Report promised on Old Shoreham Road cycle lane

People concerned about the future of a new cycle lane will have to wait a few more weeks before councillors take a more in-depth look into its future.

The controversial lane between Hove Park and the Portslade border along the Old Shoreham Road was put in place in May after Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced £2 billion in funding for more cycle lanes and improved pedestrian space.

Two petitions went before a special meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council yesterday (Thursday 13 August) as well as a deputation supported by six members of the public.

Portslade resident Peter Challis led the call to remove the cycle lane with a petition that attracted more than 3,900 signatures.

Mr Challis could not attend the meeting so Labour councillor Peter Atkinson, who represents North Portslade, read out his speech.

Mr Challis said that the cycle lane was “implemented in a rush” over the VE Day bank holiday weekend without proper planning or consultation.

He said: “Some councils checked traffic flows first to decide if removing this much capacity would cause problems. Ours didn’t.

“You need to have traffic data to know how many vehicles use the road and then use modelling to see if it would fit into half of the capacity.

“Unfortunately there wasn’t any data so this became a trial – but with no monitoring in place.

“For this scheme to have worked, half of roads users, including commuters, council and commercial vehicles, tradesmen, shoppers, visitors and tourists, would need to switch to cycling, or to just stop using this route.

“Some reduction has come from home working but, for many, cycling or using public transport is not an option.”

Mr Challis said that cyclists accounted for just 2 per cent of traffic, with many preferring flatter routes such as Portland Road and New Church Road.

Conservative councillor Nick Lewry, who represents Hangleton and Knoll, called for an urgent report into the future of the cycle lane to go before a special meeting on Friday 21 August.

Councillor Lewry said: “Cars are backed up and stationary for miles along Old Shoreham Road at peak time particularly around the entrance to the Hove Recycling Centre where cars crawl along waiting for access.

“The result must surely be more pollution and fumes from the tailback of cars.

“In the still air in the heat of summer, this presents a real health risk to residents.”

Fellow Conservative Dawn Barnett, who also represents Hangleton and Knoll, criticised the move to reduce the four-lane dual carriageway to two lanes without consultation.

She said: “It was put in place in a very underhand way by Labour in the dead of night.

“The impact of reducing the traffic capacity of Old Shoreham Road by 50 per cent has been disastrous. It has been bedlam for residents and we have seen queues stretching for miles at peak times.”

Councillor Dawn Barnett

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson said that his group would not back the Conservative call for an urgent meeting.

He said: “By creating the new cycle route, the council has implemented the Governments wish and made a positive step towards achieving safe and clean transport in our city.

“The Old Shoreham Road cycle lane is among a range of temporary measures which have been put in place to ensure cycling and walking is safe and to encourage people to physically distance while also supporting Brighton and Hove’s economic recovery.”

A majority vote rejected the call for the urgent meeting.

Samantha Goddard represented a group of people concerned about the loss of a whole lane of the Old Shoreham Road due to the temporary cycle lane.

She told the “virtual” meeting of the full council that there was an environmental motivation to introducing the cycle lane but warned that drivers would not disappear.

Councillor Pete West

In her deputation she said: “To think that reducing lane access for drivers will make them disappear from the road – or that it will make a cyclist out of someone who was not already – is both short-sighted and, in my opinion, not in connection with reality.

“Instead we must remember and consider the vast proportion of people who may always choose to drive due to health, the distance being travelled and of course due to preference and choice.”

She said that the lane was causing a “huge inconvenience”, was a source of frustration for many drivers and was introduced in an “underhanded” way.

Councillor West said that the cycle lanes were temporary and that a report would be presented to the September meeting of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

The council created the cycle lane in response to the government’s call to reallocate road space along “strategic corridors”.

He said: “In future, we will be looking to develop more permanent cycle facilities throughout the city in fulfilment of the Local Cycle and Walking Plan that the government is requiring.

“The current cycle lanes are temporary and any permanent installation will always have to go through the full consultation process.”

The petitions are due to go before the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday 29 September.

  1. Rob Arbery Reply

    Well as Cllr West insisted it is temporary and both sides claim that the local populace supports them lets have a proper local consultation and not so online gerrymandered survey. I think Cllr Wilkinson showed through out the meeting he is more Green than Labour so perhaps he should switch allegiances – he got in by a wafer thin majority and I hope local residents remember his support for this cycle lane.

  2. Paul J Williams Reply

    I saw no genuine empathy or understanding from a single Labour or Green councillor for how this lunacy (or that of Madeira Drive) is affecting our city, just lies, excuses and gerrymandering.
    And FFS let’s ban all use of the words ‘temporary’ and ‘experimental’. No one needs their lives experimented on and after all we’ve just been though and mass job losses looming.
    Seems like the great ‘re-set’ has already been pre-determined and it’s all about enforced communism. Is there even a difference between Labour, Momentum and the Greens anymore? They may as well merge into a single party.

  3. ABrown Reply

    Cutting 50% of space doesn’t cut 50% of capacity, not even close. As each lane provides a diminishing return on additional capacity, it’s more like 30%. If turn lanes are extended and lights are retimed, that becomes like 10%. We often mistake being able to drive free and fast between long waits at lights as “less traffic” or “shorter trip,” but that isn’t the case.

  4. Peter Challis Reply

    Strange there are no comments from cycling advocates supporting Peter West (love the picture of him as the “cycling mayor”). Come on ex-Green councillor Christopher Hawtree or Chris Williams of Bricycles who want to make the cycle lanes permanent!

    Why has it taken 3 months after the “temporary” cycle lanes were introduced for the council to decide that a report was required?
    Who will be writing the report (hope it’s by an unbiased source)?

    Will the same happen with the cycle lanes on the A259 (apparently no one has told the cyclists to use them!)?

    But excellent to see Peter West stating that “The current cycle lanes are temporary and any permanent installation will always have to go through the full consultation process”. Might have been better if they had one this before causing 3 months unnecessary congestion and many drivers now avoiding the A270 lest they get stuck in long, slow moving, polluting queues.

    Peter West and Anne Pissaridou have a lot of explaining to do at the next ETS meeting for what they did – especially how they implemented the A270 cycle lanes and closing Madeira drive before the government made an

    Why is opposition lead Gary Wilkinson not providing any semblance of “opposition” in wanting to hold the council to account for their actions? Does he actually serve any purpose?

  5. Nicholas Reply

    I’ve been up and down Old Shoreham road 100 times since the introduction of the cycling lane two months ago. In total I’ve seen less than ten cyclists use it. Imagine miles without a soul. A ghost lane.
    The cycling lane on King’s Road, which runs parallel to the existing cycling lane a few feet away! is also empty. Everyone uses the old one.

    Both projects make no sense and help in nothing. Other than waste public funds of course. The both look like works of mad people.

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