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Council wants to add temporary cycleways through Crawley, but will it really encourage new cyclists?

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West Sussex County Council is proposing 21km of temporary cycleways across West Sussex.

The proposal includes routes through Crawley which include from Three Bridges to Manor Royal in Crawley, linking to the NCN21 and Balcombe Road to Town Centre (via Three Bridges).

According to the council the proposals for Crawley are all about improving continuity of existing cycle provision by adding missing links.  They also say the proposal would look to improve existing cycle facilities through the reallocation of carriageway space.

The idea is to promote cycling as a real replacement for journeys in areas, which they say were, until the COVID-19 crisis, heavily reliant on public transport.

If accepted, the schemes would involve a combination of temporary traffic management, such as cones and signing, light segregation using ‘traffic wands’, planters, water-filled barriers, road markings and temporary 20mph speed limits.

But will this really encourage new people to start cycling or is this just another dream scenaraio for hard fast cyclists who hate motorists?

Looking at the route proposed through Crawley it is only allowing a more connected route from the main NCN21 (let’s call it the M25 of cycle paths up and down and scratching the edge east of Crawley).

So it will allow those from the north and south to more easily and safely navigate their way to…well…Manor Royal and the Town Centre…

…that’s it…

And who would do this?

You only have to take a look at traffic levels in the towns main industrial area, Manor Royal (pre-COVID-19). Traffic would queue in all directions, car parks would over-flow, so there is a real need to try to encourage people to get out of their cars.

So the last thing Manor Royal workers need are more restrictions as they travel through the area such as cones and slower speed limits

Also, when you take a look at where these workers are coming from, it is actually much further away than a 20 min cycle ride would allow.

Add into the mix weather conditions and the necessity of carrying bags and other essentials to work.

Then there is the school run and the complexities around extra cycling gear, never mind the cost of new bikes – something there is supposed to be a scheme about at the recycling centre but is in-fact a private money making venture (next time you are there take a look and ask for details and you will see for yourself).

Cycling is a great way to stay fit and healthy. It is a superb way to look after the environment. It is fun and has no real additional costs once you have your bike and helmet. But one thing is is not and never will be, is more practical than driving or taking public transport.

Herein lies the problem and truth be told, no number of extra kilometres of cycleways, temporary or not, is going to increase the number of people using it enough to make it a permanent feature.

Sorry…it just isn’t.

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Poppy Appeal 2020

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In his article this week, Crawley MP Henry Smith looks to raise awareness of the importance of continuing support for the Royal British Legion:

Throughout the course of this year we have seen so many aspects of day-to-day life affected by COVID-19, with few being more poignant than the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

With the pandemic impacting some of the more traditional and familiar ways we remember, I am keen to raise awareness of how we can continue to support the Royal British Legion in a safe and socially distant manner.

  • Poppies in the Post: The Royal British Legion’s website allows you to request 20 poppies free of charge, which can be distributed to friends and neighbours. Many of the volunteers who usually distribute more than 40 million poppies annually are unable to do so this year, so we are being asked to step in to support the Armed Forces community and ensure their contribution to our country is not forgotten. Please remember to make a donation to the Royal British Legion after requesting your poppies.
  • Printable Poppy: Unfortunately, large scale gatherings at the Cenotaph in London, at memorials across Crawley and around the country to pay our respects will be restricted to a smaller number of representatives. The Royal British Legion have therefore launched the Printable Poppy – an A4 poster which can be displayed at home, perhaps in the front window – for us to show our support.
  • My Poppy Run: A further consequence of COVID-19 are the changes to the My Poppy Run events which are usually held in October and November. Due to social distancing, these are taking place virtually, with participants being able to run, jog or walk while raising money.
  • Visit the local supermarket: The Royal British Legion have confirmed that supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda, in addition to online retailers such as Amazon and eBay, as well as Lloyds Bank and Santander are supporting the 2020 Poppy Appeal. Each location has a number of cashless donation options, and Morrisons and Sainsbury’s offer customers an option to add a donation to their shopping bill.
  • Poppy Shop: With products ranging from poppy pins and jewellery, to clothing, stationery and homeware, 100 per cent of profits from the Poppy Shop go towards the Royal British Legion’s work to support the Armed Forces community.
  • Donate online or by text: The Legion’s website allows supporters to make a donation online, or by sending a text message to donate £2, £5 or £10.

While the ways our country reflects and remembers will undoubtedly feel different, the message remains the same. The sense of duty of all in the Armed Forces community will never be forgotten.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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