Category Archives: Events

Open Meeting: Modern Cycle Infrastructure At Last?

Anyone who’s travelled in Europe will have come across a whole variety of features on the road designed to help cyclists, things that are alien to us here in Britain. Segregation at junctions, protected lanes on roundabouts, low level traffic lights, bus stop bypasses to name  a few. Maybe you’ve seen them and wondered why they are not in common use here too.

The good news is that all of these things have been on trial at the Transport Research Lab in Berkshire and as a result may be coming to the UK at last.

At our next public meeting we’ll be hearing from Marcus Jones from the Transport Research Lab about the outcome of those trials and what’s being done to follow them up.

Anyone who’s been to one of our meetings before will know that we’re very concerned about safety on our roads. Portsmouth’s record for cycle safety is fairly dismal and we’re pushing the council to commit to tackling it. At the meeting we’ll be finding out the Vision Zero initiative. It can be summarised in one sentence: No loss of life is acceptable. The Swedish Government and some major US cities have signed up for Vision Zero – could Portsmouth do the same?

We’ll also be hearing from the Chief Operating Officer of the University of Portsmouth about how the 22,000 or so staff and students of the University get around and what is being done to help them get onto their bikes.

The meeting will be in Lecture Theatre 2, Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth at 7pm on Thursday 11th February. We really hope to see you there.

Add the meeting to your calendar

Find the meeting on facebook

Open Meeting Report

It was standing room only for latecomers to the Portsmouth Cycle Forum open meeting on Thursday 12th November. To cope with the demand we’d already upgraded from our regular meeting place to a 70-seat lecture theatre in the University and even this was barely enough as 80 people packed the room. Eager guests had come to hear Dr Rachel Aldred speak about her studies into cyclists’ Near Misses and our own Eric de Greef to talk about making the school-run bike-friendly.

Rachel Aldred briefs on the Near Miss project
Rachel Aldred briefs on the Near Miss project

Historically police and local authorities have used data on deaths and serious injuries to inform them about improving safety and reducing danger on our roads. Dr Aldred’s work highlights the importance of near misses and close shaves in influencing perception of danger by surveying cyclists of all abilities making all kinds of journey. Survey respondents complete a diary for one day and detail every time they come close to different levels of risk and danger. Over 1500 diarists detailed nearly 4000 incidents in 2014.

Official statistics show there is a very low chance of even minor injury to regular cyclists – once every 20 years; but analysis of cycling diaries showed an average of one ‘very scary’ incident every week, and the feeling of being abused or harassed a couple of times a month, with lesser near misses likely to happen on a daily basis.

Dr Aldred has a small team and a huge quantity of data from the 2015 survey which was completed last month. She is collaborating with police and local authorities to use this data to influence both the design of infrastructure and the education of road users. Find out more about the Near Miss Project here.

Eric de Greef talks about the school run
Eric de Greef talks about the school run

Eric de Greef had the task of following Rachel Aldred and delivered an excellent talk about the work Cycle Forum volunteers have been doing to get more children cycling to school. They have been working with schools and council officers to understand the barriers to cycling, so that ways can be developed to make the school run more bike friendly. This is no easy task but it is an essential one – getting kids on bikes builds activity into their day and gives them independence. This will help foster a healthier, more confident generation.

Other items included and appeal for a bit more diversity on the committee – at the moment we are very white and predominantly male. We’d love more women to get involved in our committee and people from different ethnic backgrounds. If you’re interested please get in touch.

We are very proud of our open meetings and put a lot of effort into creating a friendly forum where there can be a grown-up debate about transport issues without petty party politics, name calling or intimidation. We hope you enjoy them – if you do and you haven’t yet joined the cycle forum, please consider doing that. It only costs £10 and we depend on subscriptions to survive – click here to make it happen.

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make this meeting such a success.

Open Meeting with Dr Rachel Aldred

Update: we have had to move the meeting to a larger room due to popular demand! The meeting will now take place in Lecture Theatre 3 on the Ground Floor of Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth.

Fantastic News! We’re pleased to announce we’ll have a very special guest speaker at our open meeting on Thursday 12 November. Dr Rachel Aldred, senior lecturer in transport at Westminster University, will join us to talk about the Near Miss Project. Dr Aldred is one of the UK’s pre-eminent experts on  cycling and has been behind much of the work that has created such a solid base of evidence about the benefits of cycling. In fact we drew on her research frequently whilst drafting A City to Share.

Rachel Aldred wins Total Women's Cycling Cycling Initiative of the Year for the Near Miss Project
Rachel Aldred wins Total Women’s Cycling Cycling Initiative of the Year for the Near Miss Project

Dr Aldred is in great demand to talk about her work so we’re very lucky to get her for the evening. Her research looks at those ‘close shaves’ which don’t result in injury, but very much affect cyclists’ behaviour and may give a clue as to where actual injuries may occur in the future.

We’ll also be hearing about the work of the team we set up to look at why so few children cycle to school and what can be done to get more children cycling.

So make sure you get down to Lecture Theatre 3, Ground Floor, Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth by 6.45 to get a seat! The meeting starts at 7pm, and we’ll also be talking about the latest accident figures and how to get more women and children cycling. Don’t forget: 6.45pm on Thursday 12 November.

We’re expecting a big turnout for this meeting, so please let us know if you plan to come – click here to drop us an email.

Pedal Portsmouth

Southsea Seafront
Southsea Seafront

Southsea Seafront will become a traffic-free paradise for cycling and walking on Sunday 27th September. The Pedal Portsmouth event is the culmination of a whole series of rides that have been developed by Portsmouth City Council in partnership with British Cycling and Portsmouth Cycle Forum.

The idea for a closed-roads event came from the leader of Portsmouth City Council, councillor Donna Jones in her enthusiastic response to the launch of ‘A City to Share’, Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s community developed cycling strategy for the city.

A four mile stretch of the seafront will be closed to traffic between 11am and 3pm on the 27th September. This will give people of all ages and abilities the freedom to enjoy the seafront, its amenities and their bikes. It will be the perfect opportunity to discover, or rediscover, the joy of cycling.

So, get yourself down to the seafront on Sunday 27th. Bring your bike and bring your family – everyone will be able to enjoy the read in safety. Just remember it is a relaxed, social event so there’s no need for speed. Stop for a coffee or an ice cream and enjoy the day.

Let as many people know about it as you can. Make sure this is a success for PCC and for all the businesses in the area. Who knows, it might mean it happens regularly in the future.

See a map of the traffic-free roads here.

Portsmouth’s gearing up for a summer of cycling

Facebook Image Portsmouth

Portsmouth residents are being urged to get on their bikes and take part in free guided rides throughout the summer as part of the council’s partnership with British Cycling and Sky.

Starting on Sunday 14 June a total of 20 Sky Ride Local rides will be held, which will see trained British Cycling ride leaders guide groups across distances from three miles up to more adventurous 30 mile routes.

The Sky Ride Local events are part of a national campaign to get more people cycling for fun and fitness, and offer a fantastic range of themed guided bike rides taking place throughout the summer months.

The rides will explore different themes from city streets and parklife to waterway and woodland and the opening ride is an easy going four mile ride from Mountbatten to Cosham park.

Portsmouth is the ideal city to discover by bike, so now’s the time to pump up tyres, oil gears and check brakes.

Stewart Kellett, British Cycling’s Director of Recreation and Partnerships, said: “What better way to get some exercise, get outdoors and see your area in a new way than to join some of the themed Sky Ride Local bike rides taking place in and around Portsmouth this summer.

“The rides begin on 14 June, so there’s no time like the present to get your bike out. Whether you want to build your cycling confidence or already comfortable on a bike and looking for a challenge, now’s the time to register your free place on a Sky Ride Local bike ride in Portsmouth.”

Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “It’s essential to encourage residents to feel comfortable riding in the city. Cycling is on the increase and Portsmouth is an ideal place to enjoy on your bike. We particularly want to encourage families and children of all ages.

“SKY Ride Local and planned improvements for the road network demonstrate a commitment to cycling.

“The guided rides are a perfect opportunity for families and individuals of all abilities to cycle varying distances, you can choose a ride to suit your comfort factor.

“I’m looking forward to seeing many more residents enjoying the city and beyond by bike.”

Open Meeting: Election Time

Vote BikeOur next meeting takes place on Thursday 23rd April at 6:45pm, once again in Room 0.08 of the University of Portsmouth Park Building, behind the Guildhall (map). It will be only two weeks before polling day the focus will be on the forthcoming local and national elections.

We’ve invited all local candidates in the election along. We’ve sent them all a letter asking if they will support our City to Share document to create a safer, cleaner and more attractive city, and a local and national commitment to £10 per head on cycling each year.  We’ll be posting their responses on this site as they come in and giving our analysis at the meeting. There will be plenty of time for questions.

In the Ministerial Spotlight

Robert Goodwill MP and Conservative Candidate Flick Drummond pose with a copy of A City to Share
Robert Goodwill MP and Conservative Candidate Flick Drummond pose with a copy of A City to Share

Last Thursday Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, visited Portsmouth. The visit was prompted by a letter from Cllr Donna Jones, the leader of PCC, which was in turn prompted by engagement from Portsmouth Cycle Forum in a meeting following the launch of our cycling strategy, A City to Share.

The purpose of the Minister’s visit was to find out about the cycling initiatives taking places in Portsmouth and to discuss the measures needed to increase cycling levels. The Minister said that the momentum in the cities enjoying Cycle Ambition grant funding was such that fund could be diverted now to others, such as Portsmouth.

Cllr Jones mentioned the possibility of a Sky-Ride in 2016 but Sky’s sponsorship ends in that year.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Vice-Chair John Holland was able to give a brief overview of A City to Share and the minister took a copy with him. He nodded in the right places and he mentioned the Government’s aim to increase cycle spending to £10 a head (with no date for achieving that though). Feedback is that the Minister is impressed with the strategy.

Following the meeting John Holland was joined by more members of the Forum to accompany the ministerial throng to The Hub in Winston Churchill Avenue. The Minister then took a “photo opportunity” bike ride along the seafront cycle route which was joined by Flick Drummond, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South. An ITV cameraman was in attendance.

Open Meeting and AGM

Cycling on Twyford AveOur next open meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday 19th March at the John Pounds Centre on Queen Street [map]. As well as the AGM, which should only take a short time, we will be continuing the debate on how to make space for cycling on Portsmouth’s main roads.

The debate was started at our last meeting but ran out of time. At the coming meeting we will reopen the debate and this time make sure there is time to listen to everyone’s views.

Some great ideas were presented by Tom Hart, Rich Boakes and Kathy Azopardi. Come along to ask your questions and throw in your views.

At the meeting we will be looking for volunteers to form a working group to take the ideas forward. This is the model we used to develop our strategy ‘A City to Share‘.

Included in the will be our AGM. Elections will be held for the following posts:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Membership Secretary

The other 7 posts within the executive committee are also up for election.

We aim to make the Forum as accountable and democratic as possible, and invite supporters to put themselves forward for these posts. Please reply by email if you wish to stand for any of these executive posts. If you have any questions, ask! If you have ideas about how the cycle forum should be run, or what it should be doing then please think about standing for our committee – we depend on enthusiastic volunteers like you.

Executive meetings are generally held once a month to discuss relevant and topical issues related to the Forum and cycling in general. They need not be onerous or time-consuming jobs – only if you want them to be!

A City to Share – follow up with Donna Jones

pcf-city-strategy-portrait-hr-thumbOn Tuesday 2nd December Portsmouth Cycle Forum also met with the leader of PCC, Cllr Donna Jones, and the Cabinet Member for Traffic & Transportation Cllr Ken Ellcome to follow up on the launch of our cycle strategy, A City to Share.

In attendance were Cllrs Jones and Ellcome, PCC Head of Traffic & Environment Simon Moon, Assistant Head of Traffic & Environment Marc Griffin, British Cycling Southern Region Recreation Manager Jo Downing, Sameen Farouk (a key contributor to the strategy development) plus Jon Spencer and John Holland of Portsmouth Cycle Forum.

Cllr Jones’s immediate focus was on the development of a major cycling event in the city. It’s too early to announce what that is but it could be very exciting and commit PCC to year-round support for cycling for several years to come. Cllr Jones also committed to engage with the minister for cycling, Robert Goodwill and minister for Portsmouth, Matthew Hancock to find out how Portsmouth can be reconnected to the main stream of cycling funding that it currently seems excluded from.

I was particularly pleased to hear that Simon Moon is planning to redraft the city’s LTP3 policy partly in response to our strategy. LTP3 is really the main body of transport policy for the city and much of the city’s transport funding comes through it. So that is a really, really positive development. He also committed to work in partnership with Portsmouth Cycle Forum in doing that.

Useful discussions were had about how to further raise the profile of the strategy with neighbourhood fora and businesses. We maybe seeking volunteers to help with that soon. There were two key issues we raised in writing following the meeting as we had run out of time:

  1. PCC officers are currently working up an EOI response to the DfT Cycling Delivery Plan. Given the unfortunate failure of the Cycle City Ambition and, more recently, LSFT2 bids it is obviously vital that this EOI meets a positive response. We are very keen to support the development of Portsmouth’s EOI response in any way we can.
  2. Plans to redevelop the city’s coastal defences are now well advanced, with the first section covering a long section of Southsea seafront open for consultation. In the past, whilst campaigning for the western part of the seafront cycle route, we were assured that when the new coastal defences were built that would be the opportunity to improve cycling on the seafront. Unfortunately, any cycle provision is absent from the plans now presented. It seems a shame to spend circa £20 million on this stretch of the seafront and do nothing to solve the long standing problem with cycling here. If we do hold a high-profile event then the seafront is an area I’m sure we’d love to include. It will be a real pity if a once-in-a-generation opportunity to introduce some attractive, safe cycling facilities on the western seafront has been missed.

There is a consultation running right now on the coastal defences if you’d like to have your say – check our article which will lead you to it.

Thanks to the Councillors and officers for their time. We look forward to some speedy progress.

Transport Stakeholders Liaison Group – Report

Bus LanesOn Tuesday 2nd December Portsmouth Cycle Forum was invited to the first meeting of the City Council’s Transport Stakeholder Liaison Group. The new Tory administration has significantly widened the engagement of these transport stakeholder meetings. There re now no fewer than five groups: A taxi operators group, a bus operators group, a rail operators group, an active travel group and this overarching group which includes all. This is considerably richer than the previous groups which only included taxi, bus and rail operators. A really positive change and well done to Cllr Ellcome doing it.

The meeting included representatives from: the taxi trade (lots of them), First and Stagecoach bus operators, South West Trains, Portsmouth Disability Forum, PCC reps (from Transport & Environment, Parking, Traffic Management, Town Centre Management and Transport Planning), Colas, British Cycling and us, the cycle forum. Councillors Ellcome (Con) and Stagg (LD) were in attendance.

Apart from details of the current PCC program of works, the park and ride, NHT surveys the main issue on the agenda was a discussion about admitting private hire taxis into bus lanes. Currently buses and Hackney Carriages are allowed in bus lanes – but private hire taxis are not. There are currently about 300 Hackney Carriages in the city but over 800 private hire taxis.

This issue was brought up by the taxi drivers and they have raised a petition in support of about 800 signatures. Both bus companies spoke against as did British Cycling and Portsmouth Cycle Forum. I can understand that the taxi drivers are frustrated that congestion levels are hampering their business but the solution is to attract people out of their cars and onto other transport – like bikes. If we fill what little cycling space we have with taxis then that won’t happen.

We also had the opportunity to brief on A City to Share, our new cycling strategy. All the copies of the document I had available were given – I’d love some feedback from bus companies and taxi operators.

A City to Share – UPDATE

A City to Share
A City to Share

Read the full document at acitytoshare.org – join the debate on twitter using the hashtag #acitytoshare

On Monday 3rd November Portsmouth Cycle Forum will launch “A City to Share”, its strategy to put safe cycling at the heart of Portsmouth’s transport policy.

The proposal will  be presented to city leaders at a launch event hosted by the University of Portsmouth. It sets out a vision for the city where there is space for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians to co-operate with each other and treat one another with courtesy and respect.

Cllr Donna Jones invited Portsmouth Cycle Forum to propose improvements to transport in the city, following an open letter it wrote to the council in August 2014. The challenge now handed back to all local leaders in the strategy is how to work together to deliver these changes.

“A City to Share” sets out a vision where cyclists and pedestrians who live, work, study and visit Portsmouth can be safely accommodated alongside drivers. The strategy aims to deliver a steep reduction in the number of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians by changing the way the streets are designed.

This means cost-effective interventions to make cycling a viable alternative to the car as it has in other thriving cities like York, Bristol and Cambridge.

Jon Spencer, Chair of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, comments: “Only about 4.6% of commuting journeys in Portsmouth are made by bike, which is significantly lower than the 16% seen in Cambridge. We believe that with the right infrastructure in place Portsmouth could be an ideal city for cycling, and aim to see the percentage of commuting journeys rise to 10% by 2020, and 20% by 2025.”

“Making changes to the city to enable many more people to cycle safely will benefit everyone. It will bring great benefits to the health, wealth and wellbeing of the whole city. The people of Cambridge are fitter, healthier and longer lived than the people of Portsmouth and we’d like to see Portsmouth catch up.”

Ian McCormack, University of Portsmouth Environment Manager, said “The university supports the initiative of the cycle strategy for the city of Portsmouth, which will benefit students and staff.”

British Cycling’s campaigns manager Martin Key said “British Cycling wants to see more people on bikes. We can inspire people to cycle but what will really make the difference is if we make cycling a more desirable way of getting around. This strategy has the vision and ambition to make to make the city a healthier, happier and more active place to live.”

The strategy focuses on the recognised potential benefits for the community in Portsmouth. These include:

  • Health – Regular physical activity like cycling for short trips will help address obesity and ensure the people are healthier for longer.
  • Economy – Shoppers who mainly visit through walking, cycling or the bus will visit more shops and more frequently supporting local high streets. This relies on addressing road safety to help overcome fears of cycling in Portsmouth. Reducing congestion will benefit all businesses.
  • Liveability – Improving safety and reducing traffic along residential roads to support cycling will help children get to school and visit nearby friends. As more people switch from travelling by car to walking or cycling, it will reduce the demand on scarce parking spaces in the city.
  • Environment – The primary source of air pollution in Portsmouth is motor traffic. When residents in the city switch from cars to cycling to make short trips, it will help reduce the estimated 600 preventable deaths a year in the city due to air pollution.

By working together with residents and businesses in the city, the council can start to address the vision through key practical interventions it can start to deliver immediately such as:

  • Establish a cross party sustainable transport working group to oversee delivery of the strategy goals;
  • Consult on and deliver a cycle safety action plan to address the level of cycle accidents;
  • Allocate resources to assess the suitability of cycling provision in each neighbourhood to augment the Portsmouth Plan;
  • Research options to create space for cycling on main routes;
  • To work with public transport operators in Portsmouth to consult on how to support the increasing number of customers who switch to cycling in the city after disembarking in Portsmouth;

The strategy will be presented at a public meeting of the Portsmouth Cycling Forum on Thursday 13th November 2014 in Room 0.08 of Park Building, University of Portsmouth on King Henry I Street.

Footnote

Inevitably printing and promoting the strategy comes at a cost. If you’d like to make a donation to help us fund it we’d be delighted and eternally grateful. The fundraiser page is right here.

Cycle Forum Open Meeting 13 November

SOLENT TRANSPORT // A CITY TO SHARE

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 acitytoshare.org 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.

Open Meeting Report

St Mary's Rd / Milton Rd Junction
St Mary’s Rd / Milton Rd Junction

Portsmouth Cycle Forum held another well attended open meeting on Thursday 11th September. The meeting was very kindly hosted by the Southsea Coffee Co and we’d like to thank them very warmly for their generosity. We were delighted to welcome Claire French of Portsmouth Evening News to the meeting and are delighted that she published an article about the meeting the very next day – rather faster than we’ve managed.

Asha Lal of Portsmouth City Council gave an overview of the Wheels4All project. This aims is to give access to cycling via adapted bikes to those with physical and mental health issues, who could not manage to ride a conventional bike. They take individuals and groups and train them to use the bikes, usually for a day. The project is based at Bransbury Park and has lottery funds lasting up to July 2015, with the intention of opening another site at Mountbatten Centre. The project is run purely to give training on the adapted bikes and their insurance does not allow for the equipment to be taken off site.

The main focus of the evening was for Tom Hart to present our research into cycle safety in Portsmouth. Tom’s analysis identified the 21 most dangerous spots in the city and looked at the common factors:

  • 19 of the 21 Cycling Casualty Hotspots are on Portsmouth’s notorious A-Roads, with many being intersections with linking routes and rat runs.
  • High traffic volumes combined with split-second manoeuvres across fast traffic flows, predictably result in high casualties.
  • Driver’s error or reckless behaviour, are the most common contributory causes to these accidents, yet only three of these 21 junctions are controlled by traffic lights.
  • Seven roundabouts were casualty hotspots. Roundabouts are the most dangerous junctions for cyclists, with casualty rates up to 15 time higher than for car occupants! These roundabouts show widespread deviation from DfT’s recommendations, designed to ensure motorists navigate roundabouts with care.

Tom’s presentation is available for download here.

The evening concluded with a wide-ranging debate of cycle safety. Once again PCC’s assistant head of service for Transport and Environment, Marc Griffin, gave up his evening to attend and provided much useful information to the discussion.

A full report of the meeting is here.

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 www.bicyclethefilm.com.

UPDATED: Open Meeting

Wheels 4 All
Wheels 4 All

Our next public meeting will take place on Thursday 11th September at 7pm. The venue is Southsea Coffee Co at 63 Osborne Rd in Southsea (map).

We’ll be hearing about Wheels 4 All, a nationally recognised programme that embraces all children and adults with disabilities and differing needs, to engage in a quality cycling activity. By using specially adapted cycles, the activities are both physically and mentally stimulating and above all fun for everyone involved.

We’ll also be presenting our research on the junctions in Portsmouth that are most lethal to cyclists. This follows our exposure of the shocking cycle casualty statistics for Portsmouth and PCC’s response to them at our last meeting.

Exchanging Places

Exchanging Places
Exchanging Places

Portsmouth City Council Road Safety & Active Travel team, supported by Sustrans will be running an event to raise awareness of the current cyclist casualty trend at junctions where 78% of cycle collisions in Portsmouth occur.

There will be a large van and a heavy goods vehicle provided by TJ Waste & Recycling with bikes mocked up in the blind spots. Cyclists and drivers will be invited to see both sides of the coin from sitting in the vehicles and on the bikes.

The key messages will be that drivers need to check their mirrors and over their nearside shoulder before turning in and cyclists need to be aware that vehicles turning into them at junctions is the most likely collision that can befall them.

There will also be Bike Dr at the event who will provide free bike repairs as well as free hi-vis bag covers and cycle lights for visitors. The police will be providing cycle locking advice, cost price d-locks and bike security coding.

The event takes place on 30th August from 10:00 to 16:00 in the Guildhall Square.

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.

Open Meeting Report

Community Speedwatch
Community Speedwatch

We had another successful public meeting on 10th July with presentations from Hampshire Police and Portsmouth City Council. The meeting was held at the John Pounds Centre in Portsea.

Maria Joliffe of Hampshire Police kindly stepped in late in the day to present on community speedwatch. Community speed watch is an initiative that allows citizens to volunteer to operate traffic speed monitoring equipment. The volunteers record speeding motorists who will then receive a letter exerting them to mend their ways. No fine can be issued but it does enable police to identify areas that may need enforcement by officers.

Concern was expressed that enforcement of cycling offences is done by paid professionals whereas speeding – which is a factor in many more casualties – is being enforced by volunteers. However, if you’d like to get involved volunteers are currently being recruited in Portsmouth. Contact us through the contact us page and we’ll put you in touch with the right officer in the civic offices.

James Roberts – Portsmouth’s new active travel officer – described the work the Portsmouth City Council team are doing and what they are planning. He talked about the physical challenges in the city to getting people to travel actively. Recent successes include the Cycle Hub, new cycle parking, the Park and Ride and wayfinding boards. They also propose to improve Pilgrims Way. James is responsible for all rights of way in the city.

James’s presentation is available to view / download here

Oliver Willcocks – Road Safety Officer at Portsmouth City Council – then took the floor to explain how PCC is tackling the very high rate of cycle casualties in the city. The focus is on KSI – Killed, or Seriously Injured (i.e. requiring at least one night in hospital). There is a high proportion of accidents involving taxis and private hire vehicles, even allowing for their numbers. OW produced a large number of statistics and analysis. His priority is the A2047 London Road/Fratton Road as this has 35 casualties per mile (the city average is 9/mile). Improvements include moving back Give Way lines and surface treatment at junctions to indicate to motorists presence of cyclists.

Oliver’s presentation is available to view / download here

Once again Clr Ellcome, now the cabinet member for traffic & transportation, attended the meeting. Cllr Ellcome explained that previously he was in the police traffic division so he has experience in road safety. He noted he has to deal with cyclists, taxis and buses, often with conflicting views, but he has regular briefings with stakeholders. He noted that the department has had a £1million cut. The My Journey funds will finish in April 2015 although they are applying for an extension. Cllr Ellcome committed to updating the Portsmouth City Council cycle strategy.

Read the formal minutes of the meet here

Open Meeting: Safer Cycling in Portsmouth

Cyclist HGV Incident Hilsea
Cyclist and HGV Incident in Hilsea

Do you cycle in Portsmouth? Perhaps you would like to cycle in Portsmouth but are nervous about the roads?
Last month Portsmouth Cycle Forum revealed that Portsmouth’s roads are amongst the most dangerous in the country for cyclists. If you think the roads in Portsmouth need to be safer for cyclists the please come to this meeting.

Agenda

  • Portsmouth City Council officers will present their view on the cycle casualties and their plan for dealing with them.
  • Angela Johnson of Hampshire Police will talk about community speed watch.
  • Portsmouth Cycle Forum will explain their campaign strategy for safer roads and how you can get involved.

Please come to this important meeting.

Thursday 10th July, 7pm. First Floor Meeting Room, John Pounds Centre, 23 Queen St, Portsmouth PO1 3HN (Map)

Open Meeting: Cycle Safety / Vote Bike

Space for CyclingJoin us for our next open meeting on Thursday 15 May at 7pm in room SEM5 of the Student Union building on Cambridge Road.  The meeting will cover:

  • Local Election Roundup: We have written to candidates and parties in the forthcoming Local Election to ask them to support our manifesto for cycling. How did they respond?
  • Cycle Safety in Portsmouth: Did you know that more cyclists are killed or injured in Portsmouth than anywhere else in England outside of London? Think that should change? Come along and help make it happen.
  • The Regeneration of the Hard: We will present the plans to regenerate The Hard.

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