Brighton’s wishlist for quick fix cycling measures revealed

Posted On 09 Jun 2020 at 11:57 am

The new temporary cycle lane along Old Shoreham Road


Cycle lanes along Kings Road and Preston Road and wider footpaths in the city centre are among a range of quick fix transport measures set to be implemented in Brighton and Hove within weeks.

The city has been given £594,000, one of the largest allocations per capita in England, under the first tranche of the Government’s £250 million emergency travel fund.

And if it uses the money in the way the Government is asking, it has been promised another £2.367 million to make more permanent changes later on.

The funds have been doled out according to how many adults commuted on public transport according to the 2011 census, as the measures are intended to stop people switching from buses and trains to cars as the city starts moving again.

Other local authorities – such as West Sussex – have already published details of what they are intending to do with the money, which had to be submitted to the Department for Transport by Friday.

Brighton and Hove has not done so – but the city’s lead councillor for finance Daniel Yates tweeted out some of the schemes over the weekend while in conversation with local transport buffs.

He said the phase one bids included:

  • Widening footways and adjustment of parking and loading bays at The Clock Tower, St James Street, Western Road
  • Footway widening, parking reduction and managed access in the Old Town and the North Laine
  • Cycle Lanes on the A259 (Kings Road) west from the Aquarium roundabout, Preston Park to Preston Circus and the A270 (Old Shoreham Road)
  • CCTV to enforce cycle lane parking restrictions
  • Basin Road South cycle lane signage and awareness raising in partnership with Shoreham Port and neighbouring councils

Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed these projects, and added the extension of the bike share scheme and more cycling parking in Valley Gardens.

The top ten beneficiaries of the emergency active travel fun per capita. Created by Mark Strong

The terms of the funding, as set out in a letter from DfT deputy director Rupert Furness to local authorities, include: “Anything that does not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded . . . If work has not started within four weeks of receiving your allocation or has not been completed within eight weeks of starting, the Department will reserve the right to claw the funding back.”

One of the stakeholders Councillor Yates was talking to is Mark Strong, who is a transport rep for Brighton and Hove Community Works (and a transport planner). He has provided feedback to an informal emergency transport panel set up by the council’s transport department

He said these were the only details he had seen and encouraged the council to release more detail.

He said: “The fund is aimed at places which have good public transport usage to address the issue that people aren’t going to be able to get the bus or the train.

“Brighton has the highest funding per capita in the country because we have got good bus and train usage.

“Funding is there to help people who would otherwise drive because they don’t want to get a bus.

“It’s very much about walking as well as cycling. There’s lots of shopping parades outside the city centre which have shops who are going to want to get people coming in safely, but they have narrow footpaths.

“Everyone appreciates there will be challenges but traffic is still down to about two thirds of its pre-lockdown levels.

“There’s space to do it, you just need to get on and do it.

“Certainly along the seafront we need a balanced approach. Most of the A259 is a single lane anyway. So if we just make it a consistent single lane for motorised traffic, then we have a lot of space to play with.

“The devil is in the detail though and I don’t know any more than what Cllr Yates has put on Twitter. Everyone is looking forward to seeing more information soon, like other councils have published.”

Temporary measures already introduced by the council are the closure of Madeira Drive and a pop-up cycle lane along part of the Old Shoreham Road.

Anne Pissaridou, chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “Our travel habits have changed dramatically in the last few months. We have seen more people choosing accessible and sustainable travel methods while parts of Brighton & Hove have witnessed a 60% fall in motor vehicles on the roads.

“Brighton and Hove City Council is currently working on measures that will try to support these changes quickly while ensuring the health and safety of residents remains our number one priority.

“We also want to support our local businesses to reopen and help them to adapt to updated government guidance

“We will be announcing what some of these innovative changes will be in the coming days, but what I can say now is that parts of the city will look different.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Cue the Argus squawkers (who never get up from their computers anyway)!

    Improvements to King’s Road (note apostrophe) are overdue, and were set to happen after completion of Valley Gardens. It is absurd to have a four-lane belter by the seafront.

  2. Billy Reply

    This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really screw up the local economy.
    Here we are at a time when the only public transport we have is a bus service it’s not safe to get onto, and where, unfortunately, cars are the safest form of travel, and yet we close or restrict key roads.
    We are about to go into a recession like no other which will mean so many unemployed, and with most businesses struggling after their void period of trading. The tourism and leisure industry will be amongst the worst hit and that sector has always been the lifeblood of this city. So what do we do? We make it more difficult for tourists to get here. Doh.
    Where are the park and ride schemes to go with these new road closures? Where is the parking to replace that lost on Madeira Drive? How are existing specialist businesses set up on Madeira Drive to continue without any transport in their area?
    And how, most of all, can we fit in a wider cycle lane on the seafront in that bottle neck section between the Palace Pier and West Street? (The proper solution would be to extend the promenade out over the lower prom in that section.)
    Just because the government has given money to paint new white lines on roads doesn’t mean we should do that. The decision should be about shared space but at a time when the local economy needs all the help it can get.
    I’m a cyclist myself, by the way.

    • Joanne Reply

      Billy I totally agree with everything you’ve said. At a time when we really need tourists to return to the city the Council are sneaking in permanent changes based on traffic and road use over the last three months. Of course its been lower everything has been shut. I can’t believe they have so little consideration for the Brighton economy. I am also a cyclist not a driver.

  3. Steve Reply

    Great news. Hopefully new cycle lanes will consist of more than just a white line and will be coloured to stand out from the road. Perhaps the very popular Dyke Road cycle lanes could also be improved.

    The more people that can be encouraged to walk or cycle instead of using a car for short journeys the better and providing better cycles lanes and pavements is the way.

    • Joanne Reply

      I don’y think its local use we need worry about Steve its the tourists I’m concerned about. Yes we can walk or cycle but if you’re coming here for a day trip you won’t be doing that or using Public Transport so you won’t come. We need tourism our economy relies on it.

      • Steve Reply

        Hi Joanne, I think we do need to worry about local use ahead of catering for tourists purely for making money. Locals deserve quality infrastructure aimed at them for their safety and ease of everyday travel. Plus it it those journey’s that can be the most polluting when made by car. Besides, the tourists will come whatever. This is Brighton.

        • Joanne Reply

          I disagree with your statement “the tourists will come whatever” Steve, we are walking a very fine line at the moment and many of the city centre businesses which draw in tourists are facing closure. Don’t get complacent otherwise we will loose the vibrant city we have and half the premises will be boarded up. I’m not saying residents are not important but many of us are employed because of tourism and not many people are keen to use Public Transport at the moment.

          • Steve

            Yes, we have very different opinions. I am the opposite of complacent but my motivations are to improve the city in general and not purely for the benefit of tourism. I think that is in line with the government’s thinking too in allocating the grant.

            Look at a Dutch city, Amsterdam for example and you will see a brilliant infrastructure that benefits both residents and visitors. Note that it was designed after the buildings were built so it wasn’t always like that. We should strive for something similar.

  4. Billy Reply

    Steve, it’s quite interesting that you mention the Dyke Road cycle lane because that’s an unusual one.
    I’m not sure I’d describe it as ‘popular’ because it’s mostly used by people like me, on a mountain bike, heading up to the Dyke or the Downs. The road is pretty steep for your average Sunday cyclist or commuter. In the week it’s not used much at all.
    And Dyke road is already narrow and all there is is a narrow track delineated by a white line, in places it’s barely two foot wide. It’s a bit pointless because you/we are still sharing the lane with the road traffic and the narrowness of that road means the cars inevitably go past pretty close.
    When the cycle track first went in it was also a joke because residents on Dyke road parked outside their properties, half on the road, and half on the pavement, meaning the cycle lane was blocked.
    The council’s remedy to this was to paint double yellow lines along much of the road, and that now looks even sillier, because the narrow cycle lane now has stripes of yellow and white, all close together in a visual mess.
    To me, it’s an example of a pointless cycle lane, when we are basically sharing the road space as the cars anyway.

    • Steve Reply

      Billy, the Dyke Road cycle lane is not unusual because it is in fact the main artery for cycling to the very popular Devil’s Dyke, Downs and beyond. It is also heavily used by people cycling to and from work and school. I know because I have walked daily up and down that stretch for the last 20 years.

      Most of the cycle path is adequately wide. It’s demarcation, colour and surface could be improved. It also would not be insurmountable to solve the few stretches which are narrow by reducing the pavement width in those places.

    • Keith Reply

      Don’t forget the odd sections where the painted dashes give less space when there is a traffic island.

  5. Mr Andrew Camper Reply

    Why do councils consist of unrealistic staff making decisions on things on an idiotic idealism. I am sick of cycle initiatives and the approach that says motorists should stay away. It maybe appropriate to the west of the city but it is certainly unrealistic to the East. If cyclists actually used the cycle lanes we have beyond capacity then by all means expand them. But they don’t in fact mostly cyclists pick and mix ignoring them causing a hazard to drivers of cars, I get sick of cyclists on roads not suing the cycle lane but the main traffic lane, sick of them ignoring traffic lights and going across them red. Riding in a way that demands a right over a motorist and not staying close to the kerb so they can safely be passed. making huge cycle lanes will not encourage cycling to the east side of the city. Subsidize the buses or invest in a tram network but don’t bother wasting time and money on more cycle lanes and making life impossible for motorists. Most of the economy is down to visitors to the city, yet we have no effective park and ride. Parking schemes that penalize anyone visiting the city and few overnight parking places that are reasonably priced to support the independent guest houses. Those are closing at an alarming rate with more and more chain budget hotels replacing them. Mostly down to parking issues. The City has become a joke of half baked ideas that are destroying its economy.

  6. Gareth Reply

    I really welcome these initiatives many pavements in Brighton have been historically narrowed in the past to give cars and lorries more room.We have an opportunity to make our streets safer and more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists.

  7. Gareth Reply

    I certainly welcome these proposals. Historically pavements in Brighton have been narrowed to benefit cars and lorries. We have an opportunity to create safer and more attractive streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

  8. Sheila Reply

    What about somewhere to actually secure your bike whilst you work/ shop/ play? All very well having fancy new cycle lanes if no one wants to make the journey on their bike for fear of it getting stolen. There is a significant cycle theft issue in Brighton and Hove which I don’t consider is the police’s fault, they have far more pressing concerns. The council seem to think that popping in a few funky shaped racks is sufficient. You can’t use a d-lock on many of these (one of the most secure kind of locks). What about secure bike parks, manned, registered entry, similar to the one at the station for commuters?

  9. Billy Reply

    That’s not true is it?
    In recent years the pavements have already been widened – for example; Western road, North street, St James’s street, George street etc.

  10. Michael Moore Reply

    Just been along the Kings Road after the new cycle lane has been installed . It makes absolutely no sense . It is running parallel to the existing one which is hardly congested . The result is more chaos , more gridlock and ironically more pollution along the Kings road . I could understand if there was no cycle lane there already but to put a new one next to the old is sheer craziness it reeks of vurtual signalling by the council . Today the traffic has been backed up from King Alfred leisure centre all the way back to the kemp town side of the A259 . I suspect the councillors who dreamt up this failure will find it hard to get voted back in .

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