The suggested scheme
BUS users have criticised proposals for an £18 million project to transform the green heart of the city centre.
Brighton Area Buswatch campaigners have expressed deep concerns about plans for Valley Gardens and the “adverse effect” reducing the main A23 entrance to the city to a single lane in each direction would have on bus services.
The group claims the scheme would add to unreliability problems currently faced by bus users due to heavy traffic, discourage bus usage and cause fare increases.
Peter Elvidge, Buswatch group secretary, said: “It risks considerably undermining our currently very successful bus service.
“We see the scheme having many serious issues or flaws.
“While the council may claim this heavily restricted network would work on a quiet October mid-weekday, this does not take into consideration much heavier traffic at weekends and during summer, when buses normally suffer their greatest problems and these problems would multiply.
“We are after all, a major resort and shopping destination.”
The plans aim to “radically simplify” the road system, with car users restricted to the east side of The Old Steine, public transport to the west, and an improved public gardens in the centre.
Studies suggest that after the “improvements” are introduced, cars will be delayed by two seconds and buses by 21.
Buswatch has proposed an alternative scheme that includes retaining two lanes in each direction, a near-continuous westbound bus lane in St Peter’s Place, better pedestrian crossings, widening bus lanes and changing fewer kerb lines.
A council spokeman said: “Enhancing Valley Gardens has been a priority for the council for a number of years.
“We want to simplify the existing road network and make the journey through Valley Gardens less complicated for all users, while improving cycle and pedestrian safety and air quality in the area.
“The scheme would also better link the green spaces of Valley Gardens to the city centre to create a new central Brighton park.
“The scheme has been independently reviewed in order to provide greater reassurance to residents and businesses.
“It has been designed for the regular peak demands and seasonal variations, factoring in various techniques including intelligent transport systems and demand management strategies.
“We are working closely with bus and taxi operators, walking and cycling interest groups to develop the proposals further.
“Detailed designs are due to be presented to the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainably Committee in November.”
Source: The Argus