King’s Road, Horsham. A typical Horsham ‘Cycle Route’. The post carries a nice blue sign with a bicycle picture on it.
West Sussex County Council’s newly published Transport Plan 2011-2026 admits that, in the Horsham district,
The current provision of pedestrian and cycling facilities throughout the District, and in particular within Horsham, are not sufficient to support and maintain sustainable travel. This is because much of the network is disjointed and suffers from inadequate signing, safe crossing points and poor surfacing.
The current provision can’t even support sustainable travel? Oh dear.
Well, at least they are being honest. They expect that walking and cycling could, quite possibly, decline here, as things stand.
Now, for a County Council that is genuinely concerned about being ‘sustainable’, this kind of admission would be a rather large problem. We would expect to see proposals in the Transport Plan about actual improvements of those facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, that make them safe, usable and well-connected, to get more journeys in Horsham District made by sustainable means.
A bit more Dutch, in other words.
But West Sussex County Council is not such a Council. In their very own transport plan, they admit that they are only concerned with
Maintaining or increasing the levels of cycling in West Sussex
Now, for Horsham, ‘maintaining’ means keeping levels of cycling hovering around a miserable 1% of all journeys.
So it’s not surprising, therefore, that of the twenty proposed ‘aims’ for Horsham’s Implementation Plan, we see only one proposal that explicitly mentions cycling, namely
Working with the local community and interest groups to identify priorities and encourage sustainable travel by improving the cycle and pedestrian network. This may include: new or improved cycle and pedestrian routes; signing; changes to speed limits; cycle parking; repairing and maintaing surfaces.
Given that West Sussex County Council’s plans for cycling are so miserably unambitious, concerned only with a vague statement that pledges interest in ‘maintaining’ the currently piss-poor levels of cycling in the county, I’m not holding out much hope for those ‘new and improved’ routes.