The Old Steine is in line for a multimillion-pound makeover as part of a scheme that could see the Aquarium roundabout replaced by a T-junction.
Cars would reach Brighton seafront and leave along the eastern side of Old Steine while bus and cycle lanes would run along the western side.
The aim is to link up the changes with a similar realignment of the road for cars, buses and bikes between the Royal Pavilion and St Peter’s Church.
The changes are part of the £20 million Valley Gardens project.
Brighton and Hove City Council said that the aim was “to simplify traffic flows and create an urban park in the central valley through Brighton”.
An alternative to the initial plans has been put forward “to preserve trees and create more green space”.
The principle of the scheme in Valley Gardens – which stretches from St Peter’s to the Aquarium roundabout – was agreed by councillors in early 2013.
The government recently confirmed that £8 million from the Local Growth Fund was available for phases 1 and 2 of the changes – between St Peter’s Church and the Royal Pavilion.
Funding is subject to approval by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). It will decide whether to back the council’s business case next month.
The government has also announced an extra £6 million towards phase 3 of the scheme – between the Royal Pavilion and the Aquarium roundabout.
Again, it is subject to a business case being submitted to and approved by the LEP.
The business cases have to demonstrate that government funding will unlock financial benefits in the local economy.
Transport planners said that the current road arrangement in Valley Gardens was “a confusing mix of gyratories, contraflows and complex junctions”.
The concept scheme approved by councillors was intended to simplify the road network, with two northbound and two southbound lanes for general traffic on the eastern side of the valley.
On the western side, the scheme includes a north and southbound lane for buses and taxis.
Initially, the scheme included two new sections of road to accommodate four lanes of traffic – two in each direction – along the eastern side of the valley.
The aim was to protect trees, particularly elms, although 16 trees would have had to be removed which officials described as “low quality”.
The council said: “Further work, including detailed traffic modelling of junctions on the eastern side of Valley Gardens, has now shown that ‘second lanes’ are only required for short distances where before and after junctions with traffic lights.
“Simplifying the road network effectively means traffic can flow more smoothly and so less road space is required to hold traffic waiting at lights.
“As a result, traffic capacity can be maintained without building new roads in Victoria Gardens, further increasing the size of open space and minimising impact on trees.”
A report on the project is on the agenda of the next meeting of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee which is due to meet at Hove Town Hall on Tuesday (7 October). To read it, click here.
It recommends setting up a cross-party project board to oversee the scheme rather than repeatedly bringing details back to committee.
If the business case for phase 1 and 2 wins approval, work would start next year with a completion date in 2017.
The chairman of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Pete West, said: “The Seven Dials has shown that it is possible to reduce the impact of traffic and make places much more pleasant, while simultaneously improving movement for all modes of transport.
“The government will provide most of the money to transform a large hectic roundabout and create a new pleasant park and arboretum.”