During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic there is a need to provide emergency measures to help people get to work as safely as possible. With people urged not to use public transport and the longstanding Royal Hospital parking problems, a short term closure of Crow Lane made sense. I also want us to do what we can to make Chesterfield cycle friendly.
However, no long term decisions about issues as crucial as a road closure should take place without a full consultation, and so I am disappointed that the County Council seem to have unilaterally made the decision to close the road for 18 months, without any public consultation and without even consulting me or the local councillors for the area.
I have now written to Derbyshire County Council to ask for clarity on what the long-term plans are, to challenge a closure of Crow Lane beyond the 22nd June 2020, and clarify how the impact of the temporary road closure is being assessed.
The Council must fully consult with people in Brimington Common before implementing this on a long term basis.
We do need to get more people cycling to work and I understand that trying to bike up Hady Hill to the hospital or along the narrow and blind bends on Crow Lane is dangerous.
Closing off Crow Lane in the long-term may increase the number of staff cycling to the Hospital, but could create long queues on other roads, increasing commuting times and meaning cars and Ambulances stuck in traffic which is already too congested. The long-term solution to increasing cycling to work is to improve cycling infrastructure rather than closing off roads that are vital to many residents.
I have recently written to the Transport Secretary urging the Government to provide ring-fenced funding for local authorities so that we can build the cycling infrastructure needed. Creating division between local motorists and cyclists is not the answer. I want to see more people cycling or walking to work, but done through improving roads, not closing them.