Could there be an end to Eastbourne’s congestion?

Eastbourne is one of the most car-dependent towns in the southeast. The reason? The alternatives to driving a car in Eastbourne just don’t meet the needs of most people. Too many cars on the road, and too many cars parked alongside the road, legally and illegally, lead to unsafe road conditions for cyclists and pedestrians. There are less than a handful of safe cycle paths. Traffic congestion leads to unpleasant and dangerous levels of pollution, which deter people from walking or cycling along our streets.

There are too few buses for them to be a convenient alternative to driving.  Commuters and school children cannot rely on buses as they are too often delayed by traffic jams during busy times. Laying on more services is not cost-effective unless more people use buses. People won’t use buses unless there are more services and buses run to time … and so the cycle continues.

The lack of alternatives to cars leads to more people driving cars whether they want to, or need to. Congestion leads to more congestion … and so the cycle continues.

Eastbourne needs radical changes to end the cycle of congestion. Giving people safe, reliable alternatives to driving a car will reduce congestion so that those who need to drive a car, can and those that want to walk, cycle, or take a bus, can make those choices.

Eastbourne now has an opportunity to make changes. East Sussex County Council has put forward a bus improvement plan, with funding to match. Eastbourne has waited a long time for this level of investment in our transport infrastructure and if we don’t take it up, we lose the funds.

The East Sussex Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) includes a set of Bus Priority Measures which is open for consultation until 25 September 2023. You have until then to show your support for the proposed changes. So please act now.

About the proposed changes

OK they are not perfect, but these things rarely are at first and the consultation allows us to offer suggestions for improvements. The aims of the BSIP are all heading in the right direction:

  • Improve the reliability and punctuality of bus services and explore methods to make bus services more accessible.
  • Encourage an increase in the proportion of people travelling by bus.
  • Enhance the bus network, reducing journey times and improving reliability and punctuality of bus services.
  • Increase bus usage across the county by building a bus network that meets everyone’s needs.
  • Complement and support wider transport investment across the country.

The aim of the bus priority measures is to make bus journeys quicker, more efficient and reliable. Through introducing dedicated spaces for walking and cycling, ESCC also want to improve the safety, convenience and attractiveness of these journeys, and help encourage more people to travel on foot, by bike, and use the bus.What’s not to like?

If you want to attend one of the public consultation in-person events on 16th September from 09:30-13:30  at The Foundry (inside The Beacon shopping centre), Eastbourne, BN21 3NW. Add this event to your calendar (.ics)

Could there be an end to Eastbourne’s congestion? It’s in your power. Give your broad support to these proposed changes and give our councillors the confidence to make the decisions we need them to make.

Jill Shacklock

cartton of traffic jam with children cycling over the roofs of cars. two women are walking along the pavement. One is saying to the other "isn't it nice to see children cycling to school?"