9 October 2013

Edward Street a step closer to being better for buses

A scheme to give buses, walkers and cyclists more priority on another key route through Brighton has come a step closer, with the fine details being approved.

The city council has just published the results of consultation on the formal traffic order for Edward Street.  This gives details of things like physical road layouts, signage and road markings.

The proposal includes shared bus, taxi and cycle lanes, between Pavilion Parade and Freshfield Road.  Other measures would aim to make walking safer and more pleasant.

As a result of feedback, the main change made has been to ensure enough space is retained for businesses and shops to carry out kerbside loading, outside peak traffic hours.   

Last night (November 8) the environment committee gave the final go-ahead.  Chair Cllr Pete West said: “This scheme is all about ensuring bus journeys are quicker and more reliable.  It will also make the Edward Street environment more pleasant and so hopefully encourage people to walk and cycle.”

Previously, a consultation leaflet was delivered to over 9000 homes and almost 800 businesses in May and June.  Some 62 per cent of respondents supported the plan in principle.  Most popular aspects were the walking and cycling measures, plus improvements to safety and the environment.

Around 70 per cent of respondents were local residents, the remainder had other business in the area or cause to travel through it.

The scheme mirrors one just opened in Lewes Road, providing dedicated bus and bike lanes in half of a former duel carriageway.

The council is predicting faster bus journey times and more people switching from cars to walking, cycling and public transport.

In February 2012 the council won £3.48m from the government towards a Better Bus Areas project, including Lewes Road and Eastern Road, of which these measures form a part. Combined with contributions from the council and the Brighton & Hove Bus Company, the total pot is £5.82m.  Officials point out the government contribution cannot be spent on other things and would have to be returned if not used.

Works are expected to start in November and take 10-12 months.