Councillors to vote on future of cycle lanes

Thousands of cyclists are using the new seafront cycle lane every day compared with hundreds along the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in Hove.

The figures were released in a Brighton and Hove City Council report which looked at feedback from thousands of residents.

The report recorded almost no criticism of schemes to improve “active travel” in Western Road and along the A23 between Preston Circus and the Patcham roundabout.

But the report said: “All respondents were invited to give their views on the existing temporary cycle lane running from The Drive to Hangleton Road.

“There were a large number of general negative comments. However, this varied greatly depending on the respondents’ use of the area.”

And more than 900 people said that the new seafront cycle lane was either not needed, a waste of money or duplicated an already existing cycle lane, with more than 400 complaining that cyclists were still using the prom or the road.

The report – to the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee – follows an extensive public consultation, drawing more than 4,600 responses.

As a result, plans to extend the A270 Old Shoreham Road cycle lane to the west have been scrapped and other plans are being modified.

In the consultation, residents were asked: “To what extent do you support or oppose reallocating road space to walking and cycling in your local area or neighbourhood?”

The report said that there were 510 negative comments compared with just 49 in support for the Old Shoreham Road scheme.

There were 239 negative comments compared with just 31 in support for the A259 seafront scheme.

The A23 changes were supported by 12 people, with 19 against – and one person backed the Western Road changes, with two opposed.

The most common feedback about the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane – cited by more than 1,200 respondents – was that it was causing congestion, pollution and noise.

Nearly 900 people said that cyclists were still using the pavement and more than 400 said that the new cycle lanes were dangerous and confusing.

The Old Shoreham Road cycle lane by Hove Park – Picture by Stu Langridge

The report contains a package of “active travel” measures and a copy of a letter from the Department for Transport which said: “All schemes must include plans to be developed in consultation with local communities.”

It said that councils should consult in ways that enabled them to “come to an accurate understanding of public views”.

The temporary cycle lanes were set up during the first coronavirus lockdown last year, when people were urged not to use public transport.

The government gave the council more than £600,000 to carry out work aimed at encouraging “active travel” – in particular, walking and cycling.

One of the most common criticisms of the A259 and A270 temporary cycle lanes and changes to Madeira Drive was that the schemes were a waste of money.

Labour ran the council when the changes were made but the Greens have since taken charge.

When Labour councillors were made aware of the results of the public consultation, the party said: “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.”

The Old Shoreham Road temporary cycle lane

The Conservative group called for an “extraordinary meeting” of the council to discuss the “active travel” measures, criticising the proposed “special meeting” of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

Just three councillors would have been expected to attend the special committee meeting.

Instead, the council’s political leaders have agreed that all 10 members of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee will vote on the issue.

The Conservatives called it a “victory for democracy”, pointing to the potential political fall-out for Labour in Portslade.

The party currently holds all four Portslade seats but the public consultation echoed the feedback from councillors that the measures were deeply unpopular there.

The measures due to be discussed by the committee next week include a park and ride trial in Mill Road, Brighton. A scheme currently operates from there on Brighton and Hove Albion match days.

The committee meeting to decide the “active travel” measures is due to start at 4pm next Wednesday (21 July) at Hove Town Hall.

  1. Serena Evans Reply

    This pop up cycle lane madness needs to be reversed.
    The experiment is over and it hasn’t worked.
    It has damaged the city’s economy at the very time the city needed help to recover.
    Meanwhile those who (can) cycle continue to cycle wherever they want regardless of the overpriced traffic gridlocking cycle lanes put in for their benefit.
    If cyclists could cycle safely and properly, they wouldn’t have an issue with sharing a normal road with normal traffic. And they would earn more respect if they showed the same courtesy they expect from other traffic.

  2. Billy Short Reply

    Thanks for the detailed report on this ‘public consultation’.

    I responded to the consultation but the format and questions asked made it difficult to put across my concerns and how I felt.
    It felt like a lot of the questions were heavily loaded in favour of what the councillors had already decided, and so it’s interesting to see the response is mostly negative, even with the inbuilt bias in the survey.

    This was consultation from a council that has been taken over by lobbying groups and by councillors chasing an ideological creed. It feels like the councillors and some council staff are living in a self-congratulatory bubble, which allows no different view.

    And it’s unfortunate that we’re talking about cycle lanes when really this is about our city-wide transport structure. How do we get across the city efficiently, often on our essential journeys – and, in my case, how do we get to work? In focussing on cycle lanes, all common sense has been lost.

    No-one is against cycling or ‘active travel’. Those of us who live in Brighton and Hove know that we have narrow roads and hills, and that bike ownership is only one solution to travel – given the hills, the levels of bike theft, and the lack of bike storage in our terraced houses. Car ownership in this city is very low, and no-one readily chooses to own a car if they live in the city centre, because of permit costs, taxes, and parking issues.

    The Old Shoreham road is, and hopefully was, a social experiment which failed. On my daily commute to work I see very few cycles in that lane in the morning or again in the evening, sometimes not one.
    As a cyclist myself (when not driving a van for work) I would not choose that route, and clearly other cyclists feel the same way. Why with cycle lanes do we allocate fifty percent of the road space to one percent of the road users – in this case the one percent cycling users who were quite happy with the original dual lane road layout.

    As a Hove seafront resident, I also hate the way our seafront road has been messed up with a bonkers layout which suits nobody. When cycling on the road in west Hove, I’m happy with the generous dual lane boulevard which allows cars to cruise at different speeds and to pass cyclists like me. The gaps in traffic also mean, as a pedestrian, I don’t have to wait long to cross the road from my flat to the beach.
    Those traffic gaps have been lost at Hove Lawns since the westward and east-bound traffic became single file.
    And, for the non-locals, who wants to park in the middle of the road when they want to get to the beach with their kids and beach toys, or with their elderly parents?
    Why do we need two cycle lanes, and wand posts and plastic bollards everywhere in a heritage space? How do we welcome visitors back to this seaside resort?
    And if you look at a map, how do people who live in Hove get to Kemp Town if they/we need to do so in a car – like when we need to get to the hospital?

    Let’s stop chasing the ideology and fantasy, and let’s stop kicking the party-political football around these closed council zoom meetings.
    Let’s instead start looking at practical solutions to our city-wide transport strategy, dealing with the true needs of residents and visitors.

    • Sammy S Reply

      Same small group of people on here and Facebook, complaining about everything and anything. The truth of the matter is you just don’t like change. It really is true that the complaints come from a very vocal minority (two of the loudest and most frequent are Peter Challis and Billy Short. They must get a kick from being in a constant state of outrage). The good news is our Conservative government (transport secretary) have actually instructed the local councils not to listen to the vocal minority against active travel…great advice which I hope BHC listen to.

  3. Paul Temple Reply

    I read yesterday from an ardent cycle lane supporter this comment around the OSR cycle lane – ‘there is obviously something wrong when queues of traffic sit idle by an empty cycle lane’. Bar a few, (generally the most dogma driven), everyone gets the OSR cycle lane does not work. Officers tried hard to ‘spin’ the feedback but failed. If Labour truly are listening to North and South Portslade it needs to go

  4. Adrian Hill Reply

    ‘The most common feedback about the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane – cited by more than 1,200 respondents – was that it was causing congestion, pollution and noise.’

    Motor industry statistics say congestion is down. If pollution was only affected by congestion then pollution and noise would be down too. Pollution & noise is also affected by the distance from the source. The distance increased so you would expect a further improvement in noise and pollution.

    It is so sad that people have been so badly misinformed. NICE guidance, DfT and many academic studies all show that pollution can be reduced with a distancing of the source of the emissions and also if people moved over to more sustainable forms of travel. We may be about to rip out what could have made us more healthy. These are sad times we live in; we will suffer if we do not respect or listen to the science.

    • Paul Temple Reply

      Could of made us more healthy but it’s not being used, (last statistics from the council show a 23% decrease in cycling). Congestion may or may not be down in the city but the councils own figures show a 2% increase in motor vehicles at the Western end of the lane and because of half of the capacity you do get congestion and pollution. As campaigners have called for stick it on a flatter, straighter route, (Church Road or Portland road), and you will have a different result. You might actually encourage active travel.

      • Adrian Hill Reply

        They should wait for the air pollution figures to be released before making a decision and take more measurements. Everyone is guessing. More investment is required in air quality instrumentation and man power so more measurements can be taken. My guess, and I’d put a lot of money on it, is that pollution levels and exposures have reduced along the A270. A vegetation barrier between the road & cyclist, pedestrian, waiting bus passenger and resident would help further in addition to the extra distance.
        Is the reduction in cycling due to a reduction in students who would more likely cycle? Should people be protected who need to cycling along such a horribly dangerous and polluted road regardless of numbers? The same logic would likely result in a removal of the pavement.

    • Brighton Tradesman Reply

      > It is so sad that people have been so badly misinformed.

      That makes it clear you don’t live anywhere near there. Even to the casual observer it is easy to see the build-up caused by removing space for traffic to flow. This is the main east-west corridor in the city.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Sadder are “Clean air campaigners” such as yourself quoting problems on the OSR with increased CO2 and NOx emissions on the OSR and in surrounding streets used as rat runs that did not exist until the “temporary” cycle lane was introduced.

      Have you ever been along the A270 to see what happened, or are you just regurgitating general information?

      Anyway, it appears car and cycling journeys are returning to pre-pandemic levels, and as such this temporary cycle lane, if you remember, was designed to provide an alterative for those avoiding public transport, rather than to encourage cycling, or to reduce carbon emissions, and as such is no longer required almost 18 months after it was imposed.

      This return to the old ways is, of course, most upsetting to groups such as Sustrans – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57314807

      • Adrian Hill Reply

        The congestion levels are still below pre pandemic levels and, based on the last five weeks, the roads are becoming less congested rather than more. It could be the weather, but it could be something else, regardless congestion is down.

        Yes, I have been down it and during rush hour, the two times last week I travelled down there, it was clear and the only hold up were the unsynchronised traffic lights.

        What is your suggestion Peter Challis to solve the areas of poor air quality that plague this city? Clean Air Zone? Wait and let the children today grow up with stunted lungs? Those children affected by poor air quality lose approximately an egg sized amount of lung capacity and they do not regain it. 30% of the asthmatics in the UK are asthmatic because of air pollution. Elderly people are more at risk. Pregnant people and those with heart and lung conditions also affected. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends better walking and cycling infrastructure, a clean air zone and distancing us from the sources of emissions. Do you support any of those things?

  5. Peter Reply

    Where do you get these figures fro 1 travel along these rods several times a day and have never seen anything like the figures you state these lanes are in face under usd and do noting but cause congestion I see more cyclists using David or road than the old shoreham road and even that is not heavily used STOP printing lies and made up figures

  6. Peter Challis Reply

    P.S. Love the picture by Stu Langridge who is from Sustrans – I assume it was carefully created to make it look like the cycle lane is well used. It’s amazing the number of people in the city (including councillors) that are paid employees of the anti-motorist charity Sustrans – they must be getting plenty of donations, topped up with out taxes via Gift Aid…

  7. Bel Reply

    Even the council’s bike hire scheme usage has fallen at the sites closest to the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane

  8. Peter Reply

    What feedback are they talking about Probably the cycling lobby giving them figures to make it look as though these under used lanes are being used

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