Lib Dems welcome Bassett cycle lanes rethink

Responding to reports that the Labour-run City Council have axed part of a controversial cycle lane on Bassett Avenue, Bassett campaigner Richard Blackman commented:

"Part of me is sad to see the cycle lanes go, but it was a trial so if Southampton City Council has - as we called for - been listening to residents' concerns, and if monitoring of the traffic data has shown a negative impact, then a rethink is certainly in order. To reduce noise pollution and for safety reasons I hope that the 30mph speed limit will remain.

"I trust the Labour Council will stand firm on the cycle lanes south of the Winchester Road roundabout as they are particularly important for connectivity between key destinations within our city.

"The decision to remove the cycle lanes does nothing to resolve the issue of congestion on the city's roads or to make progress on sustainability in our regional transport network. At the very least we call on the Council to work with neighbouring authorities to implement a Park and Ride scheme."

You can support our Park & Ride campaign by signing up here.


Lib Dem Park & Ride scheme the solution to Labour's traffic chaos

Southampton's Labour administration has been accused of having a "haphazard and unhearing" approach to local transport, with their management of the city's Green Transport Plan and 'pop-up' cycle lanes having caused controversy across the city.

The effect of introducing these pop-up cycle lanes, on roads including Bassett Avenue and Bitterne Road West, has been to rebalance the space available among different road-users, causing consternation amongst some. There are fears that when road traffic approaches normal pre-COVID levels, it will see a return to gridlock and misery for residents and road-users.

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Bassett campaigner Richard Blackman says:

Whilst we support the growth of the cycle lane network in Southampton, the way the Labour council has gone about implementing the changes has been haphazard and unhearing.

Local people don't feel like they've had a say, and that this scheme has been forced upon them.

Whilst many of the people I've spoken to broadly agree with me that it's a good thing to reduce motor traffic on roads like Bassett Avenue, they're frustrated that they were not consulted, and their views are apparently of no interest to this Labour administration. The Labour Council needs to work with others across administrative and political boundaries to make this a reality.

Southampton Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson Sam Chapman says:

For many residents, cycling and public transport are realistic options for getting into the city centre. But for hundreds of thousands of people visiting our city every year, whether they be workers, shoppers, football supporters or tourists, the city must provide a viable and attractive alternative to driving.

It's basic stuff - if you want to get more people out of cars and into greener, more sustainable transport, you have to give them the opportunities to do so. A Park & Ride facility is the obvious answer.

Labour just don't seem to be able to get the basics right.

Lib Dem-controlled Winchester City Council already has four Park & Ride sites, with a new one set to be developed with £5.65million of government funding. Portsmouth City Council - also managed by a Liberal Democrat administration - plans to upgrade their current Park & Ride facility owing to the popularity of the scheme.

Critics of a Park & Ride network to serve Southampton insist that a lack of obvious potential Park & Ride sites within city boundaries means that such a scheme could never get off the ground. However, there's no reason to insist that any potential site has to be located within city boundaries, and could just as well be outside. Indeed, there is local precedent for this option.

Sam Chapman says:

The Park & Ride facility at Adanac Park, on the western fringe of the city, is well-used by hospital staff.

The fact that it does not fall under the jurisdiction of Southampton City Council, but that of Test Valley Borough Council, demonstrates that neighbouring local authorities are amenable to projects like this that will serve a much wider community.

Richard Blackman says:

Our city is full of reasons to visit - arts and culture, history and sport, retail and restaurants - and naturally people want to come here to enjoy those amenities.

But if you don't want all of those visitors driving into the city centre, you must provide both somewhere for them to park that is outside of the city, and a convenient means for them to reach their destination.

To me, Park & Ride is the obvious solution.

 

If you would like to pledge your support for a Park & Ride network for Southampton, you can do so here: https://www.southampton-libdems.org.uk/park_and_ride.

 


NOTES:

New WCC P&R site: https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/18650670.multi-million-pound-boost-encourage-environmentally-friendly-transport/


In memory of Baroness Diana Maddock

It is with great sadness that Southampton Liberal Democrats has learned of the death of Baroness Diana Maddock last night.

Diana was a Liberal then Liberal Democrat councillor for Portswood from 1984 to 1993, when she won the Christchurch by-election to become an MP. In 1997, she was elevated to the House of Lords as Baroness Maddock of Christchurch and she served as Party President from 1998 to 2000.

'A tireless campaigner, Diana was an outstanding councillor, dedicated to improving our neighbourhoods and enhancing the lives of her constituents. She won her 1988 re-election under the banner "It's Diana Again' as we didn't know from day to day what the name of the newly-merged Liberal/SDP party would be! Much of the later success of the Lib Dems in Southampton was down to her inspiration. Her name still resonates with residents of Portswood where her political career was launched. Her later career is the stuff of Lib Dem history. She will be sorely missed.' (Adrian Vinson, City Alderman and former Portswood councillor)

'Having signed Diana up to the Liberal Party in the late 1970's, I saw Diana progress from an effective ward councillor, achieving an outstanding victory in the Christchurch by-election with over 62% of the vote, to becoming Party President. From canvassing Portswood in all weathers, including snow and ice, Diana went on to a seat in House of Lords. She loved politics, was loyal to the Party, enjoyed campaigning and worked hard to help her constituents.' (Margaret Singerman, City Alderman and former City Mayor and Portswood councillor)

Southampton Liberal Democrats Chair and Bassett campaigner, Richard Blackman, said, 'The tributes that I have been reading today are testament to the very high regard that Diana Maddock was held in by so many, the positive impact she had on people and places, and of course her outstanding dedication to public service.'

The members of Southampton Liberal Democrats extend their heartfelt condolences to Diana's family and friends. She will be greatly missed by the Party.