Monday, 28 February 2011

Bricycles warns Conservatives of being seen as "anti-cycling"

Campaign group Bricycles today warned the Conservative administration of Brighton and Hove that their proposal to demolish the Hove Cycle freeway risks being seen as "anti-cycling" and is at odds with their 2010 election manifesto.

Bricycles is the largest cycling campaign group in Brighton and Hove and is affiliated to CTC, the UK’s national cycling organisation. Bricycles has been giving input into plans to improve cycling.

In a press release titled: "Grand Avenue: from Grand Design to ground zero in 3 years?" Becky Reynolds, Bricycles Campaigns Officer, called on the Council to remedy the problem areas rather than demolish the cycle lane three years after they were installed - at a total cost of installation and demolition of "about £2 million". (more>>>)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fascinating video of cycle freeway in operation, Utrecht

A fascinating video of a busy junction in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where 33% of journeys are made by bicycle. Note the frequent public transport shown in the background, very rapid connections cross city. Cars are not banned here: people simply choose to travel by tram or cycle. Its easier, quicker, cleaner and safer. A commitment to an integrated sustainable transport system is needed.

(Posted to further the argument in favour of cycle freeways and an integrated sustainable transport plan in Brighton and Hove, and specifically to promote the development of a network of cycle freeways and in support of the Save Hove Cycle Lanes campaign).

Friday, 25 February 2011

Cllr Mary Mears says she's "not anti-cycling" - safety is reason to scrap cycle Lane, but admits safety improved

Councillor Mary Mears
25 February. Earlier today Conservative council leader Mary Mears said the reason for the plans to demolish The Drive Cycle lane was for safety, and she expected the cost to be less than the £1.1m budgeted.

Cllr Mears said: "I am not anti-cycling by any means – I think that the seafront cycle route is a fantastic resource for example and is used by thousands every day. We are also actively looking into the possibility of a ‘Boris Bikes’ type cycle hire scheme here in Brighton & Hove as we fully recognise the health and environmental benefits that cycling can bring.... However, my primary concern as Council Leader has to be ensuring the safety of residents."

These safety concerns are contradicted by the statistics she quoted in her blog.

I checked Cllr Mears blog on the advice of the Council Press Office when I asked for clarification today. Cllr Mears makes 5 main points:
1. The cycle lane was not devised under her administration, it was agreed by the previous (Labour Admin). (It came out of the 2000 Local Transport Plan to promote sustainable transport).
2. She says the lane is not well used though does not back this up.
3. She says the Drive Cycle lane is unsafe. But she contradicts this in the next sentence: "There remain serious safety concerns with the cycle lane. Thankfully, the number of accidents have dropped slightly over the last couple of years but there were still 42 casualties between 2008 and 2010. For what was originally sold as being a safe segregated space for cyclists, to me this is completely unacceptable."
Dedicated readers of this blog will already know that the Argus printed the casualty figures which showed a 20% drop in accidents along the drive since the cycle freeway was built.
between 2005 and 2007 there were a total of 41 accidents and 52 casualties along the entire stretch. Between 2008 and 2010 this dropped to 32 accidents and 42 casualties’ Brighton Argus
To make matters worse for Councillor Mears' safety argument, this significant reduction in casualties comes over a period when cycle casualties have been rising in the rest of city. This is partly to be expected as cycling increased by 27%, but also due to the haphazard provision of cycling facilities in the city. Cycle lanes disappear in the most dangerous places, in pinch points.

Points 4 and 5 deal mainly the money to demolish the lanes - she thinks it will cost a lot less than £1.1m  and that includes provision for £300k they might not have to repay to Cycling England because she says, "the quango is about to be abolished", and it is a one-off payment.

Mears makes it clear cycling is not something she does. "All of these issues beg the question as to why the cycle lane was installed in the first place. Bricycles stated in their submission to the consultation at the time that ‘Grand Avenue is currently not a difficult road to cycle in for people with average cycling skills.’ And cyclists have told me that this complete segregation is actually counter-productive as it makes both drivers and cyclists less aware of each other, particularly at the road junctions and where driveways cross over."

Cllr Mears does not refer to the argument in favour of segregated cycle lanes - they are there to encourage the less able cyclists, the young or timid in a country where cars have priority on the urban roads (unlike the on the continent).

Cllr Mears says the route is not well used, but doesn't supply figures. According BH Council website: "Monitoring in June 2008 indicates around 250 cyclists per day". This is set against thousands who use the seafront route. But the Drive route was never fully implemented, eg safe crossing at Old Shoreham Road (OSR) not installed, OSR cycle route cancelled altogether.

She does touch on what is probably the real issue for her car driving constituents: cyclists coming at speed down the cycle free-way make it hard for cars to come off the road and into their driveways. They've got to wait for a gap. And if the cycle free-way takes off, with cyclists flying up and down the route from South Downs to the sea, this can only get worse.

So far as being "not anti-cycling" goes - my blog entry of earlier shows that the Conservative admin is at least pro-car and wants to reverse sustainable transport policy. They are happy with cyclists so long as they do not affect the rights of the car.

Cllr Mears has not mentioned what might replace this cycle route, but from what she says, quoting Adam Trimmington's piece in the Argus "it is ‘the wrong lane in the wrong place'" it sounds like she has got it in for the whole cycle lane from the South Downs to the sea. No plans to replace it with any kind of cycle route. Not even sensible talk of making it a mixed use. The wrong lane in the wrong place? What is the right lane in the right place, to give access to the Downs and the sea and connect both with Hove station? We need a cycle free-way.

The Evidence: the Conservative plan to reverse sustainable transport in favour of the car

Agenda Item 72(b) Conservative
Many people have responded to my postings off this site with bafflement (Guardian story). Why would any administration want to demolish a world class cycle freeway, flagship of an award winning sustainable transport policy in progressive Brighton and Hove? The uncomfortable answer is contained in a council motion which never saw the light of day - because it was withdrawn in the face of combined Labour and Green opposition on the council. It is Council Agenda Item 72(b) 27 January 2011.

People ask if there is another side to this story, something I haven't told them. I tried to to get the council, or the leadership, to supply evidence of need to close the lane, but they declined (see my story Rubbing Salt in the Wound, below). A Green spokesman says there is no public consultation, traffic demand or other needs assessment. Some residents are concerned about driveways crossing the cycle lane, but these are countered by supporters of the lane. Some say a survey was conducted but this has not been made public. So we are left presuming that we are dealing with a political ideology (out of sync with national Tory pro-sustainable policy) or simply the personal preference and convenience of a small group of conservative councillors whose party won only 37% of the vote in 2007 local elections. But I'm repeating myself.

To the evidence. Over the past year cancellation of cycling schemes could be explained away by lack of money and safety concerns over watered down specs. (The strategic Old Shoreham Road Cycle Freeway scheme and cancellation of the Grand Parade National Cycle Network link). But these didn't necessarily amount to evidence of hostility to sustainable transport and cycling. Yes, I'm coming to that

In January 2011, the Tory admin put a motion to council that would effectively reverse the 11-year-old Local Transport Plan that committed Brighton and Hove to achieve a shift toward 'sustainable transport' - a policy that would improve public transport, cycling and walking facilities, improve the unban environment and promote electric transport. I have a copy of that motion, and I include the link below. Greens and Labour combined to vote the motion down. But the language of Council Agenda Item 72(b) is worth noting:

1. Rule out introducing any further measures which unfairly penalise car drivers under the guise of promoting "sustainable transport".
2. At the earliest opportunity, repeal the provisions in policy CP8 of the Core Strategy (sustainable transport) which promote "car free housing", "fiscal measures" and "modal shift".

If we are repealing the commitment toward promoting modal shift, we are ending moves to get people to change the way they travel. OK, here it is.
Click for Link to Agenda Item 72(b) Conservative Motion 'Promote Choice...
The motion was withdrawn when the Conservatives saw the amendments proposed by thhe Green/Labour opposition
Click for Link to Agenda item 729b) Labour/Green Party amendments.

Save Hove The Drive Cycle Lane next protest meeting 3pm, 3 March 2011, Hove Town Hall

25 February 2011. The next Save The Drive Cycle lane protest will meet outside Hove Town Hall (Norton Road Hove) - 3pm, 3rd March. As well as asking the council to end plans to scrap The Drive cycle lanes, the protest seeks to get change in policy toward cycling. The past year has seen cancellation of two important cycle lanes and in January the administration tried to repeal the council's commitment to "promoting modal shift" in sustainable transport.

Cyclists will cycle to Brighton Town hall, a couple of miles away, to join a multi-platform protest against the Council budget plans. (Stop the Cuts protest will meet 3pm at Kings House, march to Brighton Town Hall for 4pm).

For updates on the planned Cycle Protest, join this Facebook Group:
Save The Drive Cycle Lane
For details on Stop the Cuts:
Stop the Cuts Protest

Guardian takes up the Hove Cycle Lanes story

I'm delighted to say the Guardian online took up this story - I submitted "Rubbing salt into the wound". They subbed out plenty, especially my possibly pernickety (moi!?!) detailing of stonewalling at the BHCC leaders office. But their intro is probably better than mine for an audience that might not have known much about the story.

Here it is:

I've been checking the comments maybe too frequently - a respectable 83 comments. I liked the portentious tone of the last comment I saw tonight:

  • DBluge
    25 February 2011 12:20AM
    Cyclists bide your time.. When petrol hits thirty pounds a gallon the roads are going to empty, very fast, and the whole network will be yours to ride on.
    The upper echelons will have to be disabused of the idea that they can swan around in big cars, while the poor cycle and walk. I suspect they will be quite quick on the uptake - once the sky starts to rain bricks.
    Unfortunately even a fast moving cyclist ripping past is likely to incur resentment from the more static members of the populace, so it will be hard-hats all round!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Save Hove Cycle Lanes: Rubbing salt into the wound

Protesters outside BH council offices
Conservatives confirmed their determination to demolish a flagship cycle freeway in Brighton and Hove and a “Save The Drive Cycle Lane” protest is launched. Russell Honeyman asks: “Why?”

22 February 2011. Last night the Conservative leader of minority controlled Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed her determination to demolish a flagship cycle freeway in the seaside town of Hove.

In response to my question about whether the plans would go ahead despite protests, Council leader Mary Mears said: “The proposal to remove the cycle lane from Grand Avenue and The Drive responds to concerns raised by residents and users alike … We remain committed to the safety of the cycling fraternity. Unlike some other cycle lanes in the city, the Grand Avenue/Drive scheme is not well used or appreciated. Furthermore its removal will improve traffic flow along the coast road from Shoreham Harbour and across the city.”

We’re talking about something rather more than a simple cycle lane. It is a “European-style cycle freeway”, for the most part segregated from traffic by being set into the pavement behind the on street parking. It was completed in 2008 as the centrepiece of Brighton and Hove’s successful bid to become a Cycle Demonstration Town, with £3million of government funding provided by Cycling England in the glory days of 2005. It is part of the infrastructure that won the Transport Authority of the Year award only last year, when the council was commended for cycling improvements that saw cycling in the city increase by 27% since 2006.

The route connects with the newly created South Downs national park with Hove’s seafront. It runs for around 4km, southwards from Downs access point at Dyke Railway Trail, to the sea via Hove station. The segregated cycle freeway section runs for a little under two kilometres along Grand Avenue and The Drive, this last section a wide double lane carriage way lined by classic Palladian-style mansion blocks until finally opening out onto Hove Lawns beneath a statue of Queen Victoria. With its rail connection and access to the Downs, the route forms part of strategic plans to improve access to the Downs and seafront as well as promoting cycling in the city.

The Tory administration wants the southern, freeway style section demolished – at the cost of £1.1m, according to budget proposals released 11 February.

There has been a chorus of protest from across the country, and fury from the sustainable transport community. The fury has been building for some time. Since Conservatives gained control of the council in 2007 they have cancelled successive components of the city’s plans for transport improvements, most notably the Old Shoreham Road scheme which was to have provided an east-west segregated cycle freeway linking the centres of Brighton, Hove and Portslade, and Marine Parade which was to have filled in the “missing link” in the national cycle route along the seafront. (click for more...)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Save Hove Cycle Lane: a father shares his daughter’s anger and broken dreams

Cyclists gather before joining the protest
A father shares his daughter’s anger and broken dreams as an “Anti-Cycling” minority Tory administration threatens to destroy another key element of his plan for a “Cycling City”

20 Feb 2011. Russell Honeyman interviewed the man who laid the plans for Brighton and Hove’s award winning Cycling Demonstration Town scheme – and is watching them being destroyed by a minority Tory controlled council.

Stuart Croucher is a quietly spoken professional who seemed cheerful enough in his cycling helmet and high visibility waterproofs. Only toward the end of our interview did he reveal his anger about the impact that plans to close Hove’s cycle freeway (a European-style segregated cycle lane) might have on his family life. He talked about his experiences with his seven-year-old daughter, Josie. He said: “When we told her the cycle lane was to be closed she was really upset that she won’t be able to cycle to the seaside anymore.”

I met Mr Croucher at Saturday’s (19 February 2011) protest against plans to scrap the cycle freeway along The Drive in Hove. He was Transport Planning Manager for Brighton and Hove in 2005 when the city won grant funding from Cycling England as a Cycling Demonstration Town. Cycle freeways were a central element of the scheme. Last year the city won the Transport Authority of the Year award with commendation for improvements to cycle infrastructure in the city.

But a Tory administration gained control of the city in 2007 and has cancelled key parts of the scheme and now plans the latest closure.

Mr Croucher now works as an Urban Designer for Crossrail, designing spaces around London’s new rail link.

I asked how he felt about the destruction of his plans for transforming Brighton and Hove into a cycling city. “I don’t see them as my plans, they were drawn up by a team,” Mr Croucher said. “I understand the arguments in a professional way.”

He hesitated a moment. “But as a citizen of Brighton and Hove I feel deeply angry. It feels as if progress, not just in transport, but also in many other ways, is coming to a halt. Now it’s going into reverse. Seeing the council planning to spend £1.1 million on destroying this cycle freeway when they are cutting essential services across the city makes me really cross.” (more...)

Original Plans for Hove's "The Drive" Cycle Freeway

People have been asking for details of the cycle lane that's causing all the fuss. I downloaded original plan from the council website in case it disappears.

It is clear to see the strategic thinking behind the cycle freeway. At the top, the South Downs, now a new national park. At the bottom, the popular Brighton and Hove Sea front. In the middle: Hove Station, a pretty station with access to mainline train services and with capacity for more traffic.

You can see the connection with the National Cycle Network N2 seafront cycle lane. It has obvious strategic importance for tourism and local leisure travel.

What you can't see is the other major component of this cycle freeway network: The Old Shoreham Road (OSR), which was to have connected the town centres of Portslade, Have and Brighton, allowing 7,000 school children to cycle safely to school. The Tories watered down the "segregated Cycle Freeways" on the OSR scheme - reduced them to painted lines on the road. And then announced the scheme was unsafe and cancelled it!

It is worth noting the Tory admin is not saying they will eliminate the cycle lane. Just remove the 'segregated cycle freeway' bit of it.

This is what the Council Website says about the cycle lane network today:


Cycling in Brighton & Hove has grown substantially over recent years. (27% increase recorded in the 2006-2008 period.)

But a large proportion of city workers using a car to get to work drive less than three miles. So there is great potential for increasing safe cycling - and to bring other individual and wider-level benefits.
What the council is doing

As a Cycling Town, the city council is dedicated to promoting healthy and environmentally friendly travel.

There are many cycle lanes across the city, including along the seafront, Grand Avenue and The Drive, Hove to Hangleton, and Lewes Road. Many are part of the national and regional cycle route network.

A north south cycle freeway has been completed and provides a link between the Downs, from the Dyke Railway Trail in Hangleton to the seafront via Hove station. The southern section along Grand Avenue and The Drive (pictured above, far right) is a segregated, motor-vehicle free, European-style cycle freeway. Additional cycle parking places are also being installed city-wide.

Brighton & Hove's popular suite of cycle maps was updated in 2010. A further update will be available early 2011.

The maps include details of local bike businesses, bike hire, training and maintenance providers, cycle interest groups and clubs, information on cycle safety, and much more.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Opinion: Why bother ripping out a cycle lane in residential Hove?

Brighton & Hove's budget proposals link below
20 Feb 2011. People are puzzled over this story and asked for more info about the plans to rip out the Hove cycle lane. The plans are found in the (minority Conservative controlled) council budget proposals made public on 11 Feb - clause 3.11. They still need to be approved in full council on March 3. (Link to the budget PR below)

It's a bit disheartening because the budget boasts mainly of saving £82 million over five years to fund a 1% reduction in council tax. Opposition councillors warning that cuts are causing the loss of jobs in "front-line services" and will pose critical problems for the city. Meantime the budget proposes spending £1.1m on ripping out cycle lanes and £4.5m doing up car parks!

Much of the cycle lane is in Tory heartland but the Greens are pushing hard and Goldsmid was taken by the Greens at the 2009 by election. Maybe this cycle-lane-crushing move is to shore up the core Tory vote by acting tough on cyclists. (My personal opinion, I hasten to add, but car parking is identified as a core concern in B & H).

Yellow Bear in her post mentioned 'safety issues' about drivers turning off The Drive into their driveways. Drivers have to cross the cycle path to get to their houses. A steady stream of cyclists might make it hard to turn into your driveway. Also, cars parked on the kerb might obscure the cycle lane which is set into the kerb. It's partly about old habits - cars have to check to see if cyclists are coming from a place they hadn't before - and partly it's badly planned.

A layman's speculation into how to remedy the situation follows. Allocate a parking place on the kerbside alongside each driveway, for drivers to pull into and observe the cycle lane, before they cross the cycle lane. Another solution that comes to mind would be to make the centre of The Drive into a segregated cycle freeway. That would have been really revolutionary. OK, cyclists would have to join it at junctions using the cycle stop lanes. But if it was wide and car free all the way from the South Downs to the Coast - what a pleasure.

(IMO) The Tory administration is pro-car or maybe simply anti-change, and cycle and other sustainable transport plans (Valley Gardens Project) over the recent years have been so half-hearted they have partly failed or been cancelled: Old Shoreham Road, Madeira Drive, Marine Parade and now the Drive. This amounts to a serious reversal of the schemes that got the "Cycling City Status" and the "Transport Authority of the Year Award" last year.

Link to Council Budget PR with link to PDF of the budget proposals
Text of clause 3.11
This year’s transport funding is entirely from capital grant providing the council with real additional cash to spend on capital. A grant topslice of £1.503m is proposed in order to maintain corporate funds at planned levels. Without investment in these corporate funds there is a risk that the council will create additional revenue pressures, (for example through backlogs in maintenance programmes), or fail to deliver planned savings (for example through better use of technology to drive efficiency savings). In order to improve the visual impact and traffic flow along this important north – south corridor including access to the A27 / A23 from the A259 /210 Shoreham Harbour it is proposed to remove the cycle lane along both sides of Grand Avenue and The Drive. An indicative cost of removing the lanes including changes to the signalling is £1.1m to be funded by a further topslice from LTP grant. Detailed costings have yet to be undertaken and any residual funds would be given back to the LTP. There is a low risk that up to £0.3m grant funding may need to be repaid.
This story originally posted in response to enquiry about where to find the plans on Yellow Bear's Flickr video: link here

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Lovely little video about the "Save Hove Cycle Lanes" campaign

A woman with the most miniature camcorder made a compact (one and a half minutes) and succinct video about the campaign and released it on You Tube before I even managed to finish writing my blog. Way to go!

The Drive cycle lane protest picks up speed

Councillor Ian Davey leads the protest ride
19 February 2011. Cyclists braved rainy weather today to protest against the planned scrapping of the flagship “Cycle City” protected cycle lane along The Drive in Hove.

The plans to scrap the cycle lane, at a cost of £1.1m, were revealed in Brighton and Hove City Council’s budget proposals, made public last week. The plans have provoked protests from across the country, including from Sustrans, the charity that promotes sustainable travel in the UK.

Despite the dismal weather around thirty cyclists gathered at the corner of The Drive and Cromwell Road in Hove at noon. Councillor Ian Davey, Green Party spokesperson for Transport led the group on a cycle ride down the threatened cycle lane to the King’s House council offices.

Councillor Davey said: “I’m so pleased so many people came out in the rain at such short notice. This is just the start of this protest. The Conservative administration led by Councillor Mary Mears will have to withdraw this proposal if they want get their budget passed by the council. We have every hope that Labour will vote with the Greens to overturn this budget when it comes before council for approval on 3 March.”

The Conservatives have minority control of Brighton and Hove City Council and suffered a previous defeat in full council at the hands of Green and Labour councillors.

Tony Green, membership secretary of cycle campaign group Bricycles, was at the protest. He said: This cycle lane was part of a scheme to provide safe cycle routes across the city. The Drive was to link the seafront with Hove Rec and Hangleton and ultimately it was to improve access to the South Downs, which is now become a national park. That linkage was never completed.”

Mr Green said: “There have been questions about whether these lanes cause safety problems for cars trying to access driveways. If these are genuine concerns, let them be addressed. Don’t just remove the lanes.”

On Wednesday 16 February, Brighton’s Argus newspaper published data it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that revealed both numbers of accidents and reported people injured have dropped by 20% since The Drive cycle lane was installed in 2008. Specifically: “Between 2005 and 2007 there were a total of 41 accidents and 52 casualties along the entire stretch. Between 2008 and 2010 this dropped to 32 accidents and 42 casualties”.

Alex Phillips is Green Party Councillor for Goldsmid in Hove
The Drive runs through Goldsmid, whose councillor, Alex Phillips, won the ward for the Green Party at a by-election in 2009. She was at the protest collecting signatures for a petition to save the cycle lane. She said: “At a time of cuts to frontline services, leaving vulnerable people to fend for themselves, it’s not right that money is used to get rid of this important and well-used cycle lane.

“We launched the petition a few days ago, aiming to get a full council debate on the subject. Already we have 1,200 signatures, many online. Brighton’s status as a city of sustainable transport is of national interest, ”she added.

Brighton & Hove council’s transport team picked up the Transport Authority of the Year award at the National Transport Awards in Manchester on 15 July last year. It was commended for cycling improvements that saw cycling in the city increase by 27% since 2006.

Councillor Davey said: “If they go ahead with spending a million pounds scrapping this cycle lane it will be the transport laughing stock of the year and it will be bottom of the class for cycling.”

The 2011 budget proposals, released Friday 11 Feb, revealed the plans to remove the cycle lanes. The reason cited was to “improve the visual impact and traffic flow along this important north – south corridor including access to the A27/A23 from the A259/Shoreham Harbour".

Councillor Davey said: “I wonder if Councillor Mears has consulted local residents about whether they will welcome this road becoming an artery for heavy vehicles on their way to Shoreham Harbour.”

Councillor Davey asked those who support the campaign to sign the petition at .

Friday, 18 February 2011

Conservatives plan to put transport into reverse in Brighton and Hove

Conservatives councillors - who have minority control of Brighton and Hove City Council - "are shifting transport policy firmly into reverse,” a Green councillor said of the council’s budget proposals released on Friday, 11 February 2011.

Brighton & Hove City Council’s budget for the coming year boasts of reducing council tax, and announces cuts of over £34 million, involving cuts to front line services. Yet the budget proposes spending £4.5 million on improvements to car parks, and £1.2 million removing the protected cycle lane along the Drive, Hove, which was part of the city's flagship "Cycling City" scheme.

Green Transport spokesperson councillor Ian Davey said the Conservative administration was "wasting public money on ill thought out transport projects".

Councillor Davey said it was only three years since the council spent over half a million pounds of public money on installing the cycle lanes. "Now they plan to spend more than twice as much taking it out. At the same time they are planning to spend £4.5million on doing up car parks. In good times such expenditure would be questionable. In times of austerity this proposal is grossly irresponsible. The Tories clearly do not have a coherent vision for transport in this city. Their ill thought out proposals, combined with their cuts to staff numbers including those in road safety, will only worsen the problems of traffic congestion, air pollution and road safety that blight this city. They are shifting transport policy firmly into reverse.”

Cyclists plan action against cycle lane closure in Brighton & Hove: Sat 19 Feb 2011

Green Councillor Ian Davey announced a "mini action" to protest against the planned closure of the Drive cycle lane - cyclists and others will meet on  Saturday 19th February at 12 noon.

Councillor Davey said: "Support the campaign to stop the scrapping of the cycle lane on The Drive in Hove. Join us at the corner of The Drive and Cromwell Road for a mini action. Don't forget your bike."

He also asked those who support the campaign to sign a petition at .

Brighton and Hove city council is controlled by a minority Conservative administration that over the past year has cancelled a series of pro-cycling initiatives in the City, including the strategic Old Shoreham Road Cycle Lane Scheme which had funding from Cycling England.

The administration's 2011 budget, released Friday 11 Feb, revealed plans to spend £1.1m removing the cycle lanes. The reason cited for the removal is "In order to improve the visual impact and traffic flow along this important north – south corridor including access to the A27 / A23 from the A259 /Shoreham Harbour".

A press release issued by Green transport spokesperson Cllr Ian Davey and Goldsmid ward councillor Cllr Alex Phillips said the Conservative administration is wasting public money and increasing danger to road users and residents.

Cllr Davey said: "They claim to be responding to residents' safety concerns, yet casualties have reduced since the cycle lanes went in. Widening the road will increase both traffic speed and volume. The Tories are encouraging its use as a route to and from Shoreham Harbour. Much of this traffic will be heavy vehicles. The proposals will make this road more dangerous for all road users and residents and rob families of a safe cycle route to the seafront."

The Drive cycle lanes are protected lanes that divide cyclists from motor traffic. They were part of a long term project to increase sustainable transport and cycling in the city, and were part funded with money from Cycling England. Cllr Davey said: “These cycle lanes were put in by the same Conservative administration in 2008 at a cost of over £600,000. To spend nearly twice as much now taking them out again is sheer madness."

Green ward councillor Alex Phillips added: "With the council strapped for cash for vital services, there are better ways to spend this money.”