Frequently asked questions - Valley Gardens Phase 3
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 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. Work started on Phases 1 & 2 of the project in September 2018. A public consultation on the proposed design option for Phase 3 is currently underway.
What is Phase 3 of the Valley Gardens project trying to achieve?
- Improve the overall travel experience for people walking or cycling
- Enhance the overall experience for motorists and public transport users
- Enhance the environment surrounding the city’s major heritage sites
- Improve road safety in the area
Why are you making these changes?
The existing 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. We want to improve the public realm area by enhancing the area’s green spaces, which are currently under used.
How will the project be funded?
The majority (£6m) of the cost would be funded by a central government pot of money called the Local Growth Fund (LGF). The council needs to successfully bid for this funding through the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, specifically for a transport project. The remainder of the funding (£1.25m) would come from the council’s Local Transport Plan budget and local contributions.
The award of this funding will be subject to the outcome of the public consultation and the council preparing a successful business case. If the local community and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership do not support the project overall then the money is likely to be awarded to another area of the region and the project will not go ahead.
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. Crossings will also be better aligned to make it easier and quicker for pedestrians to cross.
What crossings will be installed?
New signalised crossings will be installed at St James’s Street and the seafront. These are designed to be more direct than at present and also provide crossings on all sides of the junctions. The closure of the north western section of the Old Steine would mean traffic signals are no longer required at the Castle Square (North Street) junction.
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.
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?
The spaces will provide more opportunities for people to gather; sit and spend time in, particularly in areas congested with pedestrians and visitors at the moment, such as next to the pier. The new spaces will also provide further opportunities for events to take place.
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.
What will happen to Steine Gardens and the War Memorial?
The proposals currently include no changes to the existing green spaces. If the project progresses then plans for new planting in the Steine gardens may be considered and additional areas of green space may be delivered in the new areas of public space proposed.
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.
What will the proposals provide for cyclists?
The proposals include a two-way cycle lane between Marlborough Place and the seafront. This is 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 scheme 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?
There are no plans for additional Bike Share hubs at this stage. However, there will be space to add additional stands to the existing hub and the council will work with the operator to ensure sufficient capacity is provided in this location.
Will the bus routes change?
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 with westbound buses instead stopping to the south on St James’s Street or in Castle Square (North Street). Buses stopping adjacent to the Royal Pavilion will instead stop in Castle Square.
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 are asking people what they would like to see done with them as part of the public consultation. Any future proposals will be subject to further consultation 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.
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.
How will I access Madeira Drive?
It is proposed that Madeira Drive will be made one-way entry only. Vehicles will be able to exit via Dukes Mound.
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 30. The final number of spaces will be determined at the detailed design stage. It is intended that sufficient parking for residents will be retained where this is provided at present.
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, including whether any additional disabled parking is added, will be determined at the detailed design stage. The design will be enhanced to ensure that accessible parking bays are provided. The final parking restrictions would then be subject to a separate public consultation as part of the Traffic Regulation Order process.
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.
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 current proposal. Traffic modelling showed that it operated the best of all the design options that were shortlisted.
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.