Community groups Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets have drawn up a project proposal to reduce traffic in central Lewes. Download the full proposal – and let us know what you think.

Cycle Lewes (CL) and Lewes Living Streets (LLS) have been working together for a number of years, sharing a vision for a town that supports walking and cycling, reduces through traffic, and enables people to use their cars less. Now they’ve published their initial proposal for a project to help make Lewes a ‘low traffic town’.

Low traffic neighbourhoods

So what does that mean? Sustainable transport charity Sustrans defines a ‘low traffic neighbourhood’ (LTN) as a scheme where motor vehicle traffic in residential streets is greatly reduced by minimising vehicles using the streets to get to another destination while still giving private vehicles easy access to homes and businesses without driving directly through the neighbourhood. This, says Sustrans, opens up networks of streets so people can safely travel on foot, bicycle, by wheeling or by bus.

The CL-LLS project proposal for Lewes is ambitious in that it aims not simply to tackle purely residential streets but to create low traffic solutions for Lewes High Street itself. The proposals are still at an early stage – and are seeking the bulk of the £22,400 funding required to determine and draw up ‘shovel ready’ traffic/transport solutions for Lewes High Street.

Surveying shopping and traffic habits

Once funding is in place, the first step, say CL-LLS, will be a shopping survey to understand how people get to the High Street (car, bus, walk, bus, train etc), how frequently they come and how much they spend. And if they come by car, where do they park.

Alongside this, a traffic survey is also planned. This would look to understand motor traffic movements through Lewes High Street. Where is it coming in and going out? How much is ‘through traffic’ (not stopping) and could be diverted from the town?

Engaging everyone in Lewes

Alongside bringing in outside experts, CL-LLS say they are keen to use people with expertise within the town in planning, highway design and with knowledge of good practice elsewhere. And, of course, community engagement is key: CL-LLS aim to involve as many residents, businesses and organisations across town as possible to explore options and agree on solutions.

Transition Town Lewes has been invited onto the advisory board for the project. We think the project offers a promising opportunity to tackle the heavy traffic that (especially in non-Covid 19 times) has become a characteristic of our town. But we’re keen to keep TTL supporters involved and know what you think.

Download the full initial proposal here: Our Project for Low Traffic Lewes – and give your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ below.