Major new plan to overhaul Portsmouth’s cycle lanes approved

A FULLY segregated bike lane will be built along a busy city road by the end of the year, amid calls for major improvements to Portsmouth's cycling and walking infrastructure.

Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 5:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 7:36 pm
The existing bike lane along Goldsmith Avenue in Southsea which is not segregated. Picture: Malcolm Wells (191014-8331)

Goldsmith Avenue, in Southsea, will be the first central road in the city to be fitted with barriers to separate cars and cyclists as part of an 'experiment' to see if they would be viable around the rest of Portsmouth.

The city council's leader, Councillor Gerald -Vernon-Jackson, revealed the plans following the presentation of a petition signed by more than 3,000 people to improve cycling and walking during a virtual full council meeting today (July 21).

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He also agreed to back a slew of proposals laid out by the Pompey Street Space campaign including the creation of a cross-party group that will build a 'healthy transport strategy', joined up cycle routes and to make school drop-of and pick-up times safer from air pollution and road danger.

A debate was sparked by Portsmouth doctor, Jonathan Lake, who presented the Pompey Street Space petition as well as a letter signed by 100 medical professionals. He said: 'In my surgery I see the effects of the polluted air Portsmouth citizens breathe every day.

'This affects people of all ages with conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, heart disease and lung cancer. Evidence is now linking poor outcomes from Covid-19 with air pollution.

'Even more worryingly, scientific studies show high levels of air pollution make it more likely a healthy child will develop lung disease in later life and also that their children will be more likely to have lung disease.’

'We are leaving a poisonous legacy,’ he added.

Councillors also agreed to look at creating low traffic neighbourhoods in the city and 20mph zones in shopping streets.

Some temporary measures have recently been put in place in Portsmouth to boost cycling and walking using a £214,000 grant from government.

The council's traffic and transport boss, Councillor Lynne Stagg, thanked Dr Lake for bringing the petition to the meeting. She said: 'We share the concerns about safety on our roads and poor air quality that adversely affects the health of so many residents.

'Bringing this to the to the attention of the public really helps us at the council to explain what we are doing and why.

'We need to change the culture that the car is king.'

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: 'I am happy to support each of these five requests, we will need to look at the practicalities of all of these.

'Having physically separated cycle lanes will be more expensive than the current model, and the city council will be able to do fewer cycle lanes if we do this, but the ones put in may be more popular and therefore more successful.

'When Goldsmith Avenue is resurfaced later this year it will be replaced with a physical separating barrier as an experiment to see how that works.'

During the meeting the council's environment and climate change boss, Cllr Dave Ashmore, confirmed the city was 'on track' to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

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