Brighton & Hove has a long tradition of cycling stretching back well over a century to when the first cycling clubs and societies were founded in the early 1900s. Brighton & Hove is now bringing the city up to date for its 21st century cyclists, with plans to vastly improve the cycling network in the area.
Innovative ideas for the promotion of cycling are being encouraged. Local artists and performers have been asked to come up with their suggestions to increase cycling participation. One event, a 'Dance of Cyclists', will include a unique dance performance of up to 250 cyclists to audiences across the city along key walking and cycling routes. Local people will be encouraged to take part, particularly those who are new to cycling. The performance is scheduled to take place during In Town Without My Car Day in September 2006.
To comprehensively explain the benefits of cycling to the residents of Brighton and Hove, over 10,000 people will be contacted in the largest ever 'personal travel planning' project to be carried out in the UK. Individuals will be contacted via door-to-door visits, telephone calls and exhibitions to inform them of available travel options and their costs. For example, explaining the comparative costs of travelling by bus, train, car or bicycle will enable residents to make informed choices as to how they want to travel into the city. As part of this campaign Brighton & Hove will also be organising incentives for people to use their bikes, for example discounts at retailers for bicycle check ups and reduced costs for cycle training.
Brighton & Hove is the only Local Authority in the country to have a '2009 Year of Walking and Cycling' which will, combined with Cycling England's support, ensure cycling and walking projects at the forefront of transport planning in Brighton over the next four years.
Since the last blog, the City Council has made significant progress on a number of fronts, including infrastructure.
The Council's Environment Committee approved proposals for the regional Route 82 from Hove to Hangleton. Since then, work has started on the route, including completion of a new Toucan crossing on the Old Shoreham Road and the provision of cycle channels on the footbridge to Hove Station. The City Council has also committed to providing every signalised junction in the CDT area with Cycling Advanced Stop Lines - the majority of which will be put in place by the end of the current financial year. Work has begun on these and the first seven have recently been completed.
In terms of promotion, to mark the first anniversary of Brighton & Hove's CDT status, billboard posters were placed at congestion spots in the city, highlighting the health benefits of cycling in comparison to driving. Supporting this, on September 22nd The Council closed Marine Parade for ‘In Town Without My Car Day’ which had a strong pro-cycling theme and included a Bicycle Ballet and a free bike maintenance shop.
Finally, in an initiative with the local police, a series of advertisements were published locally calling for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to respect each other on the road.
Well, it has been a busy Summer indeed!
The School Travel Team has been busy, working with schools to ensure that the Bike It Project is fully integrated into their travel plans. Immediate engineering incentives - installing new cycle parking facilities within the ten selected Bike It schools - are well underway. In Longhill School 60 sheltered cycle spaces and 25 lockers have recently been installed in a visible safe area in addition to the construction of a new £140,000 walking and cycling route linking the school to the national cycle network.
In March 2006 we installed a quality, safe cycle contra-flow lane leading to Brighton's architecturally acclaimed Jubilee Library and the number of cyclists using the route has already exceeded expectation. We have also designed facilities to increase the number of secure public cycle parking spaces to around 60 in the area, and are working with developers to identify additional sites.
In June we constructed a sample section of our forthcoming cultural mile shared space so that individuals could see the streetscape improvements on a first hand basis. Designed by Copehangan based Jan Gehl Architects, the cultural mile will be a world class shared space, linking the Royal Pavilions to the Jubilee Library, theatres and via the Laines shopping areas, to the sea front. The area will become part of the national cycle network. Construction work will start during winter 2006.
Bike Week kicked off with the annual British Heart Foundation, London to Brighton bike ride, which attracted 27,000 cyclists to Brighton. We followed this up with a series of free events including: a bike breakfast; a women's only maintenance session; several employer cycle rides, free bicycle maintenance from our designated Dr. Bike and a week long performance from Les Cyclists, a play documenting the relationship between French and English cyclists.
Between June and September 2006 our Personalized Travel Planning programme got underway. Local businesses and community groups, and especially local cycle traders, have now been involved to offer services such as free bicycle maintenance courses, free national cycle training for anybody who wants it alongside a range of quality maps and guides. To help develop a psychological understanding of individual travel habits and patterns, residents are being asked to keep travel diaries and we are working with the local universities to develop an understanding of the effectiveness of various types of incentives.
Brighton and Hove is pleased to announce the appointment of a former teacher, Gary Ship, as Brighton's first Bike It Officer. Gary will work with 10 schools in the city to promote cycling in a targeted way. Bike It projects have reported phenomenal success rates and in some cases quadrupled cycling levels in schools, so we are very excited about Gary's work. Let's hope he is too!
Two conferences have taken place this month. Cycling in the Urban Realm featured a guest speaker from Denmark who discussed a number of innovative ways to increase cycling participation, such as allowing cyclists to go first at traffic lights. The second event was the Annual Sustrans Rangers Conference which took place on 28 February. The conference, which featured presentations from Sustrans CEO, John Grimshaw, and a number of workshops for participants, culminated in a bicycle ride of the city for 50 of the attendees.
In the last few weeks, we have been working with national experts and university specialists to deliver one of the largest and most comprehensive personalised travel planning programmes in the country. We are working with local businesses and organisations to pull together a range of incentives that will encourage more people to move away from the car to sustainable transport modes.
Please contact us at:
Brighton & Hove City Council, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove, BN3 3BQ