speed limit applies” because many of these roads are used by walkers and cyclists and there are no pavements or tracks as an alternative. Rural speed limits are unnecessarily high.
- Adopt and implement the law to enable the ticketing of vehicles blocking of cycle lanes, cycle tracks, dropped kerbs, disabled facilities, walking routes, pavements etc.
- Integration of bus, train walking routes etc.
- Extension of walking buses for schoolchildren with fun activities along the way e.g. singing, learning about wildlife, learning a second language.
- Far greater investment in rural bus services.
- Far better accommodation of cycles on ferries to encourage cycle-tourism.
Q4. The government would be interested to hear your views on how to increase cycling and walking in typically under-represented groups (for example women, older people, or those from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds
- Development of walking/ cycling champions from the groups listed, who would be willing to promote andlead activities, being responsive to requests and showing how to participate enjoyably.
- Older people’s “Olympics” like the Paralympics to showcase those older people who are fit and active.
- Publicise the activity of many older people who do take part in walking and cycling, particularly cycle touring e.g. days out in the countryside, holidays by bike
- Recumbent and hand cycling is done by disabled people following stroke etc. People with visual impairment often ride as “stoker” on tandems: publicise and facilitate this lesser known side of cycling by those with disabilities.
- Offer easily accessible physical activity to those in traditional non-active roles e.g. “Health walks” as run by Brighton and Hove City Council: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/sports-and-activity/healthwalks
Q5. The government would be interested to hear views on what type of assistance Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships would find beneficial to support development of ambitious and high standard Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans
We recommend switching some of the £15bn earmarked for the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy to finance improvements for cycling and walking.
- There needs to be easily available clear national guidance on best practice in cycling and walking infrastructure and policy.
- There needs to be a continuing channel of communication between the planners and the citizens.
- Walking and cycling representatives and individuals need to be able to put views forward and to assist local authorities and LEPs with their plans. This is particularly important for LEPs because many people are unaware of their existence, their remit or how to influence them.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to put our views.