Driving The Car Is Not The Only Answer

Bespoke member Paul Humphreys has a guest column in the Eastbourne Herald this week. Here are his thoughts…

Written By Paul Humphreys – Bespoke and Cycle East Sussex

It was in the 1960s that the UK town planners decided to move people off the the streets and give the roads over to the car. Pedestrians could use parks, shopping centres and pavements, but to get around they should drive.

Public information adverts on the TV pushed this message and planners designed ring roads and flyovers that further segregated communities.

The reality of everyone driving alone, in their car, is that it is the least efficient use of the road. Cars take up space both when parked and when driven.

The problem is that there is no more space for new roads in Eastbourne, but the local population is set to increase by 10-15 percent. If everyone exercises their choice to drive and park where and when they want then the roads will become more congested.

The East Sussex Transport Plan states that they can only make minor improvements to the roads in town, but this will not offset the extra volume of traffic.

So one alternative supported by the Government and the local councils is to encourage sustainable transport. This would improve buses, trains, cycling and pedestrians. Such as te proposed bus corridor between Hailsham and Eastbourne. Similar to the A259 into Brighton where half the road is now a segregated bus lane with a shared space for bikes and pedestrians along side.

It is now quicker at peak times to go on the bus than by car.

In terms of the railway, it is unclear why the Willingdon Chord is not more popular. Why should those who do not want to stop at Eastbourne have an additional 20 minutes on their journey? A station on the Chord near Polegate, with a light railway stopping at more places on the way to Eastbourne would reduce the number of passengers who drive into the town and park al day in the local streets. It may even help with Hampden Park, where the railway crossing causes gridlock for much of the day.

Far from encouraging everyone to come into Eastbourne, the council should be concentrating on those who need to be in town and might spend money whilst there.

We have handed over the roads to cars for the last fifty years, and now perhaps we need to support alternatives.