A RADICAL shake-up of the city centre’s road network is proposed as part of a new £400m masterplan.
Under new plans the revealed to The News by the University of Portsmouth, Hampshire Terrace would be pedestrianised to create a new public square to act as ‘the heart’ of the city’s new university quarter.
The 180-metre stretch between the junctions at Watham Street and Wiltshire Street would be closed off to free up more walking space for the city’s 23,000 students.
Traffic from Winston Churchill Avenue would be moved to Anglesea Road following road adjustments and traffic heading southbound on the latter would look to be redirected down St Michael’s Road.
The plans would also see Winston Churchill Avenue transformed into a ‘tree-lined boulevard’ with the concrete barrier removed to create public space,
The proposals are contained in the university’s multi-million masterplan in the city and a key part of its new ‘urban strategy.
We need a heart within the university quarter. A place for people to come together, hang out, sit and read, right in the very heart of PortsmouthProfessor Steffen Lehmann
Readers have been having their say on the plans on Facebook.
Professor Steffen Lehmann, one of the people leading the new strategy, said: ‘We need a heart within the university quarter. A place for people to come together, hang out, sit and read, right in the very heart of Portsmouth.
‘To do that, we want to pedestrianise Hampshire Terrace and make it into a high-quality public space.
‘The roads around there are chaos at the moment for students as they are cut up by fast-moving roads in each direction. Freeing up walking space in the university quarter would bring a hugely positive outcome for the city.’
He added that Winston Churchill Avenue needed a ‘substantial rethink.’
Professor Lehmann – who teaches sustainable architecture – said: ‘It is almost like its own motorway down there. I am concerned about the current set-up and feel at some point there is going to be an accident there as all the students currently cross at the intervals in this barrier.’
Portsmouth City Council had previously looked at pedestrianising Hampshire Terrace back in 2013.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of the city council said: ‘A great level of care would be needed to carry out changes along that route and we would have to be very mindful of the traffic flow.
‘However, an opportunity to provide more public spaces in our city centre could be looked at. Anything is possible.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth Liberal Democrats said: ‘We previously discussed this but wanted to make sure the traffic could flow well. We need to rebuild the footbridge across Anglesea Road first,
Fiona Bell, director of estate services at the university said: ‘The possible pedestrianisation of Hampshire Terrace is an aspiration of the university as it would deliver significant benefits to pedestrian flows and cycle ways.
‘We are in very early discussions with the council about the plans’ feasibility.’