ESCC Draft Walking Strategy
Afoot has anonymously been sent a document which relates to the draft ESCC transport strategy for the next five year period. Section 4/13 states quite clearly that the strategy has already been approved for Eastbourne which begs the question, why are councillors attending a meeting in January to discuss the Eastbourne walking strategy? Are they merely to be briefed on what is happening or will walking receive serious consideration in its own right.
It seems that we have a pre-determined policy here. Firstly, Cabinet stated that the safe cycling route will go ahead before the decision of DCLG has been made public, and now we have a pre determined walking strategy which from the draft takes in the promenade shared space option.
Having been ignored for a number of years, and with cycling clearly now on every footpath, pavement and walking area I believe 2016 is the year pedestrians need to consolidate and start taking back walking space.
Pressure has to be built and applied to ensure funding is secured for dedicated cycle paths alongside better crossings, safe secure well maintained and well lit pavements in conjunction with a comprehensive traffic calming strategy.
LibDem Councillors Reject Best Environment for All.
Dear Afoot members
I recently presented a motion to council to ask for time to consider the proposal to open the prom to cyclists. The reason I did was completely evidence based practice.
I would like to thank one of your group (apologies for forgetting your name sir) for representing pedestrians and presenting his comments to council.
Government and NICE have made it clear that they want councils to promote distinct walking and cycling schemes especially for journeys of three miles or less.
They advise that dedicated walking and cycling schemes are planned and built. They make clear that pedestrians must feel safe and comfortable in their own space, any danger be it real, or perceived will prevent people from walking. Lord Holmes produced a report earlier this year that demonstrates up to 30% of people stop walking in an area once it becomes shared use. Unfortunately the majority of these people are the most vulnerable in our society and are the ones we need to encourage to keep walking.
Cycling clubs across the UK are actively campaigning against shared space as they believe shared use is dangerous to pedestrians and unfair on cyclists hence the less confident feel less motivated to take up cycling as a transport option.
What of our track record in Eastbourne - Seven years ago our Liberal Democrats (Cllr Susan Morris) helped set up Bespoke to campaign for safe cycling in Eastbourne, in December 2008 Cllr Tutt promised cycling on the promenade.* Since this time the majority of Bespoke campaigns have resulted in cyclists taking over good quality walking space across our town and harbour areas. Additionally cyclists have been encouraged to cycle in areas where they have no right to cycle or it is against current law, in an attempt to grow levels of cycling. The result in Paul Humphries (Bespoke) recent report is that Eastbourne is one of the poorest performing towns in the UK in terms of the uptake of new cycling. This, after seven years of campaigning. We have a cycle rate in the region of 2% which is where it stood in 2008. In other words the evidence that shared use drives down walking and does not grow new use of cycling has been ignored. In terms of the promenade proposal, if we were in business and could see evidence that a plan doesn't work we would seek out an alternative. In this instance our council are committed to meeting the promise of 2008, they are delivering more of the same, which will result in more of the same. A failed walking and cycling strategy.
In summary investment is required to ensure we build and deliver a structure of safe walking pathways (good quality pavements, a safe promenade, harbour walkways dedicated to walking) alongside a first class network of top quality distinct cycle routes across the town.
*These can also be found on Herald website June 2008 and Dec 2008
Cllr Ray Blakebrough
Right now walking levels are in serious decline. One generation ago over 70% of children walked to school, now that figure is at 46%.
Whilst some towns and cities are beginning to turn things around, the annual National Travel Survey published this week showed no overall improvement. In fact shockingly, it was found that one in five people walk for 20mins less than once a year or never.
We’ve engineered walking out of our daily lives and in its place we’ve created huge problems. We’ve got congestion and pollution. We’ve made longer distance travel the norm for shopping, work and leisure. Most kids no longer play on our streets.
Older people often feel lonely and isolated. Local shops are suffering with less footfall from their neighbourhood. Our physical and mental health is suffering and the costs of this to the NHS are rising dramatically.
But it’s not too late to turn things around - Click here
George Osborne can reverse the decline in walking to school. Respond to the Treasury's consultation now.
Getting more people walking can help address looming health problems in the next generation. And right now, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer decides which areas of government spending to prioritise, we need to make sure we are looking to the future.
The Treasury is currently holding a consultation - add your voice and make sure walking gets the funding it needs.
A film called “Sea of Change – Walking into Trouble” organised by Sarah Gayton and which was filmed for the National Federation of the Blind of the UK, showing the ‘devastating impact of shared space on the blind and partially sighted people of Great Britain’ premièred at the House of Lords 3rd December 2013 for the United Nations International Day for the Disabled Person. Without this film, I wonder how many of us really thought that such an obviously dangerous concept had actually been put into place by local councils?
The item below was taken from the CTC "Cycleclips" newsletter. The link is to the Bespoke website.
If Bespoke is so confident that it has the overwhelming support of Eastbourne residents, why is it asking cyclists all over the country to help it rig the outcome of the DCLG consultation?
The Borough Council's current policy is based on the outcome of one very suspect consultation, we hope it will take steps to ensure this one doesn't go the same way.