Maria Caulfield Asking For Views on Bishopstone Road / A259 Improvements

Maria Caulfield MP is asking for views on improving access to the A259 from Bishopstone Road.  You can contact her via her website.

My response is below.

Dear Ms. Caulfield,

 Thank you for your recent letter asking for views on the junction between the A259 and Bishopstone Road.

As someone who intermittently gives a lift to friends in Bishopstone Road, I share the concerns of many local residents about how difficult it can be to join the A259 from this junction.  I would also like to raise the following concerns:

  1. The speed of the traffic can make it very dangerous to cross the road A259, even for the able-bodied but particularly for the elderly, disabled, etc.  A friend of mine from London, whose partner is blind in one eye and only partially sighted in the other, was shocked when he visited that there is no crossing here.  He likened crossing this busy road to the 80s video game “Frogger”.  As you will be aware:
    • There are a number of elderly residents in Bishopstone village, Bishopstone residential area, Hill Rise and the area around Bishopstone station who are likely to regularly need to cross the road and have no safe way to do so.
    • At certain times of day, commuters also need to cross this road when leaving/returning home or to connect between bus & train services.
  2. It can also be difficult at busy times for cars to exit Hill Rise and Marine Parade.
  3. For those exiting Hill Rise and accelerating from zero, the right-hand lane provides the opportunity for faster-moving traffic to pass them.  However, further up the hill where cars are travelling closer to the speed limit, the right-hand lane is sometimes used as a “racetrack” with less responsible drivers travelling at speeds in excess of 70mph just to try and pass another vehicle before they hit the 30 speed limit.

 Whilst I believe a reduction in the speed limit to 40mph shortly before Bishopstone Road (from the Newhaven direction) would have a benefit in reducing all of the above risks, I do not think it will be a very effective measure in isolation.

In fact, for people trying to exit Bishopstone Road this could make the problem worse, as traffic slowing from 60 is likely to bunch up, leaving fewer gaps that vehicles can use to join the A259.  The same problem can be seen when exiting Beacon Road just after the 30mph sign, where traffic “bunching” often leads to a tailback.

 It seems to me that in addition to reducing the speed limit, the following would help:

  1. One OR the other of the following roundabout proposals.  Roundabouts have a slowing effect on traffic.  Also, either of the following would give priority to traffic from the east turning into Bishopstone Road (not always easy), which in turn would allow a vehicle or two from Bishopstone Road to join the A259:
    • Either: An elongated roundabout that encompasses Bishopstone Road, Hill Rise and Marine Drive.
    • Or: 2 mini roundabouts, one at Bishopstone Road and the other at Hill Rise / Marine Drive.
  2. A zebra crossing between the Hill Rise bus stop and the station approach.  A footbridge or tunnel could also be considered (although footbridges can be used by less responsible citizens to drop things onto vehicles below).