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.
Cabinet member for Traffic and Transportation, Cllr Jason Fazackarley, gave his support of two-way cycling in Charlotte Street, Landport at his decision meeting on 19 January.
The comment was made in response to a deputation from Portsmouth Cycle Forum where the experimental traffic regulation order changing the direction of traffic on this one-way street was made permanent.
Senior Traffic Engineer, Barry Rawlings, advised that a study should be carried out to ensure that two-way cycling would be safe. He said that the road is narrower than most roads in the city where two-way cycling is currently permitted.
Cycle Forum Chairman, John Holland said, “We welcome the decision to consider two-way cycling in Charlotte Street. The road could form part of a vital east-west link for cyclists linking the city centre with Unicorn Gate and routes to Gunwharf Quays. Whilst we acknowledge that the road is narrow, parking is not permitted anywhere along its length. The available carriageway width is no different from most other one-way streets in Portsmouth with two-way cycling where vehicles are parked on both sides of the road.”
Cllr Fazackarley invited members of the Forum to participate in the study which will include a site meeting.
It is the City Council’s policy that two-way cycling should be established on one-way streets where it is safe and sensible to do so. Several one-way roads within the city now have two-way cycling and all have 20mph speed limits in force. A recent Government decision has relaxed the rules on signage for permitting two-way cycling.
Portsmouth City Council is considering making changes to the bus and cycle lane at London Road, Hilsea near its junction with Northern Parade.
There have been 11 accidents in the area since 1997 with 2 occurring in 2011. The latest involved an HGV turning left from London Road into Northern Parade which collided with a cyclist who was travelling in the bus and cycle lane.
At the Traffic and Transport Decision Meeting on 19 January, approval was given to spending up to £30,000 on safety improvements in the area. Engineers are proposing to shorten the bus lane by 200 metres to allow left-turning vehicle position themselves in advance of the junction. This would be at the expense of any bus priority and it would also require the removal of a bus stop.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum is pleased that safety work will be carried out although our preferred option would be to keep the bus and cycle lane as it is today and to ban left turns for vehicles from London Road into Northern Parade. This would maintain a safe route for cyclists and would ensure that public transport continues to have the priority it deserves at this often-congested location.
Engineers fear that the banning of left turns would cause displacement of traffic into residential streets such as Oakwood Road.
We are promised that a full consultation exercised will be carried-out before any changes are made.
You would be forgiven for not immediately recognising the name of James Callaghan Drive, but many of you may have tried to walk or ride along Portsdown Hill Road. As you travel west the hill road changes into James Callaghan Drive and it is one of the scariest roads to ride along in Portsmouth. On the south side you have a Site of Special Scientific Interest and on the north side, old forts and farmer’s fields. Its almost in the countryside – birds are singing – grass, wildlife, trees and flowers are all around you. Sounds like a lovely place to take the family for a picnic?
Wrong, it is used as an alternative route by people in rapid and often large vehicles that wish to get between Havant and Fareham but would rather not use the Southampton Road or the motorway. The speed limit is 40mph but often people are doing more than that! A vehicle passing you at 40mph is really very frightening especially on an extremely narrow road with no footway at all when you are on a bike, walking or riding a pony or horse. This is especially true if the road is less that 5 m wide for two-way traffic and has bends and undulations that mean the vehicle approaching at speed from the rear cannot see what is coming towards it on the other side.
The result is that if you are trying to use the road and you aren’t in a vehicle you may have a hair raising time of it with lorries cutting you up, cars swerving towards you to avoid a collision with an on coming vehicle or simply a very impatient person behind you just waiting to take a chance with your life to get passed.
So just imagine you have a disability of any kind and then imagine you want to enjoy the gorgeous countryside on Portsdown Hill and look out over the fabulous views along the hill road, you would not have any opportunity to do so. Just imagine you have a family and you and an elderly relative want to go out to the countryside and have a nice walk or ride along the hill. Or maybe you work on the hill and don’t want to take a car or you want to visit some of the interesting places on the hill like the Peter Ashley Centre, the Equestrian Centre or the forts. You’ll have negotiate the busy road first, then make your way along the narrow and lumpy verge, if there is one, trying not to trip into the road. This is not for the faint hearted!
However, all of this could be changed and the area opened up to many more visitors and families if a simple amendment was made….. create a multi-user hard wearing path on the northern side of the road that bikes, walkers, the disabled and horses can all use easily, like the billy trail, made of compacted gravel maybe. There must be a material that would be suitable for all to use?
Then we can promote this as somewhere that visitors and residents can go to have a family day out, enjoy the view, walk or ride along the hill looking out over Portsmouth or the fields and the downs in the distance the other way. This simple solution is better value for money and more beneficial to all types of road users, especially the vulnerable ones, than the majority of the projects funded last year by the council.
We are inviting all ward Councillors and MPs to come and meet us there on 25th November at 8.30 am (although the traffic is fairly non-stop all day) to judge for themselves and formulate their own opinions on what it is like along this road if you aren’t ‘protected’ by a metal casing. Come along too and support us, or just express you point of view. If you can’t make it write a quick email to your councillor and MP
Vote for bikes, more fun and freedom, fresh air, health – for almost free! Its local election time and here is the result of our own electioneering.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum sent this manifesto to all of the 51 candidates in 14 Portsmouth wards. We received replies from candidates in 7 wards, Baffins, Central Southsea, Charles Cickens, Cosham, Fratton, Hilsea and Milton. We have received enthusiastic support from 3 Labour candidates, 3 Conservatives, 1 Green candidate and 1 from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. We have one acknowledgement from the Liberal Democrat party. So 7 of our wards have candidates apparently uninterested in this manifesto. The liberal democrats are markedly under-represented in our 11% response rate.
I was lucky enough to attend the recent Velo-City conference in Seville. Velo-City the major international cycling planning conference series in the world and seeks to encourage cycling as a part of daily transport and recreation. It is organised by the European Cycling Federation but is attended by delegates from all continents. The conference is hosted by a different city each year, with the host city decided by a highly competitive bidding process. As a little englander attending velo-city brings a shock of realisation at just how seriously cycling is taken in Europe. The conference is not held in a dingy Travelodge equivalent but in the best conference centre in the city and heavily subsidised by the host city. The hosts consider the long-term benefits of creating such a focus on their use of the bicycle to far outweigh the costs.
This year’s host, Seville, has undergone a remarkable change in recent years. Only 5 years ago Seville was gridlocked and the car was the preeminent form of transport for Sevillans – the modal share for cycling was only 0.2%. Since then a transformational set of transport policies has changed this – cycling now has a modal share of 6.6%. Now about 70,000 people commute by bike each day, which is double the number that use the city’s metro system at only one twentieth of the cost. Many experts would consider 20 years to be a reasonable timescale for such change – Seville has proved that much more ambitious schemes are possible.
To do this Seville has built an extensive – although not yet perfect – network of cycle lanes and a bike hire scheme with 2000 bicycles at 250 locations. The cycle infrastructure follows the main transport desire lines of the city rather than just being put into odd places where there is leftover space anyway. Seville has eschewed the easy options and created a really good cycle network in a very short time.
One interesting feature of the road network in Seville was their equivalent to our Toucan crossings. These crossings give a countdown to cyclists and pedestrians to let you know how long there is to wait and then countdown on green, so you know how long you have to live. These junctions didn’t need a button to be pressed, they assume there will be cycle and pedestrian traffic just as the presence of motor traffic is automatically assumed. I observed that at least one of these junctions gives exactly the same allocation of time to cyclists and pedestrians as it does to motorists – turns of about 50 seconds each. Now wouldn’t that be a great thing to include in a review of the traffic light controlled junctions in Portsmouth?
I was attending the Velo-City conference as an exhibitor which means I didn’t get to attend any presentations but I did still pick up a wealth of useful information. I will be writing it all up in a series of articles here on Pompeybug over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
A while ago we posted that Portsmouth City Council is in the process of reviewing traffic lights in the city, and that they had already engagmed with taxi drivers in this review (here is a link to the post). We wrote to Cllr Fazackarley (member for traffic & Transportation) to offer our support, we then spoke to him informally to repeat the offer and then wrote again. Sadly no engagment has been forthcoming. We were also not invited to the ‘public’ tour of problem junctions – this was only attended by carefully selected members of the public and not advertised for wider participation.
We did, however, get a great response from PCF members detailing their concerns with junctions around the city. We have written these up into a report that has now been delivered to the Councillor. We will keep you all posted of developments.
We are very pleased to be able to write that the Hayling Ferry service is no longer under threat – PCF has been notified by Cllr Jason Fazackarley that PCC will not be cutting the subsidy. Cllr Fazackarley said:
“It [the ferry] is saved, I have removed this [the proposed cut] as an offered saving by officers so Portsmouth contribution towards the ferry operation will remain unchanged. I cannot speak for any changes that the County Council may decide to make but Portsmouth City Council will NOT be making any cut to the subsidy.”
The proposed city council budget for 2011/12 onwards proposes that the subsidy currently offered to the Hayling Ferry be cancelled. This will more than likely spell the end for the ferry service which provides a great route into and out of the city for cyclists and pedestrians. The budget will go to the vote at council on tuesday 8th February. If you would like the service to be saved then please phone, email or write to your ward councillors to ask them to oppose the motion to scrap the subsidy.
The Hayling ferry provides vital access to a rural area to the residents of Portsmouth. This is one of the very few rural areas that is accessible to the people of Portsmouth without requiring access to a car. Our MP, Mike Hancock, spoke very eloquently on the breakfast news on this week about how vital public access to rural areas is to the wellbeing of a community and how he was therefore, in opposition to his government’s plans to sell off woodland. He was absolutely right to make this stand but it will be prove pointless if means of accessing such rural areas are removed.
Despite the assertions made in appendix C of the budget report, the Hayling ferry is widely used by citizens of Portsmouth. It is used daily by workers at Hayling, Havant and Langstone (and further afield) who commute by bike. It is heavily used by people who wish to visit the beaches or to use the popular Billy Trail by foot or by bike. The Hayling Ferry link is part of the UK national cycle network route 2 and as such is used by cyclists from across the UK to get into Portsmouth.
The major transport challenge Portsmouth faces is surely the fact that most of the city is on an island and there are very few access routes. Removing one of these routes is surely, at best, extremely unwise? This will increase pressure on the already extremely congested Eastern Road and will remove, at a stroke, the most pleasant way onto and off of Portsea Island.
The Hayling Ferry is good value. It’s annual subsidy of £15,000 is only about 1.3% of what the pyramids is costing the city this year. In terms of the value of the leisure and travel opportunities it presents it is punching well above its weight.
As you may have read in the Portsmouth Evening News, the City Council is conducting a review of traffic signals across the city with the aim of removing ‘failing’ signals. The News reported on 31 December that Councillors Fazackarley (executive member for traffic and transportation) and Stubbs (conservative group spokesman for traffic and transportation) have toured the city with taxi drivers to understand their views on which junctions work and which don’t.
Tells Us What You Think
It is obviously vital that the views of cyclists and pedestrians are adequately and fairly represented in this process. Traffic lights are there for the safety of all road users, not just to maximise the earning potential of cabbies. Portsmouth Cycle Forum has written to the Councillors to request that they conduct both a cycling and walking tour of lights in company with members of the cycle forum. In order for us to effectively plan this we need to know what traffic light controlled junctions you think are a problem for cyclists/pedestrians and why. Please use the “Contact Us” page to do this.
In response to the lively public debate about the virtues of the new seafront cycle route we have produced a set of frequently asked questions and answers to address some of the most common concerns. The document can be found in our infrastructure section or by clicking this link.
Portsmouth’s Cycle Forum believes that the new cycle route makes a massively positive contribution to the seafront and the city and is in whole hearted support of it. If you haven’t tried it yet then we can only suggest you get your bike out and go for a ride.
Most of you will have noticed by now that the first phase of the seafront cycle route is being built – indeed a long stretch of it is all but complete. You will also noticed that there has been considerable criticism of the route in the local press. It is vitally important that we show Portsmouth City Council how popular this route is – otherwise there is a great risk that the decision makers will get cold feet when asked to approve phase 2. Therefore could we please ask all of you to write to Simon Moon, head of traffic and transportation at Portsmouth City Council expressing support for the seafront cycle route.
If you are not sure what to write or are short of time then we have created a form with which you can automatically email Simon Moon. Click here to find it.
However, a unique letter or email always has more impact so if you have time to write one Simon Moon’s Contact details are:
Portsmouth City Council
Hampshire, PO1 2BG
The University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council have joined forces to stage Love Your Bike on the 30th May 2010. The event will take place throughout the day at Southsea Skatepark and on into the evening at Parmiter’s Antiques and Little Johnny Russell’s on Albert Road.
Bike culture is an important part of cycling and regaining the streets. Love Your Bike Portsmouth aims to encourage participants to fully embrace the possibilities of connecting with their bikes and explore the many ways that they can improve it’s appearance and design. The event will feature workshops, bike demo’s, bike polo, marketstalls, bike artwork, bike safety and a showcase bike arena.
Local transport plans are an important part of transport planning in England. Strategic transport authorities (in our case Portsmouth City Council) are expected to prepare them as forward-looking plans and present them to the Department for Transport (DfT).
The current Local Transport Plan (LTP2) is due to end in 2011 and LTP3 is in preparation. LTP3 is potentially a very long lived plan (possibly in excess of 15 years) and it is therefore essential that we get cycling into the heart of the plan from the outset. With this in mind PCF members and CTC Right-to-Ride reps Hilary Reed and Jon Spencer met with the PCC LTP3 team today. As a result PCC has committed to engage with the cycle forum throughout the creation of LTP3.
CTC Cycle Digest 60 focussing on LTP 3 is available here.
The CTC guide to cycle friendly local transport can be downloaded here.
The deferred planning application for a new business development at Lakeside, North Harbour was approved at the City Council’s Planning Committee on 9 December.
Councillors on the planning committee expressed the view that it was not incumbent on the developers to provide any further sustainable transport infrastructure.
They did however, agree that cycle infrastructure at Portsbridge is fundamentally inadequate and that something must be done. The implication would seem to be then that PCC will take some action itself.
Councillor Luke Stubbs (Conservative) spoke in favour of the proposals stressing the need for more jobs in the city. He made no mention of the need to reduce dependence on the car for travel to and from the site. He proposed that the application should be passed by the planning committee.
Councillor Jacqui Hancock (Liberal Democrat) was silent throughout the proceedings with the exception of seconding Cllr Stubbs proposal.
Councillor Jim Fleming (Liberal Democrat) sympathised with the objectors but felt that the developers had made efforts to accomodate the wishes of the city planners.
Councillor Donna Jones (Conservative) shared Cllr Phillip’s view. She said that it was a case of risk vs reward – the risk of increasing Portsmouth’s carbon footprint vs the rewards of people having jobs in order to be able to buy bicycles to enjoy cycling. She quoted a letter form a constituent who asked “if there were no more cars in Portsmouth, would the threat of flooding from the sea recede?”
Portsmouth Cycle Forum (PCF) committee member Mike Dobson made an impassioned plea to the committee not to approve the scheme. Whilst PCF does not object to the development per-se, we have grave concerns that the transport plans make little provision for pedestrians and cyclists.
This view was backed-up by CTC Right-to-Ride representative Jon Spencer.
Whilst we are disappointed that the Lakeside development has been approved with inadequate sustainable transport provision, the developers, Highcross, have agreed to an open dialoge with us. We look forward to a useful and constructive relationship which will bring benefits to pedestrians and cyclists.
Portsmouth City Council approved the first phase of the Southsea Seafront cycle route at the Cabinet Meeting on 9 November.
The route will be on the road between Eastney Swimming Pool and South Parade Pier, next to the promenade. The dangerous echelon (angled) parking bays will be replaced with spaces parallel to the road.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum welcomes this decision and we look forward to the opening of the route in the spring of 2010.
We spoke in support of the proposals at the meeting along with the CTC and the Portsmouth Disability Forum.
Southsea Seafront Traders were concerned that the loss of 150 parking spaces would impact their businesses, however the figures presented showed that these spaces were full on very few occasions during the year. At the busiest times, overflow parking will be available on Southsea Common and councillors agreed to look at other sites to replace the spaces that will be lost.
The permanent Park and Ride system will provide much needed relief to the parking problems in Portsmouth and Southsea when it comes on-stream.
The route for Phase 2, from South Parade Pier to Clarence Pier, has yet to be decided.
We will be working with Portsmouth City Council and other interested parties to ensure that it will be safe and practicable.
The delayed planning application for a new business development at Lakeside, North Harbour was deferred at the City Council’s Planning Committee on 14 October. The developers, Highcross, boast that the flagship scheme will have excellent ‘green’ credentials and claim that the it will encourage people to use sustainable travel (walking, cycling and buses). The Portsmouth Cycle Forum is one of many organisations objecting and has pointed out that the plans for the pedestrian and cycle routes to Lakeside are seriously inadequate.
Government climate change carbon reduction targets mean that Portsmouth needs to encourage people to leave their cars at home and use sustainable transport options instead.
But the few improvements planned for the shared pedestrian and cycle paths will not be enough to provide safe and attractive routes that will persuade people to travel sustainably.
Highcross have assumed a steady growth in the numbers of people wanting to drive to Lakeside and they plan to widen the roads and the Portsbridge roundabout to take this growth in polluting motor traffic.
However, Consultants Capita Symonds have made no allowance for the increase in cycling that the Council wants. The plans do nothing to remove a major bottleneck on the main pedestrian and cycle route from Portsea Island to Lakeside and the plans won’t provide enough light controlled road crossings for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the Lakeside access roads in safety.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum urges the developers to think again and make improvements to the pedestrian and cycle infrastructure. This must be a truly sustainable development and not just one that ticks boxes on a sheet of paper.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum was invited to look at the draft drawings of the first phase of the cycle route along Southsea seafront. This section extends from South Parade Pier to Henderson Road along Southsea Esplanade and Eastney Esplanade.
Having seen these drawings and after clarification on some of the plans, we submitted our comments to councillors for consideration.
We are particularly concerned that cycle lanes are shown to pass directly behind the echelon car parking for much of the way. In our view this is very dangerous since drivers reversing from them simply cannot see cyclists approaching.
We are also concerned that the route is designed for experienced cyclists only.
Anyone new to cycling or returning to cycling will be reluctant to negotiate busy roads with parked cars. This is not a good proposal for children and other vulnerable cyclists.