Man’s safety concerns over Hastings Alexandra Park cycle path plan
A Hastings resident has expressed his concerns about plans for a cycle path to run alongside the footpath in Alexandra Park.
East Sussex County Council will be converting existing footpath in the park into a pedestrian and cycle path. The cycle path is expected to open early next year.
The plan forms part of the council’s Capital Programme for Transport Improvements and ‘is designed to be fully-accessible for all park users’, the council said.
Once the path is opened, Hastings Borough Council will monitor and enforce the route.
David Taylor, a Hastings resident, said the plans would lead to the ‘unwarranted intrusion of cycles’.
He added: “The average width of the path is 9 feet. I would estimate that the cycle track would need at least three feet of that width, leaving a very limited area for safe walking.
“All being well, we are now starting to exit the horrors of the pandemic. In the hope that we are on the cusp of a beautiful summer, can’t the families with small children, people exercising their dogs, and the elderly taking a leisurely stroll, be protected from the unwarranted intrusion of cycles moving irresponsibly at unregulated speeds?
“There is a blind man who enjoys the park as he tentatively makes his way with his white stick gently sweeping the area in front of him to ensure safe passage. Can we begin to imagine how vulnerable people of this nature will be unfairly terrorised?”
East Sussex County Council said an assessment was carried out in February 2018 to ensure the new path did not discriminate against users, and a safety review was also conducted to identify potential risks.
A spokesman said: “The County Council has a responsibility to ensure any highway proposals, such as pedestrian and cycle routes, are safe for all users and that their introduction does not discriminate against users, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.
“An Equalities Impact Assessment was undertaken in February 2018 to assess the potential impact of cycling through the park on other users and formed part of the overall scheme documentation for the Lead Member for Transport and Environment at their decision-making meeting in June 2018.
“In addition, as part of the design process, an independent safety review was conducted to identify potential risks in the proposed design so that these risks could be mitigated. A post construction Safety Audit will also be carried out once the cycle route is completed.
“Not all the walkways in the park will be available for cycling and a specified route will be designated for use by cyclists. Once the scheme comes into effect, a Code of Conduct will be promoted by Hastings Borough Council who will work with local cycle groups to promote a self-management approach to cycling and to encourage everyone using the park to take account of and respect each other’s needs.”
A spokesman for Hastings Borough Council added: “As part of their Capital Programme for Transport Improvements East Sussex County Council has set out plans to convert the existing footpath in Alexandra Park into a pedestrian and cycle path.
“The route has been subject to a detailed design safety audit to ensure it is safe for all users of the park and is also designed to be fully accessible for all park users. Hastings Borough Council will monitor and enforce the route as appropriate.
“Hastings Borough Council undertook an extensive consultation on the proposed cycle route and all feedback was taken into consideration with Hastings Borough Council agreeing to the route through Alexandra Park. We expect the cycle path to open early next year.”