All posts by John Holland

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Open Meeting 27 April – POSTPONEMENT

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Open Meeting POSTPONEMENT

Apologies for the short notice. Due to the general election announcement our speaker for the meeting on Thursday 27 April has had to withdraw. We have tried to find a replacement but this was not possible in time.

However, because of the election we plan to hold a meeting in late May for party candidates to give their positions on cycling. We’ll send out a confirmation of this in the next couple of weeks.

Call for funding for A City to Share

At the meeting of the  Full Council meeting today, 9 February,  Portsmouth Cycle Forum made a deputation calling for some of the £3.5M transport budget to spent on cycling.

The proposed budget for of  2016-2020 includes major repairs to the Eastern Road  bridge and to upgrades to traffic lights throughout the city yet nothing to implement the aims of PCF’s strategy document “A City to Share”

The deputation was written by PCF Chairman Jon Spencer and delivered by Vice-chairman John Holland,  The text is as follows.

“I am here to ask you to commit some of your transport budget to implement A City to Share, the cycling strategy developed by Portsmouth Cycle Forum at the leader’s behest.”

“The city has become woefully congested and there are rightful concerns that this will put off visitors, residents, events and investors. This problem has been widely discussed and the proposed budget includes a £3.5M investment to attempt to relieve the problem.”

“We are asking councillors to remember that transport is about moving people, not vehicles – connecting customers to business and keeping the lifeblood of our economy flowing. Portsmouth’s roads are at capacity and there is just no space for the increased movements of people that will be required to grow our economy. Spending £1M on smarter phasing of traffic lights can’t address this fundamental problem.”

“£1.8M of your £3.5M investment will be on remedial works to the Eastern Rd bridge. This in itself will offer no new transport capacity unless widening of the narrow, obstructed pedestrian & cycle path is included. This is the major cycle route into the city and this section falls woefully short of DfT standards. It is not accessible to disabled cyclists and at times can be frightening to use. It is common practice in The Netherlands to add cycle capacity to older bridges by adding new cantilevered paths at each edge. This is comparatively cheap and will create a gateway for cyclists worthy of our city.”

“What is needed is a smarter, cleaner, cheaper and more space efficient way to move people. People on bikes take up far less space than people in cars and so many more people can be moved. If more journeys can be made by bike, and less by car, then everyone wins. We reduce the congestion and get a healthier, happier and more productive city into the bargain.”

“This won’t happen by itself though. Throughout the city roads need to become more attractive and forgiving to cyclists. This is not hard to do – many, many cities have gone down this path before us and achieved transformational results. The plan to do this exists in A City to Share, a document that has been praised and supported by politicians of all parties. So we’re asking you to turn those words into action and used some of your proposed transport investment to fund the implementation of A City to Share.”

“There is more to cycling than big ticket events. The city needs to be made fit for purpose for everyday cycling and we ask for PCC to commit to that. We need the bread and butter of safe and easy everyday cycling before we can enjoy the cake of the Tour de France.”

“The MP for Portsmouth South, Flick Drummond, has been pushing central government to support A City to Share. We’d like you to support her. We are asking you all to build cycling into your plans, allocate funding to implement the goals of A City to Share, prioritise improvements for cyclists (for example to the Eastern rd bridge) and to crucially to formally adopt the targets presented in A City to Share, including halving cycling casualties by 2020.”

A City to Share may be downloaded from

New ALDI store to narrow Southampton Road Cycle Route

Aldi's new Paulsgrove store


Low-cost suopermarket chain, ALDI, received has permission from Portsmouth City Council for a new shop on Southampton Road, Paulsgrove next to Racecourse Lane.

At the planning committee meeting on 3 February, councillors agreed to the construction of an 1800sqm store with 113 car parking spaces.

Both Portsmouth Cycle Forum and Sustrans representatives made deputations to the meeting since the store will affect the cycle paths on both sides of Southampton Road. The north side path will be interrupted by a 15 metre wide vehicle entry and exit whilst that on the southern side, which is part of NCN route 236, will be narrowed to accommodate road widening for a new traffic light controlled junction.

The Cycle Forum has been critical of the access for pedestrians and cyclists onto the site and for the minimal amount of cycle parking. We were unhappy that the plans show little encouragement for staff to cycle to work since there was no evidence of secure cycle parking, showers or changing rooms.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s vice-chairman, John Holland said, “We have no problem with Aldi bringing a new store to this location but we do expect the well-designed facilities to encourage people to travel by sustainable means. Shoving a handful of cycle stands in an out the way location and degrading existing cycle paths is not the answer.”

Following the meeting, John Holland and Roger Inkpen met the applicant’s planning consultant, Dan Templeton of Planning Potential and Aldi property director Phillip Warner to discuss the plans. There is room for negotiation on many issues and the final provision for pedestrians, cyclists and others will be agreed with Portsmouth City Council under Section 278 and 106 agreements.

Mile End Road bus lane removal – An alternative solution

Mile End Road approach to Church Street roundaboutAt the Special Traffic and Transportation Decision Meeting on 13 March the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Donna Jones, decided that the section of the southbound bus lane on Mile End Road between Haversham Road and Church Street should be removed and the space given to general traffic.

Cllr Jones proposed this as a solution to the problem of peak hour queuing traffic on the M275 which has increased at the location since the opening of the Park and Ride in 2014.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum would like to propose an alternative solution which would ease the problems of merging traffic and which would see the retention of the bus lane.


The Mile End Road southbound bus lane extends southwards from Rudmore roundabout and it has been in existence for many years. Archive satellite images from Google Earth show the bus lane to be in place in 1999.

In 2014, extensive changes were made to the road markings on southbound carriageway of the Mile End Road to coincide with the opening of the Park and Ride at Tipner. One of the measures was to force all traffic travelling from Rudmore Roundabout to merge with the inside lane of traffic arriving from the M275. It is this location which is the root of the traffic queues as a traffic lane had been removed. Previously the Rudmore traffic could proceed to the Church Street roundabout without merging.

The reason for the change was the conversion of the inside southbound lane of Commercial Road to a bus lane reducing the number of traffic lanes there from 3 to 2. PCC traffic engineers concluded that the number of traffic lanes for traffic travelling straight ahead at Church Street roundabout should be reduced accordingly on safety grounds.

Current arrangement

The Mile End Road approach to before Church Street roundabout has 4 traffic lanes.

  • Lane 1: (the inside lane) is for traffic turning left onto Church Street
  • Lane 2: is for traffic proceeding to Commercial Road
  • Lane 3: is for traffic proceeding to Commercial Road
  • Lane 4: is for traffic performing a right turn to travel north along Mile End Road.

Note that lane 1 is a continuation of the bus lane which stops short of the roundabout.

Alternative Proposal

The alternative proposal would once again permit traffic from Rudmore Roundabout to reach Church Street roundabout without needed in merge into the lanes arriving from the M275 and would retain the bus lane. It would be achieved as follows:

  • Lane 1: extend the bus and cycle lane right up to traffic lights, with solid white line.
  • Amend the traffic lights so that there is separate phase for lane 1 (the bus lane). When at green the lights on the other lanes would show red thus giving buses priority yet preventing conflict traffic turning left onto Church Street and buses proceeding straight ahead. The bus lane lights would be activated by approaching buses.
  • Lane 2: designate for other traffic turning left into Church Street.
  • Lane 3: designate for straight ahead traffic.
  • Lane 4: designate for straight ahead and right turning traffic

We accept that this solution will be more expensive than the simple but destructive removal of a section of the bus lane as it involves changes to the traffic lights but the advantages are clear. We ask that it or similar arrangement should be implemented.

Private Hire vehicles in bus lanes – A statement from Portsmouth Cycle Forum

Bus lane sign

A decision to allow private hire vehicles (PHVs) into bus lanes in Portsmouth has been deferred by Cllr. Ken Ellcome.  The proposal was opposed by Hackney Carriage drivers, a local bus operator, Sustrans and Portsmouth Cycle Forum.  Road safety professionals in Portsmouth City Council also advised against it.

PHVs and taxis provide affordable door-to-door transport, an invaluable service, but being a professional driver in Portsmouth is very challenging. The city is increasingly congested and competition for fares among over 1750 registered PHV & Taxi drivers is intense, making driving a tough way to make a living.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum were opposed for good reason, as there is a serious safety concern.  There is a disproportionately high level of accidents between minicabs and cyclists in the city, a figure that is much higher than in other cities, and police data shows that the most common cause is driver error.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum chairman Jon Spencer said:

“Portsmouth has a major congestion problem, so we need to develop attractive alternatives to private car use.  The bus lanes which are used by cyclists and taxis are a foundation of this and to open them up to more vehicles will be a huge backwards step, making the roads much less attractive for cyclists and ultimately leading to worse congestion.  We wish to work constructively with all parties to make Portsmouth a safer and more pleasant place for all.”

At the suggestion of the Leader, Cllr Donna Jones, Portsmouth Cycle Forum has published a discussion document called “A City to Share” which sets out a vision of a city fit for the future. It’s free to download from

The next Portsmouth Cycle Forum open meeting is on Thursday 12 February at 7pm at the University’s Park building.  There will be a debate on how to make the main routes in Portsmouth safe and welcoming for cyclists. Members of the public are welcome.

The future of Southsea’s coast – consultation

Storm tide in SouthseaA CITY TO SHARE includes accessibility for all to our coast and heritage. The proposed new flood defences for Southsea seafront present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete a missing section of the seafront cycle.

Do you want a cycle route along the seafront between the two piers so that you and your family can cycle without fear of being squeezed or reversed into? The consultation has a question on cycling so it’s important to respond.

See the link for details of the consultation roadshows or study the plans online. Don’t forget to fill in the feedback form to answer that knotty question!

The consultation closes on 29 December 2014.…/future-southseas-coast-consultation

Cycle Forum Open Meeting 13 November


Open meeting 13Nov14 poster cropped
Our next public meeting will take place on Thursday 13th November at 7pm. The venue will be room 0.08 in Park Building, part of the University just behind the Guildhall.

We are pleased to welcome Phil Marshall, Principal Transport Planner for Solent Transport (the successor organisation to Transport for South Hampshire). Phil will brief us on transport policy and funding in our area.

We’ll then brief on the strategy we’ve developed for cycling in Portsmouth – entitled “A City to Share”. This strategy was successfully launched to city leaders including Cllrs Donna Jones and Gerald Vernon-Jackson on the 3rd November. We’ll give you a full brief on the strategy and the response so far.

Find out more about the strategy at it’s own website or join the debate on twitter using the hashtag #acitytoshare.

It should be an exciting meeting and we hope to see you there.

Help publicise this event – please download, print and display a poster.

Bicycle – The Film – FREE screening

Poster for Bicycle - the filmBICYCLE is a great new film about the history, culture and future of the bicycle.

You can see it on the big screen in Guildhall Square on Tuesday 16 September at 6pm.

BICYCLE is a humorous, lyrical and warm reflection on the bicycle, cycling, and its place in the British national psyche.

If the weather is bad the film will be screened at Somerstown Central (The new Hub building) which spans Winston Churchill Avenue).

Kearn more about the film and see the trailer at

PCC agrees changes to Palmerston, Osborne & Henderson Roads

Cycle Forum makes deputations to Portsmouth City Council meeting

At the longest Traffic and Transportation Decision Meeting in living memory on 24 July, decisions on four proposals were reached and not all of them popular with the audience.

Henderson Road

The least contentious proposal was for traffic calming in Henderson Road, Eastney which is long, straight, wide and has a frequently flouted 20 mph speed limit. Contrary to the recommendation of the officers, Cllr Ken Ellcome, Cabinet member for Traffic and Transportation, agreed to press forward with a hybrid scheme with the involvement of local residents and ward councillors. Cycle Forum Secretary and resident of Henderson Road spoke in support of traffic calming to deter speeding motorists.

Palmerston and Osborne Roads

More contentiously, the southern section of Palmerston Road from Osborne Road to Villiers Road will be re-opened to northbound traffic as opposed to being fully pedestrianised. Cycle Forum chairman, Jon Spencer, made a deputation stating that whichever option was selected then the road should remain open to people riding bicycles as it is today. This scheme was funded by central Government with the aim of improving connectivity of walking and cycling to the south of Southsea town centre and to improve the experience for pedestrians in the form of a pedestrianised zone. Banning cycling would certainly be contrary to the spirit of the funding. The changes will be temporary with a review after 12 months.

Osborne Road is to get a make-over with planters, widened pavements, new bus stops etc but no changes to traffic flows.

And finally – Residents’s Parking Zones MB and MC

Despite nearly 20 people speaking against the proposed changes and not one member of the public speaking in favour, Resident’s Parking Zones MB and MC will be suspended from 1 September tor an experimental period. Strangely, Cllr Ellcome chose an option which was not listed in the report to the meeting – it had been proposed to suspend MC and change the hours of operation for MB. The reasons for the decision were stated as being that of parking displacement caused to other areas. Anyway, this is not a cycling issue although the quieter streets of Central Southsea will once more become cluttered with vehicles making cycling less attractive.

With 206,000 residents in Portsmouth, 110,000 registered vehicles and  the prospect of 40% more by 2040, this new administration has yet to show any signs of addressing the needs of the citizens of the future. Gridlock will happen – it’s just a matter of time.

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Book Now for the Lord Mayor’s Bike Ride

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Lynne Stagg, launches the Lord mayor's Bike Ride
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Lynne Stagg, launches the Lord mayor’s Bike Ride.

Bookings are open for the Lord Mayor’s Charity Bike Ride which takes place on Sunday 23 March from Victoria Park in central Portsmouth.

Entrants can choose from a selection of two rides depending on ability; the Half Island Ride is a fun bike ride for all the family to enjoy, or for the more advanced cyclists, the Full Island Ride which takes in spectacular views along the coast.

All proceeds form the ride will be donated to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal fund which, this year, is supporting Brain Tumour Research, Portsmouth Young Carers and the Baffins Pond Association.

Wiggle have kindly donated a £500 state-of-the-art bike as a prize. The lucky winner will be selected from entrants who manage to raise more than £50 sponsorship.

Portsmouth Cycle Exchange have also kindly donated two bikes that will be awarded to the ‘best dressed rider’ and the person who raises the most sponsorship money.

Portsmouth Cycle is helping with the event providing marshals and we will be having a stall at the start/finish.

For further details of the rides and to register please visit:



Protecting the Future of North Portsea Island

North Portsea Island scheme areaThe coastal defences along the north of Portsmouth, from Portchester to Havant are in need of strengthening and options are open for public consultation. It is possible that footpaths and cycleways could be included in the plans so the cycling community should take an interest.There are consultation events to be held on the following dates:

Thursday 20 February, 12-6pm – Anchorage Lodge, PO3 5UB

Tuesday 25 February, 12-8pm – Portsmouth Outdoor Centre, PO3 5LY

Wednesday 26 February, 12-8pm – Innlodge Hotel, PO3 5HH

Thursday 27 February, 12-8pm – Mountbatten Centre, PO2 9QA

Information on the shortlist of design options can be found at:

There is a survey is available online at:



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Social Cycling Buddies

Social Cycling Buddies is a new group Portsmouth, aiming to encourage cyclists of all levels to get out on bikes. Portsmouth Cycle Forum members are welcome to join their events which are listed on Facebook and on their website. The next event on 30 November. All rides are casual, and always involve food at some point.

For more information visit or search for “social cycling buddies” on Facebook.


Dutch Style in Portsmouth? – Open Meeting 14 November

Cyclists in Groningen

The next open meeting of Portsmouth Cycle Forum will take place at 7pm on Thursday 14 November 2013 upstairs at the Student’s Union (room SEM 5) on Cambridge Road – click here for a map.

We will be discussing how Dutch ideas for cycle infrastructure could work in Portsmouth. The Dutch city of Groningen is a compact city of about 200,000 people (just like Portsmouth) that in the 1970’s made a number of revolutionary planning decisions that now result in this city having the highest rate of cycle use in the world.

If you’d like to see better facilities for cyclists in Portsmouth and more people cycling then please come along. All are welcome.

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City Centre Road Development

View of Hope Street - Flathouse Road

Portsmouth City Council is planning changes to the city centre roads and a planning application will be submitted in early 2014. The area concerned is bounded by Marketway, Hope Street and Commercial Road. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that the road network will cope efficiently with the future development and growth of the locality and the city. The city centre cycle route network and pedestrian crossing points will be significantly affected by the changes – it’s up to us to make sure that those changes are for the better.

There is a leaflet which explains the proposals and at the time of writing this was not available on the PCC Web site so we’ve made it available for you to download.

There will be a public exhibition in a Portakabin on the Marketway car park at the following times:

  • Thursday 24 October 9am – 8pm
  • Friday 25 October 9am – 4pm
  • Saturday 26 October 9am – 4pm

Portsmouth Cycle Forum has already had two meetings with the Portsmouth City Council team behind these plans.  They have been extremely proactive in engaging with us – an approach which we have found very refreshing. However, our conclusion on the current plans is that they are still very much centred on the private motor car.  Cycling, and indeed other sustainable transport modes, come out very much second best. You can read our initial response to the design here – note that this is limited to the specific concerns and issues discussed in the meeting.   PCF will submit a full response to the consultation.

Don’t miss this opportunity to understand and comment on the proposals. Once implemented, this road system will be in place for 30 years or more, and it will be exceedingly difficult to change. It’s vital that officers and politicians hear as many voices asking for better cycling provision as possible. If you can’t make it to the consultation sessions then you can respond by email, by post or by phone. Details are in the pamphlet linked above.

Castle to Castle Family bike ride

Southsea CastleRowlandsCastleGreenOur September family bike ride is on Sunday 29th from Southsea Castle to Rowlands Castle and back. We’ll depart at 10am, and arrive back by 1pm.  We’ll follow National Cycle Network routes which are on cycleways and quiet roads throughout. At Rowlands Castle there’s be time for teae, coffee or a late breakfast. Join us!