Labour District & County Councillors are calling for bold action to make a lasting difference to local roads, cycling and walking.
Labour members of Chichester, Adur, Worthing and West Sussex County Councils are pressing for improvements to roads and a network of new, safer, cycle lanes, taking advantage of funding for this announced by the government.
The government has said it will make funding available to councils to make safe walking and cycling easier. This is set to be discussed by West Sussex County Council cabinet on 26 May.
New cycle lanes, wider pavements and more pedestrianised roads are being discussed by many councils. A range of London’s city centre streets are being closed off to all but buses, pedestrians and cyclists. In some areas, pavements are being widened so that social distancing can continue as necessary.
Labour says there are clear priorities locally, those identified already within the Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan. These include cycle routes to schools and car free zones near school entrances.
Chichester District Council’s Labour group leader Kevin Hughes (Chichester East) said:
“West Sussex County Council has a golden opportunity to improve the health and well-being of its residents. There is no excuse for not taking advantage of the new legislation and the fantastic examples being set by many councils. The previous advice from WSCC on this subject has been ‘it’s up to individuals’. In other words, ‘not our problem, guv’. That is just not good enough given the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in. Let us hope that Cabinet can find some wisdom and foresight from somewhere before next Tuesday.”
Labour leader on West Sussex County Council, Michael Jones (Southgate and Gossops Green) said:
“Any road users in West Sussex will know from first-hand experience that our roads have been neglected by the Tory-run council for years, with continual cuts and very visible consequences. Now the Tory Cabinet is dragging its feet and still dithering on this important issue, meanwhile Labour-run Brighton and Hove City Council has already got many of its pop-up lanes into operation. It’s time for action. It’s time to make our roads safe for cyclists so cycling can be a real choice for local people.
“Social distancing will be a challenge on public transport for some time. It’s about giving people choice in how they get about and get to work. There is a real danger that congestion and the air pollution that causes will be even worse than before the lockdown if more people have to take their cars to work.
“There are more people cycling in West Sussex than ever before, we need the county council to actually have some vision on this, for once, and capitalise on this increased popularity.”