Vision for improved cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road

A VISION for an improved cycle lane in Hove has been revealed.

Brighton and Hove city councillors are due to vote on the future of the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane next Wednesday.

The lane was installed overnight in May last year in a bid to provide more space for people to cycle safely amid the pandemic.

However, council officials are still recommending the lane be kept and have laid out a vision for its future.

The Argus: The vision for an improved cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road

They point to further funding through the government’s active travel fund, which could be used to make improvements.

Local authorities are likely to receive similar amounts previously received under this funding. For our city council, that figure was £2.37m.

A report to councillors said: “Visualisations show what a future vision for Old Shoreham Road could look like, as an indication of the type of improvements that could be achieved.

“These show the continuation of the ‘stepped track’ facility which is already in place on Old Shoreham Road, between The Drive and Dyke Road.

“These are indicative and subject to securing of suitable future funding, for example, through additional active travel fund allocations from the Department for Transport.”

The Argus: The vision for an improved cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road

A December survey on the Old Shoreham Road (OSR) cycle lane showed that about 63 per cent of people did not support it.

Hundreds of respondents said it was causing congestion and pollution, as well as being dangerous and underused by cyclists.

However, if made permanent, residents would like to see the lane segregated, narrowed and extended.

Last week, when Labour announced they would back the lanes removal, cycling campaign group Bricycles wrote a passionate plea.

The group said: “Without protected space, the Old Shoreham Road is too dangerous for anyone except the most intrepid to cycle along. The pop-up lanes allow children to cycle to school and college safely, and adults, including NHS employees, to get to work, thus reducing the need for car transport.

“The only way to make cycling mass transit, as the government wants, is to provide safe, direct routes everywhere. You can’t go from Hove Cemetery to Hove Park via New Church Road.

“The pop-up lanes have been funded using money from the government’s active travel fund. Successive rounds of funding are dependent upon the last round being properly invested. If the OSR lanes are cancelled, the council risks losing new funds, when it’s already strapped for cash.

“The Old Shoreham Road has been identified as a key cycling route for the council’s draft local cycling and walking infrastructure plan. If the temporary lanes are removed, they’ll only have to be put back as a permanent scheme, which will be more costly.

“We’ve seen no evidence that the cycle lanes have directly led to increased congestion. Opposition to the lanes began last spring, well before there were cars back on the roads. According to TomTom data, congestion in Brighton & Hove is lower than it was in 2019.

“Labour said last year that it wanted to make an ‘evidence-based decision, based on traffic flows.’ It hasn’t presented any evidence – plus traffic flows are still fluctuating, due to the pandemic.”

Labour Councillor Gary Wilkinson, the opposition spokesman for transport, said at the time of the announcement: “Whilst the Greens wished to plough on ahead with extending the OSR cycle lanes, Labour called for a halt to allow for meaningful consultation with residents.

“Having seen the draft findings from that consultation, Labour feel residents have made their feelings clear and want the temporary cycle lane scrapped.

“We stand with residents in calling on the Green minority administration to remove the temporary cycle lane in OSR and scrap the planned extension, in favour of looking at alternative routes.

“By scrutinising the council and bringing residents into the discussion, Labour’s constructive opposition means we can put a stop to the congestion in OSR and see the temporary cycle lane removed.

“The ideological positions of the other parties on this issue has always been clear – the Greens dislike drivers and the Tories dislike cyclists.

“Labour, the only party capable of bringing the city together, chose not to be driven by dogma but to involve residents and let them decide.”

The Argus | Brighton and Hove news