Brighton and Hove Council has announced plans to dig up the mile-long
Grand Avenue/The Drive cycle track in order to make way for heavy goods
traffic going to and from Shoreham Harbour.
Not content with axing three previous schemes which gained widespread support at public consultations but were subsequently abandoned (the North Street Quadrant, Old Shoreham Road and Marine Parade cycle routes), the Council have announced in their cabinet budget 2011/12 report that it is now even planning to dig up one of the City’s principal cycle routes at a cost to the taxpayer of a shocking £1.1m.
This is twice the cost to the taxpayer of implementing the route in the first place and flies in the face of comments from the Council to the City Cycling Forum that there was no money left in the budget for cycle route improvements this year. Clearly there is plenty of budget left for removing routes!
Bricycles raised concerns regarding the safety and value for money of the route in 2007 when the £800,000 scheme was first announced, but broadly supported the plans for this important link route from the seafront National Cycle Network Route 2 with Hove, Hangleton and the South Downs. The safety issues were never addressed and there have since been a number of serious cycle and vehicle collisions as a result of the poor design, with at least one cyclist pursuing a legal case against the Council for a crash at The Drive caused by the design flaws. However, rather than removing the track completely these design issues could be rectified at a fraction of the £1.1m removal cost.
Tony Green of Bricycles commented: “When instated, less than three years ago, the city council described this scheme as a state of the art cycling Freeway, but now they think it is a blot on the landscape. The administration seems to have lost the plot and is behaving like a headless chicken.”