Friday, 11 November 2011

Parking review to keep roads and bus lanes moving will start immediately in Brighton and Hove - as Lewes Road consultation gets underway

Buses manoeuvre around parked cars on Lewes Road above The Level - Google
Friday, 10 November 2011. A review of car parking in Brighton and Hove, aimed at improving traffic flow, will start immediately in some parts of the city, according to an announcement by the city council yesterday.

The announcement said: "The citywide parking review will aim to improve service for all."

Councillor Ian Davey, cabinet member for transport and the public realm, said: "We also have to strike a balance between competing interests so that parking management is fair and achieves our aims of reducing congestion, maintaining safe access, and keeping the city moving on our roads and bus lanes."

Cllr Davey is a member of the Green Party who lead council and who have a manifesto commitment to promoting sustainable transport.

Also today, a public consultation - about the traffic clogged and polluted Lewes Road - got under way. Although not specifically included in the parking review, of the items on this agenda will be parked cars clogging up the Lewes road and slowing traffic flow for all road users.

The decision to start the parking review immediately was taken at a special meeting of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Cabinet (Wednesday, 9 November). The original decision was 'called in' by the Environment & Community Safety Overview & Scrutiny Committee with a request to reconsider reviews of parking schemes separately from a citywide parking review. The committee also asked that the cabinet look at bringing forward a review of parking in the Wish area of Hove.

At today's meeting, councillor Davey agreed to review the timetable and resources for work on residents' parking to see whether this could be accelerated and begin consultation on the following four residents' parking schemes:
Richmond Heights (Area C extension)
Canning Street (Area H extension)
London Road (Area J extension north of the railway line and Round Hill area)
Preston Park (Area A northern extension)

Councillor Ian Davey said: "These schemes have been selected as the most pressing from information provided by ward councillors and residents. They are also the most urgent in terms of road safety, with high levels of congestion and double parking.

"Parking is a complex issue for the city. I have taken on board the views expressed by the scrutiny committee and representations from residents and ward councillors.

"Rather than waiting for the outcome of the citywide parking review, I have decided to take action now to progress urgent work on residents' parking. Work on these schemes is not incompatible with the citywide review as one will inform the other."

Proposals for other resident's parking schemes will be taken into account as part of the citywide parking review. The review will take a year to complete, with a commitment to provide an update within six months.

Residents and businesses from across the city will have the opportunity to take part in the review and their input will shape the future of the city's parking service.

The review will cover public on and off-street parking. It will investigate long term parking issues and how the council should consult in the future, as well as looking at the best practice of other councils.

Councillor Davey said: "It is important that any consultation is meaningful and that we give residents and businesses the opportunity to help shape the future of parking management. We want to know what's working well and what doesn't work.

"The review will involve cross-party contributions through the scrutiny process and we'll be directly consulting residents groups and organisations such as the police and fire service. All the information provided will be invaluable to achieving the best outcome for the city.

"We also have to strike a balance between competing interests so that parking management is fair and achieves our aims of reducing congestion, maintaining safe access, and keeping the city moving on our roads and bus lanes."

There will be various ways the public can take part, via the website, and through a survey to be sent to 6,000 random addresses across the city.

Once residents, businesses, councillors and organisations have had the opportunity to shape the content of the review, public consultation will take place in the spring of next year.
Related information

Read the report discussed at the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Cabinet Members Meeting

Find out more about parking in Brighton & Hove

Plan your journey

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Lewes Road sustainable consultation starts Friday - opinion: we need a rapid transport route

Brighton's city council has announced a series of exhibitions to consult the public about the grant it was awarded to fix up the Lewes Road - probably the city's most polluted and dangerous roadway.

In my opinion, (at the end of this article), I suggest that whatever else is done, we need a well thought-out, expert, citywide, sustainable transport plan. I'm not sure we have that yet. We might try to work toward that goal, and build a single rapid, sustainable transport link.

In a press release dated 26 October 2011 a council spokesperson said: "Residents are being invited to a series of exhibitions on revamping one of Brighton's biggest and busiest main roads."

In April this year, the council won £4.2m of government funding for a scheme proposed under the previous Tory administration to "improve the transport flows, street scene and air quality along Lewes Road and surrounding streets. The sum will be added to £2.5m in contributions from other local partners," according to the spokesperson.

The council consultation will take place during November and December with series of local exhibitions. The spokesperson said: "The shows will be an opportunity for residents and businesses to learn more about the council's broad proposals – and to make their own suggestions. Feedback from the exhibitions will then be used to help draw up more detailed plans before more consultation next year."

Cabinet councillor for transport Ian Davey said: "This is part of our priorities to make Brighton & Hove a more sustainable city and to engage more closely with residents. Lewes Road looks rather untidy in places, it can be frustrating and difficult to travel along and is also one of our worst streets for air pollution. We have some broad aims and now we want to canvass the views of local people to come up with a more detailed plan."

Council officers will be on hand for a chat and a questionnaire available to fill in. The questionnaire can also be completed online.

Duncan Blinkhorn, of the local community group Lewes Road for Clean Air, urged members of the public to participate: "This investment is a rare opportunity to bring about some real improvements to cycling conditions along this route which could be used by thousands more people on bikes than at present. At Bike Train (& Lewes Road Cycle Vision) meetings we have talked about enabling a shift from the current 2% toward 10% of Lewes Road journeys by bike and reducing car journeys and associated congestion and pollution. Let's ensure that these Lewes Road improvements make a real change toward that."

Duncan provided a consultation detailed timetable (see below). A similar but less detailed timetable is found on the council website. There is also a link for an online questionaire on the council website. Times vary – for details see or call 01273 290487 (council number). 

Exhibition/Consultations Timetable
(supplied by Lewes Road for Clean Air)

Mon 7th Nov - Thurs 10th Nov, 9am-5pm,
At Hollingdean Community Centre, Thompson Rd, Hollingdean BN1 7BH
01273 236160
Council officers present:
• Fri 11th November, 2pm-8pm
• Sat 12th November, 10am-4pm

Mon 14th Nov - Fri 18th Nov
At New Larchwood Community Café, Waldron Avenue, Coldean BN1 9EZ
Council officers present:
• Tues 15th November, 10am-8pm
• Sat 19th November, 10am-4pm

Mon 21st, Wed 23rd & Sat 26th Nov
At Hanover Community Centre, 33 Southover St, Hanover area BN2 9UD
Council officers present:
• Mon 21st November, 3pm-6pm
• Wed 23rd November, 12pm-4pm
• Sat 26th November, 9am-1pm

Mon 28th Nov - Fri 2nd Dec, during normal opening times,
At Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre (bar area), Moulsecoomb Way, Moulsecoomb BN2 4PB
Council officers present:
• Fri 2nd December, 2pm-8pm
• Sat 3rd December, 10am-4pm

Thu 8th Dec – Sat 10th Dec
At Church Hall, Church of the Holy Nativity, Norwich Drive , Bevendean BN2 4LA
Council officers present:
• Thurs 8th December, 9am-4pm
• Fri 9th December, 2pm-8pm
• Sat 10th December, 10am-4pm

My Opinion:
As readers of this blog know, I think the many of the proposals as made in the Lewes Road grant bid were good, and I await the council's revised proposals with anticipation.

We want to achieve real change, but we risk tinkering around the edges of a poor transport route. Real time bus signs and routes to the South Downs are important - but the underlying traffic plan in the city is slow and dangerous for non-car users. Until we address that, then we won't solve the underlying problem, and the plan risks failing to deliver any substantial change. (I discussed this when the award was made: link here)

So: in my opinion, we need to start with a city-wide sustainable transport plan. This might involve consulting with experts, maybe even selecting an expert group to produce a city plan for B&H if that is what is needed.

If that is not allowed because the plan must be localised to the Lewes Road, then let's concentrate on the core plan for this route: a clear, sustainable traffic route from say Falmer (or Lewes) to Brighton railway station and feed in routes from suburbs. That means a route for public transport, cycling and walking that is fast, convenient, attractive and safe - and considers transport in the depths of winter and solutions for the hills. A Rapid Bus Service and safe cycle and walking routes to connect Unversities and hard-to-get-to residential suburbs with central railway station and town centre seem needed. Radiating out from this central Rapid Bus route: strategic, cycle friendly buses up the areas steep hills would help people choose alternatives to the car.

Does an integrated public transport system seem too costly? Maybe. Then let's settle for a redesigned Lewes Road. Let's clear the clutter from the road, including the parked cars, so buses and cycles can easily get into town. Lets ask the bus companies to introduce some Rapid Bus Services (fewer stops, no bottlenecks caused by parked cars, priority at traffic lights and filters).

It's not fair that privately owned cars claim priority over sustainable and public transport. This is effectively what happens when parked cars block traffic.

Let's aim to make it as quick to travel around town by bus as it is by car. Cycle might be as fast - at least down hill!