Re-design Westgate to Accommodate Everyone’s Needs Safely?
The City Council’s Cycle Infrastructure Design Workshop met on 1st October 2016 in St Paul’s Church. Unfortunately this clashed with our monthly Coffee Morning but several residents were able to attend, for which many thanks. By all accounts, some interesting and competent contributors had been brought in from outside but, as there are many conflicting opinions around this issue, the result of the day was inconclusive.
The Chairman has spent some time studying options for cyclists on Westgate as part of the Association’s response to the WHF Development. He has made the following suggestions for the Workshop as the committee is unable to attend:
- The parking on the north side of Westgate must be retained as only one house on this side has access from the back so on street parking is essential for the house holders up to number 48.
- Dominic Smith from WSCC Highways is adamant that the road is not wide enough even with re alignment, for two pavements, parking, two carriageways and a cycle path through the “narrows”.
- Here are two ideas:
(a) Have two pavements, parking and a cycle path. Reduce the carriageway to single width so that vehicles have to give way to traffic coming in the opposite direction, as happens very successfully in many residential roads in Portsmouth. This will slow traffic so much that hopefully it will no longer be attractive to through traffic (rat runners) but still allow locals to go about their business.
(b) Build a proper cycle path along the west of the street, where there is room, which when coming east stops at Mount Lane. This is already an official cycle path. Reinstate proper curbs to the pavements in the rest of Westgate and mark the pavements “NO CYCLING” the path for the less confident cyclist would go up Mount Lane over the Lavant and then turn left on a new path along the bank of the Lavant and the edge of the College playing field as far as the Avenue De Chartres. Move the existing light controlled crossing to this point and upgrade to a “Tiger” crossing, where it would be more use for access to the College. Most pedestrians at the end of West Street cross at the refuge. The cycle path would then continue down the existing path past the Prebendal playing field, with resurfacing, to reach the City Centre via South Street. When this solution was suggested at a cycling meeting the cyclists said they wouldn’t use it, because they would always take the shortest route, and this involved a detour, albeit a safer route. If confident cyclists wish to take their chance and ride in the carriageway with the traffic, that is their choice (the pavement should not be an option) but it does provide a safe and quite picturesque route for the less driven cyclist into the city centre.
The Cycle Workshop
The organisers of the Cycle Workshop are aware that the City Council might put some of its Community Infrastructure Levy towards cycling. Cllr Tony Dignum has asked Cllr Sarah Sharp in a meeting of the City Council to work on a plan for one cycle path. The workshop has been tasked with designing a cycle path before 25th October, and they think Westgate might be a good road to look at, to try and work out how to fit in a path.
Whilst the speakers were a researcher, a designer and an engineer with national/international perspectives and really credible, there is no guarantee that this plan or the funding for it will be forthcoming. Vectos (the traffic consultants for the WHF developers) has put together some plans for Westgate , but many people feel they are unsatisfactory and are not of high quality enough to merit being part of National Cycle Route 2 or Chemroute (a proposed Chichester-Emsworth continuous cycle route). Chicanes as they suggest just create pinchpoints which put cyclists in conflict with vehicles.