Bus diversions prompt questions about traffic and air quality

Diverting buses away from a key route has spurred residents to raise their concerns about increased traffic levels and pollution in their previously quieter road.

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson raised the issue after “a large number of residents” shared their concerns with him about buses and other vehicles diverted along Upper North Street and Montpelier Terrace.

The diversion is in place during the revamp of Western Road which is expected to take up to two years and involves resurfacing the road and pavements, creating a “central strip” and more crossings.

At a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting this evening (Thursday 2 February), Councillor Wilkinson asked: “What specific monitoring of traffic levels has occurred on these roads to date in respect to the scheme and, if so, at which locations?

“Is there any indication to date that congestion is occurring in any part of the city as a result of the scheme?

“Is there any monitoring occurring regarding the impact of the diversion of buses and other heavy vehicles on the houses on these roads?

“Is air quality monitoring specific to the scheme taking place in Montpelier Terrace and Upper North Street and, if so, how often will that data be reviewed in respect of safety levels?

“Please specify any roads on which this information is held and how residents can access such information.”

Two Green councillors, Steve Davis and Elaine Hills, the joint chairs of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said that they were sorry that people were inconvenienced but the work along Western Road made the situation “unavoidable”.

They said that the decision to divert eastbound buses had not been “taken easily” and various options had been considered.

On monitoring, they said: “There is no specific requirement to do this for the diversion route. However, officers have installed equipment to monitor traffic volumes, speed and nitrogen dioxide.

“This is in response to concerns raised by some residents prior to the diversion coming in with the purpose being to monitor compliance.

“Two speed monitoring devices have been installed and these are located in Montpelier Terrace and Upper North Street, with one for each direction.

“Additional nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes have been located in Montpelier Road, Upper North Street and at the junction with Regent Hill.

Councillor Gary Wilkinson

“These don’t give us live readings but results will be reported in the annual status reports on air quality, scheduled for July.

“Finally on your point about congestion, I am pleased to say that there is no evidence to date that the scheme is causing additional congestion issues.

“Indeed, initial data from bus operators indicates they have not been affected by delays as a result of the diversion.

“I would also note that no general traffic has been diverted as other vehicles can only use Western Road in the opposite direction, which has been kept open.

“I realise the work will mean some disruption for a while but this scheme will have long-term benefits for our residents, businesses and local economy for years to come.”

A petition started in December by retired doctor Gillian Durham headed “Stop half a million buses on Brighton’s Upper North Street and Montpelier Terrace”” on Change.org currently has 653 signatures.

  1. Jack Williams Reply

    I notice that the traffic light sequence at the junction of Upper North St and Montpelier has been changed to accommodate the ‘improvements’. So lots of traffic now queueing heading south…

  2. Hendrik Reply

    Why was it found necessary to make the changes to Western Road anyway? Is this not yet another unnecessary vanity scheme cooked up by the Greens, who love to tell us in their propaganda leaflet how they “listen” to the public?

    • Benjamin Reply

      I mean, anyone who has been on Western Road for an evening would be able to easily answer your question, considering the number of late-night establishments, more crossings are a reasonable consideration.

  3. Chris Reply

    Well it has not been messed about with for a couple of years. It does seem to be a favorite plaything of the roads dept. Given half the shops are closed what is the point ? Fewer people come here because of the anti-car sentiment and the money spinning bus gate traps. Why come here to shop when other towns offer more and easier parking. If I am going by train for shopping it will be to somewhere that offers things that other places do not – like London. The Greens do not know or want to know that money is not “tokens” given out by some mythical entity but created by manufacture and commerce.

  4. Mark Reply

    All the green vanity projects are funded by central government, but what they don’t seem to understand is that if you take money out of central government for pointless works, they have less money and then tell the local councils to make cuts. So instead of making cuts they put the council tax up so who is really funding this? The residents.
    Another example of incompetence. Roll on May we may get our city back.

    • Helen Reply

      This scheme has been planned for several years.
      Most of this scheme is funded by Active Travel Fund, Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund and Bus Service Improvement Plan along with any additional top from our council taxes.

    • Benjamin Reply

      Incorrect Mark, the money funding these projects isn’t used elsewhere and is earmarked specifically for these kinds of projects. Effectively the money is lost if not used, put simply.

      • Helen Reply

        Mark didn’t say the money funding these projects isn’t used elsewhere.

  5. Gillian Durham Reply

    There is no congestion because vehicles mount the pavement on the south side of Upper North Street going west to get out of the way of buses speeding towards them. Inconvenience? These buses are brutalising the health and safety of our community. See http://www.facebook.com/WRRAG for the evidence of our distress. Also see https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/stop-690-buses-daily-on-4-residential-streets/ for the legal steps I have taken.

  6. Helen Reply

    Gillian Durham
    Hmmm, Speeding ?
    And what speeds have you recorded buses going along that road at ?
    I followed a few through and top speed was 10 on a good day.

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