The Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver, wrote a very revealing article last week stating his intentions to reduce car usage to relieve road congestion by persuading people to start using more buses and bikes.
Given no new roads are now planned under the Farnham Infrastructure Programme (FIP) so the road capacity isn’t going to increase, but the number of people living in Farnham is going to increase, this would seem to make a lot of sense.
This year alone three new housing estates in Badshot Lea will become occupied, the second half of Brightwells’ apartments will be completed, and soon Coxbridge Farm estate, with 600 car-parking spaces, will be built. So other forms of transport are indeed required to cope.
However, the timescales and quality of what the (FIP) are proposing doesn’t seem to make sense. All three councils involved (town, borough and county) admitted there is a climate emergency. So how does their ten-year plan to introduce an effective alternative to increasing car usage, as stated in Tim Oliver’s article, align with a policy to reduce Surrey’s number one source of carbon emissions (ie road transport)?
Surely if we really are in an emergency, the first major north-south and east-west cycle routes and an improved bus service should be introduced quickly?
It is now more than three years since the Farnham pollution summit and we still don’t have a good-quality, high-level cycle network design.
The design that is going in front of councillors on March 24 for approval has gaps in the north-south and east-west cycle routes, leaving cyclists to take their chances on busy roads like The Borough as they cycle across town.
Only short sections of segregated cycle tracks are being proposed while more than 80 per cent of the planned routes are mixed car/cycle routes.
Picture this: a mother and a six-year-old wanting to leave their 4x4 at home and cycle to Potters Gate School twice a day from east Farnham would either have to cross the full width of Castle Street or cycle on The Borough, holding up traffic! An insane proposal but this is what is proposed in the current Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).
If you feel that bikes might hold up cars on the roads of the town centre and that segregated cycle tracks along side streets, off busy roads, are a better option then why not protest by cycling around the one-way system in Farnham between 10.30am and 1pm on Saturday, March 18?
A lot of other people will be doing the same thing and we can see how well the road system copes without safe segregated cycle tracks, which would have taken cyclist off the roads.
Farnham Cycle Campaign