This busy road will close as Portsmouth’s first ‘tiger crossing’ is installed – and independent firms say their trade will take a hit
INDEPENDENT businesses fear their trade could take a hit next week thanks to plans to install the city’s first ‘tiger crossing’.
The traffic measure will see a zebra crossing with a cycle lane installed at the junction of Fawcett Road and Goldsmith Avenue to coax cyclists away from the Fratton roundabout.
But while activists have welcomed the plans, Fawcett Road traders say customers ‘probably won’t bother’ to visit them when the road is partly closed for five days, from Monday.
Barry Jenkins is a director at Orchard Blinds, a family-run business based opposite Priory School – meters from the proposed crossing.
‘I think we’re definitely going to be affected by it,’ the 51-year-old said.
‘If customers are coming to the shop and they can’t get down Fawcett Road they’ll properly just decide they can’t be bothered.
‘For the average working person I think the crossing will make a difference, but schoolkids don’t seem to care these days. I’ve seen quite a few accidents over the years.’
While Fawcett Road will only be closed at its junction with Fratton roundabout from February 18 and February 22, work on the crossing will take up to eight weeks.
A signed diversion will be put in place while Fawcett Road is shut off and lane closures will follow until April 6.
Michelle Duncan, reception manager at the nearby Lady Luck Tattoo Studio, said: ‘I think the effect on us will be massive.
‘It’s already a nightmare down here, especially as far as parking goes, so if people have to go through another route they probably won’t bother.’
Michelle Love, Portsmouth City Council's safer travel manager, apologised to businesses near the closure for any inconvenience.
She added: ‘As this is a high casualty area, it's important to make the crossing improvements, especially as it is close to a school and on a very popular cycle route.
‘We have made sure that pedestrian access to the businesses near the closure are unaffected and local on-street parking is available as normal.’
While the work was scheduled to coincide with half-term, when Priory School will be closed, cabinet member for traffic and transport Lynne Stagg said delays will be likely.
Ian Saunders, chairman of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum, said the group ‘welcomes’ Portsmouth’s first tiger crossing – having been consulted about its design in October alongside the emergency services and local bus operators.
‘In order to persuade more people to switch their mode of transport within the city – which is desperately needed to reduce congestion and increase air quality – it is necessary to install specific infrastructure that improves safety for those who choose two wheels,’ he said.
Fawcett Road will not be the only route linked to Goldsmith Avenue to close next week.
Francis Avenue will be closed for speed hump installation work all week from 9.30am until 5pm – then from 9.30am until 3.30pm between February 25 and March 3.
Additionally, work will take place to widen the existing shared used cycle path in Victoria Road North.
Traffic islands will be extended to reduce the speed of vehicles circulating, entering and exiting the Fratton roundabout and and road markings will be modified to improve lane discipline.