Here’s a quick summary of the proposals in the A27 upgrade scheme Public Consultation Brochure. Anything in quotation marks “” is the exact wording from the document. My text is in italics.
Walking and cycling
“We intend to maintain current walking and cycling routes (What? There are none! OK, the Grove Lodge roundabout circumnavigation!!!) and where possible improve access for people walking, cycling and horse riding in the area when designing the scheme. This will encourage greater use of sustainable transport for local journeys.
We (Highways England) welcome your thoughts on any potential improvements to the current facilities. Detailed proposals will be discussed with the relevant authorities, cycling and walking groups.”
Most parties agree that there is a traffic problem in the area but, to date, there is not a single scheme, idea or suggestion that cycling could help reduce car traffic in what is a small flat town! Any town in Europe must be laughing at our ineptitude.
The document has some staggering, although not unexpected, statistics regarding modes of transport (don’t forget that Worthing is small and flat).
- “63% of those Worthing district residents currently in employment drive (or are driven) to work by a car / van
- 14% walk
- 6% travel by train
- 5% cycle
- 3% travel by bus, minibus or coach
- 1% travel by motorcycle”
It seems that rail transport is not the answer.
“We (Highways England) have no evidence to suggest that there will be any significant switch from road to rail along the A27 corridor between Chichester and Brighton that would meet the overall future demand for travel, which demonstrates the need to improve the A27 at Worthing and Lancing.”
The proposed junction changes
Unless you look carefully you’ll find it hard to see the difference between the new and the old other than the increase in Toucan crossings. Walkers and cyclist will have to add time to their journeys waiting for the Toucan lights to change. In fact most commuter cyclist would have to remain on the carriage way as none of the cycle routes flow and the main carriageway enjoys priority which allows for faster journeys.
This is the wording for each junction:
1. Durrington Hill / Salvington Hill
“Convert the existing priority junctions to a traffic signalled cross road junction. Widening on Durrington Hill and on the A27 to accommodate a two lane approach, which would require some land acquisition.”
- Offington Corner Junction roundabout – A24 Findon Road/ Offington Lane (Durrington Cemetery)
“Convert the existing roundabout to a traffic signalled cross road junction. Widening on all approaches and some exits to accommodate extra slip roads and lanes, which would require some land acquisition. Access to the A24 from Fontwell Close remains but access to the A27 from Goodwood Road would be closed.”
- Grove Lodge Junction
“Widening of the approaches and circulation lanes to accommodate two lanes of traffic through the junction. Would require some land acquisition.”
4a. Lyons Farm Retail Part 1 Junction (Sompting Road) and 4b Lyons Farm Retail Part 2 Junction (Lyons Way)
“Widening of the existing junctions to accommodate more lanes. Provide new turning arrangements at both junctions. Right turns from the A27 eastbound into Sompting Road and from Pines Avenue onto the A27 would be banned. Dedicated left-turn lane from the A27 eastbound into the retail park removed. Access to the A27 from Hadley Avenue closed. Widening would require some land acquisition.”
- Busticle Lane / Halewick Lane Junction
“Provide new junction to the west of the existing junction for access to / from Halewick Lane. This would require some land acquisition, some of which is within the South Downs National Park.”
Grinstead Lane / Manor Road Junction
“Widen the existing junction approaches and convert the existing roundabout to a new traffi c signal controlled junction for traffic turning from Manor Road onto the A27. Would require some land acquisition from nearby properties. Traffic coming from the Brighton direction would not be able to make U-turns.
Note: all proposed new traffic signals would incorporate toucan crossings (allowing pedestrians and cyclists to cross together), which would increase the provision for people walking and cycling in a number of locations.”
As for walkers and cyclists
“The footway / cycleway areas on the plans show where we are looking at improvements for people walking and cycling. These designs are still being developed.”
Still being developed??? Surely you’d look at these first to try to reduce car traffic before modifying the junctions?
What about the longer term?
This quote is unbelievable.
“The improved junctions do not have sufficient capacity to cater well for peak period traffic in the longer term, due to planned developments and natural growth in population. Local authorities would need to consider measures to reduce long term growth such as traffic restraint policies, improvements to public transport and increased cycling and walking.”
There is no mention of the Ikea and 600 new homes just east of the Manor/Grinstead lane junction.
Of course we live in Worthing which is in West Susses and both the Borough Council and County Council have (in the past) never done anything to either promote cycling let alone create any infrastructure for cyclists in the area. Let’s see if this is going to change now that Highways England are throwing the responsibility for the success of their A27 scheme onto the local authorities shoulders. Nice to have some one to blame, eh?
“The scheme will reduce accidents by drawing traffic away from minor junctions and local roads. Toucan crossings at junctions will provide protected crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, and new traffic signals at roundabouts will improve safety for cyclists.”
Written, I presume by someone who has never cycled! Of course it will be safer as all the cyclists will be standing by the side of the road waiting for the lights to change instead of riding to work or school. As a cycle commuter I fail to see how it is practical to use the proposed cycle route as cycling is supposed to be the quicker option to driving or walking in a town. Toucans don’t work for cyclists even if the change instantly.
How much time will you save driving the A27?
“Peak period journey times should reduce despite the projected growth in traffic. We estimate the following journey time savings in 2041 (average / vehicle): Morning peak – eastbound and westbound: 3 minutes. Evening peak – eastbound and westbound: 5 minutes.”
Please note I have asked Highways England to confirm whether 2041 is correct especially since they have said that the improvements will not cope with the expected increase is usage.
So there you have it:
£100 million to save 3 minutes and only in the short term!
Come on people! Get on your bike and save time, money, the environment and your lives!
What can you do?
You need to write to Highways England: Highways England e-mail.
Complete their survey. A27 proposal survey
Above all you need to contact, e-mail, call, meet with your Worthing Borough councillors, Adur Borough Councillors and your West Sussex County Councillors and ask them what is their stratergy for walking and cycling in the town.
My final comment to those of you that have to drive; which is going to be all of us on some days. As a driver you should be campaigning more than any other group for the improvement in cycling infrastructure as it is proven that, if a good and linking, segregated cycle route is created it will be used. If it is used then that leaves more space on the roads for those who want / need to drive.