Temporary cycleway on Eastbourne seafront announced
Schemes to enable more cycling and walking and provide safe space for social distancing as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease have been submitted to the government.
East Sussex County Council has been allocated £479,000 from the first round of the government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund. A second round of funding is expected to be confirmed at a later date.
Having worked with district and borough councils and sought suggestions from local cycling and walking groups to identify possible temporary schemes, the county council has submitted the measures for approval by the Department for Transport.
Among the schemes are cycle routes, improved signage for safe social distancing, temporary cycle parking and the widening of footpaths and road closures to allow people to social distance and to support businesses to open outdoor spaces and enable their customers to queue safely.
Claire Dowling, the county council’s lead member for transport and environment, said, “With a limited amount of funding, we are unable to submit all the schemes that came forward. The measures we are submitting for approval strike a careful balance between supporting businesses in their recovery and keeping the public safe.
“While we have submitted specific schemes, we have also put forward countywide measures that will enable more walking and cycling across key towns, market towns and village centres and encourage social distancing.
“We have already seen a significant increase in the number of people walking and cycling in the county and, if approved, the schemes that are put forward will make a real difference to those people choosing active ways to travel and exercise.”
The measures submitted for approval by the Department for Transport include initiatives across the county such as signage to encourage social distancing, the installation of temporary cycle parking racks and social distancing messaging on footpaths at bus stops.
In Eastbourne specifically, the measures include the closure of Terminus Road between Trinity Trees and Grand Parade, closing Bolton Road to Langney Road, a segregated temporary cycleway on the Eastbourne Seafront Cycle Route between Wish Tower and Fisherman’s Green and a temporary cycle route using Princes Road and linking to Horsey Cycle Route.
Councillor Dowling said, “We will announce more details of the successful measures once approved by the Department for Transport, and undertake further local consultation.
“We will continue to work with district and borough councils and partners to look at possible schemes to include in the second round of funding, which could include bringing forward agreed capital schemes and measures we haven’t been able to include in this submission.”
It is hoped that, if approved, the schemes will be in place by September.
The plan for the immediate implementation of infrastructure improvements for walkers and cyclists has been welcomed by Eastbourne council leader David Tutt.
He said, “The government emergency active travel fund was announced in May in response to the increase in people walking and cycling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.”
“This is good news. Since the lockdown in March many more residents have chosen to walk or cycle rather than use the car or public transport.
“A variety of bids were made for walking and cycling initiatives in Eastbourne and some of those will now be implemented. In the most part these changes are temporary, but if they work well they can be made permanent and if they don’t, they won’t be.”
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