Active travel, community health and well being, climate change and safer roads.

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.

Cycling routes

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)

Shared use road in Berlin

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.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris Till says:

    I think that’s pretty much the realisation I came to. But when I try to explain to people that we can’t make progress by petitioning sociopaths (most councillors), I get attacked for supposedly giving up. Clive from Shoreham-by-Cycle really doesn’t seem like me very much. Maybe I should start encouraging them to keep talking to WSCC because they’ll somehow eventually change their minds and do the right thing, when they never have before. I’ll at least be more popular that way.

    I’m not entirely sure what to actually do besides waiting for more hurricanes to blow trees and fence panels down so people can understand the damage we’ve done to the climate and make them want to change. But realistically, I think direct action is the best option. People should block roads and things like that.

    1. The way to get prople to listen is to be more moderate. XR lose support by being radical even though it seems the only way forward.

      1. Chris Till says:

        I think the only way to get most older people to listen is to be moderate because they’ve been brainwashed their whole lives to think it produces results when it usually doesn’t. But those people generally get ignored by the sociopaths in charge. Very few older people understand the real solutions.

        But the other issue is that younger people don’t engage with politics so it doesn’t represent what society really thinks at the local or national level. I think it’s kind of an impossible situation.

        I do think that you’re right about XR / Insulate Britain, but not because the public disagree with the points. More because the right wing bias of the mainstream media means people don’t question it enough and are immediately persuaded that these people are the bad ones and the psychos ramming their Range Rover into the back of a helpless protestor or ink retired doctors are perfectly within their rights to inflict pain on other human beings.

        A huge societal shift is going to have to take place, and I think it’s more likely that we just drift even further to the right towards hatred and idiocy. Hopefully I’m wrong and something big happens, because the climate can’t take much more.

        Even the super-conservative IPCC in their new report says we’re almost at the point of no return climate wise. But I guess that story will be old news today already. Let alone the most up to date science which shows things are actually far worse. It doesn’t look good for Sussex, or globally.

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