A councillor has been rebuffed after calling for bus lanes to be operated more flexibly as part of a smart approach to tackling congestion.
Conservative councillor Dee Simson asked about congestion at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council last week.
Councillor Simson said: “The council’s decision to reduce the capacity of Lewes Road has had a knock-on effect in Woodingdean, with traffic using Falmer Road as a bypass.
“There are now fears that the council’s changes at Valley Gardens will cause further congestion in the inner city and displace more cars to Falmer Road and in Woodingdean and this is causing great concern in the community.
“A local resident has previously suggested the idea of improving traffic flow in Lewes Road by making the bus lane flexible in a similar way to smart motorways, allowing the bus lane to be repurposed for cars when demand for buses is lower, for example, when the universities are out.
“Will the council consider this as a plan to reduce congestion in Lewes Road?”
Green councillor Amy Heley, who chairs the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “The Lewes Road corridor is a heavily used multi-modal corridor that is used by residents and students to access the universities, which is why the bus lane was introduced to encourage both walking and cycling.
“While it is an interesting idea to change the use during the times when the universities are out there are a number of issues to consider.
- Changing the times of bus lane restrictions would be confusing when the times of the university change so often
- It would encourage people to abuse the lanes and likely lead to more cars being fined due to the confusion
- The road is also a major commuting route, with a large number of people using public transport, and increasing capacity even for a short time will encourage them to swap back to the car
- Recent evidence of smart motorways being implemented also demonstrates some issues with the schemes, in particular, raised by drivers (as can be partially understood through, for example, RAC surveys)
“For all of these reasons I would not support any change to the bus lane restrictions.”
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