Portsmouth bidding for sustainability cash and flashing amber lights
Cycle hire scheme is proposed and, separately, new traffic signal mode
Portsmouth is bidding for £5m from the Government’s £560m fund for local sustainable transport by proposing a city-wide cycle hire scheme.
The council would also need to attract private investment to get a London-style hire operation off the ground. If successful, the idea is not only to reduce traffic levels and associated pollution but to provide a boost to the local economy.
Leader of the Liberal-Democrat controlled council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, told the BBC: "Our idea is for a cycle hire scheme aimed mainly at commuters.
"As well as being good for the environment, it would reduce traffic congestion and free up parking spaces."
Meanwhile the city is hoping to experiment with traffic lights set to flashing amber at certain times of the night in a bid to streamline traffic flow. The idea is to allow motorists to proceed through junctions with caution rather than have them waiting needlessly at red lights when there is no opposing traffic.
Simon Moon, Portsmouth Council’s head of transport and street management, told road.cc: "The Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation considered a report on the review of traffic signals in the city at their portfolio meeting on March 22. This review follows requests from residents of the city to improve the flow of traffic around Portsmouth.
"The report is wide-ranging in its review, and one aspect of this is the use of flashing ambers at traffic lights. As far as we know, the flashing-amber system has never been considered in this country, but is used in Europe.
"The Department for Transport would need to authorise any trial, so we will be approaching them with a proposal to carry out a trial or join any that may be planned. An important issue would be the safety of pedestrians. An integral part of any trial would be ensuring they have the same level of protection."
The idea, however, has already encountered some scepticism. Andrew Howard the AA’s Head of Road Safety, told road .cc: “We would broadly welcome this experiment but we can foresee potential problems in that for the first time in British law no priorities would be marked at a junction.
"Portsmouth council seems to believe that motorists will simply wave merrily at each other and it will all sort itself out, but sooner or later people will hit each other and you will need to determine liability.
"So while we feel it is a worthwhile experiment we have our reservations in that it would not be suitable for a considerable number of junctions and the laws concerning priority would have to be sorted out.”