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 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. Phase 3 is currently at detailed design stage.

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. The project’s core objectives were approved by the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee in October 2018, enabling officers to develop the design for the area.

On completion, the finished scheme will offer:

  • an improved experience for walkers and cyclists
  • improved public transport provision
  • an enhanced overall experience for motorists
  • a better environment, with more public space and landscaped areas
  • an improved setting for the city’s major heritage sites
  • improved road safety in the area
  • an inclusive and accessible space

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.

The council’s preferred junction arrangement 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.

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 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 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 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 will be located on the A23 junction at St James Street.

As reported in the Review of the Environmental Impacts, following consultation and the revision of the preferred option, the impacts are not considered to be adversely significant and therefore, a statutory Environmental Impact Assessment is not required for a project of this kind within the existing highway boundary. The plan will evolve further during the detailed design stage to mitigate for any adverse noise and air quality impacts. 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. 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.

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?

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. 

Cycling

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 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.

Buses

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 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 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.

Cars

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 makes crossing safer and more comfortable, compensating for the reduced pavement width at this location. However, 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.

When driving south bound on the A23 at the Old Steine, 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?

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.

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 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.