Our response to the ESCC Local Cycling and Walking Consultation which ends 11th December 2020

Eastbourne Access Group consultation response to East Sussex Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan Public Consultation 2020.

We need your help please send your own individual response by 11 December 2020. Thank you

ESCC LCWIP 1 December 2020

We welcome the key overall strategic aim to be ‘inclusive and support people with physical and hidden disabilities’. It is imperative that full consideration is given to LTN 1/20 which the documents reference: higher quality cycling provision, as well as kerb or barrier and effective cycle lane segregation from pedestrians.

The LTN 1/20 revised requires that:

  • Shared use routes in streets with high pedestrian or cyclist flows should not be used.
  • Accessibility is a core design principle
  • Access audit must be completed and Public Sector Equality Duty fully complied with. This is part of the EQIA, but the access audit is a separate and additional requirement
  • Tactile paving must be provided for properly segregated cycling lanes where pedestrians are required to cross safely as per the guidance on the use of Tactile paving surfaces. Tactile paving must be provided at all crossing points.
  • Speed restrictions must be in place in areas where there are more pedestrians, such as humps in the cycle track to slow cyclists down as they approach crossing points for pedestrians.
  • There other requirements for surfacing and segregation between cyclists and pedestrians contained in LTN 1/20 must be followed.
  • Cycle lanes need to be wide enough and 3 metres best practice.

It is also vital for ESCC to keep up to date with tactile paving, ban on shared space/parking on pavements and inclusive design for streets updates which are found at:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-transport-strategy/the-inclusive-transport-strategy-summary-of-progress

The latest tactile paving guidance is:  TRL, Accessible Public Realm, published January 2020.

The Government positioning paper published in February 2020 stated that we must maintain and build walking numbers whilst dramatically raising cycling trips. The government document further stated that pedestrian walking space should not be taken or compromised in order to deliver new cycling schemes. A government moratorium on shared spaces has been put in place.

Appendix 3 EQIA

This needs to specifically address needs of those with sensory, not just physical disabilities and hidden impairments. The figures used for this EQIA are out of date (census 2011) and should not be used. The Equality impact assessment framework gives a review date of April 2020 and therefore the figures should be updated.  East Sussex recent figures are available to include. 

The Equality Impact assessment mitigation needs to be enhanced: ‘Mitigation- ESCC will raise awareness of inclusive design with East Sussex Highways’.  ESCC Highways are not committed to inclusive design as a corporate approach and this needs to radically change.  ESCC must take the lead on a corporate equalities approach to inclusive design and practice. It is essential that this mitigation to raise awareness with Highways is monitored by the LCWIP implementation board and challenged robustly. Disabled people need positive reassurance and commitment from ESCC given that there are significant problems already raised with ESCC with regard to lack of equality and inclusivity in the re-development of Eastbourne town centre.  We now lack trust as a disabled community that the provisions encompassed within the Equality and Human Rights Acts will be considered in any planning decisions, let alone be adhered to.

Safety:  Appendix 1 of the LCWIP documentation

We endorse the approach:

‘Safety- the impact of motor traffic on pedestrian and cycle routes should be reduced by exclusion or speed reducing features’…

Infrastructure should be designed such that pedestrians and cyclists are not required to undertake complex manoeuvres/diversions or be exposed to poor surfaces’.

It has proved impossible to stop cyclists speeding either on road or on pavements. Public Space Protection Orders will need to be actively considered. When assessing possible cycle routes on existing roads there should be consideration given to removing the verges to become part of the cycle route, as the required width is 3 metres.

In Appendix 1- safety: exclusion or speed reducing features – what is the actual proposal? Speed reducing: Humps in the road even when going slow cause pain to chronic pain sufferers of which there are many and can also be disturbing for blind, partially sighted people and their support animals when travelling by vehicles. It is our experience that ESCC cannot attend to existing road and pavement surfaces’ maintenance, let alone maintain new cycle tracks.

Appendix 5D- Options 8.10.and 11 look dangerous to the extreme given the existing roads layouts. 

Appendix 5N

3 metre width taken out of roads for cycle tracks especially if both sides of the road are used would negate the majority of roads for 2 way traffic and would cause serious congestion and high pollution levels at peak times  (especially during the holiday season) which in normal times in Eastbourne runs from March to December. Cycle tracks would need to be separated, verges used in their creation, and made compulsory to have orderly traffic flow. Eastbourne is a holiday town and we need holiday makers to return and not be put off by congestion and pollution problems because the authorities involved have done a poor job.

We have the following further comments and concerns to raise:

  • The only core walking recommendation is Eastbourne town centre- this needs to be pedestrian only and enforced as otherwise it will not be a core walking area.
  • It is disappointing that the seafront is not designated core walking space. This potentially presents serious access and safety barriers for disabled people. Eastbourne seafront promenade should be retained with no further space lost to “full shared space”.

Key walking areas should be:

  • Inclusive
  • Be free from pavement parking
  • Should exclude cyclists and e scooters
  • Have smooth safe walking surfaces
  • Provide a step free network, i.e. have an integrated network of dropped kerbs
  • Have consistent, inclusive and accessible way finding guidance.

We note that ESCC have designated key walking areas as well as the town centre core walking space.

Dropped kerbs and cycle lanes

The ESCC dropped kerb policy is welcome, however it is resource driven and subject to a number of provisos which need to be reviewed to ensure its efficacy. ESCC should allocate a sum of money from the walking and cycling fund to repair key walking space pavements and dropped kerb networks -the allocated monies should not be exclusive to cycling. 

Crossing points will prove difficult to deal with as all classes of disabled people and support animals will have to cross both cycle and road lanes to traverse to the opposite side. This would appear to discriminate against all pedestrians in its application as a policy.

Enforcement of dropped kerbs

Sussex police have refused to do this and NSL are insufficient in numbers to carry out these duties. Enforcement is currently not being carried out in Eastbourne despite NSL being advised of the situation and confirming that they do deal with obstruction including parking within 10 metres of a corner.

Cycling

It is the most dangerous proposal ever to allow cycles in bus lanes. This should never be permitted. Is there provision for possible inclusion of E scooters within cycle parking proposals?

Funding

There is no definite plan shown?. Unless funding comes from central government council taxpayers the majority of whom will not necessarily take advantage of cycle tracks will be left to foot the bill. Compulsory registration of cyclists for a fee could help towards the costs.

Appendix 8

Although Bikeability is made reference to proposals for Active Access for disabled and older people are lacking. For example Sports organisations like Defiant sports and sports centres who cater for disabled and older people with facilities for health and wellbeing have been left out of these appraisals.

In conclusion

We are not anti provision for cyclists but the reservations in our above response must be taken into consideration before any decision is made to implement proposals. 

We urge ESCC to avoid direct and indirect discrimination in respect of the Government’s relevant equalities requirements as they are updated, the Public Sector Equality Duty and also crucially in respect of sections 20/21 of the Equality Act which require reasonable adjustments and alterations to policies or practices to be made where access is difficult or unsafe for disabled people.  The Equality Act also enshrines a legal duty to treat disabled people more favourably if by doing so this will remove disadvantage and avoid exclusion.  This positive action duty does not apply to other protected characteristics under the Act and only applies where disabled people would otherwise experience less favourable treatment or face substantial disadvantage. The LCWIP is a substantial policy which must be comprehensively assessed both in its design and implementation and any barriers for disabled people living with any physical, sensory, cognitive or learning impairment removed, or at least altered in order to minimize any adverse impact upon disabled young people, children and adults.

Brian Day, Liz Trethewey, co-chairs, Eastbourne Access group