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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.

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Drug use and breach of guidelines – the reason Crawley Police increased their presence across Maidenbower Park

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Photo: @Crawley_Police

Crawley Police increased their presence across Maidenbower Park after receiving reports of Anti Social Behaviour.

The reports included use of Class B drugs being taken within the park.

What constitutes antisocial behaviour?

There are three main categories for antisocial behaviour, depending on how many people are affected:

  • Personal antisocial behaviour is when a person targets a specific individual or group.
  • Nuisance antisocial behaviour is when a person causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community.
  • Environmental antisocial behaviour is when a person’s actions affect the wider environment, such as public spaces or buildings.

Sussex Police confirmed they are working with Crawley Borough council to deal with any reports of on going anti social behaviour at Maidenbower Park.

In a statement Crawley Police said:

“These reports are mainly focused on but are not limited to groups congregating in breach of previous Covid-19 guidelines and the use of Class B drugs in the park.”

The public are encouraged to continue to report any new incidents to Sussex Police via 101 or the Sussex Police internet reporting system. If the matter is an emergency then please ring 999

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