Councillors have voted to extend the A259 seafront cycle lane from Fourth Avenue, in Hove, to the Lagoon traffic lights.
One of the current lanes, which is used by cars, buses, vans and lorries, will restricted to cyclists only by Brighton and Hove City Council.
The proposal includes raised “table junctions” at Medina Terrace, Sussex Road and King’s Esplanade and more dropped kerbs to make it easier for wheelchair users cross the road.
The £475,000 project also includes an extra 70 cycle parking spaces – some for specially adapted bicycles – and 26 parking spaces for blue badge holders.
Green councillor Elaine Hills told the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee that the project had received 70 per cent support.
But Conservative councillor Samer Bagaeen told the committee meeting at Brighton Town Hall that, in reality, 48 people responded to a consultation and 34 of those supported the cycle lane extension.
Councillor Bagaeen told the meeting last night (Tuesday 20 September) that there were more than 48 people living in just one block of flats in Kingsway.
He said that so few responses indicated that either the council’s consultation process was flawed or that people were “just not interested”.
Councillor Bagaeen said: “We are meant to consult with residents who are directly affected. We are also meant to consult with residents who are indirectly affected.
“We really need to take a hard look at this. We can’t call it 70 per cent. It is 34 out of 48 responses on a major project that is costing hundreds of thousands of pounds of government money to deliver.”
He was told that the responses came after the council advertised the “traffic regulation order” as part of the legal process of changing the use of the road.
It was the third round of consultation after two previous mailshots to more than 8,000 properties in the area last year and public meetings.
Green councillor Steve Davis said that he believed that there were only 48 responses because people wanted the A259 cycle lane extended.
The cycle lane extension was proposed in response to a government policy document celled Gear Change which urged councils to improve cycling and walking infrastructure.
Councillor Davis said: “Ninety-seven per cent of roads in this city do not have cycling infrastructure on them. Gear Change told us to be bold. So we have to be bold because there is an emergency on here. As an administration, we are delivering on active travel.”
Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth said that many people in his ward were “not won over” by the cycle lane plans.
Councillor Nemeth, who represents Wish ward, in Hove, said: “In West Hove, I fear queues behind cars travelling west turning right and, linked to that, pollution and general congestion of the sort we saw on the Old Shoreham Road.
“I also fear a likely low level of usage, perhaps not justifying the policy. A lot of residents remain slightly perplexed when there is a cycle lane sitting there which they feel is perfectly adequate.”
Labour councillor Nancy Platts said that there was a “culture of hatred” on social media, each often stemming from just one bad experience with a cyclist.
When she went to Seville and Cadiz last year, she said that she noticed a different attitude and separate lanes for the popular bike share as well as electric scooter hire schemes.
Councillor Platts said: “One key thing I really noticed was the much more laid-back approach to sharing space than we’ve got here. I feel quite strongly we need to do some work on culture change in the city.”
She said that as Brighton and Hove was a tourist resort, people needed to be aware of others who were unfamiliar with the streets and the “pinch points”. She suggested “slow” or “give way” signs for cyclists.
Councillor Platts asked how the council could reduce conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. She was told that creating dedicated road spaces for cyclists was the solution because it protected pedestrians from bikes and cyclists from cars.
Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson spoke about the proposed “floating bus stops” which would be set away from the pavement between the road and the cycle lane.
He spoke out after the National Federation of the Blind of the UK’s street access campaign co-ordinator Sarah Gayton emailed committee members before the meeting.
She said that the plans were “not fit for purpose” and were “not safe or accessible for blind or visually impaired pedestrians or bus users”.
Councillor Wilkinson said: “These floating bus stops can be controversial. We need formal crossings and raised tables to slow cyclists down in these places.
“Floating bus stops can deter people from using the stop, especially people with disabilities and especially sight-impaired people. So if they are used, they need to be designed to be as safe as possible for everyone.”
Green councillor Jamie Lloyd said that he was buoyed by the consultation and the positive response from Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere (BADGE).
He said: “This is an excellent addition to our growing cycle lane network in this city. We need a lot more but this is a great way to go forward.
“I’m really happy we’ve actually reclaimed proper road space in a way which will benefit not only cyclists but mobility users as well which is really hopeful.”
The work is to be funded with £171,000 from the government’s Active Travel Fund and £304,000 from the council’s Local Transport Plan fund.
The committee voted for the extension by seven to two, with Greens and Labour in favour and the Conservatives against.