Call for two-way cycle route in Horsham’s Carfax

Allowing two-way, or contraflow, cycling in the Carfax has been a long-term goal of many people – not just the cycle forum.

Last year, in response to the pandemic, the Government called on councils to make ‘swift and significant’ changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.

West Sussex County Council, in its Walking and Cycling Strategy, set itself the goal of making walking and cycling ‘the natural choice for shorter journeys’, and Horsham District Council also has an objective to ‘increase levels of cycling and walking for utility journeys’.

Making local journeys without using a car has many benefits for everyone: it’s healthy, it’s popular (survey after survey shows most people in the UK would like to be able to travel more easily without a car), it reduces congestion – and fewer car journeys means less air pollution.

Shopping by bike in Gouda market square. (picture credit: Peter Silburn)

However, for cycling to be a realistic option for people in Horsham it’s essential to be able to cycle both to and through the town centre. People also need to be able to park their bikes near to where they want to shop.

The Carfax is already a 20mph zone and vehicle speeds and traffic flows are both low, making it suitable for cycles to share space with motor traffic without the need for a segregated cycle lane.

The two main routes into the Carfax from the north – via either Medwin Walk or Chart Way/Copnall Way – are not easy on a bike.

For the most part, only simple measures such as road markings and signage would be needed to rectify this, although at the corner by the Crown pub some physical separation (either by bollards or wands) would give protection to southbound cyclists from buses turning the corner.

Cycle contraflows already operate successfully all over the world, including much closer to home on Park Terrace East.

If you can travel in one direction you obviously need to be able to travel the other way to get back!

As lockdown restrictions ease, we need to avoid having increasing numbers of cars on the road, with the lethal levels of air pollution, inactivity and road danger that will bring. Reducing transport emissions is essential if we are to tackle the climate crisis.

Enabling people to cycle will bring more people into the town centre – to shop, for work and for leisure.

It’s really quite simple: if we don’t make it convenient and safe for people to ride bikes then we won’t get more people cycling.