Surrounding roads have become busier since the Lewes Road bus and cycle lane scheme, according to an official monitoring report.
The Brighton and Hove City Council report plays down the impact on traffic in Ditchling Road, Brighton, and Falmer Road, Woodingdean. But increased traffic levels have been recorded in both streets.
The level of traffic has also risen in others such as Southall Avenue (up 23 per cent), Hodshrove Road (17 per cent) Colbourne Avenue and Riley Road (both up 15 per cent).
Bus and taxi use are both up as is the number of cyclists using the new cycle lanes while general traffic is down.
The council said: “The key results to emerge from the latest monitoring exercise are
- The number of passengers boarding buses at bus stops in the wider Lewes Road area has increased from 6.2 million to 6.8 million. This is an increase of 9 per cent since before the scheme was implemented.
- General traffic in Lewes Road has reduced by 15 per cent.
- There is evidence that growth in cycling has been sustained with data from permanent cycle counters recording an average increase of 13 per cent for the first five months of 2015 (January to May) compared to 2009-11 levels.
- Side roads have generally not experienced substantial changes in queue lengths and previous increases seen in Coombe Road have been addressed. Hollingdean Road has seen an increase in queue lengths and will continue to be monitored.
- Journey times for general traffic in Lewes Road have seen limited change with any recorded increases during peak periods limited to less than one minute. This is within the anticipated range predicted by the traffic modelling at the design stage.
- The innovative ‘floating’ bus stops have been successful with very high user satisfaction levels with regards to both ease of use and safety.
- Limited change has been observed in the number of road traffic accident casualties and air quality. Both will continue to be monitored in order to assess the impacts of the scheme, including the more recent Vogue Gyratory improvements, over the longer term.
“It is now a year since the completion of the Lewes Road scheme. Phase 1, Lewes Road Corridor (north of the Vogue Gyratory), was finished in 2013, while Phase 2, the Gyratory, was completed in December 2014
“This interim report presents the findings of the second stage of monitoring studies undertaken to determine the impact of the Lewes Road improvement scheme.
“The latest data were collected in October (and) November 2015 and are presented alongside data collected and reported on in October (and) November 2013.
“A range of baseline data were collected before works commenced, including bus and car journey times, cyclist numbers, traffic volumes (both in Lewes Road and parallel alternative routes), passenger counts and queue lengths on side roads adjoining Lewes Road.
“These surveys have now been replicated, allowing some comparisons to be made between the ‘before’ data and data collected immediately after the completion of Phase 1 (north of the Vogue Gyratory) and two years after.
The key aims of the overall scheme were to
- encourage greater use of more sustainable forms of travel by creating high quality cycle facilities and enabling faster, more reliable journeys by bus through the introduction of bus priority.
- reduce the speed and volume of traffic using Lewes Road, thereby improving local air quality and reducing carbon emissions.
- reduce the severity and number of accidents taking place on Lewes Road.
- provide additional safe crossing opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists by improving existing facilities and providing additional crossings where required
Councillor Dan Yates said: “I can understand why there were so many conflicting opinions when local residents demanded this report.
“The scheme has delivered increase bus and cycle use which is a good thing. However, it has missed many of its objectives and made some things worse.
“Residents are also rightly concerned that insufficient monitoring of rat running through the estates has been undertaken.
“The report also does not address the changes required to the scheme to make it better.
“But the clear failures of the scheme are
- Longer journey times at peak times – even for buses who have been given their own lane
- Longer journey times for drivers
- Less traffic using the Lewes Road but more traffic on the Falmer Road and Ditchling Road
- No promised reduction in the incidence of road traffic collisions
- No promised improvements in air quality – in an area where pollutant levels are known to exceed acceptable levels
“I will be writing to the chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee to ask when a report will be coming forward to address changes to the scheme to make it work for the whole city.”