Frequently asked questions - Valley Gardens Phase 3

Contents

Valley Gardens

Latest plan for Valley Gardens Phase 3 as approved by the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee (PDF).

Where can I access previous committee reports and minutes related to Valley Gardens Phase 3 decisions and public questions?

Where can I access further public questions and answers from the ETS Committee Chair regarding Valley Gardens Phase 3?

Where can I access committee reports about provision for events in the Valley Gardens area?

  • June 2019 ETS Committee (Report on Valley Gardens and Events for Phases 1, 2 and 3, plus public and member questions relating to other matters)

Where can I access reports and minutes on Valley Gardens Phase 3 which were considered at Full Council?

Where are the technical background reports for the Valley Gardens evolving Phase 3 plans?

What and where is Valley Gardens?

Valley Gardens is the name given to the green spaces that run from St Peter’s Church to the seafront. The council’s project area focuses on the green spaces, public spaces and the surrounding roads and footways. The northern section of Valley Gardens is referred to as Phase 1 (St Peter’s) and Phase 2 (Victoria Gardens). Phase 3 refers to the area from the Old Steine to the Palace Pier, which forms the southern half of Valley Gardens. Construction work on Phases 1 & 2 of the project will be completing in Summer 2020.

What is Phase 3 of the Valley Gardens project trying to achieve?

The Phase 3 project seeks to improve and complete sustainable transport infrastructure, connectivity and public space provision. This will ensure the overall travel experience and environment is improved for everyone. Following the first public consultation May 2018 the project’s core objectives were approved by the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, June 2018. A second public consultation exercise held in October-November 2018, informed the revision of the preferred option which was approved by the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, February 2019. The third and final public consultation will be held during Summer 2020, to help finalise the scheme.

On completion, the finished scheme will:

  • Improve the travel experience for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Enhance the overall experience for public transport users
  • Simplify the road layout for motorists
  • Improve road safety
  • Enhance the environment of a key visitor destination and arrival point in the city
  • Provide a space that is inclusive and accessible to everyone

Why are you making these changes?

The Old Steine gardens and War Memorial are surrounded by poor quality public space. Improvements will ensure that the city’s heritage will no longer be islands cut off from the city dominated by traffic, on an outdated and gyratory system with a poor safety record.

The existing area has the two consistently worst performing junctions in the city. As a result the area has the highest collision rate in the city which has seen 154 collisions over five years, 30 of which resulted in serious injury. Conditions for cycling are particularly dangerous with cyclists disproportionately likely to be involved in a collision. The junction can also be confusing for drivers and pedestrians. The council will improve the junctions as well as increase access to high quality public realm by enhancing the area’s green spaces and creating new public squares.

The council’s preferred junction arrangement at Brighton Palace Pier predicts significant collision savings compared to the existing roundabout and better journey times than an equivalent signalised roundabout option as demonstrated in the options appraisal. The council’s junction arrangement is also the best option in terms of efficient use of space enabling the introduction of direct cycling a walking crossing points making sure that the missing sustainable transport links are introduced to help shape a sustainable future.

The Valley Gardens Phase 3 project will help towards achieving a carbon neutral city by enabling sustainable transport choices with new segregated cycle lanes and more direct, and traffic-free, walking routes. Everyone will be able to move around more comfortably in the new high-quality public spaces. Overall the Phase 3 area will complete the central Valley Gardens vision which as-a-whole will be regenerated into a people friendly environment.

Traffic modelling

Following stakeholder engagement and public consultation during 2018 the council’s Phase 3 preferred option has been significantly revised. Traffic modelling has been updated to show that the introduction of a new south bound bus priority lane (also for taxis and coaches) will improve journey times for buses and for general traffic. Therefore, bus journey times predicted are better than the existing service provided. The A259 east and west bound carries very high volumes of traffic. Therefore, some minor delay is an unavoidable consequence of introducing the necessary safety measures on the Palace Pier Junction, which was recently reported nationally as being in the top 20 worst roundabout junctions. 

How will the project be funded?

The majority (£6m) of the cost is to be funded by a central government pot of money called the Local Growth Fund (LGF). The council has successfully bid for this funding through the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, specifically for a transport project. The remainder of the funding would come from the council’s Local Transport Plan budget and local contributions.

Air quality

What will the project do for air quality?

The 2019 Air Quality Status Report highlights that over the long term pollutant levels in the Valley Gardens area are steadily improving. Within the Phase 3 project boundary air quality readings are well within legal limits and are predicted to remain so following construction of Phase 3. To support Phase 3 project monitoring, an additional air quality monitor has been located on the A23 junction at St James Street.

The plan will evolve further during the detailed design stage to mitigate for any adverse noise and air quality impacts through measures such as traffic-calming. The council will work with public transport operators to support the introduction of cleaner and quieter fleet in to operation across the city that will not only support improving air quality but also support the aim of becoming zero carbon by 2030.

Walking

How will walking routes be improved?

The proposals provide more direct walking routes to and from the seafront, The Lanes and St James’s Street. New crossing points will also be better aligned to make it easier for pedestrians to cross. All crossing points will be designed to be user-friendly for everyone, including people with disabilities and those with buggies and push chairs. It is anticipated that a separate project will introduce a new Royal Pavilion East Gate so that people will be able to directly access the Royal Pavilion Gardens from the new public space near the War Memorial.

Will a level surface be provided?

The main carriageways and main sections of cycling tracks will be separated from pedestrian areas by a kerb. All crossing points will have dropped kerbs and tactile paving.

Public and green space

How much new public space will be created?

Approximately 8,800 m2 of new public space will be created. Much of this will be in the area between the Royal Pavilion and the War Memorial; however, new spaces will be created throughout, including next to the Royal Albion Hotel and Brighton Palace Pier.

What will the new public space be used for?

There will be more areas for people to sit and relax in the area. At least 30 new trees will be planted. The setting around the War Memorial will be improved and we are considering ideas for new uses for the Art Deco bus shelters such as cafes or kiosks or art galleries.

Will events still be able to take place?

Yes. It is also anticipated that the proposals will improve the area for existing events and make it easier for people to reach them. New events infrastructure will be installed so that diesel generators are no longer required which will ensure that events are cleaner and quieter and also support the aim of achieving a carbon neutral council by 2030.

What will happen to Steine Gardens and the War Memorial?

The latest proposals include some realignment of the footways across the Steine Gardens south of the War memorial. Footway alignment will be reviewed during detailed design stage to ensure that footways are retained for accessing the final location of bus stops. The War Memorial itself will not be altered with its overall setting being improved alongside new public spaces

Will any trees need to be cut down?

The plans do not require trees to be removed. In addition, there will be opportunities to plant up to 30 new trees throughout the Old Steine area. 

Cycling

What will the proposals provide for cyclists?

A new two-way cycle lane will provide a safer and more direct link to the seafront, where it will connect with east-west routes across the city and beyond. Safety will be improved by separating cyclists from pedestrians with a kerb, where possible, and by re-aligning the seafront cycle lane in front of the Palace Pier. The improvements are designed to close the missing link in the cycle network and provide a safer and more inviting environment for people to cycle in.

Will the seafront cycle route be improved?

No changes are planned to the east and west of the area. However, it is anticipated that the creation of additional public space next to the pier will reduce congestion in this location.

How much cycle parking will be provided?

The number of cycle stands will be confirmed at the detailed design stages. However, the design provides significant opportunities to provide additional public cycle parking where this is needed.

Will new Bike Share stands be provided?

The BTN Bikeshare hub in the area will be reviewed. It is anticipated that the existing hub will be included with service capacity potentially expanded within the area.

Buses

How will bus services be affected?

All existing bus routes will continue to be able to use the Old Steine as they do at present. The only change will be that northbound buses will run to the east of the War Memorial rather than the west.

Where will I catch my bus?

Bus stops will be provided in similar locations to where they are at the moment. The current stop H (east of the War Memorial) will be removed and replacement stops will be located on the Steine (St Jame’s Street), and Castle Square (North Street). Buses currently stopping adjacent to the Royal Pavilion northbound, will stop in Castle Square and a new stop adjacent to the Royal Pavilion on Pavilion Parade. Bus stops will reviewed during detailed design. There will be an additional stop for northbound buses at The King & Queen Public House as part of Valley Gardens Phases 1&2 that should be in public use next year.

Why are you reducing the number of bus stops?

More space than required is currently dedicated to bus stops or bus layover areas. We have identified opportunities to consolidate some of these so services are not split across so many stops.

What will the impact on bus journey times be?

Traffic modelling has indicated that there will not be an overall adverse impact on bus journey times or significant impact on individual routes.

What facilities will be provided at the bus stops?

As a minimum, bus stops will have accessible kerbs and it is anticipated that the majority will have shelters and real time information.

What will happen to the old bus shelters next to the Royal Pavilion?

These shelters are listed and will be retained. We asked people what they would like to see done with them as part of the public consultation November 2018. The many ideas received by the council from members of the public during the second public consultation, will be subject to an options appraisal, any of which are likely to require a change of use that will be subject to further options appraisal and planning consent.

What will happen to Pool Valley coach station?

The entrance to the coach station will remain where it is and National Express coaches will be able to access it as they do at present.

Cars

Why is the roundabout being replaced by traffic signals?

A signalised junction is predicted to reduce the likelihood of road traffic collisions. The agreed, revised layout will also make the most efficient use of space, allowing for direct walking and cycling crossing points to be introduced. The council’s traffic control centre will monitor and regulate traffic flow through the new junction, especially at busy periods.

Why is traffic being moved to the eastern side of the Old Steine?

This will simplify the road layout and provide a direct route to and from the seafront. Buses will no longer be routed northwards past the Art Deco bus shelters as this would require two additional junctions, which would increase delays for all traffic. Re-routing of buses has allowed the creation of new public spaces in front of the Royal Pavilion.

How will you accommodate additional lanes for traffic on the eastern side of the Old Steine?

The total road width between the War Memorial and Sainsbury’s is currently 14.4 metres. Elsewhere on the A23 Old Steine and Pavilion Parade is currently more than 20 metres wide in many places. There will be a reduction in a small section of pavement area on the A23/eastern side to accommodate the southbound (bus, coach and taxi) priority lane. The road width at the St James Street junction is 17.3 metres. The proposed pedestrian crossing point at St James’s Street junction is 3 metres wider than the existing crossing, and an additional crossing point to the south of the junction will make crossing safer and more comfortable. Overall, on the eastern side of the Steine there will be an increase of 415m2 of public space and footpath area. Crossing design will be reviewed during detailed design.

Where will general traffic go?

Traffic will continue to be able to travel north and south along the A23 as it does at the moment. However, the main difference is that general traffic will be in a dual-carriageway on the eastern side of the Old Steine rather than in the current gyratory system.

Why is the roundabout being replaced by a new junction with smart traffic signals?

A signalised junction is predicted to reduce the likelihood of road traffic collisions. The agreed, revised layout will also make the most efficient use of space, allowing for direct walking and cycling crossing points to be introduced. The council’s traffic control centre will monitor and regulate traffic flow through the new junction. Officers monitoring traffic 24 hours a day will be able to adjust the smart signal timings to clear congestion during busy periods.

When driving south bound on the A23 at the Old Steine towards the Brighton Palace Pier, will traffic be able to turn right at the new seafront junction onto Grand Junction Road/Kings Road?

Yes, all general traffic will be able to turn left or right onto the A259 or choose to proceed onto Madeira Drive.

How will I access Madeira Drive?

Madeira Drive will be made entry only from the Brighton Palace Pier. While most of Madeira Drive will be two-way, there will be no through-route for general traffic travelling westbound towards the Palace Pier from Duke’s Mound. This is to improve the efficiency of the new Palace Pier junction and to prevent westbound rat-running along Madeira Drive. We are exploring exemptions for emergency vehicles and to manage events.

Traffic will exit Madeira Drive using two signalised junctions at the top and bottom of Duke’s Mound. These junctions have been included and assessed as part of the planning application to enable the Black Rock site to be redeveloped and have now been agreed by Planning Committee.

How will Prince’s Street change?

Prince’s Street will be entry only from its southern end. This will improve access, especially for emergency service vehicles. Traffic will exit Prince’s Street by turning left onto Edward Street.

Will I still be able to access my private parking space?

An access road will be retained on the south west side of the Old Steine meaning that all existing private car parks will continue to be accessible. Vehicle access to properties will be retained where a legal access is provided at present.

How much public car parking will be provided?

The proposals will reduce the current number of car parking spaces from 49 to approximately 21. The final number of spaces will be determined at the detailed design stage.

Will disabled parking and doctors’ parking be retained?

Yes. It is intended to at least retain the specially designated bays that are available at present. The final designation of parking bays and location will be determined at the detailed design stage. The final parking restrictions would then be subject to a separate public consultation as part of the Traffic Regulation Order process.

Motorcycles

Will the proposals be an improvement for motorcyclists?

The designs are intended to address some of the common causes of collisions, particularly at the pier roundabout which will be replaced by a signalised junction.

Will motorcycle parking be retained?

Yes, motorcycle parking will be provided. The final location of this will be determined at the detailed design stage.

Taxis

What routes will taxis be able to take?

Taxis will have access to the proposed bus lane to the south west of the Old Steine. Therefore, they will be able to access North Street and St James’s Street as they do at present. They will also be able to use this area to turn.

What will the impact on journey times be?

Impacts on general traffic journey times are expected to be limited. Traffic flow was a consideration in the selection of the preferred option. Traffic modelling showed that the preferred option performed the best of all the design options that were shortlisted. Bus journey times are shown to improve due to new bus priority lanes.

Will the taxi rank remain?

Potentially some of the parking spaces could be allocated for use by taxis as is the case at the moment, subject to an assessment of need. This will be determined at the detailed design stage and all changes to parking and loading restrictions will be subject to a separate public consultation.