From: Angela Jumbo
At 3pm on Thursday 21st June, Hampden Park and Eastbourne Residents demonstrated about the appalling situation with stationary traffic at the level crossing where the barriers come down and traffic is stationary for at least 30 minutes of every hour throughout the day.
I was there alongside residents and representation from Friends of the Earth, Eastbourne Labour Party, the Green Party, Eastbourne People’s Assembly, Unite Community and Greenpeace and it was great to see so many different people and groups coming together to share their concerns.
Everyone in this town knows the train line is a vital link in and out and there are no plans for a flyover anytime soon but the situation in Hampden Park is very serious and something needs to be done for the health and wellbeing of pedestrians and drivers alike.
Research is out there showing outdoor air pollution is among the top ten health risks faced by humans and pollution levels inside cars is up to 40 per cent higher while in traffic jams or at a red traffic lights compared to free-flowing traffic so it is not acceptable for the council to ignore this.
Campaigners held placards asking drivers to switch their engines off because the vast majority of drivers will normally leave their engines running whilst stationary. It was great to see and hear the support from drivers as they switched off and the roads fell quiet and immediately felt calmer and more pleasant and although it is not possible to say how much difference doing this makes on reducing air pollution or saving on fuel, logic says it must help in some way.
Dave Poole, local resident and branch rep for Hampden Park Labour Party, has been campaigning about this problem for several years and as the council has shown that it does not care about this issue by not doing anything Dave has spent his own money on an air quality monitoring device so we can soon find out what is really happening.
For my part, as someone with grandchildren growing up in Hampden Park, I am calling on the council to at least put up some large signs along the routes to the crossing asking drivers to switch off engines when idle. The small signs near to the level crossing are woefully inadequate given that traffic regularly queues for a quarter mile either side of the tracks for many minutes at a time. We need to change hearts and minds by putting up large signs on the roads leading into the area asking for drivers help. From what I saw today people are only too happy to do this with a gentle reminder.
Everyone who knows Hampden Park and loves Eastbourne recognises that this is an exceptional problem which desperately needs attention. Eastbourne Council, do you care enough to help?