New Southsea cycle route receives mixed response from riders

ROUTE The cycle lane on the seafront at Southsea
ROUTE The cycle lane on the seafront at Southsea
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CYCLISTS have welcomed a proposed new Southsea bike route – but say they are still not being treated fairly.

Portsmouth residents are being consulted on a proposed new cycle path which would cross Southsea Common and fill in a missing part of the 60-mile Shipwrights Way.

The city section of the route, which starts at Alice Holt Forest near Farnham, will go from the Historic Dockyard to the Hayling Ferry terminal.

Portsmouth City Council is proposing to fill in a section connecting Clarence and South Parade piers by having riders cross Southsea Common on a strip of matting.

But secretary of Portsmouth Cycle Forum and local rep for the Cycle Touring Club, Hilary Reed, said she would prefer a bike lane alongside the seafront.

‘What cyclists would expect is a route that is beside the sea,’ she said.

‘This route goes across the northern part of the common. It is a step forward but it isn’t actually treating cyclists fairly, as it doesn’t give them what they want – which is a route right along the prom.

‘This is my personal view, but I don’t think cyclists want the second best and that’s what this is.’

Changes would include turning about 100m of pavement on the southern side of Duisburg Way into a shared cycling and walking path; laying a two metre-wide strip of matting for people on bikes, which would still let the grass grow; and turning about 50m of pavement on the north side of Clarence Esplanade into another shared path.

Cllr Jason Fazackarley, the council’s cabinet member for traffic and transportation, said: ‘Completing our section of the Shipwrights Way would give walkers and cyclists – especially families and less confident riders – a safer, more enjoyable route along the seafront.

‘It would be good for tourism as well as local people, and it would meet commitments the council has made on sustainable transport.

‘It would be paid for with money we’ve been given by the government for such projects. We think we’ve struck a good compromise between the needs of various users of the area.’

For more information and to have their say, residents can pick up a leaflet at council buildings, visit portsmouth.gov.uk, go to a drop-in meeting on the second floor of the civic offices in Guildhall Square on Thursday, August 2 between 2pm and 7pm, e-mail travel@portsmouthcc.gov.uk, or call (023) 9283 4590. The deadline is September 7.