Last month, Labour and Conservative councillors voted to remove the temporary cycle lanes on the Old Shoreham Road in Hove – despite a lengthy report, which said there were no negative impacts on vehicle traffic and the impact on cycling and walking was positive. They used as a reason the 63% of consultation respondents – most of whom have not cycled along the lanes – who had a negative view of them. This 63% of respondents represents just over 1% of the city’s population.
- Removing the lanes will cost the council £50,000. The city will also lose £278,000 in money for cycling and walking projects, which will cost jobs. This is because it will be breaking the government’s funding rules if it rips out the lanes. In addition, it may lose up to £3m in the next round of active travel funding.
- Widening the road to 4 lanes will induce additional traffic, meaning more congestion and pollution. It will also enable speeding and produce a more hostile environment for pedestrians, particularly children, who are more likely than adults to die in collisions.
- Cycling will become much more dangerous, which will encourage more people to drive.
- Removing the lanes will have a disproportionately negative impact on families, women, children and disabled people, partly because of the large number of schools in the area.
- Portland Road and New Church Road are not alternatives as they serve completely different catchment areas.
- The OSR is an essential part of the city’s cycling network which is currently in development.
- The OSR was widened into 4 lanes in the 1970s, before the A27 bypass was built. In today’s design standards, a 4-lane road in a dense residential area is no longer considered appropriate.
In short, the report finds that the financial and health impacts will be devastating, particularly on the most vulnerable.
Bearing all this in mind, we don’t see how councillors can proceed with removing the lanes.