Traffic & Transportation Cabinet Decision Meeting - 18th August 2023
Agenda item 3: Lake Road (waiting Restrictions & Bus Lane)
The purpose of report is to consider representations received during the consultation for the proposed Waiting Restrictions and Bus Lane on Lake Road, Portsmouth.
- Report: TRO 39/2023: Lake Road (Waiting Restrictions and Bus Lane)
- Appendices: H-Q are available with better quality plans.
It is recommended that the Cabinet Member for Transport approves the Lake Road scheme and the implementation of the TRO 39/2023 for the introduction of Waiting Restrictions and Bus Lane on Lake Road, Portsmouth as advertised, following the formal consultation.
At the time of uploading this to the PCF website, the council website has not been updated with the formal decision wording. However the scheme and TRO were both approved to proceed, but with some additional stipulations about investigations to discover if three of the trees could be saved by redesigning or re-routing elements.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum welcomes and supports this project being brought forward some six years after we had our first site meeting with PCC officers at the Holbrook Road roundabout to analyse the issues and discuss improvements to the connectivity and safety for everyone who chooses to cycle in our city.
Whilst the roundabout part of this scheme’s delivery is not covered under the TRO under discussion here, the changes involved do go some way to creating space for cycling at a location well known for its cycle collisions and injuries. We do have previously highlighted our issues with the proposed design – mainly concerning the directness of the scheme and the potential for increased cycle and pedestrian conflict- but we acknowledge that improvements have been made which should benefit those who are less confident about cycling on the road surrounded by motor vehicles.
The removal of the pay and display parking spaces along Lake Road to create a westbound protected cycle lane and additional bus lane is the next logical step to assist the connection of the residential centre of Portsea Island to the city centre. The route also appears in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan 2021 – 2031 as part of cycle route 301 section 13.
As was demonstrated when the parking spaces were removed in favour of a cycle lane alongside the railway sidings in Goldsmith Avenue in 2016, the traffic flow actually improved, as the running lanes were effectively widened easing two directional travel, absolutely critical for the strategic road network and bus routes, contributing to the existing Bus Improvement Plan as adopted by the council.
The changes as highlighted in the TRO also match the vision of the City Council’s Local Transport Plan 4 to create a people-centred transport system, and travels through a ward where – according to the 2021 census data included in the report – 57% of the population do not have access to a car or van and 40% of people travel to work using sustainable transport. The road is also located inside the Clean Air Zone and so the increased provision for people who live outside the area to change to a cleaner mode of travel for their journeys to, or through, the city centre.
The additional loss of two parking spaces that are located on the circulatory path of the Cornmill Roundabout are necessary to protect the safety of cyclists travelling into the city centre when exiting the proposed new cycle track. They are currently located next to kerbside barriers further restricting the ease of their use for the elderly, those with mobility issues and the loading / unloading for The Haven and Salvation Army buildings.
In our response to the public consultation we stated that we would have preferred the remaining parking spaces between the roundabout and Spicer Street removed, but given the responses in the report being considered today, perhaps these remaining spaces should all be converted to disabled or loading spaces given the proximity of the identified 2000 parking spaces in the immediate vicinity which can be used by those working, visiting or wishing to shop in Commercial Road.
The responses to the report also highlight issues that the future re-development of the City Centre North should be aware of when the planning of the area around this location is undertaken, maybe with a dedicated blue badge car park close to the shopping area.
The plans for this scheme have been around for a couple of years before going to public consultation earlier this summer. There must have been a negotiation about the re-designation of land from green space to highway and so we are surprised that the tree wardens had not been contacted about the potential removal of six trees. We would be happy to discuss any potential re-routing of the cycle track if it was required. We have previously raised concerns about the proposed layout of the access to the eastbound cycle lane with the project team. However, this should not restrict the decision to remove the parking.
The scope of the Transforming Cities Fund schemes have already been reduced considerably since the money was awarded due to the cost increases that have hit the country and the construction sector. This in return has also delayed the various projects that were supposed to have already been started as part of the funding award.
It is also worth pointing out that a decision not to approve this scheme, or to delay it further, could also be used to mark down the City Council’s Local Authority Active Travel Rating with Active Travel England. The initial ratings were released in March 2023 with Portsmouth ranked in the second lowest level which meant they were assessed as having “Some local leadership with basic plans and isolated interventions that do not yet obviously form a plan for a network.”
Active Travel England’s website states that these “Ratings are used to guide the initial allocation of Active Travel and Capability Funding. Higher rated authorities are eligible to access more funding, however effectiveness, quality and deliverability will be the primary factors in deciding final allocations.”
Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s concern is that the additional delay to delivering the SEHRT schemes combined with other associated delivery issues from previous project funding rounds places PCC at a higher risk of being downgraded or restricted to which future Department of Transport funding rounds are accessed and subsequently how much can be applied for. In the times of austerity funding where these funding rounds are being relied on to afford planned schemes, this will place the council transport strategy and its own Climate Emergency and net zero plans into a position where they cannot be delivered in the next decade.
This scheme improves the options for sustainable travel in the city centre and builds upon the other SEHRT schemes in the pipeline while also opening up the possibilities to connect it into a wider network as part of the ongoing City Centre North development, which can in turn create safe, direct, consistent travel options for another east / west route in line with previously adopted strategies and implementation plans.
Therefore we support the recommendation to approve this scheme and the implementation of the scheme and associated TRO.