Labour call for Old Shoreham Road cycle lanes to be scrapped

Posted On 05 Jul 2021 at 9:34 pm

Labour councillors are calling for the temporary cycle lane in Old Shoreham Road to be scrapped after the council consulted residents.

The temporary lanes were put in just over a year ago during the first lockdown when few cars were on the road and people were told not to use public transport.

They have proved divisive, with petitions for and against gathering thousands of signatures.

But questions there were about where some of the cycle lane’s supporters lived and Brighton and Hove City Council has since brought in new guidelines to protect the integrity of petitions.

This evening (Monday 5 July), the Labour group of councillors have said that they intend to demand that the council’s Green administration scrap the temporary Old Shoreham Road lanes.

The party had previously called for a meaningful consultation on the cycle lanes and, having seen some of the draft findings, Labour members want the cycle lane to be removed.

The party said: “Residents have made their voices heard and the full findings of the consultation will be published in a report to go before the upcoming special meeting of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee later this month.

“Labour are keen to ensure there is more active travel infrastructure built around the city. However, the party have always been clear that residents must be the drivers of any transport changes – and their opinions must be respected.

“Labour have suggested an alternative cycle route in Portland Road or Church Road, in lieu of the current lanes in Old Shoreham Road which have caused considerable congestion and headaches for local residents.”

Councillor Gary Wilkinson, who speaks for the Labour opposition on the environment, transport and sustainability, said: “While the Greens wished to plough on ahead with extending the Old Shoreham Road cycle lanes, Labour called for a halt to allow for meaningful consultation with residents.

“Having seen the draft findings from that consultation, Labour feel residents have made their feelings clear and want the temporary cycle lane scrapped.

“We stand with residents in calling on the Green minority administration to remove the temporary cycle lane in Old Shoreham Road and scrap the planned extension in favour of looking at alternative routes.

Councillor Gary Wilkinson

“By scrutinising the council and bringing residents into the discussion, Labour’s constructive opposition means we can put a stop to the congestion in Old Shoreham Road and see the temporary cycle lane removed.

“The ideological positions of the other parties on this issue have always been clear – the Greens dislike drivers and the Tories dislike cyclists.

“Labour, the only party capable of bringing the city together, chose not to be driven by dogma but to involve residents and let them decide.”

  1. Jonathan Simons Reply

    Labour showing their true colours finally as a party of motorists with no interest in climate or children’s safety – utterly unsurprising but still disappointing.

    • Malcolm Reply

      Do I detect an upset Green?

      • Jonathan Simons Reply

        Afraid not. I’ve voted Labour the last 3 local elections because I trusted what they said – more fool me. The pledges they made which gained my vote turned out to be complete lies so I have no trust left in them.

  2. Jonathon Astley Reply

    I and many other residents will definately vote labour who have at last seen common sense.Now get rid of the seafront cycle lanes . Suggest the next Council elections to be planned during the summer holidays so students will no longer vote and ruin our city .

    • Jonathan Simons Reply

      I’m afraid you’re mistaken if you think this is caused by students – students primarily vote labour and represent a tiny minority of the voters and don’t live in the wards these cycle lanes are in. Hollingdean and Stanmer plus Moulsecoomb and Bevendean are the main student wards which elected 5 labour and 1 green last election.

    • Greens Out Reply

      You do realise it was Labour that was in ‘power’ when these lanes were introduced don’t you? Or have you forgotten that minor fact?

      • Jonathan Simons Reply

        Yes they were in power – I don’t dispute that. Labour just seem entriely confused what they’re for.

        • Jamie Reply

          Something to do with the fact the Momentum Loonies (hello Nancy!) tried to take over the party

  3. Idgie Reply

    It’s astonishing that Gary Wilkinson has discerned what all residents in the city think when he can’t even be bothered to read emails from his own constituents.

  4. Jamie Reply

    Well well well. Finally Labour has decided to be a plausible opposition to the Green jihadists. Thets gonna upset some of the Sustrans Party councillors!

  5. Hove Guy Reply

    I never thought I would be agreeing with Labour, but for once they are right. Those cycle lanes are serving no purpose whatsoever. They are causing more damage to the environment with higher levels of pollution, and chaotic, confusing and often dangerous traffic situations. The silly poles, separating them from vehicles are a hideous eyesore. They should be scrapped immediately. And the Greens with them!

  6. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Where does Labour propose to put cycle lanes on the problem-strewn Portland Road?

    • Chris Reply

      The chaotic way people park in Portland Road any cycle lane would need to be straight down the middle or suspended above the road!! A major change of layout and very strict enforcement would be needed to
      achieve anything. New Church Road might just be feasible with the loss of parking bays.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Quite easy – cyclists will continue to use the routes they use now – as they do when cycle lanes end, and have to learn how ride safely in mixed traffic. There are so few cyclists on the A270 anyway.

    • Nathan Adler Reply

      I cycle Portland Road everyday to work, (and have outside of lockdowns for 5 years), I have never had an issue. I would like to see a proper crossing rather than just a Zebra outside the Westbourne and Police do need to crack down on double parking – but the road is flat, straight and wide and is fine to cycle.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        I am presenting a Petition to the Council next week about that very issue: the crossing between the Westbourne pub and Wild Heart greengrocery. Hundreds have signed a paper petition and it is also online: search “Hove council petitions” and you will reach it!

        I much prefer to cycle on New Chruch Road. Fewer obstructions and fewer roads off it make for less danger.

        • Peter Challis Reply

          So why do you seem to support keeping the OSR cycle lanes that few riders? Last time I drove between Carlton Terrace and PC World, I saw 3 vehicles in the westerly cycle lane – 1 cyclist, 1 motor cycling, and an eScooter.

          I too think New Church Road is great – it is wide, with plenty of space for everyone to keep safe distances without segregated cycle lanes.

          Perhaps the various, qualified, objective transport planning experts in the council, and your activist friends at Sustrans, Bricycles, and the Green Party, together with representatives of all affected residents, businesses, can have a proper look at traffic volumes and options, and find solutions that satisfy all road users.

  7. Peter Challis Reply

    Fantastic news – we have to remember that it was Labour councillor Anne Pissaridou, then chair of the ETS Committee, together with then opposition lead Green councillor. and Pete West, and pro-cycling charity Sustrans, who rushed through these “temporary” cycle lanes on the Old Shoreham Road (OSR) at the start of the pandemic to “provide an alternative for those avoiding public transport”.

    The reasons then changed over time, and any bus users that switched to cycling preferred the flatter routes along Portland Road and New Church Road, and quite safely mixing with other traffic – contrary to claims by fellow pro-cycling groups such as Bricycles demanding 3m wide dedicated, segregated routes.

    The aim had been to extend the 3m wide cycle lanes to the city border, and thence West Sussex would extend to the Holmbush roundabout and thence along the Upper Shoreham Road (USR) to the centre of Shoreham as part of a “Greater Brighton Cycle Network”.

    Sensibly WSCC implemented a test scheme on the USR that, like the OSR, has barely used, and decided to remove it.

    Other temporary cycle lanes in Worthing were similarly barely used and just caused congestion for other traffic and were removed, much to the upset of the Green Party and Shoreham-by-Cycle activists.

    As such the OSR cycle lanes serve no purpose other than to support the Green Party’s obsessive anti-motorist plan.

    Now it seems that, finally, the secret coalition agreement where Labour does what the Green tell them to do, is being torn up and the needs of residents, businesses, and other road users are being listened to.

    I might well vote for Labour again in the 2023 council elections!

  8. Jon Reply

    The usual pro-cycling councillors who support bicycle lanes except for this one and the next one and the last one.
    Who recognise climate-change is real but avoid doing anything real to stop it and realise there’s an obesity crisis but their answer is discounted fortnightly Zumba lessons

    They see not many people are using a cycle lane. They don’t look for reasons , maybe it’s access, continuity , safety ….to make it work .Their solution is rip it up.

    • Paul Temple Reply

      TBF the figures have actually gone BACKWARDS on the OSR cycle lane – it clearly is not in the right place, (anyone who goes along there always notices the sparsity of cyclists). It is NOT encouraging active travel, (in fact to start the scheme on such a poor idea could derail the entire LCWIP). Labour put it in, they have listened to the residents, (apparently unlike other active travel measures the feedback on the OSR was clearly against), and they have been honest enough to say it’s not working lets remove and relocate. Labour are not saying stop ANY of the other active travel measures – just this one.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Except what are these cycle lanes actually doing to help the climate emergency? Do you have any objective data to support your viewpoint?

      So far all they have done is to cause inconvenience to other road users, increase congestion, and hence increase emissions along the A270, and elsewhere as motorists divert along previously peaceful “rat runs” or go to other towns in the area to avoid delays.

      End result is that this may well have made the climate emergency worse due to incompetent meddling by pro-cycling anti-motorist amateur activists.

      This is especially as so few cyclists bother with this route, and according to recent reports cyclist and motorist journeys in general are returning to pre-pandemic levels, which I imagine cycling-obsessed Sustrans are not at all happy about. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57314807

  9. Adrian Hill Reply

    As an asthmatic who cycles I find this so upsetting. Distancing motor traffic from cycle lanes and the pavement reduces exposure of pollution by both pedestrians and cyclists (Impact of bicycle route type on exposure to traffic-related air pollution, MacNaughton, 2014). Brighton Labour seems to regularly ignore the scientific advice on how to reduce our exposure to pollution and side with populist ideologist and the motor industry. Brighton Labour has repeatedly failed to fix the illegal levels of pollution in our city and its lack of inaction is so worrying. If you are elderly, a child, have children, are pregnant, at risk from heart disease, suffer with lung disease or asthma then this is not the protection you deserve.
    Labour is not the party of good health.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Were NOx and particulates at a level where they exceed legal limits before the A270 cycle lane extension was built?

      Where in the city do pollution levels exceed legal levels? I thought the worst place was by the Clock Tower where most vehicles are not cars.

      Have any measurements been taken before and after they were implemented both on the A270 and in surrounding roads now used by cars to avoid the area to ascertain whether the cycle lanes have affected emission levels?

      Considering that congestion increases emissions by 80% compared to free flowing, and that hardly any road users have switched long term to cycling, won’t it be better for those with those problems you mention, to have the cycle lanes removed?

      • Adrian Hill Reply

        Yes, Brighton has suffered illegal levels of pollution for many years in many areas of the city including the A270. There are extremely dangerous levels of pollution from Dyke Road towards the east (New England Rd, Viaduct Rd & up to the university). That has persisted for years. There are spots of illegal pollution to the west such as Neville Road traffic lights and a number of spots on the A270 around Portslade. Some of these areas suffer poor, if not illegal, air quality. Some of the A270 experiences fairly good levels of air quality, especially along the stretch where the existing cycle lane has existed for many years now…so to answer your question, the historical evidence is pretty clear that cycle lanes reduce levels of pollution.

        Many areas of the city suffer illegal levels of pollution. The worst areas are where the pavement is close to busy roads where heavy traffic persists.

        ‘congestion increases emissions by 80%’ where did you get that figure from? The amount by which congestion increases emissions is dependent on so many factors such as the effects of buildings on air dispersal such as street canyons, average speeds, vehicle type, number of stop and starts, hills, age of vehicles. To put one figure on this sounds wrong.

        One of the most significant things that affects air pollution exposure is the distance to the source of the emissions. Distancing road traffic from residents, cyclists, pedestrians and those waiting at bus stops will make a huge difference to their well being. You can use the ‘Nitrogen Dioxide fall off with distance calculate’ that DEFRA provide to estimate this. Just a couple of meters distance protects people a lot. That is the reason why I’ve campaigned for buildings to be set back and not built directly on main roads.

        There is of course the added benefit that with more people cycling fewer will drive or take the bus and that will reduce emissions. The main barrier to cycling is safe routes…ie routes without dedicated cycle lanes.

        The cycle lane is wide, to protect people further from pollution, those who are worried about air pollution should be campaigning to add vegetation barriers between the traffic and the cycle lane to protect people like NICE guidance requests. That would protect people from pollution further.

        This is about the elderly, children, pregnant, those at risk from heart disease, those suffering with lung disease or asthma. Those are the people who will suffer most and I imagine the most likely to be pedestrians and bus users…some, like me, cycle because I don’t want to be part of the problem.

        What we should have is better air quality monitoring and models that will estimate how the air quality will change after such changes. However, all the expert guidance supports additional cycle lanes and space for pedestrians. Removing cycle lanes will probably cause further suffering to those vulnerable groups I’ve mentioned. Please, if you campaign for anything, at least campaign for better air quality monitoring and mapping to predict the changes and to monitor the changes, if you want to go against the medical guidance, use that to argue your point but not before with a guess. However yes, additional air quality monitoring has taken place where the new cycle lanes have been installed.

        In addition to distancing people from the emissions and changing habits to less polluting forms of transport, the next best thing to improve air quality is to implement a Clean Air Zone will likely provide high levels of protection against pollution.

        Pollution has absolutely ruined my health and I do blame the vehicles that pollute the most such as diesels older than 2015ish.

        • Peter Challis Reply

          Thanks for this – so basically we should actually monitor air quality, and with the move to Euro 6 and EVs, the problem will go away.

          Your actual support for the claim that cycle lanes improved air quality is tenuous and anecdotal – especially as nothing has been actually measured between The Drive and Carlton Terrace or surrounding streets.

          • Adrian Hill

            The problem won’t go away with Euro 6 vehicles no. It will be less but still harmful and still dangerous. EVs continue to emit a significant number of harmful particulates from the tyres…this actually makes up around half of the particulate emissions today. People seem to continually overestimate the number of EVs now and what will be in the next few years. EVs, especially due to their weight, will continue to be dangerous if an accident occurred between a cyclist, pedestrian or bus user.

            Will you support a Clean Air Zone Peter Challis to protect the health of those vulnerable to population? It has been shown in London to reduce pollution in the worst spots by around a third. To support the health of those living in our city it is necessary to provide support for the things that NICE guidance ng70 asks councils to consider such as a CAZ, better active travel, distancing traffic from pedestrians cyclists & bus stops, vegetation barriers, support a general shift from motor vehicles to more active travel, reductions in driver speed, setting buildings further back and many other recommendations. If you are concerned about air quality I’d spend your time and efforts campaigning for those things rather than removing cycle lanes.

            My claim that cycle lanes improve air quality is based on previous scientific studies, guidance from governmental bodies and the effects after previous cycle lanes have been installed along with existing pollution monitoring. I don’t see you referencing any studies or expert guidance, I’m flummoxed as to how you managed to call that anecdotal, ha!

            On the case of pollution monitoring. Generally and comparatively Brighton does a good job, however, due to the fact we have the worst pollution in Sussex, the worst in the South East and have many polluted areas in the city I believe that more investment is required. It will also help those who suffer, such as myself, if they have more visibility about the pollution such as publicly available and live reporting of multiple roadside sites. This was recommended by Professor Sir Stephen Holgate in the Ella Kissi Deborah case.

            Like Ella Kissi Deborah, my poor health is not just affected by poor air quality it is the cause of it. I like many of the young people growing up would not have experienced poor health if we had better air quality.

  10. Dave Jones Reply

    Having recently cycled around Poole, Bournemouth & Southampton, I despair at the totally useless cycle network in Brighton & Hove compared to other South Coast cities. I’m a Labour voter, but Labour’s love-in with the car lobby had got to end.
    The A270 cycle route was totally disconnected from the other cycle routes in B&H. No wonder it was under-used.
    Where is the plan for a proper network in this city?
    Why do Tory councils like Poole have better networks than a city run by Labour & Greens?

  11. Alice J Reply

    In reply to Adrian Hill, above, pollution levels now seem worse to me along the stretch of the Old Shoreham Road where the new cycle lanes are. I regularly walk and cycle along parts of the road, when I have no alternative. The road is a main arterial route, like the A259, used by those travelling east/west, but not needing the A27 Brighton Bypass. I dare say plenty of those journeys may not be necessary by some people’s standards, but we don’t know. On each side of the road, the Council has tried to cram two lanes of traffic into one. The extra jams at junctions mean more engines idling and more stop-start traffic movements, with the extra pollution that brings. Portland Road and New Church Road are also both now busier and, I believe, more polluted. The Greens have not succeeded in encouraging cycling, but they have worsened air quality and pollution.

    • Adrian Hill Reply

      I don’t think we can say air quality has worsened or improved without seeing the results. Congestion for the whole of Brighton is lower than for the same period in 2019. Guidance and research all indicate that distancing motor traffic from pedestrians will improve exposure levels.
      I feel people who are worried about pollution should be campaigning for a Clean Air Zone (less polluting vehicles), distancing of motor vehicles from pavements and a move to less polluting forms of transport.

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