Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has joined the chorus of disapproval over Brighton and Hove Council’s decision to spend £1.1 million on removing a bike lane to 'improve traffic flows'.
Sustrans blasted the ‘backwards move’ for Hove, which has invested in cycling and walking facilities over the last few years.
The Council’s cycle lane cull was unveiled in budget proposals for 2011/2012 in ‘a response to public demand’ – a claim Sustrans refutes. The charity cited the fact that cycling levels across Brighton and Hove have risen 27 per cent during the Cycling Demonstration Town programme, with local routes like those in question on Grand Avenue and The Drive being increaingly used by locals.
“If the Council wants to spend money wisely, it seems utter madness to remove routes at such a huge cost especially when they are well used by local people," blasted Sustrans' regional director for the South East Simon Pratt. "The cycle lanes in Grand Avenue form part of the National Cycle Network in this area, linking the seafront to the South Downs, and losing them would be a step backwards.”
“£1m could be spent in much more cost-effective ways for the local community. Hove is full of pedestrians and cyclists as well as car drivers, and we would encourage people in Hove to voice their concern to the Council about losing valued facilities like this.”
Sustrans has worked with the Council as part of the Cycling Demonstration Town intiative since 2003. The cycle lanes in question were installed three years ago at a cost of half a million pounts and the proposals by the Conservative-run council to spend twice this amount to remove them have been fiercly criticised by the CTC, local group Bricycles, and the Labour and Green Parties.