We are all the traffic!
HKD member Daniel Hyndman’s response to letters on transport in the local press:
I’ve read with interest the recent suggestions for relieving the traffic woes we all suffer in our area.
While I’m personally unconvinced that diversions or bypasses will solve our long term problems, most of
us seem to agree that there’s too much motor traffic on our local roads. Has anyone considered the most
simple and effective way we can all help alleviate this situation is by making an effort to use our cars less?
There are many reasons why driving less is a good idea for us as individuals and for our community as a
whole. We all know that with fuel costs rising, cutting car use makes financial sense – but what about the other
Increasing physical activity through more walking and cycling is the key to improving our health and the
only way to increase walking and cycling significantly is through reducing car use.Walking or cycling –
even short distances – is better for our health than sitting in a car. Getting in the habit of being a
pedestrian or cyclist shifts us towards a healthier lifestyle. Giving our kids experiences walking, biking,
and taking the bus to get around will help them make environmentally-friendly, cost-saving
transportation choices in the future.
If we can reduce the number of cars on the road – and parked in our streets – it will mean quieter, safer
and more appealing roads, encouraging more people to walk and cycle. In turn, this can result in less
congestion and therefore less pollution.
Less pollution will also lead to lower rates of asthma and wheezing. A study found that children exposed
to more polluted air were five times more likely to have reduced lung development by age 18 than
children raised in cleaner areas.
And as well as the obvious local benefits, driving less can help the entire planet. Sadly, there’s no longer
any serious scientific doubt that global climate change is upon us. We all contribute to this in many
different ways every day – from keeping our homes warm and feeding ourselves to the things we
consume, and of course, the way we travel. Every mile we drive consumes fuel, costs us money, and
produces greenhouse gas emissions. The less we drive, the lighter our impact. Parking the car – even part
of the time – helps slow climate change.
For many of us, car ownership is entrenched in our lifestyles and reduction is only feasible if we can
maintain access to cars when we really need them – car clubs, neighbourhood car rental schemes, car
sharing and pay-as-you-go insurance can help to make this possible.
Travelling in an environment with no congestion or air pollution may seem like a far-fetched desire.
However, it’s possible for us all to make changes to the way we travel and contribute to a cleaner,
greener environment. Here are some useful links and contacts to help you take the next step:
For general ideas on how to make healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, check out:
Community bike hire: http://www.hassockscommunitycyclehire.com/ (07521 961 909)
Lewes Car Sharing Club: http://www.co-wheels.org.uk/
WSCC car share scheme for the county: https://westsussexcarshare.liftshare.com/
National Car Sharing Scheme: https://liftshare.com/uk
Google Transit (view and plan journeys by public transport by regions):
West Sussex County Council Getting Around by Public Transport:
Finding ways to be less dependent on using cars and lorries is crucial for the transition to a more sustainable future. We need:
- safer routes for walking and cycling
- efficient public transport
- more carbon-neutral vehicles (e.g. electric cars whose electricity comes from renewable resources, bio-diesel using waste materials)
Community groups in our area who are working on some of these needs:
- Hassocks Amenity Association Rail Group has toiled for years to improve train services to Hassocks station. Its most recent success is the new station building and disabled access to both platforms. ‘Years of persistent, patient campaigning by the Rail Group and the wider community has resulted in a station fit for the future. It will welcome our visitors, meet the requirements of our commuters, fulfil the expectations of our young people and be in tune with the needs of our older residents.’ http://hassocksamenity.btck.co.uk/RailGroup
- Hassocks Community Cycle Hire is a community enterprise led by volunteers who love bikes, with the twin aims of promoting cycling and environmental tourism in the Hassocks, Sussex, Brighton and South Downs area through mountain bike hire and serving the local community through the bike servicing side of our operation. http://www.hassockscommunitycyclehire.com/
- Visit Hassocks has downloadable cycling and walking maps for our area, as well as information on group bike rides (like Breeze women-only cycle rides). http://www.visithassocks.co.uk/
- Breeze Sussex organises women-only bike rides to suit all levels – see https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breeze-Network-Sussex-South-Downs/110526255738117?ref=ts&fref=ts
- South Downs National Park is promoting travelling by bus or train to take advantage of the park’s walking and cycling opportunities. See http://www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoying/discover-another-way-to-visit-the-south-downs