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 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.
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.
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.