WSCC removes its own cycle lanes in Chichester

WSCC's Cabinet Member for Highways - Cllr Roger Elkins - has decided to remove the so called 'pop up' cycle lanes in Chichester.  This follows a review six weeks after the formal completion.  There was an increase in numbers of people cycling (albeit small), a lessening of pollution, no significant or sustained increase in vehicle congestion, and just one comment from the emergency services - all cut no ice with Mr Elkins.   And no notice taken of suggested improvements.  Instead he was swayed by some extremely noisy opposition from members of the public.  It is just wrong that a scheme intended to provide a healthy means of getting about has been scuppered by people who dislike seeing people on bikes getting ahead of them.   The WSCF calls on Mr Elkins to reconsider - instead of removing, he sets about improving.  His scheme has not acheived its aim.  It could do if he wanted it to.  In addition, the offical press release suggests that the pandemic is over - oh really?!

This is from the official WSCC press release.  "At the time the Government funding was awarded and work got underway on the cycle lane, the country was just emerging from national lockdown. Social distancing meant that more space was needed for walking and cycling to reduce pressure on public transport and to help people return to work and school. However, since that time, schools have returned and the Government continues to provide additional funding for local public transport and the popup cycle lanes are no longer needed for this purpose.   Roger Elkins, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “It’s clear that while the cycleway did provide a safe route for cycling, the extraordinary circumstances during national lockdown that led to their introduction no longer exists. By removing the scheme we will return the network to its pre-pandemic state.   “I would like to thank everyone who took the time and trouble to provide us with feedback and reassure residents we remain committed to our long-standing, walking and cycling strategy with all the permanent benefits this will bring for active and sustainable travel. We have a continued ambition to support investment in sustainable and active travel and the data gathered and the experience of providing this cycleway will help us when delivering future schemes.”   A full review was conducted into the Chichester cycleway to inform the decision. This included taking into account all feedback received and data collected, including cyclist numbers. Feedback received showed the majority of responses were opposed to the cycleway. Automatic traffic counters installed on the cycleway also indicated relatively low usage by cyclists, considering it is a busy route for other road users.   The Cabinet Member decision is subject to the usual call-in period.   All the information and feedback for each of the other Government funded, trial pop-up cycleway schemes in West Sussex will be reviewed on a rolling basis in October and November.   Just as with the Chichester scheme, once the information has been analysed a decision will be made either to:  • keep the cycleway for a further period, and future review,  • to make alterations and review in future,  • or to remove the scheme."