Worthing and Shoreham's pop-up Covid cycle lanes to be removed

Controversial cycle lanes installed in Worthing, Shoreham and across West Sussex are set to be removed.

Pop-up cycle lanes were set up along Worthing's A24 Broadwater Road and Upper Shoreham Road in Shoreham during the summer as the Government looked to capitalise on an increase in cycling during the summer lockdown and move people away from public transport.

But the response to the lanes was overwhelmingly negative, particularly those in Worthing which brought congestion to Worthing town centre, potentially damaged economic recovery according to some traders and were rarely seen with the number of cyclists needed to make them viable.

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Set up by West Sussex County Council, the lanes were funded entirely by the Government. According to the county council, additional funding from the Government for public transport has been significantly increased, meaning the lanes are 'no longer needed'.

Worthing's A24 cycle lane

Roger Elkins, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “The schemes fulfilled their main objectives of offering people dedicated space to cycle rather than using public transport, or to leave the car at home and use their bike instead. This was in response to the unique set of circumstances during the first national lockdown, including schools and colleges having been closed for months and vastly-reduced public transport capacity.

“The extraordinary environment that led to their installation no longer exists even though we are about to enter into a new national lockdown: schools and colleges are open, traffic volumes have increased and, although public transport capacity is not back to pre-March levels, it is significantly improved.”

The impact of the schemes has been monitored during their operation, according to a county council spokesman.

Feedback showed the majority of responses were opposed to the cycleways, he added citing increased congestion as a key issue. Automatic traffic counters also indicated relatively low usage by cyclists in comparison with other traffic.

Lanes in Crawley, East Grinstead, Horsham and Chichester will also be removed.

Roger added: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time and effort to provide us with feedback for the Crawley, East Grinstead, Horsham, Shoreham and Worthing cycleway surveys.

“We remain committed to our long-standing, walking and cycling strategy with all the permanent benefits this will bring for active and sustainable travel. Recognising that we have to work closely with local communities, we have a continued ambition to support investment in sustainable and active travel and the data gathered and the experience of providing these cycleways will help us when delivering future schemes.”