‘An accident waiting to happen’: Eastbourne residents fume over new bus lane

Buses and pedestrians in Terminus Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby)
Buses and pedestrians in Terminus Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby)

The new bus lane in Eastbourne town centre has been lambasted as an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

The Herald received hundreds of responses when it published a story highlighting how pedestrians, unaware of the danger, are walking out into the live bus lane in Terminus Road.

Buses and pedestrians in Terminus Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190813-114131001

Buses and pedestrians in Terminus Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190813-114131001

With its grey brick surface, matching the new pavements, it is meant as a shared space – but many, including a bus driver, have argued the new road layout is not made clear enough.

Hayley Muggridge wrote on the Eastbourne Herald Facebook page, “I walked on it the other day not knowing it was a bus route and my other half had to call out to me to get out of the road.

“I was completely oblivious until I saw the bus heading towards me. I was busy shopping and keeping an eye on my children so hadn’t seen any signs.”

While Julie Stebbings said, “No one knows where the road starts and pavement finishes. Very confusing.”

Buses and pedestrians in Terminus Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190813-113559001

Buses and pedestrians in Terminus Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190813-113559001

And Tracey Lock shared her experience. She said, “My mum and I went to Eastbourne a couple of weeks back and she is registered blind. I found it hard with sight so it must be really hard for her. Having NO kerbs to define where the foot path ends and the road starts!”

All you need to know about the Eastbourne town centre improvement scheme

While Merryl Redhead said she saw a young child on a trike start to go across as a bus came baring down. “Luckily the child got pulled back”, she said.

Val Widdison called it “an accident waiting to happen and a very serious one at that”.

And Leanne Wesley said, though residents may be aware it’s still a bus access road, tourists may not.

Norman Rae called to bring ‘Diesel Alley’ back. He said, “How about we rip up The Beacon Centre and put Terminus Road back how it was back in the ‘70s, when you could drive from the station past the banks and into Langney Road by M&S.

“We want DIESEL ALLEY back. And for those of you who think I’m joking, I’m not.”

Keith L Harris said, “Another point not mentioned is the number of people who walk out in front of cars crossing from The Beacon to the Station when the crossing light is clearly red. A lot of time it’s arrogance, it’s just a matter of time before there is another accident there as well.”

But Antony Poole disagreed with the majority. He said, “People have been walking out in front of buses and cars for years, without a care in the world! ‘Shared space’ or not!”

And Aishlyn Whyte said, “There are signs everywhere saying it’s an open bus lane! I’m sorry this is just survival of the fittest again really.”

East Sussex County Council responds

East Sussex County Council, which is in charge of the work, has responded to concerns.

A spokesperson said, “The design for Terminus Road...is not technically a shared space as the bus lane, although on the same level as the footway, will be clearly marked using kerbing, paving, street furniture and planters.

“The design, which includes a 20mph speed limit and strict restrictions which prohibit parking and reversing at any time, was chosen at an early stage...as a layout which would create an attractive, open pedestrianised area while still allowing bus access.

“This kind of scheme conforms with stringent national design standards and has been successfully used elsewhere in the UK. The bus companies are fully aware of the revised arrangements in Terminus Road.

“The scheme is still under construction, with the southern footway incomplete, restricting pedestrian movement, which may have led to some pedestrians walking along the bus lane rather than crossing it. Once fully completed, the bus lane will be more clearly defined and will have direct crossing points.

“In the meantime, we have put up signs to make pedestrians aware of the bus lane and would ask people to take care when walking in this area.”