In a completely unsurprising statement, West Sussex County Council has finally officially announced the removal of the pop-up cycle lanes in Crawley.
The Government funded cycleways were aimed at providing a safer environment for people to cycle and – ‘to help reduce pressure on pubic transport’.
But the county council, rather than admit their removal is based on the lack of support and use of them from residents, appears to have justified their removal by claiming it is taking the measures as a result of added funding from the Government to the local public transportation network.
In a statement they said:
“When the Government funding was awarded and the cycleways’ construction started, the country was just emerging from the first national lockdown. However, since then, the Government has continued to provide additional funding for local public transport and traffic has significantly increased, so the pop-up cycle lanes are no longer needed for their original purpose.”
Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said:
“The schemes fulfilled their main objectives of offering people dedicated space to cycle rather than using public transport, or to leave the car at home and use their bike instead. This was in response to the unique set of circumstances during the first national lockdown, including schools and colleges having been closed for months and vastly-reduced public transport capacity.
“The extraordinary environment that led to their installation no longer exists even though we are about to enter into a new national lockdown: schools and colleges are open, traffic volumes have increased and, although public transport capacity is not back to pre-March levels, it is significantly improved.”
But it is the additional comments made about their usage that reveals something every single person who signed a recent petition was telling them from the start – that hardly anyone was using the cycleways.
Their statement added:
‘The impact of the schemes has been monitored during their operation. Feedback showed the majority of responses were opposed to the cycleways, citing increased congestion as a key issue. Automatic traffic counters also indicated relatively low usage by cyclists in comparison with other traffic.’
But now there are calls for an investigation into what some are calling a ‘debacle’ and if the county council is trying to justify their removal due to ‘government’ intervention and not because they were listening to their own residents then it questions how elected representatives are likely to perform at future elections.
‘Please come forward with information no matter how small’ Police appeal as E-Fit of attempted rape suspect released
Police have released an E-fit image of a man sought in connection with the attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl in Crawley.
Between 7pm and 7.15pm on Tuesday (March 9), the teenager was walking her dog along the pathway from Overdene Drive towards the tunnel that runs underneath the A23 and follows on to Quantock Close.
She turned around before the end of the tunnel and walked back along the path to Overdene Drive. As she did so, she crossed paths with a man who grabbed her and attempted to rape her.
The victim was able to break free and shout for help, causing the man to flee the scene in the direction of the tunnel. The victim is being supported by specialist officers.
The man was described as white, in his late teens to late 30s, 5’ 9” to 5’ 10”, with dark eyes, short dark coloured hair and short dark stubble. He spoke with an eastern European accent and was wearing dark clothing.
Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Allana Hughes said:
“We are appealing for anyone who recognises this man, or anyone who witnessed the sexual assault or any suspicious behaviour at this location around the time of the incident, to make contact with us.
“We would particularly like to hear from people who were in Quantock Close, The Dingle or surrounding roads around this time or anyone who may have dashcam, ring doorbell or CCTV footage which might have captured the suspect fleeing the scene.
“We have increased our patrols in the area and have been conducting house-to-house enquiries alongside investigating any potential lines of enquiry.
“Please come forward to us with any information which you think could help our investigation, no matter how small.”
Information can be passed to Sussex Police online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Stockbridge.
Alternatively, people can get in touch anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.