North Street, Brighton | Royal Bank of Scotland
Most cities have a street that tries to do many things, but often fails to do any of them well. Shopping, bus interchange, servicing, cycle route and car park access are just some of the functions that North Street in Brighton is trying to perform. The result is congested and cluttered footways (especially around bus stops), poor air quality and noise pollution combined with unreliable bus journey times, a poor setting for some of Brighton finest buildings and, most importantly, a street in the city centre that is to be avoided or endured rather than enjoyed.
One of the outcomes of this situation is a high vacancy rate among those shop units that front the street. This had been recognised by the owner of these premises, who realised the importance of the public realm on the success of the retail units that lined it. In a highly unusual and forward thinking move by this landlord, he approached the Council and offered to pay for its improvement, and Urban Movement were chosen to undertake the design work.
We started by rationalising the existing bus movements – bus stops that are currently opposite one another have been moved further apart. This will have the twinned benefits of reducing bus-on-bus conflicts and will allow us to narrow the carriageway. This additional space has provided the room for widened footways that will include street trees and seating, helping to create an environment that will feel far less dominated by motor traffic. Rather than a street that was all about moving through, it will now provide opportunities to gather. Equally, the changes will encourage further investment and economic growth along what currently feels like a neglected and disconnected place.