Portsmouth city centre will soon become a greener and better-connected destination as a new bus lane in the north of the city centre has been agreed at a planning committee.
Portsmouth City Council officers and councillors agreed with plans to develop a brand-new bus lane in the area around Cascades car park in the north of the city centre to make travel by public transport quicker and easier.
They also discussed related improvements to cycling and walking facilities, following the submission of the planning application. The discussion included the benefits of building a new bus lane in this area and attendees agreed with plans to develop these improvements at the start of next year.
Together, these improvements will help the council deliver its vision for a people-centred, connected, travel network that prioritises walking, cycling and public transport to help deliver a safer, healthier, and more prosperous city. They will also support plans to improve the northern part of the city centre, making it a sustainable, inclusive, biodiverse, and eco-friendly place for local communities and visitors.
Building a new road to connect Unicorn Road and Cascades Approach is a positive step to help buses get in and out of the city centre swiftly and easily and avoid congestion on the busy Marketway road.
New walking and cycling route improvements will also be created, including a new shared cycle and footpath and new crossings for people on bicycles or on foot on Unicorn Road. This will make it even easier for people to travel safely and quickly into the city centre by bus, by foot or by bicycle.
The project team have developed a high-quality landscaping scheme to increase biodiversity in the area, including an enhanced green space at St Agatha’s Church, including a small peaceful garden and shared meeting area. Although it’s necessary to remove some trees to create this bus lane, the council has comprehensive plans to increase the number of trees, bushes, and wildflowers in the area and across the city, resulting in a substantial net gain in trees across Portsmouth.
Consultation was an important part of the development process for these plans, so residents and businesses in the area have been contacted throughout, including Cascades Shopping Centre and the Naval Base. Views were considered from a range of people, and results of the consultation can be found at https://yourcityyoursay.portsmouth.gov.uk/south-east-hampshire-rapid-transit-city-centre-consultation-2021/.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation said: “It’s great to see this planning application approved as it’s another important step in making it easier and more appealing for people to travel by bus, bicycle or by foot. By making it simpler and easier for people to travel this way instead of by private vehicles, we’ll also make the air we breathe cleaner in the city centre.
This new bus lane and other improvements will support upcoming work that will help people choose much more sustainable travel options, making our city greener, more connected and better for everyone.”
Now that the plans have been agreed, work is expected to begin early next year and will be completed by summer 2023. For up-to-date information about this and other South East Hampshire Rapid Transit (SEHRT) projects, visit www.sehrt.org.uk/schemes.