FEARS have been raised that accidents will happen on a street newly reopened to traffic.
The south of Palmerston Road in Southsea is now open to cars again one-way from the seafront.
The move, which is being trialled for the next 18 months, came in at the end of last week.
It was pedestrianised in 2012 but since then shops have said their trade has plummet ed. But concerned residents and businesses say the new layout is confusing and it’s not clear to road users where they can go because the signs are not clear enough.
And it has been said new flowerbeds separating the areas where drivers and pedestrians can walk are being used as ashtrays by smokers. Paul Dryden, 75, of Stanley Street, Southsea, said: ‘It’s turned into a big joke. It looks an absolute mess.
‘My wife and I were walking down the road and she was hooted to get out of the way.
‘Someone is going to end up getting killed.
‘Buckets have just been created for fag ends, and I saw a bloke asleep in one of them.’
Lib Dem ward councillor Hugh Mason said: ‘I fear that in the way it has been put together, there is a propensity for accidents to happen.
‘It looks like a shared space and so people will be inclined to walk in the road. Unless it’s very clearly signposted, we will get cars running north meeting cars running south which shouldn’t be there.’
Portsmouth City Council has spent £20,000 making the former fully pedestrianised precinct one-way.
It comes after the authority used £500,000 of government cash to create the pedestrian-friendly zone to try and promote ‘cafe culture’.
But there was backlash due to the impact a car-free area had on shops and the fact it was attracting drinkers.
Tory ward councillor Linda Symes, who collected a petition with 1,200 signatures against the way consultation was done over the former pedestrian zone, admitted things needed tweaking.
‘I have got a problem with it because it has not been made very clear,’ Cllr Symes said.
Marion Wren, owner of Preloved Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s not been well thought out.’
Marc Griffin, the council’s assistant head of service for transport, said: ‘We are currently considering whether to add further signs to alert pedestrians to additional traffic now using the road.’