Thursday, 18 August 2011

Safety improvements to Hove's controversial Cycle Freeway will reduce car parking space, and are a victory for cycling

Cllr Alex Phillips w protest petition 19 Feb
18 August 2011. Safety improvements to the "cycle freeway" on Grand Avenue/The Drive have been given the go-ahead by Brighton & Hove City Council. The decision is victory for cycling, as it is a result of protests earlier this year when the then Conservative-led council proposed scrapping the cycle freeway (which is designated official cycle route no 82). The proposal was defeated after local and national protest. In the 5th May Local Elections the Conservatives lost power to the Greens, who had been at the forefront of moves to protect the cycle route.

Today, a council spokesperson said: "The proposed work will widen the gaps at some of the driveways and crossovers along the route to improve visibility and safety not only for cyclists but for all road users. Although the measures will involve a small loss of parking space, six extra parking spaces have recently been created in Grand Avenue/Church Road and another outside the Courtlands Hotel in Hove."

The council is publishing a traffic order this week on the reduction of parking space for members of the public to make representations.

Councillor Ian Davey, cabinet member for transport and the public realm, said: "The cycle lane is a safe and popular route down to the seafront, but there have been concerns about visibility along some parts of it. We promised to do something about that and are now bringing forward a programme of minor works.

"Residents strongly support cycle lanes and we are committed to improving routes such as completing links to the north of the city and developing routes to the east and west."

In March, councilor Davey presented a petition to council with over 3,500 signatures from residents asking to retain the Grand Avenue/The Drive cycle lane. Councillors resolved to keep the route and install any improvements.

Old Shoreham Road Cycle Lane Scheme consultation begins

The news of improvements to The Drive came a day after council commenced consultations on its plans to revive the Old Shoreham Road Cycle Lane Scheme. At a special meeting on 17 August, Cllr Ian Davey agreed to begin consultation on proposals to improve cycling on the Old Shoreham Road. The previous Conservative administration shelved plans for a major cycle lane on this route after nearly £100,000 had been spent developing the proposals.

The improvements will be part funded by a successful bid to national transport charity Sustrans for £330,000 under their ‘Links to School’ initiative.

Councillor for Goldsmid ward Alex Phillips commented: "The campaign to create more cycle lanes, increase the number of pedestrian crossings and improve road safety in Goldsmid has been one that I have been involved in together with the local community for many years. The development of this east-west route in the City will encourage more people to cycle to school or work, and will make those who are already regular cyclists on our roads feel much safer."

Councillor Ian Davey said: “The proposal includes a segregated cycle lane from BHASVIC to The Drive, as well as pedestrian improvements to the junctions with The Drive. Thanks to successful high-profile public campaigns, such as the recent 'save The Drive cycle lane', we have begun to restore the city’s reputation as city of excellence for sustainable transport, and we look forward to attracting more funding for this purpose."

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