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Letter: We Must Have Cycle and Pedestrian Schemes in an Attractive Guildford

Published on: 10 Feb, 2023
Updated on: 10 Feb, 2023

Cycling is hard without the infrastructure.

From Austin Bell

In response to Pushing Pedals: London Road Cycle Lanes – We Must Find a Way

I really hope this scheme is not unduly delayed, although my experience of government-funded projects is that once deadlines for spending the money are missed it is commonplace for funding to be diverted elsewhere.

My 17-year-old son was knocked off his bike in the cycle lane on nearby Boxgrove Road last March. Despite the driver admitting fault, no action was taken by the police. There is,  no deterrent, of any kind, for drivers either deliberately or accidentally driving too close to cyclists, which can cause injury or worse.

As a teenage boy, my son has not been unduly put off cycling, although he will often use the pavement instead when it is busy.

I commute by bike between my home and the station every day. I’m used to taking the risks on the road but I’m probably representative of a male demographic who has got used to the risk. That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

If we want to encourage people out of their cars on to bicycles, encourage people who are not prepared to “take the risk” on the roads, older generations, women who are less likely to cycle, and parents to let their children out on bikes, then it has to be dedicated and separate infrastructure.

Yes, there will be short-term disruption whilst this project is implemented, but in the medium- to long-term this type of infrastructure takes cars off the road network making it easier for those that need to use a car to do so.

The plan Surrey County Council has put forward is a good one. Guildford is gridlocked much of the time. There is a constant demand for more housing in and around the town so traffic is only ever going to get worse.

If we are to make the town and its suburbs more attractive, reduce air pollution and create a more healthy and sustainable place then we need schemes like this to go ahead and they need to be a part of a strategic cycle network in and around the town.

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Responses to Letter: We Must Have Cycle and Pedestrian Schemes in an Attractive Guildford

  1. Barry Williams Reply

    February 10, 2023 at 10:54 am

    Your readers and our local authorities/councillors may be interested to know that new funds are being released from central government through the Department for Transport.

    Schools, high streets and main roads will benefit from improved crossings and junctions to support walking and cycling, reduce emissions and boost local economies, thanks to a £200 million fund announced on February 6.

    Local authorities in England can apply for funding to make improvements to enable people to choose active travel options rather than use the car, Schemes could include:

    – creating more paths in rural areas

    – developing safer routes for children to walk to school

    – improved safety at junctions for people walking and cycling

    See more details on weblink

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 10, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    I totally agree cycle lanes where needed must be provided but they must be safe.

    London Road cycle lane proposals are unworkable and are unsafe. Traffic during peak periods will not be able to allow the safe 1.5m clearance when passing cyclists in the cycle lanes that the recent Highway Code changes require. It seems to me that SCC has failed to carry out a proper Road Safety Audit.

    I have suggested how cycle lanes could be provided in the town but where road space is limited, space for cycle lanes could only be created by new infrastructure taking some traffic away from these areas to make room for them.

    Where making room is not possible, speed limits should be reduced to 20mph so that competent cyclists can ride on the road lane if they so wish. I have suggested this for London Road where cycle lanes should continue to be marked by broken white lines and speed limit reduced to 20mph.

    Please see my suggestions in:

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    February 10, 2023 at 2:50 pm

    So it’s Boxgrove road that needs the cycle lane not London road. Noting SCC has now accepted in a email the London Road is a main arterial road into Guildford not an urban estate road as suggested by many supporters of this ill designed and poorly thought through ….on a technical level scheme.

    Trying to insert a 2023 scheme into a 1000 year old road layout is based on irrational principles

  4. David Noster Reply

    February 12, 2023 at 9:59 am

    If nothing else, the London Rodd debacle demonstrated yet again that SCC and GBC in no way, shape or form have even the slightest hint of the competence – or the will – to improve the sustainable transport infrastructure in and around Guildford, as they have demonstrated for decades. If anything is to improve, it needs to head the way of the equally dreadful Planning Department, be put in special measures and have solutions dictated from above.

    If this doesn’t happen, they will simply continue to waste more and more taxpayers’ money commissioning worthless surveys and reports, the recommendations of which they totally and utterly fail to implement time and time again.

    Editor’s comment: SCC has the responsibility for highways.

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