Fully segregated bike lane in Southsea to be put in for three-week trial

WORK to create the first fully segregated bike lane in Portsmouth will begin soon as part of a three week trial.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 11:47 am
GV of Elm Grove in Portsmouth on 28 August 2020. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Parking along Elm Grove and Kings Road, in Southsea, will be suspended next week to make way for a cycle lane on each side separated by temporary bollards.

The trial will go ahead with cash from the government's emergency active travel fund that was launched to boost walking and cycling, and promote social distancing, during the pandemic.

Councillor Lynne Stagg said: 'The main objectives of the emergency active travel fund is to try to get a shift in the way people travel. It will be good to have a safe route for cyclists from the east to west of the city.

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'I hope this paves the way for more cycle lanes. We have problems with air pollution, a congestion and obesity in this city and getting people more active and less reliant on cars can help.'

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Leaflet drops and public engagement sessions were held before the decision was made, with 60 per cent of visitors to the area in favour of the lane and around 50 per cent of residents in favour.

However, some local businesses along the road raised concerns about the loss of parking.

Cllr Stagg added: 'We know some businesses raised concerns but we will carry out a foot count before and after the lane is put in to see what the impact is. And there is evidence that increasing cycling and walking in an area increases footfall in shops.'

As part of the scheme bus stops and loading areas for businesses will remain but all residents' and visitor parking will be removed.

Opposition spokesman for transport, Cllr Simon Bosher, added: 'It seems it has a mixed reaction from people. With this in mind I think a three-week trial is probably a sensible idea - although we don't want something that goes back and forth several times with no ultimate decision made.

'Some of the previous emergency active travel plans from this year have descended into a bit of a mess such as the Eastern Road bike lane that got scrapped at the last minute.

'I hope the lane will prove popular with cyclists, but we are putting this in as we're heading into November, so I don't know if it will get used as much as it would have been earlier on.'

The first tranche of the emergency active travel fund has also been used in Portsmouth for various road closures during lockdown such as Castle Road and Isambard Brunel Road.

The new lanes will be monitored and ongoing feedback from the public will be considered to decide whether to extend them for up to 18 months.

If it proves successful it could be made a permanent following another consultation.

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