On Wednesday 25th June members of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum Committee met with the new leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Donna Jones, and her cabinet member for Traffic & Transportation Cllr Ken Ellcome.
The purpose of the meeting was to ask PCC to develop a strategy for cycling, both to address immediate issues, like the shocking casualty rates on our roads, and a long term plan to develop cycling in the city. We presented them with copies of the Copenhagen cycle strategy as an example.
Attendees from Portsmouth Cycle Forum were Jon Spencer (chair), John Holland (vice chair), Rich Boakes and Tom Hart (committee members).
Points & Actions Arising
- Donna Jones seemed very taken by the Copenhagen Strategy brochure and was keen that PCC should have a Cycling Strategy. Also, that this should be meaningful, not window dressing. She hoped Ken Ellcome would agree.
- She said she intended meeting the mayor of Bristol at a forthcoming conference, to discuss Bristol’s experience. She said it was a subject she knew little about. Action: Cllr Donna Jones.
- Ken Ellcome said he would add it (cycling strategy) to his to-do list (along with 30,000 other items).
- Ken Ellcome noted the electoral position of car owners and the perceived intransigent nature of the Portsmouth road network.
- He did, however, say he was pushing through a cycle lane on the north side of Havant Rd.
- He also said he was happy to consider quick-win cycling safety suggestions from PCF, provided these were not expensive. Action: PCF, if we wish.
- We discussed last Strategy doc (to 2010) and we offered to review this and suggest to Ken parts that could be included again. This was welcomed. Action: PCF.
- We also agreed to provide details of Waltham Forest, Hackney and other London boroughs that were forward-thinking on cycling. Action: PCF.
Observations and Conclusions
- Donna Jones is clearly interested in launching a new Cycling Strategy
- At same time, she seemed serious in agreeing that it needed to be a credible piece of work
- Ken Ellcome, as he said, has a lot of competing interests clamouring for his attention, plus taking actions on cyclists’ behalf is guaranteed to give him a headache from motor vehicle users.
- So, our lobbying and use of the Press, needs to be continuous and high-profile, to keep councillors focused on addressing the Cycling Safety agenda.
- Overall, a good meeting, with initial positioning achieved.