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The way we travel has been transformed over recent years by sat-navs, and increasingly we are advised to cut through residential neighbourhoods, shaving a few minutes off journey times. However, increased traffic in these neighbourhoods impacts the health and wellbeing of people living and working in these areas.

Next week, at Portsmouth City Council’s Traffic and Transportation Decision Meeting, a recommendation is being proposed to work with the local community to reduce the number of people cutting through residential neighbourhoods and create an Active Pompey Neighbourhood in Central Southsea.

An Active Pompey Neighbourhood involves making changes to the road that enable those to walk, wheel or cycle for short trips, or as part of longer trips, but limit the amount of motor vehicles using the area as a cut through. This would lead to a safer and more pleasant residential area where local residents feel inspired to travel more actively.

In Portsmouth we already have a large number of one-way streets, traffic calming areas and places that prioritise walking and cycling to discourage excess traffic. If the Active Pompey Neighbourhood plans are approved, residents could soon start to see a difference on their doorsteps.

The focus of this approach would be to involve the local community at every stage of the development of their Active Pompey Neighbourhood. This would involve a launch event where residents can talk about issues relating to the level of traffic that they are aware of in their area. This information would be used to develop a range of recommended improvements that would be discussed with residents at drop-in sessions, giving everyone an opportunity to contribute to the final designs.

The purpose of the trial would be to test-out ideas and adjust as appropriate under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. This would allow for a statutory six-month consultation period, ensuring any proposed changes could be applied, but also amended as necessary. It would also provide an opportunity to gather feedback to ensure the trial is as effective as possible over an eighteen-month initial period.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said: “Residents living in the side streets of Portsmouth used to be able to open their windows without considering vehicle fumes or the noise from passing vehicles. Children could play outside and feel safer walking to school. Walking or cycling for short journeys was the obvious option for most people. I’m not alone in hoping this could be something we start to rebuild, so I look forward to discussing the plans for an Active Pompey Neighbourhood and this may be another opportunity to help create a healthier city.”