THE country’s first “Covid cycle lane” on a dual carriageway appeared overnight in Hove, prompting calls from some to extend the scheme across the city.

Residents woke to find new temporary markings had been painted on a 1.7-mile stretch of the Old Shoreham Road from the junction with The Drive to the junction with Hangleton Lane.

In parts the lane takes up half the road on both sides, effectively turning it into a single carriageway.

The unprecedented move has caused debate since the markings were painted over the weekend.

Chris Todd of Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth backed the plan and said more bike lanes should be introduced permanently across the city.

“There’s lots of space for cars but not much for cyclists in Old Shoreham Road,” he said.

“This scheme is a great idea. I hope it’s expanded elsewhere.

“Improvements are needed west of the Palace Pier up King’s Road.

“More cycle lanes need to be created permanently to schools, workplaces, and major shopping centres.”

The Argus: Environmental campaigner Chris Todd called for more cycle lanes to be created across the cityEnvironmental campaigner Chris Todd called for more cycle lanes to be created across the city

Mr Todd said public opinion on cycling has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“People have realised we don’t have to stay locked into this model,” he said.

“They’ve realised it’s really nice when you can breathe clean air.

“We’ve seen what streets are really like when they’re not monopolised by the car.”

But some Brighton and Hove city councillors are less convinced.

Labour councillor Chris Henry said a bigger bike lane was not needed in Old Shoreham Road.

He called for the council to focus on the seafront instead.

“We need the seafront lane repainted and widened where possible,” he said.

“This is not where the lanes are needed.

“Old Shoreham Road works fine as it’s already a safe shared space.”

The Argus: Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett worried traffic could increase in Old Shoreham Road due to the schemeConservative councillor Dawn Barnett worried traffic could increase in Old Shoreham Road due to the scheme

And Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett feared congestion could increase along the road as more people begin to drive again.

“It’s not a cycle lane, you could fit a tram along there,” she said.

“It’s going to be absolute madness, it’s taking up half the road.

“When the traffic gets congested on the A27 bypass, people drive down Old Shoreham Road.

“The low traffic will last a few weeks.

“Then the council will have to burn the paint off at taxpayers’ expense.”

Brighton and Hove City Council said the new layout was a temporary change to free up more space for cyclists.

The move was funded by the city council and not as part of the £250 million project announced by the Government over the weekend to boost cycling in cities.

The new markings are a response to changes in travel since the coronavirus outbreak began, with fewer cars and more cyclists on the road.

They were painted at the end of the bank holiday weekend as Sussex Police turned potential day-trippers away from the city.

The Argus: The new markings were painted over the bank holiday weekendThe new markings were painted over the bank holiday weekend

A city council spokesman said the markings are only a temporary measure.

And environment chief Councillor Anne Pissaridou said the lane would have health and eco benefits for the city.

“Sustainable forms of transport are a key component to tackling our climate crisis and anything we can do to encourage people to cycle will have long-term benefits to our city," she said.

“I would again urge cyclists and motorists to travel safely and respectfully during this temporary change to a key route through our city.”

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