Published: 23rd DECEMBER 2020

Our response to the Portsmouth Transport Strategy 2020-2036

Sustrans both welcomes and supports the vision set out in the Portsmouth Transport Strategy. The vision to have a “people-centred travel network that prioritises walking, cycling and public transport” is clearly stated and will help deliver “a safer, healthier and more prosperous city”. We have some specific points listed below for which we would welcome consideration as part of the final document.

A Man Walking On Pavement While Child Cycles

Integrating with land-use planning

There is opportunity to better link the LTP4 with the emerging Local Plan.

Integrating land-use planning with transport can help to achieve a number of the guiding principles of the LTP4:

  • Reduce travel demand by ensuring shorter distances between where people live to the shops and services they want to access, to schools, and to employment clusters.
  • Make best use of limited capacity by linking densities to the public transport network or proximity to shops or services, and considering car parking provision of new developments.
  • Improving our lives locally with updated street design guidance for new developments, and improving retail centres as centres of walking networks and through public realm improvement and planning policy.

The integration of transport and land-use planning should be embedded within:

  • Policy 2, on the requirements for new developments to include infrastructure for zero emission transport
  • Policy 5 for new commercial developments
  • Policy 7 around street design requirements for new developments
  • Policy 8 around parking and restricting through-traffic in new housing developments
  • Policy 9 around planning policies around retail centres
  • Policy 12 on ensuring that any large housing developments consider public transport routes from the start.

It should be made explicit in the strategy where the policies of the LTP4 will be applied to new developments.

An evolving walking and cycling plan

The draft Portsmouth LCWIP, which has just concluded its consultation, is a good start for establishing a cycling and walking network across Portsmouth.

Policy 7 is to “Reallocate road space to establish a cohesive and continuous network of attractive, inclusive and accessible walking and cycling routes accompanied by cycle parking facilities”.

The ambition of Policy 7 is strongly supported by Sustrans, but both Policy 7 and the draft LCWIP should include explicit mention of LTN 1/20 as design standards for cycling.

This will also mean including plans to replace existing infrastructure that does not meet current standards.

More mention of walking is also required, particularly in the “need for walking and cycling infrastructure” on page 16, and the description of the walking and cycling strategic objective.

Inclusivity and accessibility mean that the walking network must be suitable for people in wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and pushing double buggies, among other options.

Achieving a better mesh density

The Department for Transport’s LTN 1/20 states that “In a built-up area, the spacing of [cycling] routes should typically be 250m – 400m”.

The London Cycling Design Standards published in 2016 states “In a properly joined-up cycle network, cyclists should not have to travel more than 400 metres to get to a parallel route of similar quality.”

The draft LCWIP needs to be developed further to include a wider network of secondary routes, and potentially more orbital routes depending on the propensity data.

Walking infrastructure needs to permit door-to-door access for short journeys.

This work can be prioritised by using local shopping streets and schools as centres where walking zones radiate out, but features that make routes accessible, such as wider pavements and dropped kerbs, are needed throughout the city.

Local journeys, local centres

The core walking zones used in the LCWIP should be complemented with walking zones for the local centres as identified in the Retail Background Paper for the emerging Local Plan.

This would support a better density of walking network, and also support Policy 8 around low traffic neighbourhoods by supporting the short distances to local shops and services.

This would also support Policy 9, ensuring that the routes to local centres from the surrounding residential streets better enable walking and cycling. 

Schools as another central point for short journeys should be considered. School streets are mentioned once in the document but have been shown to be popular in other local authorities.

Reallocating road space

The move to reallocate road space to more efficient modes of transport is warmly welcomed by Sustrans.

With projected population growth in the city, the use of space must be reimagined and designed to ensure the most efficient use of the roads.

This is key to supporting the future growth of the city.

Studies have consistently shown that the use of private motor vehicles is less efficient than other transport modes including walking, cycling and public transport.

Whilst challenging, more and more cities are reallocating road space away from motor vehicles to create dedicated space for cycling, walking, public transport, and public realm.

Policy 7, Policy 9, and Policy 12 will all help to provide more equitable use of space on the road network. 

Monitoring the take-up and success of Residents’ Parking Zones in Policy 3 and implementing a Workplace Parking Levy in Policy 5 would both help to reallocate important kerbside space in a constrained city.

Making places

Much of the document focuses on movement, but the road network provides an important ‘place’ function as well.

This is covered, in part, through policies around the city and retail centres, as well as the role of neighbourhood streets, but is understated throughout the document.

The vision for a “people centred” network, should also include more on people-centred places.

The experience of place by residents, workers, and visitors of Portsmouth is key to the future of a vibrant and healthy city.

The concept of place should have a more prominent role in this document.

Use of a movement and place matrix, or street family, is being adopted by more local authorities.

It can be used to identify suitable walking and cycling infrastructure, prioritise maintenance programmes, and apply consistency to lighting or green infrastructure programmes.

Low traffic neighbourhoods can enhance a sense of place in a neighbourhood.

To be successful, this should be co-designed with the community, using the sense of ownership and identity to engage, develop options, and trial the scheme.

Increasing a sense of place also factors into walking zones around retail areas, measures to reduce car dominance around schools, and use of street hierarchies to improve green infrastructure along with particular types of streets.

Using a tool such as the Healthy Streets Indicators, or the Place Standard Tool, can help to identify what works well in a place, or what type of improvements are needed.

Clear monitoring and implementation plans

Sustrans welcomes the level of ambition shown in both the vision and many of the policies of the Portsmouth Transport Strategy, but this needs to be supported with a strong implementation plan. 

The Transport Strategy document makes reference to an implementation plan, but this doesn’t seem to be included in the consultation documents.

The sunray document of potential schemes gives some indication of timescales, but Sustrans would like to see a more detailed plan for the delivery of the ambition from the strategy.

In addition, Sustrans would like to see a monitoring plan that outlines key performance indicators, as well as a benchmarking of Portsmouth’s current position.

This should include outcomes as well as outputs.

Outputs could include the proportion of households covered by a residents’ parking zone, the number of kilometres of fully protected cycle routes, the % of footways that are easy to use, the number of school streets and low traffic neighbourhoods.

Outcomes could be taken from the Health and Wellbeing Strategy or Public Health England Indicators for longer-term targets such as childhood obesity rates or physical activity as reported in the Sport England Active Lives Survey.

Other outcomes could be the number of cars registered across the city or in areas that have residents’ parking zones, number of children who travel to school actively, levels of congestion, or public transport patronage.

Examples of monitoring indicators can be seen in Transport for Greater Manchester and Leicester City Council.

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