Drivers blame park and ride for Portsmouth traffic jams misery

The Park and Ride base in Portsmouth.
The Park and Ride base in Portsmouth.

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A NEW traffic system into the city led to tailbacks over the bank holiday and has been slammed by motorists.

Traffic lights on Rudmore Roundabout and a new bus lane along Mile End Road and on the Church Street (ABC) Roundabout were put in to coincide with the launch of the city’s new park-and-ride service two weeks ago.

The 600-space park and ride is part of the Tipner regeneration and provides a cheap and fast link to the city centre and Gunwharf Quays.

These road changes, plus increased visitor numbers, led to huge tailbacks with stationary traffic along the M275 at various times across the Easter weekend.

Gary Edwards, 46, from Widley Road, Stamshaw said he was caught up in the traffic yesterday. Mr Edwards, a tattooist, said: ‘I drove to town and I got as far as Stamshaw Road and had to turn around.

‘I know it’s a bank holiday but it’s never been this bad. Someone needs to stand up and take responsibilty.

‘They need to take the traffic lights away and bring back the lanes.

‘It’s ridiculous, it’s gone from bad to worse.’

Nigel Dilley, landlord of The Derby Tavern, on Stamshaw Road, said traffic had been queueing past his pub all weekend.

Mr Dilley, 44, said: ‘What they have done to that roundabout has caused absolute chaos.

‘Over the weekend it’s been packed solid all the way down to Tipner. Ever since they have put the lights on the roundabout it’s been a nightmare.’

Mr Dilley said he had tried to go to Portsmouth city centre to visit the bank on Saturday morning and he was stuck in ‘bumper-to-bumper traffic’.

Lindsey Bradbury, of Derby Road, commutes to her job in Southampton.

Mrs Bradbury, 36, said: ‘It’s a nightmare. Everybody is in the wrong lane and then they cut in front of you. The lights need sensors too, even in the middle of the night you still have to sit through the whole sequence.’

Nelson ward city councillor Leo Madden, whose ward Rudmore Roundabout is in, defended the park and ride and said the council would be monitoring the situation.

Cllr Madden said: ‘What we want to ensure is that traffic is off the road and into the park and ride which means there will inevitably be some people sitting in cars looking at buses going by.

‘What we are doing is monitoring the situation. Clearly we don’t want to put people off visiting and we are reviewing it on a daily basis.’

Cllr Madden said fellow ward councillor and cabinet member for traffic and transportation Jason Fazackarley would be having meetings this week to review the situation.

Cllr Madden said: ‘I can understand people’s anger, when you set out to go somewhere you want to get there in the shortest possible time.’

He added: ‘These things take a while to bed down but it doesn’t mean we can be complacent about it.’