As far as I am aware, West Sussex County Council will be doing nothing the help bring about any of our needs for active travel, health and well being, climate change and safer roads by addressing motor vehicle usage; at least not in the foreseeable future. That makes some of the work that the Borough has done a waste of time and public resources foremost among these, our LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan).
20mph in residential areas
A point to note in the Adur & Worthing Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan was that Worthing, unique amongst local authorities, vetoed a plan for 20 mph speed limits on residential roads. If adopted, the reduced speed limits may well have gone some way to dealing with the four issues in the title.
I am not going to suggest re visiting the 20sPlenty campaign but do suggest educating drivers by the innocuous introduction of slower speed limit signage.
Worthing already has many roads with speed humps, to effectively navigate these without braking and accelerating one needs to drive at approximately 20mph. I would suggest marking these with 20mph signage and markings on the road surface.
The same could done for the roads that clearly cannot be driven above 20mph. These are the residential roads that have become very narrow single lane due to the sheer volume of cars parked on both sides. There are hundreds in the town. This is one benefit of West Sussex promotion of car use, they are often the safest roads for people on bikes.
By stealth, drivers will be reminded that certain roads are designated as slower without those drivers changing any of their driving habits. We need to gain drivers acceptance that certain routes are more geared towards the community living there than the driver’s travel needs. School roads could then be included, some already are.
This method of educating drivers and bringing about the change to slower driving and safer roads is probably the cheapest option, the least politically contentious and possibly the only option available to move Adur & Worthing’s roads into the 21st century.
The Borough has no cycle routes that meet the governments design criteria: LTN1/20 (West Sussex County Council has no plans for any in the county). However, the town has designated, and provided signage, that certain roads are cycle routes. These roads should have clear markings that they are shared routes (people on bicycles and vehicles). In time, given the political will, these roads could also be marked as 20mph. (You might find this an easier read than LTN1/20: Gear Change)
None of these suggestions would have any material effect on drivers, nor would they be politically contentious but will begin the education process of road users. Over time, as the signage becomes a normal sight, the Borough Council could begin put forward more radical changes that would benefit the town and its residents. Under the current county council we will not, sadly, see any segregated cycle lanes anywhere in the county. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be for a young family living in the new Durrington estate to be able to cycle to Arundel for a day out totally off roads with cars? At present they can only access the National Park by car.
Why the ease of driving in Worthing is our problem?
Most major cities and towns have adopted various traffic controls to prevent stands stills and the obvious negative impact on their communities, economies and air. Unfortunately for us, but a good reason for no political action, is that Adur and Worthing are still a long way from complete stand still. Of course, the A27 is a problem at certain times of day and Worthing becomes a bit of joke between 3:30 and 5:30pm but this is not enough of a hardship for political changes and voter reactioin. Severe rain has temporarily closed the road network down in the past but, in reality, anyone can drive and park relatively unrestricted in the Borough. This may be a benefit to residents for now but is an impediment to making changes to encourage active travel, improve community health and well being, help reduce climate change and promote safer roads.
Note: Not a single line or word against using a car. Most of us drive.