We are keen to ensure there is more “active travel” infrastructure built around the city, that’s why we implemented a number of temporary measures including cycle lanes.
However, we have always been clear that residents must be the drivers of any transport changes and their opinions must be respected.
At the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting last night (Wednesday 21 July) the Labour group supported extending most cycle lane schemes.
But we voted to remove the temporary lanes in Old Shoreham Road in favour of identifying a viable alternative local route.
The Climate Assembly was clear that the path to a carbon-neutral city required bringing residents with us on the journey, consulting and engaging with them, and ensuring we changed our plans accordingly when they gave us feedback.
This is what Labour did last night.
The Green administration wanted to plough ahead with extending the temporary scheme in Old Shoreham Road in the face of vocal opposition from residents.
We asked for a pause and a full consultation with the people of Brighton and Hove first – and we promised residents we would listen to them.
And residents have made their feelings very clear – the temporary lanes in Old Shoreham Road are simply not working.
We want to relocate them so that they do work. To plough ahead without the support of residents would be irresponsible.
We need the buy-in of the city as it is residents who will need to make significant lifestyle changes in order for us to become a carbon-neutral city by 2030.
In order to make those changes, we need to bring residents with us, not leave them behind us.
So, last night we voted to remove them and find an alternative location for a temporary cycle lane scheme.
We suggested officers begin by considering Portland Road and New Church Road but also explore other nearby options.
There will now be an “urgency sub-committee” in the next three weeks to finalise the removal of the temporary lanes on Old Shoreham Road – and we’ll be urging officers to crack on with finding an alternative that works for all road users.
Alongside our call to action around other routes, the Labour group was pleased to vote to extend the cycle lane schemes on the A23 and Western Road, as well as the A259 – subject to proper engagement with local businesses and residents on the seafront.
In the meantime, we remain resolute in our desire to deliver on the recommendations of the Climate Assembly – as this is how we will get to carbon net zero and truly combat the climate crisis.
We’ll get there by listening to and working with residents and, of course, keeping our promises to them. We are pleased to report that at last night’s committee, this is exactly what we have done.
Councillor Gary Wilkinson speaks for Labour on Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.
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