More cycle lanes on the way, prompting Conservative calls for proper evaluation

Posted On 08 Aug 2020 at 7:11 am

More cycle lanes are on the way, prompting Brighton and Hove Conservatives to call for a proper evaluation of the measures.

The party wants to know what the environmental impact is likely to be, with concerns about traffic jams, displacement and rising air pollution.

The latest plans include extending the “temporary” cycle lanes along the A259 Kingsway seafront road and A270 Old Shoreham Road from Hove to Southwick.

The Conservatives said: “While the debate rages over the closure of Madeira Drive and the cycle lanes on the A259 seafront road and Old Shoreham Road, the council is planning to introduce more measures under the guise of covid.

“Under plans recently pushed through by the Greens and Labour, the council is now set, by the end of the year, to extend the cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road and the A259 seafront road to the western boundary with Southwick and Shoreham.

“Plans also include introducing measures on the A259 Marine Parade even though Madeira Drive remains closed.”

Councillor Lee Wares, who speaks for the Tories on transport, said: “Some measures across the city to improve social distancing, to help the economy recover and to maintain interest in active travel are necessary.

“However, some measures, regardless of claims by the council to be only temporary, are clearly becoming wholesale structural transport network changes to which every effort will be made to make them permanent.

“The problem is, they are being introduced at such great speed, any proper analysis of their impact is not being done.

“The irony is that in claiming the measures will improve lives, we are already seeing growing traffic congestion that must be increasing pollution and lowering air quality.

“And we are already hearing and seeing growing inequality for blue badge holders and less abled and older people.

“It also appears traffic volumes are increasing on other residential streets as drivers try to avoid the traffic jams that cannot possibly be improving lives and is likely making those roads more dangerous.

“It is hard to see how gridlocking the city is helping the economy if everybody is stuck in a council-induced traffic jam that we all know negatively costs businesses.

“Equally, if Marine Parade is now to be modified, how on earth can it be justifiable to keep Madeira Drive closed.

“At this rate the city will be closed to visitors and commercial and commuter traffic that flows through the city.

“And while all this is happening, revenue from parking is plummeting. This is revenue that is used to pay for senior citizen and disabled bus passes and to subsidise bus routes that if lost, will cut off whole communities. Thus far nobody has said how that black hole will be filled.

“At any other time, to reduce the traffic capacity of two of the three main east-west arterial transport routes through the city by some 30 per cent to 50 per cent would be subject to months, if not years, of careful analysis.

“Transport modelling would be undertaken, the economic and environmental impacts would be assessed, equality impacts would be undertaken in great detail. The public would be consulted alongside businesses and other stakeholders within and beyond the city.

Councillor Lee Wares

“For years the council has been working on its cycling and walking infrastructure plan. Progress has been slow and sometimes painful. Lots of planning has gone into how to seek the right solutions and involve everybody.

“Yet because covid provides the perfect cover, at warp speed the council miraculously has the answers.

“But the truth is it doesn’t because it hasn’t had the time and in some quarters the inclination to get the answers.

“It seems we have entered a new age where the Greens and Labour implement first, suck it and see how it goes, ask if you object and forge ahead anyway.

The new temporary cycle lane along Old Shoreham Road

“Few don’t get that the city needs infinitely better cycling and walking facilities and joined up networks.

“Few object to the need to transform how we live our lives to tackle climate change.

“But the council, with its Green and Labour masters, have put the cart before the horse.

“The huge scale of unintended consequences is rapidly coming and the wilful blindness is staggering.

“If the council is to get this right and carry the goodwill and support of the population, it has to start by engaging with them first.

“It has to prove what it wants to do will work and justify the assumptions it is making.

“It should be honest and upfront about its objectives and the impacts their decisions and actions will have on everybody.

An artist’s impression of the proposed seafront cycle lane

“It isn’t good enough to slip into a recent press release that it intends to extend the cycle lanes.

“The brakes should be firmly slammed on and, as the Conservative group, we demand that all the necessary impact assessments and studies are done before and further works are undertaken and insurmountable damage is done to our city.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Er, cllr Wares’s government has told councils to create cycle lanes. Changes to the seafront belter were always in prospect to follow Valley Gardens.

    Cllr Wares is partial to cliché. Here we have such phrases as “slamming the brakes on” and “cart before the horse”. I am surprised he did not include “u-turn” – or perhaps he did, and I missed it, for clichés lead to skim-reading

    • Rolivan Reply

      What are your thoughts on a Park and ride Christopher?
      Surely this should be a priority or are The Green Party proposing Congestion charges to replace lost revenue from parking?
      Now that the University have been allowed to expand on what is I thought was an AONB why not build one there or nearby as it has a Train Station and a good buslink the Uni could even throw in a bike hub with bikes free for fee paying students throughout the term of their studies.?

      • Ben44 Reply

        Only about 34% of vistors to Brighton & Hove arrive by car, 59% come by public transport (train & bus/coach) – figures from 2005, 6% other.

        Yes, park and ride would be the perfect solution, but we have a little thing called the South Downs National Park in the way!

        If anyone knows of anywhere to put said park and ride, let the council know I’m sure they’d like to know!

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        Park-and-ride has been suggested for two decades but the matter of a site has been a problem – and it also causes cross-town journeys, and so does not necessarily ease the situation. Over a million people a year are killed on roads.

        • Rolivan Reply

          Guildford has 3 Park and rides which seem popular.With land so expensive why not involve one of the big Supermarkets like Sainsburys and build a multi storey car park with a Park and ride at Benfield which is close to the A27 and one at Falmer.You didn’t respond about congestion charging.

          • Christopher Hawtree

            I am a resident! I have not heard of any congestion-charging proposal. Why do you surmise that this is in the offing?

            Naturally, I cannot answer off the cuff about matters which involve land ownership. Especially as any value of park and ride is uncertain. Though, of course, the “visitor economy” is important (and then residents complain about such visits from those not “born and bred” here – another grim phrase).

        • Peter Challis Reply

          Be honest – the Greens don’t approve of park-and-ride

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Nice try Christopher.

      I know that the government has provided the additional funding for schemes to encourage active travel and provide social distancing. But I imagine they didn’t think that we would be stupid enough to use this to intentionally cause congestion, create queues, encourage road users to divert through otherwise peaceful residential streets, increase emissions, and potentially damaging local businesses, jobs, and reduce council revenues by driving residents and visitors away.

      Well done incompetent Labour-Green environmental activists.

    • Rolivan Reply

      Perhaps the work was carried out because of pressure from Council Officers,it seems very convenient that the 2 stretches of road used for this ‘Trial’ would cause the least problems for contractors to carry out unusually very fast completion of work.
      One often sees roadwork signs erected with very little if any work being carried out.
      I think that Geoff Raw and those answerable to him have far too much control and it is time that somebody reined him in.
      On the other hand it took 5 years to build Shelter Hall which by all accounts is an absolute shambles.

  2. Rosemary Phillips Reply

    All of these changes and proposals for change to help cyclists will hinder emergency services and put lives at risk.

  3. Rolivan Reply

    Hello Christopher I know you are a resident and no longer a Councillor but probably still a member of the Green Party.If The Council continue to construct Cycle lanes they will be losing valuable income from all things Parking,I think the only way to compensate is to introduce Congestion charging to hrlp with the shortfall or drastically increase the price of parking.
    The value of Park and Ride would surely be in Pollution control and the City continuing to be a Tourist destination.We also need a Coach Station.

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      Yes, thanks!

      You are right. The parking income is needed for the ‘bus-pass funding. (Gordon Brown brought in those passes but not the funding for them…) This makes me wonder whether so much subsidy of ‘bus passes is needed at the moment as there are fewer passengers on the ‘buses. I shall ask Phelim and the others. As I recall, there is not a charge to the Council per ‘bus pass but by usage of each one. Thanks for prompting this thought in the heat.

      Yes, two decades ago, when the area around Brighton Station was mooted for “development”, I said that it should incorporate a Coach Station. That would have meant that coaches did not need to go further to that dismal, hole-in-a-corner place near East Street and coaches could have linked up with trains and ‘buses. Such a lost opportunity.

      • Peter Challis Reply

        Are you feeling alright? You haven’t mentioned Hove Library once!

        • Christopher Hawtree Reply

          I favour the spelling as “all right”!

      • Nigel Furness Reply

        Well, well, well, Christopher! I never thought that you and I would agree on anything again after those ‘Greens’ got into your head! I also never thought that you would morph into a plaigerist!
        You are, of course, referring to to the turn of this Century and those two very influential movements known as: “Campaign!! For a better Brighton & Hove,” a pro-motorist, pro-business group which included myself and future Tory Councillors for Central Hove, Jan Young & Averil Older, and which was ably fronted by Russel Hicks, aman whom you then greatly admired; and BUDD (Brighton Urban Design & Development), headed by Sarah Bragg, and which attempted to influence the proposed development of the Brighton Station Goods yard & Locomotives Workshop sites, then lying derelict (some parts since 1969).
        It was around this time that you turned up in town in your old banger and, being so pro -motorist, you lost no time in getting involved with Campaign!! and then BUDD. At one of these BUDD Meetings, it was I who proposed an underground BUS & COACH STATION with a new STADIUM for Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, and I even got Budd member Rob Stephenson, an architecture lecturer at Brighton University and future Labour Party Local Council Candidate, todraw up a Stadium plan for me, which I still have to this day (you’ve seen it).
        It was also at this time that Keith Taylor first reared his head and from then on, it seemed to me, BUDD’s demands were whitlled down until we ended up with a supermrket-led,horrendous development which began to degenerate into a slum almost upon completion.WHAT A WASTED OPPORTUNITY AFTER FIFTY YEARS OF NEGLECT!
        Of course, Keith Taylor became a Councillor for the Station area (St. Peter’s Ward, in 1999 and it wasn’t long before you were dashing all over that Ward masquerading as a ‘Green’ Party volunteer and persuading people to put up posters in their windows asking: “ARE THE GREENS A BUNCH OF CABBAGES?” –That is until that night when, having gone about your pretence with the posters, you were cackling down your newly -acquired mobile ‘phone to me about: “How easily taken in these fools are–North Laine is now a sea of ‘Green’ cabbages!”
        The laughing came to a swift end, however, with a sudden shriek from your good self and a stream of expletives from an unknown and highly -agitated man, informing you in no uncertain terms EXACTLY where he intended to put your “Cabbages” posters—NASTY!
        Once again, Christopher, the moral of this story is that ALL forms of media communications should have regard for FACTS not FICTION and, whilst I welcome, of course. your DAMASCIAN CONVERSION to at least one of my proposals, you really MUST resist the urge to purvey FAKE NEWS–there’s enough of it out there already– Just ask President Trump!
        Trust me Christoper, it’s only too easy to dissapear up FANTASY ALLEY, and you don’t want to end up there–DO YOU?

    • Stew Reply

      Parking is already criminally expensive in this city. Maybe the answer lies in a better idea. Put the infrastructure in first then people won’t want to use cars. It’s a simple idea trialled by pretty much every other city in Europe and works. Charging people changes nothing as believe it or not to own a car you usually have disposable income

  4. Stew Reply

    I love the new cycle lanes. I get to sit in traffic and watch, well no one cycle down them.
    Brighton and Hove has been crying out for rapid transit from East to west since it was built. They topography means rail was never an option for that route. Get a tram along the seafront from Newhaven to Shoreham Town and watch the congestion dissappear, not slow busses the bounce around and take forever to get anywhere.

    How there is no park and ride at Falmer and the entrance to the A23 is actual madness as the infrastructure (railway) is already there.

    The cycle lane thing is just yet another gimmick plater on the self-inflicted injury that is our city’s transport. Shameful considering we have a green council.
    Maybe they can sort out the recycling this time round or will those pesky bin men have the cheak to strike when they get pay cuts… Lack of vision as per usual from the politicians

  5. Philip Reply

    I think the council are taking the fucking piss regarding cycle lanes everywhere now around Brighton I already have two cycle lanes along the seafront taking up half of the footpath’s right on the seafront and the footpath beside the road now they’re asking road users to give a more road causing more congestion more fucking problems so cyclists can still act like dicks that they are and ride like idiots not buying any of the road laws and pulling out in front of cars and then blaming them if they get hit off the bikes I think the council need to pull the head off their arses and think how many more problems this is causing putting more cycle lanes in which is going to cause more accidents because the immature twats that cycle like idiots and dicks going for a bright along the roads in the cycle lanes and then when the cycle lane ends they still carry on cycling and think they own the road now the council could spend that money more on doing the roads up rather than putting bloody cycle lanes in I think there should be a petition put up to have the council remove the cycle lanes that they have added to the old Shorham Road and the new ones they put in down the fucking seafront yes I am a driver and yes this has pissed me right off because there has been no warning at all but that is what they are doing we need to get together as drivers and petition the council and block the cycle lanes who’s up for doing this with me

    • Rolivan Reply

      Do you really have to use bad language to get your point across?

  6. Paul J Williams Reply

    What happened to DEMOCRACY? None of this should be happening without public consultation and a proper plan, let alone pretending it has anything whatsoever to do with Covid.
    What happened to getting the local economy back on track as a priority? This city is facing MASS unemployment post furlough and masssive dive in student numbers from overseas students in particular and British students who wish to defer this year until things return to normal.
    Wake up Council and stop losing our city all these £millions with stupid road schemes no one has asked for or wants.
    What happened to improving traffic flow as an idea for reducing pollution? Blantant discrimation against the elderly and disabled also wholly unacceptable.

  7. Kev labour Reply

    I hope these are affordable bike lanes near affordable housing

  8. Nathan Adler Reply

    I think Mr Hawtree’s credibility falls apart when he claims over a million people were killed on the roads a year? About 1900 last year but why let facts get in the way of a good argument. Democracy be damned if the Greens continue with Momentum Labour’s bizarre policies they could find themselves facing a wipeout at the next local election. Residents are looking for them to stabilize and help the economy not plunge head first into a fantasy wishlist.

  9. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    You are wrong.

    The World Health Organisation reports that 1.35 million people are killed each year.

    • Nathan Adler Reply

      Yes worldwide – I don’t think we can be held accountable for the craziness of roads in India and South America. In this country it was 1870 last year.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        It is a worldwide problem, which needs international action.

        1870 deaths is ghastly, each one is: the terrifying, protracted impact and the pressure upon the organs before death.

        And that that follows for relations and friends. One thinks, for example, of the woman killed on the Old Shoreham Road by a cokehead whose ego was so swollen that he thought he could belt along it.

        Her life was lost, agonisingly.

        Measures to reduce this are vital.

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