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Over £26m for better bus journeys, walking and cycling in Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council has unveiled plans for improving travel in the city after securing over £26m from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund (28 September).

Working in partnership with Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight Council, the joint bid was awarded £55.6 million towards 23 public transport, walking and cycling schemes.

The funding comes at a crucial time when local economies are recovering from the impact of coronavirus. Enhancing public transport links will help drive up bus patronage and make travelling by bus an even more attractive option, while active travel schemes support the recent rise in the number of people walking and cycling.

In Portsmouth nine schemes will be delivered within the three-year funding period.

Portsmouth projects will address congestion pinch points on key bus routes along Lake Road, Commercial Road, Southampton Road and at Rudmore and Portsbridge roundabouts, providing the infrastructure required for quicker and more reliable bus journeys (also known as rapid transit services). The three walking and cycling schemes support Portsmouth’s draft Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and will improve connections to the city centre.

The nine proposed Portsmouth schemes include:

• Bus priority measures and active travel improvements: Spur Road Roundabout, Lake Road, north of the city centre, south of the city centre and Portsbridge area junctions.
• Bus priority measures and improved traffic flow: Rudmore Roundabout.
• Cycle route improvements: Anchorage Road to Commercial Road and also along Goldsmith Avenue, building on work already proposed under Portsmouth’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.
• Walking route improvements: Isambard Brunel Road/Somers Road/Fratton Bridge.

Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, welcomed the investment for Portsmouth and said:

“These city schemes are a vital part of our emerging Local Transport Strategy and go a long way in providing greener, safer and healthier journeys for Portsmouth residents.

“But there are also wider benefits for those who live outside of the city. Our initial modelling has shown that once all 23 schemes are complete people travelling by bus from Fareham, Leigh Park, Havant and Waterlooville will benefit from more reliable journeys and reduced journey times, by up to 20%. We’ll be introducing cleaner buses, and exploring how we can improve ticketing too. This investment means we are able to make significant progress with our plan to deliver a network of rapid transit services in the area.”

Over the three year funding period, project partners First Bus and Stagecoach have committed to investing in 29 new high-quality low-emission buses for the Portsmouth city region.

Edward Hodgson, Stagecoach Managing Director, said:

“Public transport has a vital role to play in driving our local economy whilst helping solve air quality challenges and protecting our environment. This investment is great news for Portsmouth and South East Hampshire and we look forward to delivering the exciting public transport improvements included in the bid.”

Marc Reddy, First Bus, said:

“We are delighted that the area has been recognised for this investment and look forward to continuing our successful partnership approach in helping to make bus services more attractive.”

Consultation with stakeholders will begin once preliminary designs have been finalised.

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