A section of the Brighton seafront cycle lane is to be removed, with work starting this evening (Wednesday 26 August).
Brighton and Hove City Council said this afternoon: “Work will begin this evening (Wednesday 26 August) to remove a 600m section of the temporary cycle lane on the A259 between the Aquarium roundabout and West Street.
“The decision follows discussions with Brighton and Hove Buses about bus journey times and congestion on this part of the westbound carriageway.
“The nature of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) process gives us the opportunity to engage and respond to concerns while the temporary scheme is in place.
“The rest of the temporary cycle lane will remain in place as agreed by councillors at the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee in June.
“Work will take place overnight to minimise disruption.”
Green councillor Pete West, the lead member for transport, said: “Congestion on this stretch has had a knock-on for major bus routes and delays to bus journey times. That is unacceptable.
“Sadly, attempted changes to adjust traffic light timings have not provided the answers needed as there is still insufficient capacity for the volume of traffic heading towards West Street.
“We recognise the serious concerns raised by public transport users and providers that congestion in a small section of the additional temporary A259 cycle lane has caused unavoidable delay to public transport in the city.
“We have therefore reluctantly agreed to suspend this short stretch of the lane.”
Councillor Lee Wares, who speaks for the Conservatives on transport, said that the scheme had been an “unacceptable waste of taxpayer money”.
He said that any changes should have been better planned and subject to proper consultation and appropriate “impact assessments”.
Councillor West said: “In the midst of a pandemic which attacks our lungs, as our city recovers we are committed to ensuring that we have many good sustainable transport options including public transport, walking and cycling – and ensuring that these form part of a network of attractive alternatives to private car use.
“We urge those using cars for to consider alternative travel options, the necessity of their journey and the impact this has on others by creating congestion.
“The temporary measures recently introduced aim to offer additional sustainable transport capacity and choice.
“The government requested that councils across the country make changes to walking and cycling on a swift timescale – so throughout the temporary period they have been implemented there may be a need for tweaks.
“We will continue to look closely at the data, listen to what people are saying and make changes where necessary, particularly around disability access.
“Many of the schemes we are now implementing were planned under the previous Labour administration.
“In the short time since we became the minority Green administration of the council, we have shown that we will listen and take decisive action.”
Councillor Wares added: “Using officer delegated urgency powers, the section of the cycle lane was removed because of the increasing congestion they were causing together with the inevitable rising pollution, lowering air quality and negative impact on the economy.
“This is what happens when the council refuses to undertake the necessary impact assessments, traffic modelling and proper consultation.
“Labour and the Greens were so focused on rushing to spend the money they could grab from government, they forgot the key basic activities needed when introducing massive untested, unqualified and ill-thought out transport schemes.
“Recently Councillor West said, ‘give them a chance.’ Well, that has happened and it has gone disastrously wrong.
“Now every implemented scheme should be suspended and all those proposed should be stopped until their impact has been adequately assessed and the council knows with some certainly what is likely to happen.
“It is unacceptable to waste taxpayer money in this way.
“It is also galling for the city’s blue badge holders and less able folk and the traders in Madeira Drive that the council and the Green administration won’t use these powers to swiftly change the negative impacts on them.
“Blue badge holders still have to contend with the lethal bays on the A259, still have to ask to use the changing places toilets and are still curfewed from using some disabled parking bays so that others can enjoy certain streets. Traders are still struggling.
“All we get are verbal platitudes from the Greens, with no action to resolve, and Labour councillors trying to u-turn on the misery they have caused.”
Brighton and Hove Buses commercial manager Nick Hill said: “This is great news for our passengers who have recently been experiencing delays on our services.
“With over half a million passengers a week coming back to bus, it will certainly help to provide a much smoother service for many.
“It is a good example of partnership working with Brighton and Hove City Council for responding to our concerns.”
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