Old Town traffic improvement proposals
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Old Town traffic improvement proposals
The Old Town is the area bounded by East Street, North Street, West Street and the sea, which forms the historic core of Brighton.
We want to improve the Old Town for the hundreds of thousands of people that walk through the area each year. Its narrow streets were not designed for the volume of traffic currently using them. We would like to look at ways of reducing traffic, while still allowing essential vehicle users to access the area.
The Old Town then and now
Originally the heart of the old fishing town Brighthelmstone, the area has been developed since the 13th Century and the current street pattern remains as it was then. The Old Town is most well-known for The Lanes, an intricate maze of twisting alleyways.
The Old Town today is the thriving, economic heart of the city. It is one of the major destinations in the city for tourists and locals alike, offering a mix of history and heritage, shops and restaurants. The area retains its busy, bustling feel throughout the year and in the summer the Old Town becomes even more popular as tourist numbers swell, filling its many bars, cafes and restaurants. For many tourists and residents, walking around The Lanes is one of Brighton's highlights.
Current transport issues within the Old Town
Currently a significant proportion of traffic in the Old Town is through traffic, with 40% of vehicles entering the Old Town via Ship Street leaving within five minutes.
Many people need to access the Old Town using motorised vehicles. As a result, the area now suffers from high levels of traffic. This volume of traffic is unsuitable for the Old Town as it detracts from the character of the area by dominating road space, creating noise and pollution and increasing the potential for conflict between pedestrians and vehicles. In parts of the Old Town, traffic dominates the area forcing pedestrians to crowd onto narrow footways. On a typical Saturday, an average of 200 vehicles an hour drive into the Old Town, compared with 600 pedestrians entering using East Street alone.
The challenge faced is to meet the needs of these road users whilst also reducing overall levels of traffic for the benefit of pedestrians in the area. Examples of those whose needs must be considered are:
- Residents with private parking spaces
- Vehicles servicing businesses
- People using on-street parking for residents, blue-badge holders, shoppers
- Emergency services
A consultation exercise was carried out in June 2012. The main results were:
- 66% were in favour of a traffic reduction scheme.
- Amongst businesses 50% favoured a traffic improvement scheme and 50% wanted no change.
- Amongst residents of the Old Town, 55% wanted a new scheme.
- In general, people would like vehicular access (for those with legitimate reason to enter the area) to be permitted at all times. If there were to be a timed restriction, the most popular times to ban cars were during the middle of the day.
Following consultation, the council proposed to implement the following measures:
- East Street to be closed to traffic between 11am and 7pm each day.
- The section of Ship Street between North Street and Duke Street to be closed to traffic from 11am each day.
- The section of Prince Albert Street between Ship Street and Black Lion Street to be permanently closed to traffic.
- Access to Boyce's Street limited only to those vehicles accessing property on the street.
The council has issued a formal Notice of Inquiry and Statement of Case, see following links:
The Inquiry will begin on Wednesday 17th July, is expected to last for 2 to 3 days and will be held in the Hilton Metropole. Anyone with an interest in the scheme will be entitled to speak at the Inquiry. The Inspector has issued a pre-Inquiry note [64kb] providing further details of the process.
If you have any further queries then you can contact the council by telephone on 01273 290487.