A woman who received a fine for driving through a “bus gate” in Brighton said that the signs “don’t make sense”.
Mary Glossop*, 54, received two fines over the weekend of Saturday 11 March and Sunday 12 March.
She drove through the bus gate at Marlborough Place, in the Valley Gardens area of Brighton, while taking her partner to a writers’ workshop at the One Church, in Gloucester Place.
Driving into town from the couple’s home in Hove is essential, she said, because her partner Jimmers, 46, is a blue badge holder and cannot walk more than 50 metres, making a bus journey impossible.
And it was the first time that the Writers HQ had held an in-person event since the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown in 2020.
The couple had not travelled into Valley Gardens for three years and were not aware of the changes to the road layout.
Mr Glossop used to live in Gloucester Place and the couple took their familiar route, only to receive a fine days later.
Mrs Glossop said: “I was following the signs. It says local access and went into Marlborough Place.
“When you reach the bus gate at the end of Marlborough Place, there was nowhere to go.
“All you can do is turn right and around Old Steine again. There’s no way to get to One Church other than going around the houses, which doesn’t make sense.
“If I went up Church Street, that takes me into the most pedestrianised part of Brighton, a one-way system and the narrowest part of town.
“The argument that it’s improving green space and anti-congestion doesn’t make sense. It’s busy stop-start driving and terrible for pollution. It’s more congested, pushing traffic up the one-way streets.
“When you reach the bus gate at the end of Marlborough Place, there was nowhere to go. You have to go over it.
“It’s too confusing and it’s dangerous because you’ve got no time or preparation to make a manoeuvre.”
Mrs Glossop called for improvements to signs to explain what “local traffic” means and more publicity on the council’s social media and Visit Brighton to tell people the routes they must take to avoid bus gates.
In the two years since the Marlborough Place and Gloucester Place bus gate went live, the number of drivers passing through has fallen.
In the first year, the highest number of drivers passing through the gates was 5,570 in August 2021. Numbers dropped to 1,687 in August 2022.
Last year there was a significant fall in the number of vehicles passing through the bus gate, with a high of 2,217 in January and a low of 1,088 last October.
Brighton and Hove City Council said that 67 per cent, more than two thirds of penalty charges, were issued to vehicles registered outside the BN postcode area.
*Mary Glossop is a pseudonym.