17 December 2013

Celebrations for a safer Seven Dials

An event takes place tomorrow (December 18) to mark completion of main changes to the previously-hazardous Seven Dials junction in Brighton.

The gathering starts at 7pm where there will be short speeches from councillors and local residents followed by carol singing with the Dawn Chorus Choir from St Luke’s Church. 

Shops have been encouraged to stay open late and members of the local community have organised a local shopping quiz with the opportunity to win prizes.

Changes at the spot have mainly involved creating a longer oval traffic island to replace a mini-roundabout.  Traffic engineers say this will mean vehicles from various roads will merge more gradually rather than converging on a single point.  Improvements are intended to benefit all road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians.

Other measures include replacing the old paving with a new high-quality material, removing street clutter and changing pelican crossings to zebra crossings to make it quicker and easier to cross.  Guard railings have been removed.  Nationally, experts say they have no impact on safety.

Many trees have also been planted to green the area and new benches and cycle racks have been added.

Most residents consulted backed the main changes during public consultation in October 2012.  Councillors approved the scheme in January this year. 

The junction is one of the most accident-prone in the city.  Twenty personal injury accidents were recorded within a 25m radius of the Seven Dials roundabout between October 2009 and October 2012, resulting in 23 casualties. 

Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said:  “This is a set of improvements well worth celebrating because they will certainly, over time, reduce the number of accidents and injuries at this location. We are confident that in addition to the safety benefits the changes will contribute to long tern economic regeneration of the area and offer a welcome boost to local business. ”