One year since work began on Valley Gardens
One year ago, works started on Valley Gardens, a major project which aims to improve the transport network and public realm in the centre of Brighton.
Work is currently underway on Phases 1 & 2 of the project, which focuses on the area from St Peter’s Church to Edward Street.
A new traffic system
The switchover of general traffic to the eastern side of the gardens took place earlier this month.
The new system aims to simplify and improve the movement of traffic by moving buses, taxis and local access traffic on to a consistent route that will run along the western side of Valley Gardens, while keeping private vehicles on the eastern side.
It has also enabled work to progress on the western side to create shared space for dedicated cycle lanes, wider footways and more access to public space.
Improved transport links and a new central park
Since work began in September 2019, significant changes have been made to simplify the road layout in the area and create new cycling and walking paths and widened pavements.
Work to create a central park is also underway. The green spaces that run through the area will be landscaped and more than 150 trees will be planted, improving the environment and air quality.
The area has remained open to traffic throughout, with traffic management plans in place aimed at minimising disruption to everyone travelling through the area.
Bus routes have continued to operate as normal and the project team have worked with businesses in the area to ensure continued access and to facilitate deliveries.
Giving public space back to the community
Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Anne Pissaridou, said: “Overall, the finished Valley Gardens scheme will bring two key outcomes.
"Firstly, it will form a vital part of our move to become a carbon neutral city by 2030 through investment in a sustainable transport network that supports walking, cycling, and public transport.
"Secondly, it will give public space back to the local community, allowing the city’s residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy this area of our city once more.
“Valley Gardens Phase 3 is a continuation of the work that has already begun and it is vital to achieving the overall aims for the area, including coordinated sustainable transport links and open public spaces through the city centre and down to the sea.”
Minimising disruption to buses
Martin Harris, Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Bus Company, said: “Valley Gardens Phases 1 & 2 have gone very smoothly so far. We’ve had great co-operation with the council, the planners, the contractors and it has been a good team effort to ensure we minimise disruption to bus services during the construction phases.
“Overall I think it’s a really positive scheme for the city, it’s going to introduce a lot of great space for people to use and make the whole centre of the city more attractive.
"Obviously to achieve that, there has needed to be changes to traffic flows and that brings challenges for bus services and our passengers, but we’re very encouraged by how things have gone with Phases 1 & 2 and we look forward to Phase 3 continuing in that vein.
“We’ve been pleased by the development of the Phase 3 plan, from the original concept to the current design.
"It’s a framework that we’re very happy to support, we believe it will deliver not only the improved public space around the Old Steine area and the Palace Pier, but also provides the opportunity to significantly improve the waiting environment for bus passengers in the Old Steine area.”