The dreadful accident in St Mary’s Road in which an elderly woman was swept under the wheels of an articulated lorry has raised once more the question of whether Portsmouth’s streets are suitable for giant transporters.
We do not seek to prejudge the circumstances of this particular awful event when we say that an urgent look needs to be taken at the issue.
Portsmouth is home to an international ferry port and, of course, to scores of shops and stores that need regular deliveries.
But it is also the most densely-packed city in Europe.
Its streets are, by and large, relatively narrow and are regularly busy.
Just as in the fatal accident in North End a few years ago, in which a woman was killed by a lorry as she crossed London Road with her two young children, questions are already being asked in St Mary’s Road about how many lorries regularly use that through route.
Many residents say they had already felt that the number of juggernauts using the road constituted a danger.
Their views are summarised by pensioner Georgina Anthony, who lives in nearby Olinda Street and says: ‘St Mary’s Road is very busy, especially with the temporary traffic lights, making it hard to cross.
‘I don’t know why there was such a big lorry going down this street.’
Portsmouth City Council’s leader for traffic and transport, Cllr Jason Fazackarley, has reacted quickly to residents’ concerns.
As he rightly says, it is the council’s responsibility to make sure roads in the city are as safe as possible.
His review will, of course, consider residents’ calls for a new crossing near the scene of the accident, but we hope it will be broad enough to look in general at the issue of heavy lorries using Portsmouth’s streets.
We have to accept that shops need deliveries, but should some roads be declared out of bounds to juggernauts that are not on a specific journey to drop off goods within that area?