Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Improvements to Lewes Road, Brighton

4.4.12 Lewes Road Vogue Gyratory Brighton’s Argus newspaper recently carried a double-page spread on plans for the Lewes Road (of which the Vogue Gyratory, seen above, is a key challenge). The plans involve spending around £4m, sourced from central government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The aim is to improve one of Brighton’s busiest roads, reduce carbon emissions, and cut air pollution: Lewes Road is currently the city's second worst area for air quality. As well as Smarter Travel type “soft” measures, plans for physical alterations include:
  • upgrades to public transport facilities such as real time bus signs, bus shelters & accessible bus stops
  • cycling improvements
  • traffic signal upgrades
  • pedestrian improvements along Lewes Road
  • better links to the new South Downs National Park
According to the Argus, “motorists” are unhappy with the plans. Hence my letter in response to the article, published in today’s Argus.
“Dear Sir

The Argus report (20 March) on plans for the Lewes Road made interesting reading. Living Streets Brighton and Hove Group welcomes this long-overdue plan, which should begin to address the problems of air quality, safety and congestion which currently afflict this area.

Your intrepid reporter would have got a different perspective on the need for these changes if, rather than getting in his car and driving along Lewes Road, he was to experience it as a bus user, a cyclist or a pedestrian.

The comments in the article from some motorists were sadly predictable. It would be interesting to ask motorists why they believe that their interests come before other people. I’m thinking of those who live in the area, and other users of Lewes Road - on foot, on a bike, or on a bus. This question seems particularly relevant as the data shows that, each day, there are 25,000 car journeys (mostly single-occupancy) and 35,000 bus passengers in Lewes Road – indicating that “motorists” are in the minority.

Yours sincerely”

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