Please see below some important information about the cycling and walking plan. Some of this is quite complex and I’ve tried to keep it simple but more than happy to help with queries and discuss further too.
Interim Covid-19 Response Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan
This plan was agreed this week and outlines temporary improvements to Brighton and Hove’s walking and cycling network to aid the city’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The ‘interim’ bit is important because there will be a permanent plan too- see further down.
From the very earliest days of lockdown many of you have contacted us with your concerns about safe social distancing and this provides one of the key, if temporary, ways that the city can deal with this.
The plan has to allow safe commuting while trying to put in place measures to prevent our roads being clogged with polluting traffic as we recover from a pandemic which attacks our lungs.
It has to
- assist with physical distancing
- need for increased active travel- eg cycling and walking
- reopening of the economy
It follows a strong instruction from the Department for Transport to implement ambitious schemes which provide a significant reallocation of road space to pedestrians and cyclists. In short, this plan exists partly because Government is also instructing local councils to look at making more road space for social distancing.
The interim plan reviews all temporary measures currently under consideration by the council. It also identifies other locations where the need for temporary walking and cycling measures should be considered in accordance with government guidance. Changes that have so far been agreed during the crisis have included the new cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road, wider footpaths, signage across the city and a temporary road closure on Madeira Drive.
However, please NB the other design suggestions that were discussed this week- that image of the seafront cycle lane for example- that you may have seen circulating are not designs for things that will be installed now, but instead map out some of the potential options for the long term. These are high-level and would be subject to design development and road safety assessment were they to be taken further. For eg the image that the media has decided to talk about on the seafront is only an idea of what it might look like.
The full details are here
Similarly, costings have not been prepared at this stage and this, together with available funding, will be a factor in determining how many measures can be taken forward. These emergency measures are partly only funded by proposals to the Department for Transport. However half-hearted measures won’t get government funding.
As well as measures for cycling, the report also provides
- additional footway space for pedestrians to maintain physical distancing in city locations with high footfall
- increased signage and floor markings along the seafront and in the city centre to remind people to use shared walking and cycling space responsibly and to maintain physical distance
- from a Green proposal adopted at the meeting, there is also a programme for School Streets in the city which will support the safe reopening of all primary and nursery schools.
A successful proposal from Green Councillors at the meeting means that any potential permanent changes would be done in coordination with disability groups and taking the very serious needs of older people and people with mobility needs into account.
Any proposals that are indeed put forward as permanent need to come to the environment committee in September. You will be allowed your say over any permanent changes- this has to be allowed by law. Further to contact with many of you over the issue of transport, residents will be fully consulted about changes and we will of course remind you when this is so you can take part.
There is however also a survey on the temporary changes, that I would encourage you to fill out. There is also ongoing stakeholder engagement and as your councillors we will speak to our colleagues on the working group on this.
Please NB this survey doesn’t yet include the proposals in Brunswick and Adelaide just yet. I chased that this afternoon.
Pre Covid-19 many of you already contact us with difficulty finding a space in Zone M. I acknowledge that there will be a significant impact to parking. The temporary proposal will mean the loss of 52 shared bays in Zone M- although as I write above, this is only the initial design. Zone M will now be very close to the resident permit limit too.
I have contacted the parking department to understand what mitigation measures can be adopted at speed. Some of my questions with them.
–neighbouring parking zones to have borders blurred to allow use from Zone M;
–several trader permits all being used for work at one location- often happening for prolonged periods especially over the warmer months- can controls be put in place for each property;
–can current uses in parts of Zone M be changed to allow more parking- eg trader only bays;
–not allowing new residents permits to be added to Zone M for the time being, to at least cap the problem.
As ever, we are happy to respond to questions and discuss this further too.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
Leader of the Official Opposition
Green Party Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide, Brighton and Hove City Council
Opposition Spokesperson on the Policy and Resources Committee
Member of the Tourism Development and Culture Committee and Planning Committee
Greater Brighton Economic Board, Strategic Delivery Board, Board of Trustees Brighton Dome & Festival Limited, Representative to the Local Government Association
Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ
Ward surgeries at 7.15pm on last Weds of every month at the Cornerstone Community Centre, Palmeira Square (except August and December)