FOOPA deputation to T&T ref OPATS 4nov21

Good afternoon, Madame Chair, councillors and officers.

I am here representing the Friends Of Old Portsmouth Association to support this item.

My purpose is to welcome the issue of this report and to thank all those who have worked so hard to complete it despite the multiple challenges of shortage of staff, lack of resources and delays caused by Covid. FOOPA notes that successive Cabinet Members for Traffic & Transportation of different parties have commendably maintained the political impetus, and we appreciate the efforts behind the scenes of our ward councillors. In particular, I wish to highlight the sterling efforts of Mr Steven Flynn in pulling together this report.

There are several benefits:

  • It shows the merits of taking a holistic approach to traffic problems instead of applying short term piecemeal measures that create problems elsewhere.
  • It engages the local community in working with the Council to identify solutions.
  • It encourages outside scrutiny of the approaches, assumptions and assessment tools used by the Council.

When Councillor Ellcombe was the Cabinet Member, he suggested that if the Working Group was successful, it could be a suitable approach to use in other wards in the city. Councillor Fleming continued this policy. The delivery of the OPATS report shows that community engagement is key to success in other parts of the city where residents feel equally strongly that their communities are blighted by the dominance of congestion-creating and air polluting motor traffic.

It is worth recording the context of how this came about.

The first meeting of the working group was over 6 years ago in the Duke of Buckingham public house where attendees could hear and see speeding traffic roaring up and down the High Street and view for themselves the difficulties and dangers for pedestrians to cross the road.

Initial work included several traffic surveys of varying reliability, and these were the catalyst for consideration of the methods and tools used by PCC.

What became apparent were the inconsistencies between how the Council assessed the demand for extra capacity for motor traffic, and how it assessed the need for infrastructure to encourage active travel and protect Vulnerable Road Users. Two brief examples:

  • When PCC Planners consider major developments, they automatically assume growth in demand for driving and so state a case for building more roads. This induces demand – if you build more roads, you don’t reduce congestion, you simply encourage more people to drive!       But when the Council considered requests for pedestrian crossings, the assessment method omitted consideration of potential growth in walking and has merely counted the number of actual pedestrians – thus building the well-known principle of suppressed demand into the model.
  • Similarly for traffic speeds, the meaningful criterion used by the Dept for Transport and the Highways Agency is free-flow speed on the nation’s roads, where periods of traffic congestion are excluded from the calculations. However, the method used by PCC has included periods of congestion where traffic is crawling or even stationary, so lowering the average speed and undermining the case for traffic calming.

Both these models had built in bias against pedestrians. Noting that Local Transport Plan 4 aims to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport, it is evident that for decades PCC has been undermining its own policy of encouraging active travel!

I sense this is changing. I applaud the frankness of officers in recognising that the purely quantitative methods need to be improved and to look at best practice in other local authorities

Besides welcoming the report, it is important to note that much of the information was collected a long time ago. Things are not static.

  • A recent improvement is the welcome School Streets Initiative for St. Jude’s primary school
  • and we also look forward to the completion of the Shipwrights’ Way long distance path, something that should have been done in 2013.

However, besides the long-standing problems of

  • speeding,
  • shortage of safe pedestrian crossing points,
  • parking demand greater than on-street parking capacity,
  • infrequent bus services,
  • sub-standard cycle lanes,
  • Road Traffic Incident hotspots,
  • congestion and risk of gridlock caused by queuing traffic for the Isle of Wight ferry,
  • illegal parking (often on pavements) and
  • unnecessary and illegal engine idling,

new problems have arisen.

  • We fear increased rat-running by highly polluting vehicles whose drivers seek to avoid the Clean Air Zone charges
  • HGV deliveries to the Portsmouth Grammar School cause significant disturbance and hazards to Penny Street and Peacock Lane residents
  • Planning applications assume that the streets in Old Portsmouth have ample capacity to absorb extra parking demand. However, we have noted several flaws in the assessment method recommended by the Planning Department. We look forward to technical discussions with officers ….

To conclude, FOOPA recognises that the delivery is simply one stage and there is a lot more to come including design and public consultation. Please be assured that FOOPA will continue to work with PCC to achieving the LTP4 vision that by “reducing private car journeys where possible, and prioritising everyday walking, cycling and public transport usage, Portsmouth will become a more pleasant, fairer and prosperous place to live, work and visit.”

Thank you very much for your time.

From 26 October. See various closures to allow for crane access for building repairs

TTRO 100 2020 West Street – PN1

Lane closures and pedestrian diversions in St. George’s Road during work on the sub-station.

SSE-STGeorgesRoad-Contra DRAFT St Georges Road 041119 to 081119 Rf 2019-1118

St Georges Road 041119 to 081119 Rf 2019-1118

Park Road/Burnaby Road Signalised Junction Improvements NIGHT WORKS

PHASE 1 The works will start on the night of Monday 21st October under single lane closures allowing traffic to travel only Northbound on Park Road. There will be no vehicular access to Park Road from Anglesea Road, there will also be no access to Burnaby Road from Park Road. The lane closures will be in place until the 18th November when a full road closure will commence. Our working hours will be 8:00pm-6:00am.

PHASE 2 There will be a full road closure of Park Road at night between Anglesea Road and St George’s Road from the 18th November for 5 nights. There will be no access to Gunwharf Quays via Park Road. Burnaby Road will also be closed to allow the resurfacing works to be carried out. There will be clear, signed diversion routes in place. Our working hours for the closure are 9:00pm-6:00am, however Burnaby Road will be closed from 8:00pm-6:00am.

Park Road & Burnaby Road – No Survey

Great South Run

With the 2019 race almost upon us, check out plans for parking and road closures in the document below.

2019 Great South Run

Roundels in High Street

Some of you may have noticed a new set of 20mph Roundels on High Street, near John Pounds Church – a welcome contribution in all our efforts to reduce speeding in Old Portsmouth.

This is a particularly vulnerable section of High Street owing to the close vicinity of the church, schools, pub, elderly care accommodation and the games centre; and where the community has been calling for a road crossing for a number of years.

The new Roundels are a step in the right direction and much appreciated.

Traffic Report 2018, Mike Dobson

This report covers: • Community SpeedWatch (CSW) • Traffic levels • Road safety • Speeding • Parking • Sustainable travel • Air pollution • Area Study • Ferry services

Traffic levels
Unfortunately Pembroke Road and High Street have become a favourite rat-run for Southsea commuters seeking to avoid congestion at the St. Michael’s Gyratory junction (northern end of Hampshire Terrace). Every weekday morning in term time sees long queues in Pembroke Road, sometimes stretching back as far as the Holiday Inn, as drivers wait to turn right into High Street. The most recent reliable radar box survey counted 406 vehicles northbound on a Monday morning 0800-0900 – that is one every 9 seconds, many of which are speeding bringing extra air pollution and noise. At the weekends we are bedevilled by high levels of vehicle traffic whose occupants eschew sustainable travel as they come to enjoy Old Portsmouth’s charm.

Road Safety
Old Portsmouth Area Traffic Study
FOOPA worked with other local community groups to persuade PCC to undertake a comprehensive review of all traffic issues, recognising that traffic issues in OP are complex and inter-connected. The inaugural meeting was in October and PCC is collecting data on key topics such as speeding and air pollution. It is apparent that there are different interpretations and perspectives of the same data sets, policy documents and highways specifications, and we continue a close dialogue with PCC officers.

Safe Road Crossings
FOOPA and OPGQNF continue to press PCC for safer road crossings such as more traffic islands and an extra zebra crossing on High Street linking Peacock Lane and Highbury Street which will be of inestimable benefit to St. Jude’s primary school children and their parents. Anecdotal evidence is that residents have been asking for this for at least three decades! This issue is included in the traffic review.

Safety at Roadworks
The Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways Agency (HA) publish clear instructions to highway authorities, utility companies and contractors about the management and signage of roadworks to ensure safety for all road users. FOOPA makes considerable efforts to check that these instructions are complied with. Successes this year include:
• Influencing PCC to improve the signage and written instructions in Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTROs) to include cyclists and disabled people.
• Bringing about behaviour change in how Scottish and Southern Electric Networks provide safe alternative routes for pedestrians when closing footways for repair work.

High traffic volumes and high levels of speeding continue to jeopardise the safety of pedestrians. Hampshire Police remain obdurate in their refusal to do speed enforcement in 20 mph limit streets even though these roads are where the greatest risk exists to vulnerable road users.

Community Speedwatch (CSW) High Street Old Portsmouth

Community Speedwatch (CSW) team in High Street Old Portsmouth

Community Speedwatch
Volunteers continue to give selfless service in educate errant drivers of the dangers of speeding. It is worrying that many drivers deliberately defy these overt warnings and the CSW team regularly measure speeds of up to 40 mph in the 20 mph limits, with up to a third of drivers exceeding the police enforcement threshold of 24 mph. CSW averages an hour every 3 weeks, representing 0.2% coverage, despite this the police describe CSW as the “ideal tool to manage vehicle speed”! However, the police seem to use CSW activity as a token substitute for effective permanent speed reduction measures. Hampshire Roads Policing Unit refused to meet the local community to discuss road safety concerns, so with increasing concern about the lack of action by the authorities to tackle speeding, last summer the CSW team gave evidence to the Hampshire Police and Crime Panel scrutiny session on the Impact of Traffic Crime and Nuisance. The minutes can be read here

Parking remains one of the most contentious topics affecting traffic matters.
• Free Visitor Parking reduced. In response to strong resident support, PCC reduced the period of free visitor parking from 2 to one hour. This measure reduces the attractiveness of OP as an overflow car park for some Gunwharf shoppers and Wightlink passengers that disadvantages residents. The shorter period should enable the PCC Parking Service to be more effective in enforcement patrols.
• No more paper residents’ permits. The Parking Service no longer issues paper residents parking permits and relies instead on a central database accessed in real time by parking attendants. This efficiency measure saves administrative effort but relies entirely on there being sufficient enforcement patrols. The DfT has reported that Vehicle Excise Duty evasion has tripled since 2013 costing the Treasury over £100m and this is attributed to the removal of paper tax disks.
• More demand for on-street parking on Spice Island. Plans by Fullers for a new luxury hotel at Point on the site of the old Wightlink workshops with over 40 guest rooms yet only 18 off-road parking spaces is of concern.
• School parking. PGS senior management are to be commended for their proactive approach to influence parents of pupils not to drive illegally (avoid pavement parking, setting down and picking up on zebra crossing zig-zag lines, leaving engines running when stopped, blocking private driveways etc.) but there remains a worryingly high number who ignore this message.
St. Jude’s. Residents of St. Nicholas St and Poynings Place continue to suffer from blatant illegal parking on double yellow lines, parking on yellow zig-zags, across and sometimes on private driveways; or driving round and round Poynings Place. PCC work hard to control these offences with camera enforcement of yellow zig-zags, investigation of suspected abuse of disabled blue badge privileges and regular Parking Service patrols of streets at school start and end times, plus provision of parking concessions in Pembroke Road. However, as with PGS, there remains a hard core of parents who continue to drive as close as possible to the school and disregard Highway Code requirements.

Sustainable Travel
Shipwrights’ Way. With PCC’s focus on motor traffic issues, the contribution of active sustainable travel tends to be forgotten. The Shipwrights’ Way is a 50 mile official long distance path from the north of Hampshire to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Last year the Army completed the Bordon section and now there is only one missing section in all of Hampshire – Old Portsmouth! We wait for PCC to meet its commitments to Hampshire and mark a safe, attractive and practical route for the Shipwrights’ Way through OP.

Air Pollution
• In February 2018 the environmental pressure group ClientEarth won its third legal action in the High Court against the government. The judge ruled that DEFRA’s plans are ‘inadequate’ and ‘unlawful’ and directed that DEFRA must compel 33 local authorities to achieve legal limits as soon as possible. Portsmouth is at the top of that list. PCC is now urgently reviewing its plans and will be obliged to introduce quantifiable measures to ensure that air pollution is reduced below legal limits as soon as possible.
• Deaths from air pollution. In 2016 Portsmouth’s former Director of Public Health estimated that 600 early deaths occur in Portsmouth each year linked to air pollution. In PCC’s Air Quality Strategy published in 2017 PCC stated that the number of deaths was 95. FOOPA identified that the cause of the massive difference between 600 and 95 is that 95 is the number of deaths attributed by Public Health England solely to small particulates (PM2.5) such as from diesel engines and PCC had wrongly conflated this into a total number. PCC had omitted to consider the mortality from nitrogen oxides (NOX). We have asked Dr Jason Horsley, the current Director of Public Health, to ensure that all future PCC reports make this clear.
• Engine Idling. Unnecessary engine idling is illegal and it is common to see car drivers parked by the side of the road with engines running and HGVs waiting for an IoW ferry to have its engine running. However, PCC prefers to limit itself to polite persuasion to drivers to desist and refuses to consider enforcement.

Ferry services
Gunwharf congestion? Wightlink has completed the expansion of its Gunwharf vehicle ferry terminal. When the new larger capacity ferries commence operation in the summer and at peak times disembark more vehicles to exit the city there will be the maximum demands on the road network. FOOPA remains concerned that Wightlink failed to conduct adequate computer modelling of the traffic flows and that the high volume and short duration of outbound traffic will result in heavy congestion with a risk of gridlock together with more air pollution and traffic noise.

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Burnaby Road closures
Burnaby Road closures

Map showing Burnaby Road closures

In the week of 12-19 February Network Rail will be replacing one of the railway bridges between Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour stations. The bridge over Burnaby Road at the junction with Park Road will be closed to all traffic. Diversions for vehicles and pedestrians are shown in the attached plans.  Cyclists will need to follow the vehicle diversions.

2443A Park Road Portsmouth Rev3 Plan 7 Pedestrians

2443A Park Road Portsmouth Rev3 Plan 1 Diversion Overview

Portsmouth City Centre Road Scheme planning application 17/02066/CS3

Objections from the Friends Of Old Portsmouth Association (FOOPA)

FOOPA takes a close interest in citywide traffic matters because transport problems elsewhere in
Portsmouth usually result in detrimental effects in Old Portsmouth. We support PCC’s aims to encourage sustainable travel, reduce congestion and improve air quality. The proposed City Centre Road (CCR) scheme has commendable objectives and may provide some improvements but is flawed on several crucial points that may generate dis-benefits of equal or greater magnitude.

FOOPA input to CCR planning application 12jan18

Portsmouth City Council (Burnaby Road) (Temporary Prohibition of Driving and Waiting) (No.124) Order 2017, Dated: 22nd November 2017

TTRO 124 2017 Burnaby Road – PN1

Result at T&T council meeting Deputation from FOOPA in support of item 4. Camera enforcement of school zig zags.

Despite the submission being after the deadline of midday on the day before the meeting, it was accepted and read out by Cllr Fleming: In this we have managed to demonstrate that FOOPA supports PCC strategy, praised the Parking Service for their efforts to control anti-social and dangerous parking and forcefully made the point that PCC has to do more to curb the relentless increase in motor traffic.

1. FOOPA strongly supports the proposal to obtain cameras for the enforcement of yellow zig-zag lines outside schools.

2. Residents witness every school day parking regulations being flouted outside both the Portsmouth Grammar School in the High Street and St. Jude’s Primary School in St. Nicholas Street.  Only last month there was a shocking incident of ‘parking rage’ when a driver of an illegally parked vehicle on the afternoon school run verbally abused and physically threatened an elderly resident.  Residents were impressed at the speedy and effective intervention and follow up enforcement by the Parking Service, but such actions are limited by manpower resources.

3. The report mentions that Portsmouth has high child pedestrian casualties (50% higher than national average) when considering population size.

To this we would add:

Nearly 60% of adults in Portsmouth are overweight or obese·

Around 35% of children leaving primary school are overweight or obese·

Estimated ~600 early deaths p.a. from heart disease(source: Portsmouth’s Director of Public Health)·

The primary source of air pollution in Portsmouth is motor traffic·

Air pollution in Portsmouth is the third worst in the SE region(source: DEFRA report)

4. The blatant disregard of parking measures established for road safety contribute to a steadily growing reluctance of parents to use active sustainable travel to get to school.  There is a vicious downward spiral where understandable concerns about road safety for pedestrians and cyclists encourages more parents to drive which exacerbate traffic problems with congestion, air pollution and dangerous illegal parking.  What is needed is a comprehensive set of measures to make walking and cycling attractive and safe modes of travel.  By increasing the numbers of children taking regular exercise to get to school, the Council can work to improving the health and safety of Portsmouth’s children.

5. Enforcement of school zig-zag lines is the first of many measures needed to reduce the dependence on the private motor car and so improve the safety and quality of life of the local community.  FOOPA welcomes this measure.

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Mike Dobson, Traffic

First Speedwatch operation in High St Friday 26 June 2015 – welcome road safety initiative by Hampshire Police.
The problems of speeding vehicles with drivers flouting the 20 mph limit are well known. On a busy Friday afternoon the police and community volunteers operated Speedwatch at a location outside the Duke of Buckingham pub.  (see photos) It is emphasised that it is not implied that the drivers of the vehicles in the photographs were breaking the law.

This initiative is most welcome on several counts:

·         The police and PCC are now responding to community concerns.

·         The operation was done at a busy period that was typical of when many pedestrians are at hazard when trying to do the simple task of crossing the road.
·         It is no coincidence that the location chosen is where residents are campaigning for a zebra crossing to make it safer for children on their way to and from St. Jude’s C of E primary school.

Despite Speedwatch operating overtly, it is reported that scores of drivers failed to observe the Speedwatch team and were recorded exceeding the 20 MPH limit.  The maximum speed recorded was 47 MPH when High Street was busy with other vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road!  Anecdotal evidence is that a few prominent OP citizens were recorded breaking the speed limit.

Speeding drivers will receive a letter from Hampshire Police explaining that the incident has been recorded and that drivers need to observe the legal speed limits.
PCC has just completed a week’s monitoring of vehicle speeds in High Street. Comparison of the speeds of vehicles (mean and maximum) during unobtrusive speed measurement with speeds of vehicles recorded by overt Speedwatch should give a good measure of the effectiveness of Speedwatch.

This is an excellent first result and well done to the Hampshire Speedwatch team.  The community volunteer lives elsewhere in the city yet commendably was willing to give her time to support road safety in Old Portsmouth.  All FOOPA members and OP residents are reminded of the call for Speedwatch volunteers (see post on 17 June).

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