West Sussex County Council makes £4.7 million bid for cycle and pedestrian improvements

A bid for £4.7million worth of improvements and initiatives for cyclists and pedestrians in West Sussex has been put forward in Tranche Two of the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

If successful, projects will include new footways and cycleways from New Findon Valley to Findon Village and Littlehampton to Rustington as well as enhancement and protection measures for some existing cycle lanes.

The council will also look to support the reopening of schools through a package of active travel measures and improvements, including “catch up” Bikeability cycle training for Year Six children who have missed out because of lockdown and the COVID-19 crisis.

This second tranche follows the council’s successful Tranche One bid to fund seven temporary cycleway schemes.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “If our bid is successful, this second tranche would continue our aspiration to encourage and build confidence in active travel. We want to create an environment that’s safer for both cyclists and pedestrians to help nurture a culture of active travel choice: this would support health, improve air quality, address climate change issues, help manage traffic congestion and reduce reliance on the car.” 

One of the proposed new cycleway and footway is adjacent to the A24. The scheme would connect the South Downs National Park gateway of Findon Village with Findon Valley, with onward connection to Worthing via the existing cycle network. The A24 is a popular route but is currently a hostile environment for cycling, which discourages many would-be users, said the council.  The scheme would promote cycling through a shared facility, more than 2km-long. 

Mr Elkins added: “This additional funding would allow us to continue Bikeability training in schools across the county and customise training sessions for individuals and groups, while observing all social distancing guidelines. There are more than 3,500 Year Six pupils who were denied the opportunity to take part in the Bikeability scheme because of the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions.

“These pupils are now moving on to secondary school and making more independent journeys as pedestrians and cyclists. It’s so important to offer the necessary skills and training to this group.”

A targeted pilot project would also be launched around ‘school gate’ areas, with the aim of promoting active travel. A range of improvements would enable social distancing as part of the pending return to school. It would help reduce demand for car travel and help protect bus travel. Measures could include Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTROs), local signage/ markings/protected drop-off spaces/zones and improvements for pedestrians.

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