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COVID-19 BIKE LANES


In Brighton & Hove one very controversial, rushed in, Covid-19 installed bike lane has finally been thrown out after a public consultation. It was installed on the very busy Old Shoreham Road section of the main A27, which is the main artery that runs all along the south of England and has divided opinion between the hard bike campaigners and car users, utilising various Face- book Groups.


This bike lane was pretty much installed over night eighteen months ago when the Green-led council won a bid under the government’s ‘On yer bike’ Tranche 1 scheme. The matter has constantly been in the local news and very surprisingly it was the Labour and Con- servative councillors who voted for its removal.


What is really good about this decision is that those red and blue councillors actually took note of what the people in their own wards had to say, although the blues were always against bike lanes in the wrong place.


In the Agenda for the council meeting it constantly stated that stakeholders were invited to workshops, which was not the case for the local taxi trade. It was expected that the trade, being a major transportation stakeholder in the city, would have had a specific work- shop arranged in similar fashion as had happened before.


So on this basis I put a question to the council at the meeting via a web link asking why there was no such


workshop. The chair replied with a very general response.


I then put it to the chair that at least three previous proper Trade Workshops took place on the (major) Valley Gardens Project in the centre of the city, that were specific to the trade, where we sat around a table with the plans and officers. The chair pretty much conceded this point by stating: “I can see how you would see it that way” and stated that we would be invited to a meeting to discuss this - which as it turns out is now academic because of the decision to scrap the bike lanes.


Lastly, I underlined (for the record) that it was then very clear that we were not invited to a specific trade stakeholders meeting....


The point here being that the council always specifically consults with the bus companies but often omits engaging with the local taxi trade, so we as a trade must always be watching what is going on. I am sure is the same all over the country.


I can say that since that meeting some of the Green councillors have shown great disappointment at the decision, which in a way I can understand when some- one is extremely passionate about their beliefs of a ‘burning planet. The trouble I have is that I have never had extremists views, nor do I listen to extremist views when they come across as being evangelical preaching: “I’ve seen the light”.


RANKS


Once again it is that time of the year when we welcome our London Cab hackney carriage colleagues to the city when they visit our seaside to dip their toes in the water - well they are mostly welcome.


But before I get into moan mode, I would like to recite a little story of when last week I picked up a couple off the street, which turned out to be a London cabbie and his wife, for a short three-minute trip down to the main seafront road where they were staying. We got talking about trade stuff locally and when I got into the right turn lane he said that I was going the wrong way and that I should be turning left. This confused me because I actually know where I am going in the city.


78 AUGUST 2021


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