What might a safer Elm Grove junction look like?

Rebel Yarns

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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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?

https://wednesdaysinthecountry.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/img_5683.jpg?w=490&h=367

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

Elm Grove Junction Review

Last November, Brighton & Hove City Council passed a Notice of Motion that the council should sign up to the Space For Cycling Campaign

Space for Cycling is a campaign run by Cycling UK (at the time of the NoM known as CTC). The campaign is divided into six main themes:

  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

Following an incident last week where a cyclist was struck by a lorry at the junction of Lewes Road and Elm Grove, the council has the opportunity to act on its commitment to cycling in the city as local resident Dani Ahrens submits a petition for a junction review and urgent improvements at this location.

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Dani comments

The junction of Elm Grove and Lewes Road is nerve-wracking to cycle through from any direction, and with good reason. On July 9th, a local cyclist was hit and seriously injured by a lorry turning left into Elm Grove. There have been two other serious accidents at the same junction in the last five years, one involving injury to a pedestrian and the other involving a cyclist being injured. Two further serious accidents have occurred at the nearby junction of Union Road with Lewes Road, and both locations have seen numerous less serious incidents in recent years.

Junctions like this are a huge part of the reason why many people don’t cycle. Having to cross multiple lanes of traffic, position yourself assertively in the centre of your lane, and race ahead of left-turning vehicles is simply too terrifying for a lot of people. Making a mistake shouldn’t mean risking your life. A moment of inattention shouldn’t render a driver responsible for putting someone in hospital.

Suggestions for improvement include:

  • Simultaneous green lights for cycling only. This is a system that is commonly used at road junctions in the Netherlands. Here is a page with more information, videos and photographs showing how this works in practice: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-traffic-light-solution-for.html
  • Removing railings
  • Straightening the pedestrian crossing on Lewes Road, just north of Elm Grove
  • Adding a pedestrian crossing south of Elm Grove (improving access to Park Crescent surgery)
  • Protected cycle infrastructure, connected with the cycle paths at the Level, enabling people on bikes to cross or bypass this junction without conflict with other road users.

Please support this petition and to make sure that the council lives up to the commitment to Space for Cycling which it made last year. The petition can be found HERE and it will be open until 29th September 2016 before being presented to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee meeting on 11 October 2016.

Get Britain Cycling By signing The Number 10 E-Petition

The Get Britain Cycling report, published by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group this week, aims for 10% of trips by bike by 2025 and 25% by 2050, and £10 per person, per year in funding for cycling. 

Now we need the Prime Minister to respond. The Times, Sustrans, the AA, British Cycling and CTC are urging members to sign up to a joint petition on the Number 10 website, calling for the Government to implement the recommendations. In particular, the report calls for £10 per person, per year, to support a radical transformation of streets and roads, as well as training, promotion and marketing to shift the culture on our roads. This is the opportunity to start making the changes necessary. Please do take a couple of minutes to sign up on the Number 10 site.

Royal Sussex County Hospital petition – volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed to help with collecting signatures for the Royal Sussex County Hospital petition, which is calling for the hospital trust to invest in walking, cycling and public transport to balance their £10 million investment in a new car park and to try and minimise the amount of additional car journeys this will generate.

Continue reading “Royal Sussex County Hospital petition – volunteers needed”

ePetition on redevelopment of Royal Sussex County Hospital

Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFoE) are requesting signatures to their petition on the redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital.  While they support the redevelopment (which has some good aspects to it), BHFoE are calling for the hospital trust to invest as much (or more) money in walking, cycling and public transport as it is in car parking. Please help us by signing our e-petition.

Continue reading “ePetition on redevelopment of Royal Sussex County Hospital”