LETTER: Clear that white lines not working

I’d be grateful for the chance to respond to the comments raised in your story (Herald, March 6) about the new cycle routes in Eastbourne, and to other correspondents who’ve written on this issue.

The new routes, which are part of a borough-wide cycling strategy developed jointly by ourselves and Eastbourne Borough Council in 2011, were subject to an extensive public consultation last year which asked people to comment on six specific routes.

To promote the consultation, we distributed 5,000 flyers to addresses in the vicinity of the routes, advertised in bus stops and in this newspaper, held a public consultation event at the Town Hall and sent details to 44 key stakeholders.

We received 784 responses to the consultation, which made it very clear that the two routes in the town centre area would primarily be on-road routes using road markings and directional signs, and all six routes received more than 73 per cent support.

Following the consultation and subsequent approval by the two councils for these routes, we held further meetings with the Bespoke Cycling Group during the detailed design stage to agree the proposals.

While we would love to be in a position where we could introduce a network of segregated cycle routes, as your correspondents correctly pointed out, we only have both limited funding and a limited timescale for these routes from the Government’s local sustainable transport fund.

However, we do take on board people’s comments. The hatching around the Memorial Roundabout was introduced as a trial to improve the flow of traffic and make it easier for cyclists. The feedback we’ve received from cyclists and road users has made it clear to us that this was not working and so I can confirm we will be removing these particular road markings.

We believe that these new routes – which let’s not forget received overwhelming public support during the consultation exercise – will improve conditions for cyclists and encourage more people to cycle, with all the resultant benefits to the environment and health that brings. Any new road system is unfamiliar at first and we’d ask people to give the new routes a chance.

We do welcome the opportunity for more dialogue with your correspondents and other interested parties on this issue in the future.

Cllr Carl Maynard

East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment