So the big bus lane saga has finally come to an end. Or has it?
We report today how controversial work between Havisham Road and Church Street, close to Portsmouth city centre, is now finished.
What was a 100m-long bus lane, introduced when the park-and-ride service began, has been scrapped and cars once again have access to three lanes rather than two.
City council leader Donna Jones talks of freeing up traffic, cutting journey times by removing a bottleneck at the bottom of the M275 and making the city more welcoming for those driving here for big events such as next month’s America’s Cup World Series sailing regatta.
But in reflecting what she believed was widespread public opinion, we mustn’t forget that Cllr Jones went against the advice of city traffic boss Ken Ellcome.
Presumably, his recommendation to keep the bus lane was based on hard traffic flow statistics.
But as a politician, Cllr Jones is finely attuned to criticism.She quickly saw which way the public wind was blowing and decided to act – much like in her U-turn over painting the Spinnaker Tower red and white.
Yes, it makes it look like she is standing up for the people and listening to what they want. But in talking about the need for a ‘common sense’ approach by scrapping the bus lane, does that conveniently ignore reality?
Lib Dem traffic spokeswoman Lynne Stagg says it’s a ‘mad’ idea that will simply shift traffic farther along to Market Way, while cyclists are concerned about safety.
We await with interest the results of a six-month trial. But if scrapping the bus lane is found to make no difference, then we expect Cllr Jones to admit she was wrong and reinstate it.
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