17 April 2020 Transport and roads

Madeira Drive first road to be allocated for walkers and cyclists

Brighton & Hove is joining other world cities and reallocating road space for local people to get their daily exercise.

From Monday 20 April, Madeira Drive will be temporarily closed to motor vehicle traffic and open to residents in the area to walk and cycle.

The move comes as cities respond to a decrease in traffic numbers as a result of the coronavirus restrictions and look at opportunities to temporarily open up more space on roads for their residents to keep healthy during lockdown.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of the city’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “Madeira Drive is a long, wide road right by the seafront and will create an extra safe open space for local people in the area to use for their daily walk or bike ride. It will provide a traffic-free place for the many residents in that area who do not have access to a garden.

“Practising social distancing is making us all aware of the importance of public spaces and making us rethink how we use them, but I would also ask that cyclists and pedestrians respect each other’s space and safety in this shared area.  We’re all in this together. 

“We are pleased to be able to offer this change so quickly and are considering other locations to see if we can extend this to other roads in the city.”

The road closure is being done under emergency powers as a response to the Covid-19 epidemic to provide space for people to exercise safely once a day.

How it will work

Madeira Drive and Duke’s Mound will be closed to motor vehicles; Madeira drive for its full length from the Palace Pier roundabout and will be stewarded from 8am to 8pm daily so that businesses have essential access to properties; this will be done at the top of Duke’s Mound.

Signs will be put up advising people to keep a safe distance and the message to people in the city and beyond remains:

  • Stay at home, protect the NHS
  • Only go out for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • Exercise close to home
  • Keep a distance of two metres (six feet) from other people

Other cities that have reallocated road space during the Covid-19 epidemic include Vancouver which has made roads in Stanley Park traffic free and Berlin where cycle lanes have been widened.

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