Hill Lane Update

As a brief update to part 1, it has now been confirmed that the southbound section of the Hill Lane pop-up lane between Burgess Road and Bellemoor Road is to be removed and on-street parking restored. While disappointing, it’s not entirely unexpected given the re-routing of SCN4, as reported in part 1. Less confident riders will likely now use Carriage Drive North on the Common, but it’s worth noting that this section is unlit at night and forces riders to dismount at the boundary of the Common. More confident riders can still use Hill Lane (and I plan to continue doing so), but it would now be advisable to take the lane to avoid the door zone and discourage close passing.

SCC’s Official Announcement

Southampton City Council has also made an official announcement regarding the allocation, listing the schemes that will be going ahead. It’s worth bearing in mind that while the council have received more money than was initially anticipated, overall the bid proposal was for £1.6m. As a result, it looks like the proposals for Winchester Road (SCN8) and the Lordshill Park & Travel hub have been shelved for now, though the Bitterne Park & Travel Hub will still be going ahead.

3. Polygon & St Mark’s Active Travel Zones

  • Proposed cost: £352,000

As the first modal filters were put into place for the St Denys Active Travel Zone (ATZ) in November 2020 (video), a further two are due to be created around The Polygon (including Bedford Place) and the southern end of Shirley surrounding St Mark’s School. An Active Travel Zone is a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) by another name, a series of modal filters which prevent residential roads from becoming rat-runs while still allowing every single resident to access their home. The end result being that through traffic sticks to the main roads, residential streets become quieter, and some car journeys just disappear altogether.

While LTNs have proven controversial in London, Southampton’s ATZs appear to have cross-party support, with Conservative opposition leader Dan Fitzhenry indicating that he agrees to the schemes in principle:

The subject of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have been contentious in London. Supported in some areas such as Lambeth, and quickly withdrawn in other areas such as Wandsworth. In some cases LTNs have been the subject of in-fighting within the same party, as seen between Hackney cabinet member for transport, Jon Burke, and Ealing MP Rupa Huq (both Labour) in this tweet.

A brief overview of the St Denys Active Travel Zone

Thankfully the reaction from St Denys seem to have been positive in the first few weeks of operation, so hopefully the same can be replicated in these two new areas.

4. SCN6 – St Mary’s Road

  • Proposed cost: £118,000

A short section of segregated cycle lane connecting Bellevue Terrace to the Royal South Hants Hospital and Charlotte Place, with the aim of improving access to Royal South Hants Hospital. I’ve not got a lot to say about this, other than it looks like another reasonable piece of the SCN6 puzzle. The completion of this project will result in a 1.75km continous stretch of SCN6 from Charlotte Place to Portswood Waitrose via Bellevue Terrace (connecting with SCN5), Rockstone Lane, the recent improvements to Bevois Valley Road and the pop-up lanes along Portswood Road.

To the south it looks like the route will continue down East Park Terrace towards Queensway and the eastern City Centre.

SCN6 – The Portswood Road pop-up cycleway

As a small aside, Southampton City Council have also mentioned in their announcement that part of this funding will go towards expanding the School Streets programme, timed road closures that help ensure primary school children can safely travel to and from school in the morning and afternoons.

5. Bitterne & Lordshill Park & Travel Hub

  • Proposed cost: £118,000 (including Lordshill)

Following the announcement by Southampton City Council, it looks like the Lordshill part of this scheme is being dropped. However, that’s understandable give that Lordshill is already getting the SCN4 extension and because nothing else in this bid has covered anything east of the River Itchen.

So what is a Park & Travel Hub? To be honest I’m still struggling to envision exactly what it entails, so to quote the bid document:

A Park & Travel Hub is a location where people can access a range of onwards travel options. This can include public transport, cycles, cargo bikes and escooters.

The Park & Travel Hub would support traditional park & Ride via a bus, it also provides the opportunity for travel by other means. This includes cycling, walking, liftsharing and escooters. Park & Travel is also closely aligned with the Solent Future Transport Zone (FTZ) expression of interest in a Solent-wide escooter hire trial. They would be locations where escooter docking station could be provided.

So it would appear to be a sort-of Park & Ride using existing council-run car parks around Bitterne, with the option to travel onwards via a variety of methods such as local bus services (not a dedicated P&R route), e-scooters and bike. The most likely place for easy connectivity would be Bitterne Village, however the car parks there are already well-uses from memory, and I’ve already expressed concerns about the existing SCN4 “quietway” route from Bitterne Village to Northam Bridge.

The e-Scooter trial is due to be a Solent-wide trial covering Southampton, Portsmouth, Fareham and major urban centres in between. This is expected to begin in March 2021, but again with no further detail at present it remains to be seen how this particular plan will be rolled out and how it will connect with this Park & Travel hub.

Conclusion

On the whole this is a fairly balanced bid given the amount of money that was originally forecast for Southampton City Council. While short of the £1.6 million requested, ambitious bids were the expectation rather than the exception. The failures of other councils such as Portsmouth and Worcestershire have allowed councils such as Southampton to take home more money than previously predicted.

The SCN4 extension is potentially a huge change to the north west of the city, likewise with the introduction of the two new Active Travel Zones. If there was any criticism to be had, it’s that the bid was very focused towards the west of the city. The neighbourhoods east of the Itchen still seem a bit light on infrastructure at the moment.

Consultations will begin in the new year, and hopefully we’ll have workers on the ground in the Spring. As ever, news will be posted here and on Twitter as and when it’s announced.