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.
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.