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Richmond House-Transport Assessments

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Transport Assessments which fail the public by putting people at risk
This article was written in response to the Transport Assessment submitted in support of the first Richmond House proposal.

The second proposal (BH2013/02838), which is currently the subject of an appeal against refusal, offers no better assurances about the safety of the proposed pre-university students who would have unsatisfactory access on the junction of a feed road to an industrial estate and a service road to Sainsbury.

Doubts must remain over the wisdom of transport arrangements which add to the number of cyclists in Hollingdean Road and on a dangerous stretch of Lewes Road.
The Sussex Police have advised that there are a high number of collisions in the vicinity of the application site, particularly in and around the Vogue Gyratory. 

Richmond House
Not the place for cyclists to mount or dismount

The Transport Assessment submitted in support of the proposed Richmond House development, serves its client (the developer), but falls short of its duty to the public.

Unsafe access for pedestrians with or without 186 bicycles

Proposal BH2013/00197 caters for its prospective tenants by providing 186 cycle spaces, which would access the proposed Hughes Road building via the mouth of an industrial estate and at the junction of the truck/van service road to & from Lewes Road Sainsbury.
Richmond House
Review the developer's drawings: i.e. Sainsbury service road (79 proposed windows) & D'Aubigny Rd (45 proposed windows).

Given the very limited amount of space at Hughes Road entrance to the proposed 129-room 5-storey building, this access for pedestrians & cyclists so close to a lorry service road would be inappropriate. It would only need a small group of pedestrians or cyclists to decide to congregate at this entrance before an obstruction could occur to large vehicles delivering either to supermarket or the industrial estate. Conceding the "principle of residential development" on an industrial estate, both devalues the site's intended use and is asking for trouble.

Insufficient pedestrian space The Hughes Road accesses to the 5-storey building, one 'primary access' and two small fire accesses (for emergency use only), lack the necessary outdoor amenity space for 129+ occupants. On the SE elevation, nearly all the frontage or streetscape is a section of service road which needs to be kept clear of pedestrians or cyclists to allow the safe movement of large delivery trucks (serving the supermarket) and vans (delivering from the supermarket to Internet food shoppers until late into the evening).

Road Safety - many collisions The Transport Assessment in support of BH2013/00197 contains pages of data, but on the topic of ROAD SAFETY, publication and analysis of data which the police are ready to offer is carefully avoided.

See Page 10 section 5 of Transport Assessment where responsible planning officers would hope to find analysis of the very topic of greatest interests to parents who deliver their sons/daughters or daughter (+ bicycle) to their places of abode at the start of the academic year. 

We learn in section 5.1 that The Sussex Police have advised that there are a high number of collisions in the vicinity of the application site, particularly in and around the Vogue Gyratory.
The missing "Accident analysis" I find it unaccepable that a Transport Assessment which analyses just about every movement of every type of transport in the area around the clock, does not want to explore the data for accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists in the vicinity of a development which would add so many pedestrians and cyclists to the comings and goings along Hollingdean Road and in the Vogue Gyratory and Lewes Road areas.

Section 5.2 of this otherwise very thorough Transport Assessment simply states under the heading of "Accident Analysis" that 5.2 No further analysis of the data has been considered as the upgrade to the Vogue Gyratory that is part of the LSTF works will completely redesign layout of the road network and thus mitigate for the existing collision statistics.
"Could do better"............ The large number of accidents occuring at The Vogue Gyratory (and the congested roads which lead off it) relate in part to the shortcomings of previous transport planners and the road schemes they have come up with. However, poor planning isn't the only reason for some of the worst accident statistics in the city.

.......or is it the volume of traffic? Transport consultants, who write reports for developers, have often had previous experience working in Council transport planning departments. They know that they are not going to be followed in these posts by magicians.

Equally, they understand that it is both the volume of road & pavement users and the incompatibility of different types of transport (mixing heavy waste removal trucks and buses with pedestrians and pedal cycles) which leads to serious and fatal accidents. Making a finite space serve too many uses is at the heart of the problem.

Should any responsible person be supporting a proposal which crams more users into a dangerous space, made dangerous partly by bad planning, but largely because of the volume of users?

Trust the future : ignore the facts Section 5.3 of the Transport Assessment concludes: 5.3 While these have been a number of collisions in the vicinity of the site there is little merit in evaluating them as the layout of the Vogue Gyratory and roads in the vicinity of the site will be redesigned with the view to mitigating the design faults that currently contribute to the collisions statistics. Every responsible resident would like The Lewes Road scheme to deliver greater safety to cyclists and pedestrians. Attempts to correct previous transport planners' mistakes as well as to provide for the increasing volume of traffic should be applauded.

However, a responsible Transport Assessment should draw its analysis from the current planning context.

Hiding behind an act of faith Ducking the additional road safety risks resulting from an unsuitable development proposal by hiding behind "an act of faith", may flatter the transport planners and politicians who are trying to do better than their predecessors, but this departs from the evidenced-based approach used in the rest of the Transport Assessment.

Perhaps we do have a new generation of very talented road scheme designers whose ingenuity can mitigate against all the well documented risks to cyclists in the vicinity of the site. BUT LET'S SAMPLE EVIDENCE, not place ourselves in the future in order to duck road safety assessments.

Mass cycling at an accident blackspot? When fatalities or serious injuries occur, relatives will want to know why. So before prescribing mass cycling out of the Hughes Road entrance onto the industrial estate, along Hollingdean Road to The Vogue Gyratory, please let all of us know how many accidents occur in this area, what type of vehicles are involved and how they are caused. The police already have this data, and transport consultants probably have it too, but don't always want to use it.
This page was last updated by Ted on 13-Feb-2019
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