New seafront cycle lane and other bike and pedestrian friendly measures approved

An artist’s impression of the new seafront cycle lane

Radical changes to city streets including road closures and a new temporary cycle lane for miles along the seafront have been approved tonight.

Labour and Green members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee agreed to create a cycle lane along the A259 between the Aquarium roundabout and the city’s western boundary.

It was one of 29 new or potential changes to pavements and road layouts across the city as part of the Interim Covid-19 Response Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).

However, Conservative councillors Lee Wares and Vanessa Brown voted against the plan despite agreeing with many aspects of it.

During the virtual meeting via Skype on Tuesday 23 June, Councillor Wares said that temporary measures to make covid-19 better were likely to be “permanent” without proper due process.

He said: “Never let a crisis go to waste. All that appears to us is happening is shoehorning in a stable full of Trojan horses.

“People are trying to get in everything they could never do in normal circumstances under the guise of covid.”

He criticised the lack of monitoring of cycle traffic along the new Old Shoreham Road cycle lane and the introduction of a car-free city without the usual proper process.

Green councillor Pete West was “disappointed” with the Conservatives’ response, as he had put forward additional measures they supported, such as a commitment to developing the School Streets programme.

He said that  although it was an aspiration for these things to become permanent, everything had to go through the proper process.

Councillor West reminded the committee that it was just over a year ago, during election hustings, that he questioned why Brighton’s famous beach was topped with a dual carriageway.

He said: “Our realisation of a vision we set then of reallocating space to cyclists and pedestrians is upon us.

“How far we have travelled in just a year. These urgent measures to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians across the city and getting people moving again set the stage for the longer term.”

The committee’s deputy chair, Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson, backed Councillor West.

He said “The potential benefits of the changes of the interim report going forward are myriad.

“Study after study has shown walking and cycling improve physical and mental health, builds more resilient communities, dramatically reduces air pollution and can go some way towards decarbonising the transport system.”

The planned A259 cycle lane converts the nearside westbound lane for cyclists with the existing cycle lane dedicated to eastbound cyclists.

Access to loading bays and disabled bays will be maintained.

However, 60 per cent of seafront parking will go in the first phase to allow for the new layout.

The monthly cost of lost parking from the A259 cycle lane is expected to be more than £27,000.

The committee also agreed to keep Madeira Drive closed temporarily.

Keeping Madeira Drive closed also has challenges including access for disabled blue badge holders and concern about the viability of businesses along the road.

Full closure of Madeira Drive would mean a cost of more than £108,000 a month in lost parking revenue alone. It also brings in fees from events.

The council’s assistant director for transport Mark Prior said during the meeting that any long-term closure would take the focus off vehicle-based events.

However, the report said that this closure was unlikely to continue for the long term in its current form.

A new cycle lane is planned between the A23 and Cheapside, to link the National Cycle Network with the Valley Gardens Scheme.

The authority is also monitoring West Sussex’s plans for cycling along Old Shoreham Road between Shoreham and Southwick.

The 3.4-mile cycle lane along Old Shoreham Road has its challenges when dealing with junctions and narrow, single-lane sections.

An experimental traffic regulation order covering The Lanes will close the north end of Black Lion Street and close Ship Street at the North Street Junction.

Market Street and East Street restrictions continue as they are with loading, blue badge holders and private access permitted at all times.

Queen’s Road between North Street and the Clock Tower, and West Street, will close to southbound traffic, except for buses, taxis and bicycles, as part of an experimental traffic order.

Gardner Street is to close on weekdays. Work will get underway also to close or partly close Trafalgar Street, following consultation with businesses.

Negotiations are under way with traders to see if they would welcome closing Sydney Street in the week.

Introducing new cycle lanes and walking facilities is part of a government active travel strategy announced in May.

The council has submitted two bids to the government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

It expects £594,000 in the first tranche and a further £2,376,000 in the second to cover the costs of new travel measures.

An earlier motion put forward by Green councillor Amy Heley called for work to move forward to make the temporary measures put in place as part of the action plan permanent.

It received support from Green and Labour members with opposition from the Conservatives.

A public consultation is currently under way on the various changes already undertaken for walking and cycling in the city.

To participate people can click on icons on a map to give feedback on specific changes as part of the online consultation at consultations.brighton-hove.gov.uk/parking/covid-19-temporary-measures.

Petitions taking opposing views over the closure of Madeira Drive and the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane are due to go before the full council on Thursday 22 July.

All four petitions have more than the required 1,250 signatures required for a full council debate.

  1. Rob A Reply

    Well done to Cllr Wares – this is an attempt to subvert usual procedures to get things done that would never normally fly. Closing Madeira Drive is hugely unpopular, (just look at the epetition for proof), and yet councillors refused to even look at concerns. Closing for a year is 1.3 million in lost revenue – they simply don’t care. Labour needs to get a grip once we lose the historic rallies on Madeira Drive and it falls to rack and ruin it is they that will be blamed not the Greens and they will have been played all along.

    • Richard Reply

      Madera drive – If it all falls down then they can build shops and charge rent. Thats the plan mark my words. No money to repair our heritage Finish existing work that takes years, impacting the economic growth of the city, but plenty to build what councillors want. Useless for long term sustainability in a time when public transport is considered risky – councils idea is limit use of cars ???

  2. bradly23 Reply

    retrospective consultation is a fraud; the insulting survey endures till 31 Oct 2020 by which time …..

  3. Rolivan Reply

    Who is going to be the Contractor for this work?i think there is more than enough going on in Valley Gardens at the moment let alone the proposed new Junction at the Aquarium roundabout.The proposal will make it even more difficult to turn left for large vehicles by the Royal Albion Hotelas it will now be reduced to one lane.

  4. Keith Mason Reply

    The Greens and Labour can’t have any of their members living in the Hove/Portslade area, or maybe don’t care about those who do. Perhaps they are all young, fit and healthy. I wonder what their response will be when the first person being rushed form the west to the Royal Sussex County Hostital in an emergency dies or deteriorates irreparably in an ambulance that gets stuck in the seafront road single lane of traffic?

    • Stephen Connolly Reply

      The proposed bike lane can be used by emergency vehicles if necessary.

    • Scott Elliott Reply

      Green party member living in central Hove here – 100% in support of more cycle lanes and a traffic free Madeira Drive. ps I drive a car too!

  5. mary mason Reply

    This means that I can no longer go to Brighton, I am unable to walk any distance,but do not qualify for a blue badge. There are no buses along the seafront, and it is too far to walk from Western Road.
    No thought has been given to anyone except cyclists. I just hope that the ambulance service can cope.

  6. Chris Williams Reply

    The best way to improve driving conditions for everyone – including disabled people and emergency vehicles – is to give people options besides car use by building a proper cycle network. Cities such as Copenhagen have done this, and have seen a huge drop in vehicle numbers and a big rise in bicycle use, meaning it’s now quicker to get around by car.

    The way things are at the moment, many people who want to leave their cars at home and travel by bike are unable to because the roads are simply too scary. Many disabled people are unable to drive a car but can use a bike, so we’re currently discriminating against them by not providing safe conditions.

    We need to share the space in our city between cars, pedestrians, public transport and bicycles so that everyone can get around safely. The current seafront cycle path is too narrow to be safe and winds in and out of pedestrian routes.

    • Steve Reply

      Agree. Well said.

  7. James Reply

    Val opposes everything.

  8. Hovelassies Reply

    When is the consultation open?

  9. Billy Reply

    When people quote other cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam or Barcelona as being ‘bicycle friendly’ they seem to forget those cities also have public transport of various types, from trams to rapid transit metro systems, to underground rail.
    We in Brighton and Hove have a slow and relatively expensive privatised bus service where routes are cut when they are not profitable, especially in the evenings.
    I’m a cyclist and I love proper cycle lanes, but my objection to this new one is that it restricts the only road that gets people across the city from west to east or from east to west. The existing seafront cycle lane is fine to use plus I already have the option of cycling on the road if need be.
    For sure you can reduce traffic by closing roads, but at what cost? How do the tourists and day trippers get here? And how to I get to work? How will the city function when it goes into daily traffic logjam with the extra pollution that brings?
    And how is the council going to make up the projected £55million shortfall in its own budget after brining in changes which will inevitably reduce its own income further?

  10. Sarah mitchell Reply

    Making the buses affordable/value for money would be a good start. £20 for myself and daughters to go to Churchill sq as too old for a family ticket is ridiculous and £5 to go to college

  11. Peter Challis Reply

    You keep mentioning Copenhagen, but they have proper park-and-ride schemes to provide an practical alternative for those coming by car and is flat. We don’t have park-and-ride and the city is hilly. But nice try.

  12. David Beland Reply

    I have just driven along OLd Shoreham Road
    from Sackville Road to Olive Road.I saw one cyclist and he was on the pavement! Unbelievable!!!

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