All parishes ‘need to join the Island’s green lane network’

JERSEY’S network of green lanes is let down by having only ten parishes involved, the Constable of St Helier has said.

Constable Simon Crowcroft                                                             Picture: ROB CURRIE. (28657976)
Constable Simon Crowcroft Picture: ROB CURRIE. (28657976)

Simon Crowcroft spoke out in the wake of a proposition from Deputy Rob Ward to ban non-essential vehicle travel in the lanes, which have a 15mph limit and give priority to walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.

He said the network, which was set up in 1994, is weakened as St Saviour and Trinity have never signed up to the initiative.

‘The network of green lanes is incomplete and that’s a bit of a weakness in terms of the ability to market it,’ he said.

‘Some people are cycling on green lanes in one parish and then the lane ends and it’s not clear where they should go.

‘Completion would be useful and I’d much prefer that all the parishes got on board.’

Both Trinity and St Saviour are due to consider the matter, although there is no indication currently that this will lead to a change.

Trinity Constable Philip Le Sueur said he would be recommending to his roads committee that a survey be sent out to parishioners to see whether there was an appetite for change.

‘This would be the most democratic method of obtaining the view of our wider community,’ he said. ‘Historically the parishioners of Trinity have been against the principle of green lanes and that is why we are one of the few parishes which currently do not have any.’

St Saviour Constable Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard challenged Mr Crowcroft to identify suitable routes for green lanes in her parish.

‘We are a very built-up parish and have all the schools here ­– I can’t see where we would have a green lane and no one takes any notice of them anyway,’ she said.

‘We will consider it at the roads committee, but my priority is ensuring there are safe routes to schools and that’s why we’ve looked at making some roads one-way and creating virtual footpaths.’

Other Constables contacted by the JEP had differing views.

John Le Maistre of Grouville said his parish had relatively few green lanes. He said he was in favour of the concept of priority for non-vehicular traffic but considered that 15mph was ‘an unrealistic speed to which few adhere’ and was concerned about increased congestion on main roads.

St Ouen Constable Richard Buchanan said he also supported the principle but had questions about practical issues, including enforcement and signage.

Karen Shenton-Stone said that St Martin had always been popular with cyclists and had seen a huge increase in cycling during lockdown.

‘We should grab this opportunity to encourage cycling, which is good for health and so much better for the environment than driving,’ she said. ‘I am in favour of a safe cycling network and am acutely aware that the east of the Island is very poorly served with safe cycle routes.’

The Constables’ Committee is expected to discuss the issue next week,while Deputy Ward’s proposition is tabled to be debated on 14 July.

CASE STUDY

VALLEE des Vaux, which runs from the bottom of Trinity Hill to the northern border of St Helier, is a renowned ‘rat-run’ for people travelling between the capital and the northern parishes.

Colin Lever is head of the Vallée des Vaux residents group, which has monitored traffic flows estimated at 500 per day in a southbound direction and an average speed of 24mph.

Residents have called for measures including one-way sections, barriers at key points and ‘street furniture’ such as chicanes or road humps.

‘Like most other green lanes, Vallée des Vaux is a communal green space that all Islanders should be able to enjoy. Its position, at the northern end of the parish of St Helier, is important to the wellbeing of parishioners. It is one of only four large “green spaces” in the parish. Yet this “green lung” is under pressure as never before.

‘The advent of Sunday shop openings and proposed local housebuilding initiatives are likely to result in an increase in traffic along the valley and its associated lanes. Recent issues with roadworks have shown that the valley roads are unsuitable for heavy traffic.

‘Valleé des Vaux is used as a rat-run by parents taking their children to and from school. Having a supermarket [Waitrose] at one end also draws in vehicles keen to avoid traffic at Rouge Bouillon and Robin Hood. During the day business traffic uses it as a short cut and in the late evening it is used by “boy racers”.

‘Our experience is that police presence has been very thin on the ground. When they do appear few, if any, speeders are fined; they are merely warned. There is an antipathy to policing green lanes that is endemic in both the honorary and the States police, at least in the parish of St Helier.’

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