Facilities for pedestrians and cyclists have been turned off at the busy junction of Velder Avenue and Milton Road for over 2 weeks. The junction, which is one of the busiest in the city, is used by hundreds of school children each day as they attend nearby Milton Cross school. No alternative crossings have been provided to protect pedestrians and cyclists using the junction.
Portsmouth City Council have explained that the current arrangement of the traffic lights is temporary and that the crossings cannot operate at the moment. Portsmouth City Council are unable to offer a firm completion date for the work.
The suspension of the crossings is part of the controversial £470,000 Eastern Road congestion relief scheme. This scheme involves redesigning the junction. Portsmouth Cycle Forum Vice-Chairman Jon Spencer said “The new lights have been in place and functioning for motor traffic for around a month, but there is no news on when pedestrians and cyclists will have a safe route across the busy junction. Pedestrians and cyclists are currently forced to dash across the traffic on their own initiative”.
This comes at the same time as Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has prevented cyclists and pedestrians from using alternative routes through St Mary’s Hospital. These traffic free routes were a popular way of avoiding the heavy traffic on Milton Road. However, due to building work at the St. Mary’s site the NHS trust has closed access.