Below is PCFs comments on the Seafront Masterplan:
Portsmouth Cycle Forum would like to fully endorse the vision behind the Seafront Masterplan, as we did during the previous consultation in March 2019.
Having responded to the 2020 Draft document via the survey, we would also like to submit the following comments and observations in addition, as there was not space to include them through the survey. Some of these points may have been included in our response to the previous consultation but remain valid.
We completely support the prioritisation of users as outlined on page 45, but point you towards the recent national consultation on the review of the Highway Code which sought to split pedestrians and cyclists in the proposed hierarchy so that pedestrians are at the top as the most vulnerable highways users. If approved this change will come in during the duration of this Masterplan and may therefore change your own prioritisation through law.
We also welcome the desire to ‘minimise any detrimental impact on walking and cycling’ that the road network or parking has as well as the seeking to “minimise the space allocated to motor vehicles to better accommodate other users”
It should also be noted that the summer of 2020 saw new Government Guidance issued for Cycle Infrastructure design in Local Transport Note 1/20 alongside its vision for transformational change in transportation through its Gear Change Strategy
Within this the principles include “Cycle infrastructure should be accessible to everyone from 8 to 80 and beyond: it should be planned and designed for everyone. The opportunity to cycle in our towns and cities should be universal.” and that “Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as pedestrians. On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated from pedestrians and should not share space with pedestrians.”
Also, “Cycle infrastructure should be designed for significant numbers of cyclists, and for non-standard cycles. Our aim is that thousands of cyclists a day will use many of these schemes.”
We trust that the reference to Manual for Streets 2 will be updated to reflect the new guidance and anything that may be issued during the life of the plan.
Segregated Cycle Route
Clearly our focus is on cycling along the seafront: ensuring there is a joined-up, safe, segregated, two-way route along the entire seafront. This route should be adjacent to the promenade, with sufficient space for people to get out of nearby parked cars without blocking it. It should run continuously alongside the esplanade roads, including between the Pyramids and Blue Reef centre, and in front of South Parade Pier.
The Embankment in London has set a benchmark for a segregated cycleway beside a wide, busy pedestrian pavement. This took a single lane away from a heavily trafficked road.
We also support the ambition to create a ferry-ferry cycle route. The whole cycle route must be safe and enjoyable for the youngest and oldest cyclists, including those with disabilities.
We note the reference to the seafront containing a main east-west cycling route across the south of the city, however this is also currently part of the National Cycle Network route 2 which runs along the entire south coast of the UK. A ferry to ferry segregated link will encourage an uplift in cycle tourism through the city bringing cyclists from further afield and bringing a further economic benefit to the city.
Cycle Parking and Waymarking
Consideration needs to be given to cycle parking, especially near the main attractions. Thought needs to be given to make parked bikes look well-ordered, to discourage carelessly parked bikes. In addition, there need to be regularly spaced smaller groups of bike stands.
The existing waymarking is intended for pedestrians. Direction and distance signs for cyclists would be welcome; as with the quiet cycle routes, showing distances in time as seen on the signage for the Quieter Routes elsewhere in the city.
Links to the Seafront
In addition to cycling parallel to the seafront, links from other parts of the city need to be improved to encourage more people to visit by bike, we recognise this is outside the remit of the Masterplan team, but the main entry points need to make cycling welcome on the seafront.
Coastal Defence Plans
Despite the final road layout design of the Coastal Defence schemes being a reserved matter as part of the planning permission, we remain concerned to ensure that the final designs match the vision of the Seafront Masterplan.
The Coastal Defence plans previously showed a route that was a mish-mash of different designs, layouts and in some places will not connect with what will be left in situ for the longer term. To ensure any cycle route is successful, it needs to be continuous and consistent in design.
There remains a pinch point in the road network in front of South Parade Pier, but we consider there is space to continue the cycle route along the south side. It may require redesign of the coastal defence plans to enable enough space for a two way cycle track.
As the main western entrance to the seafront, this needs to be made far more appealing to cyclists and pedestrians. There is sufficient space to remove the street car parking – with a large car park on this corner of the Common – and transfer it to protected cycling.
Pyramids - Speakers Corner - Canoe Lake
We thoroughly endorse the Masterplan vision of removing road space away from vehicles to people. There is plenty of space to provide open, shared public space, as well as a continuous dedicated cycleway.
The existing cycleway ends where the seafront road meets Henderson Road. This means there is a short section where eastbound cyclists need to cross the road to the north side for a short distance, then turn right into Melville Road. Both manoeuvres are made hazardous by a blind corner, making it difficult to see vehicles approaching in both directions, often at speed.
The protected cycleway needs to be extended the short distance along Henderson Road to connect the seafront and Melville Road. The existing traffic filter at the Melville Road / Ferry Road Junction is not currently wide enough to allow non-standard bicycles to get through it. This needs to be improved.
Beyond this, the roads are much quieter and slower, but also narrower. We are concerned that future development at the Fraser Range does not make cycling more hazardous. There certainly needs to be a dedicated cycle route to access the Ferry to Hayling Island.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum