9 April 2014

Edward Street transformation underway

 Edward Street and the surrounding area is set to be transformed with a new scheme that will benefit buses, pedestrians and cyclists and greatly improve the urban environment on another key route through Brighton.

Works have started in Edward Street in a plan to create a shared bus, taxi and cycle lane on the southern side, between Upper Rock Gardens and Pavilion Parade.  This would be done by reallocating one lane of the dual carriageway from general traffic to buses, bikes and taxis.

On the northern side a new cycle lane will run inside one lane of mixed traffic. Other measures aim to make walking safer and more pleasant by calming traffic and creating more pedestrian crossings.

Initial works on the central islands also include upgrading street lighting.

Once works on the islands are complete, the next stages will see improvements to the footpaths, including repaving and surface treatments to side roads to improve pedestrian use.  

The whole scheme should be complete by October.  Works will take place over the summer to take advantage of lighter traffic during the school holidays.

The plan received final cross-party approval at the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee last November.  It is being funded by the Department for Transport under the Better Bus Scheme, and will not burden the local taxpayer.

It mirrors the new Lewes Road layout which has brought more bus and cycle journeys while only increasing peak time car journey times by one minute, according to initial studies.

Consultation took place in May and June last year with over 9,000 homes and almost 800 businesses in the area contacted.  Some 62 per cent of respondents supported the proposals. 

Around 70 per cent of respondents were local residents, the remainder were businesses in the area or people who have cause to travel through it.

Lead councillor for transport, Ian Davey 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 hopefully draw more people into the surrounding area, to benefit the shops and other businesses there.  We expect it to encourage more walking, cycling and public transport and transform the area into a much more pleasant urban environment.  Seven Dials has shown how much can be done to improve an area with good design.”

The scheme will cost around £1m, paid for from a government grant specifically aimed at improving bus services.  The money cannot be used for other things and would have to be repaid if not spent.