Evaluation of Brighton old town street improvements 2013-15
Melia, S. and Shergold, I.
Evaluation of Brighton old town street improvements 2013-15.
University of the West of England.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/30504
In 2013, Brighton and Hove Borough Council commissioned the Centre for Transport and Society (CTS) at the University of the West of England (UWE) to evaluate the planned Old Town Traffic Improvement Scheme. Following a public consultation and a planning inquiry some but not all of the original elements of the scheme were implemented; Ship Street was closed to traffic in 2014 and East Street was pedestrianised on a trial basis at weekends only from May 2015. The evaluation used three methods: traffic counts, on-street surveys and interviews with key stakeholders. The key findings were:
• There was relatively little removal of through traffic; total traffic volumes fell by just 4%, although this included a big increase in van traffic that was probably unrelated to the Scheme.
• Traffic volumes on Black Lion Street and Middle Street increased following the closure of Ship Street.
• There was a statistically significant increase in visitors arriving by bicycle (on the weekdays) but in other respects the pattern of travel to the area did not significantly change; roughly a third of visitors arrive by car.
• Only around 3% of visitors parked on the streets of the Old Town before and after the changes, so fears about the impact of loss of parking appear to have been unfounded.
• There was no statistically significant change in the overall spending by visitors on the weekday. Spending was higher at the weekend but it is not possible to say what impact the Scheme might have had on that.
• 54% of the public surveyed agreed that “it was right to make the changes”; only 4% disagreed.
• Only 9% agreed that East Street should be reopened to traffic at weekends (i.e. the trial should be terminated); 54% disagreed.
• 34% agreed that the trial should be extended to weekdays as well; 23% disagreed.
• Public perceptions of the Old Town were generally positive. Compared to a baseline survey on a weekday in 2013, they were more positive on the Saturday in 2015 when East Street was pedestrianised, but less positive on a comparable weekday in 2015.
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