Improvements for pedestrians & cyclists in Hastings?

From: Andy Evison, St Saviour’s Road, St Leonards-on-Sea

We have all heard the claims by both local and national government about the need for “greener travel” to improve air quality and health and to champion the reduction of vehicular traffic. The reality seems to be a very long way off as anti-cycling hostility seems to be growing, both here and nationally. The offences seem to range from cycling on cycle tracks, riding at more than a walking pace, not using the cycle tracks, using quiet roads or paths designated or proposed as part of a cycle route, cycling on, or crossing a pavement. Where a cyclist is seen to, or is thought not to have stopped at a red light, this seems to be enough evidence to claim that all cyclists ignore all regulations. The same sweeping generalisation is not applied to drivers joining the A259 at Warrior Square and in the town centre where there often vehicles are still crossing after the A259 lights are green.

Those who cycle on the road have all the extra hazards presented by poorly maintained surfaces as well as the usual scant consideration given by some drivers when overtaking or turning left, etc. Given the general antagonism I am not surprised that some resort to using pavements, although I agree they should not. Perhaps re-siting some of the street furniture such anchor points for dust bins etc to be less hazardous and give more space to pedestrians.

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There seem to be numerous anomalies where the flow of pedestrians could be improved and are within the control of our council. One of these is where Sturdee Place joins George Street. For a considerable time, certainly, in excess of a year, the gap between scaffolding and the buildings on the other side is probably less than 50cms. This forces single file walking and often causes congestion on both sides of this obstruction, No work seems to be progressing and it also seems perfectly feasible to reduce this bottleneck by requiring the company that commissioned this scaffolding to remove such an obvious issue whilst still permitting work on the hidden building. Why was this not done months ago? This also makes social distancing here almost impossible here, despite the council’s nearby posters!

It seems to me that it is time to be more imaginative about how we deal with increased pedestrian and cycle journeys as well as improving the general flow of traffic along the A259. We already have a bit of a joke of a “ring road”, so why not investigate making the town centre section a one-way flow and the other direction uses the “ring road”. This would allow the space for this part of town to have sperate cycle lane and plenty of pedestrian space on both sides. It may also help reduce the problems experienced by vehicles leaving the Rock-a-Nore car park.

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