CONTROVERSIAL cycle lanes are set to be extended.

The lanes in Old Shoreham Road and the A259 seafront road are set to be expanded to the western border of the city by the end of the year.

The proposal, yet to be publicly announced, comes days before an expected showdown on the Old Shoreham Road lanes’ future.

Peter Challis, who started the petition to remove the lane, said: “Just like the original lane and Madeira Drive, this has all been agreed by a higher power, no discussion, just go ahead. Whatever happened to democracy in Brighton and Hove?

“I’m appalled at the way this council is treating its residents.”

In May, residents woke up to the new cycle route taking up two lanes of the road, a main arteries into and out of Hove to the west of the city.

The Argus:

Since then, campaigners have battled over the future of the lane with some wanting it made permanent and others wanting it scrapped.

Last month, The Argus reported how parking spaces were set to make way for a cycle lane on the south side of the A259, stretching from the Fourth Avenue junction in Hove to Brighton Palace Pier.

Yesterday, drivers were warning each other online to avoid the seafront road “for your sanity” as council officers began to install the lane.

The Argus:

Now the council is set to extend both cycle lanes to the western boundary with Southwick and Shoreham

A council spokesman said: “The council is developing proposals as part of a bid to the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

“This bid includes the provision of five ‘active travel corridors’ on key routes into the city centre, including Old Shoreham Road and Marine Parade. Any implementation will be depend on the success of the bid.”

The Conservatives, who are in opposition on the council, are demanding an urgent impact assessment.

'Slam on the brakes'

The Argus:

Conservative transport spokesman Councillor Lee Wares has urged the council to “slam on the brakes” before further works are undertaken and “insurmountable damage is done to our city”.

He said: “Some measures across the city to improve social distancing, to help the economy recover and to maintain interest in active travel are necessary. However, some measures, regardless of claims by the council to only be temporary, are clearly becoming wholesale structural transport network changes to which, every effort will be made to make them permanent.

“The problem is, they are being introduced at such great speed, any proper analysis of their impact is not being done.”

He said there was growing traffic congestion and inequality for blue badge holders, the less able and older people.

He added: “It also appears traffic volumes are increasing on other residential streets as drivers try to avoid the traffic jams that cannot possibly be improving lives and is likely making those roads more dangerous.”

The Argus reported on Thursday how the newly introduced traffic measures are costing at least £135,480 a month in lost revenue.

Cllr Wares said: “This is revenue that is used to pay for senior citizen and disabled bus passes and to subsidise bus routes that, if lost, will cut off whole communities. Thus far nobody has said how that black hole will be filled.”

The Argus:

Normally, plans to reduce traffic capacity on two main arterial transport routes would be subjected to months, if not years, of careful analysis, Cllr Wares said.

He added: “The huge scale of unintended consequences is rapidly coming and the wilful blindness is staggering.

:If the council is to get this right and carry the goodwill and support of the population, it has to start by engaging with them first.

The Argus:

"It has to prove what it wants to do will work and justify the assumptions it is making. It should be honest and upfront about its objectives and the impacts their decisions and actions will have on everybody.”