Portsmouth could be set to receive over a million pounds in funding to support safer cycling and walking in response to the need to encourage a continued change in travel habits that started due to the coronavirus outbreak. If successful, residents could see further cycling and walking improvements in the coming months.
Today, Portsmouth City Council submitted a bid to the Department of Transport for the Emergency Active Travel Funding. If successful, the first tranche of money would see an investment of up to £192,000 in cycling and walking. These changes are aimed at encouraging walking and cycling instead of using cars and public transport as more businesses open and government restrictions ease.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said "The government funding would make a huge difference to how transport can support a cleaner, greener and healthier recovery to our economy. I am pleased to see the increase in cycling and walking by residents continuing, and we want to keep it that way. This funding will support temporary changes and we hope this will then unlock funding to make further and long lasting changes.
"We made the difficult decision to pause the current plans for the Eastern Road temporary cycle path, however it remains a key aim of the city council to improve facilities for cyclists on the Eastern Road. We will continue to work with our stakeholders to deliver the right scheme in this location in the future."
The cycling and walking activities included in the bid aim to create safer cycling and walking routes whilst also maintaining the flow of traffic. Ward councillors have worked with the transport team to input suggestions into the recommended activities. This forms part of the council's wider transport response plan that brings forward activities from the draft Transport Local Plan and includes new changes in response to social distancing guidance.
Cllr Stagg said: "With all the temporary measures we have planned we will continue to monitor the ever-changing situation during the pandemic and adapt our plans if needed. It's important the council is responsive to the changing needs caused by the pandemic. As stated in the plan, our focus is on cleaner, greener travel, keeping people safe as they travel and keeping the roads moving. "
In a few months, the government will review the work that has been completed as part of the first tranche and will then confirm whether the council will be able to access any further funding for other proposed schemes as part of the emergency travel response plan.