Councillors agree walking, cycling and accessibility improvements on A259

Councillors have agreed plans for a host of walking, cycling and accessibility improvements to part of the A259.

Members of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability (ETS) committee last week approved plans which include extending the westbound seafront cycle lane, creating more pedestrian space, improving accessibility for pedestrians and businesses and increasing the number of parking spaces for Blue Badge holders.

The decision comes following further public consultation on the detailed design, as requested by ETS members last July. 

Funding for the improvements has come from Tranche 2 of the Government’s Active Travel Fund

What will the improvements look like?

Members agreed to the following changes being made:

  • Reallocate one traffic lane to form the extension of the westbound cycle lane, between Fourth Avenue to Wharf Road.
  • Removal of the bus stop at Westbourne Villas South – this bus stop is underused and passengers are served by other stops
  • Introduction of a new Bus Boarder solution which supports safe boarding and alighting at bus stops along the route.
  • Improve safety for pedestrians exiting the side access road by the West Hove Lawns.
  • Increase of 27 parking spaces for Blue Badge Holders.
  • Create 70 cycle parking spaces, 10% of which will provide for specially adapted bicycles.
  • Provide approximately 100m2 additional pedestrian space, including space for outside seating along Victoria Terrace 
  • Raised junctions on Medina Terrace, Sussex Road and King’s Esplanade to reduce vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian access.
  • Provide additional dropped kerbs to assist wheelchair users, mobility scooters, pushchairs and all pedestrians.
  • Provide four new loading bays in Victoria Terraces and the Kings Esplanade to support businesses. 

The introduction of the cycle lanes between West Street and Fourth Avenue in August 2020 showed an immediate increase in cycling (30%) in September 2020. This increase continued into June 2021 (85%)- increases have been compared to data prior to the cycle lane’s introduction, in June 2019.

Members of the ETS committee voted to make this section of the cycle lane permanent last November.

Responding to public feedback

The A259 scheme was originally consulted on in February 2021 alongside other active travel schemes. The results of this were brought to the ETS committee in July 2021. 

Members requested further consultation be held on the detailed design of this scheme. This took place between November 2021 to January 2022. Information about the proposals was posted to more than 8000 residential and business addresses in the surrounding area. Drop-in workshops were also held at the King Alfred Leisure Centre.

A total of 897 responses were received from 842 households. 342 responses were received from the area around the proposed scheme.

Results from this consultation showed that:

  • 80.5% of respondents walk, 66.8% drive and 47.1% cycle, at least once a week in the area. 22.8% of respondents are also regularly travelling by bus in the area. 
  • 50.6% of respondents agree with proposals to widen pavements in the area and 66.8% agree with the improvement of pedestrian crossing points. 
  • When considering improved cycle routes, 46% of respondents agree with proposals, compared to 2.1% neither agree or disagree, and 51.7% disagree
  • Of all respondents, 369 (41%) respondents would be encouraged to use the new cycle lane, 375 (42%) would be encouraged to visit business and local amenities in the area and 374 (42%) would be encouraged to visit the beach/seafront, as a result of the improvements.

Several improvements have been made to the scheme design in response to consultation feedback from residents, businesses and stakeholders, including:

  • We are no longer proposing the reversal of the one-way system or moving the parking on Kings Esplanade. 
  • We will also be improving the sight lines for pedestrians exiting from side access road by the West Hove Lawns.

Improving infrastructure to address global and local challenges

Councillor Steve Davis, Co-Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee said: “These changes will make a real difference to pedestrians, cyclists and disabled people.

“The improvements will create a more accessible space for people walking and wheeling while extending the cycle lane means a safer space for people travelling by bike. It also means extra space for Blue Badge holders and for vehicle loading at local businesses.

“I’ve long said that ‘if we build it, they will come’ and that’s been shown by the huge increase to cycling on the A259 since the installation of the new cycle lane between West Street and Fourth Avenue. I’m confident these changes will have a similar impact.

“By improving the city’s transport infrastructure we will support and encourage residents and visitors to travel actively and sustainably and help us tackle the climate emergency we all face.”

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