A Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce debate held on the 22nd October, agreed with the Greens that the city should become more “people-friendly” and focus on helping people rather than cars move around the city centre.
During the debate it was highlighted that every £1 spent on pedestrian improvements brought £13 of benefits to an area.
Participants discussed the transport challenges facing the city, including historic congestion issues, the cost to the NHS of over-reliance on private cars, and the small likelihood of a park and ride site being found for the city.
They also discussed trends and opportunities to support a growing city, including falling car ownership, rising bus and train use, and the growth of car-sharing, public bike hire and transport apps such as Uber and Lyft, which help people get around as and when they need it.
Councillor Ian Davey, Lead Member for Transport, who contributed to the debate said: “Well done to the chamber for organising such a bold debate. Everyone welcomed the opportunity to discuss and share ideas in a constructive and positive atmosphere. We unanimously agreed that we need to shift the focus from motor vehicles to people – after all it is people, not cars, that walk into and spend money in our shops and restaurants.
“Our transformation in the Old Town area will make the heart of our city a lot more people-friendly. The transformational Valley Gardens project is key to our vision of a city that will continue to thrive by putting people first.
“The reality is that the only way we can keep our city moving and economy growing is by making it easier for residents and visitors to choose walking, cycling and public transport to get around. Every year more people are choosing to travel on public transport. Meanwhile bike sharing and car sharing schemes can provide a viable alternative to car ownership now and into the future.”