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Letter: Guildford Needs This Improvement to Help Make the Town Cycle-friendly

Published on: 12 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 12 Dec, 2022

From: Howard Smith

Vice-chair of Guildford Labour

See: Anger Continues Over Planned Burpham Roadworks But Director Responsible Will Not Be Facing Local Residents

I was very interested to read about the plans for a dedicated cycle lane between Burpham and the town centre.

Not everyone is happy about the disruption and I can understand that. But the air quality in the town is awful and the county and borough councils declared a climate emergency not so long ago.

Surely there cannot be much better ways of improving things than by encouraging more safe cycling. You have to make a start somewhere and Burpham is a large village in close enough proximity to the town to make cycling, for many, feasible. I think the population there is possibly a bit younger than most so you might see a higher than average take-up of the route.

I have cycled along this road many times taking my daughter to and from the pre-school at the church at New Inn Lane every day from the town centre. It does have a cycle lane already which suggests it has the space for this.

Some argue that there aren’t enough cyclists using the current lanes but what you hear from people time and again is that they would cycle if it could be made safer.

I can’t imagine that the new lane will be perfect but it will be a big improvement. Hopefully, this will go ahead and be a success and be the first of many more, thereby making Guildford a truly cycle-friendly town.

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test 8 Responses to Letter: Guildford Needs This Improvement to Help Make the Town Cycle-friendly

  1. Sue Hackman Reply

    December 12, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    I live on London Road. I agree with Howard Smith that the Burpham cycle lanes need to change because they are so narrow and dangerously close to busy traffic that parents discourage their children from using them.

    It’s hard to see what will take so many months about this, and I personally think that lanes three metres wide will bring new dangers to Burpham. They’re too narrow.

    Really, the designer needs to start again with safety in mind, and a brief to circumvent the disproportionate disruption to transport on one of Guildford’s main arteries.

    Sue Hackman is a spokesperson for Guildford Labour

  2. Gavin Morgan Reply

    December 13, 2022 at 7:14 am

    I read all the letters and articles on this topic. Put Burpham Roadworks in the search box if you want to do the same. People are not objecting to more cycle lanes, just the chaos creating this one is going to create.

    We all know how a rainy day gridlocks the entire town. We will have 5 months of rainy days

    • Howard Smith Reply

      December 13, 2022 at 12:36 pm

      And then year upon year of sunny days. Of kids riding to school to and from George Abbot, families going to Stoke Park, Spectrum, the Lido and the town centre on their bikes. To say nothing of the health benefits, the improved air quality (and reduced traffic during peak times).

      I ask Gavin Morgan to see the bigger picture.

      Howard Smith is the vice-chair of Guildford Labour.

  3. Phil Grainger Reply

    December 13, 2022 at 7:41 am

    I’m with Howard Smith here – I cycle down this road to get to the station for work. As a very confident lifetime cyclist it still worries me every day and doesn’t encourage confident cyclists – let alone families and novices – to use it.

    There is one bit on the way in that is potholed pavement and then jumps you back into the path of traffic – it’s awful really one of the worst bits of cycle path I have ever used. London Road then ironically joins to two excellent cycle paths on Stoke Park, so it’s the missing link for many and this needs to be sorted out.

    I am not convinced that going back to the drawing board will achieve anything other than stasis. Can’t we just crack on?

  4. Gavin Morgan Reply

    December 13, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    Perhaps Howard Smith would be kind enough to read my comment properly. I was not disagreeing with anything he said.

    However, there is no evidence that the way this will be implemented is sensible. Many people are talking about five months of gridlock. What must businesses in Burpham be thinking? Where is the impact assessment?

  5. Jan Messinger Reply

    December 13, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    People are looking through rose-tinted spectacles here. The area is too narrow already. Has anyone seen the queues for Aldi? I have. Who is going to cycle to Aldi or Sainsbury’s or even George Abbot School with this amount of traffic we have locally?

    Gavin Morgan is quite correct, there is chaos when the A3 closes because of an accident. The surrounding villages are gridlocked and he is right to expect gridlock for the five months.

    I really do not expect to see a huge increase of cyclists in this area. Yes, of course we would all like to see fewer vehicle movements but until public transport is better and used this won’t happen in this area.

    Our villages, of which Burpham is only one around the central hub of Guildford, all suffer huge volumes of traffic cars, lorries etc. This cycle lane work will cause chaos and not just for Burpham but for all who go through Burpham to get to surrounding villages.

  6. Paul Crome Reply

    December 15, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    My son was almost knocked down on London Road while out on his paper round. The work cannot take place without impact. Surely traffic diverting around an area during this important work is not much to ask compared to the daily ongoing risks to cyclists. What is further discussion going to do?

    Let’s just drop the Nimbyism and get on with it.

  7. Jane Hepburn Reply

    December 26, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    I fear I have to disagree with many of the above comments regarding the proposed provision of cycle lanes on London Road. Whilst the current provision might not be top notch ideal in terms of width, it is surely better than the zero provision along most of the other roads leading Into and through Guildford.

    I too cycle through Guildford every day and, at the risk of appearing obsessive, am in the process of taking photos of the provision for cyclists at every entry and exit point into and out of Guildford, most of which are lamentable.

    In an ideal world with limitless resources we would have a perfectly formed cycle path along the London Road. But since these so-called “improvements” will probably exhaust the cycle-friendly budget for some years to come, why not tackle first the roads that have absolutely nothing at all?

    Let’s have a few dotted lines along the full length of Walnut Tree Close, instead of the haphazard 80 metre apology for a cycle track along the least dangerous part of the road. Let’s have something along the A320 Woking Road leading out of and into Guildford. Let’s have something along the Shalford Road for those not wanting a cross country, adventurous but not for the everyday cyclist track through woodland, leading precariously out to Bramley.

    How about something from Guildford to Godalming along the Portsmouth Road? How about something from Merrow up to Shere and on the return journey? And how about through the gyratory, past the Y and up the Farnham Road?

    I’ve probably missed a few but I think I’ve made some kind of a point. We don’t have enough money to do everything but please let’s look at some of the most dangerous areas that have absolutely nothing before a perfectly serviceable road is dig up at great inconvenience, for negligible improvement to Guildford’s overall cycling experience.

    Surrey County Council please talk to Guildford cyclists. Ask them where they would like you to start.

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