Each week we are asking one member from each Working Group to share what they discussed at each meeting and plan to do for the next session. Here is the second Movement Working Group overview:
The Movement Working Group was well represented at our meeting this week. We covered many of the discussion points raised through the group email communications during the week. The group has a strong green focus and the cycling community are well represented but we recognise the need to consider the needs of all road users and are keen for their views to be included.
The bottom end (the south east) of Romsey Road and the Durngate Place (by the junction of North Walls and Union Street) were identified as some of the key crossing places in the city and the speed/volume of traffic here makes crossing the road safely difficult. These routes are important as they are necessary for many Winchester residents to access to the hospital and the leisure centre.
What can we do to make this easier for people?
We also discussed how the narrow pavements in these areas cause additional problems for pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities and/or small children.
Contraflow-cycle lanes running north to south through St Peters Street, Parchment Street and Upper Brook Street were suggested as ideas that will provide improved access without significant investment or major change. The group was keen to celebrate the recent pedestrianisation of Great Minster Street.
Making bold changes and maintaining public support
Our other main area of conversation was on how to reduce traffic in the city centre, rather than simply find ways to live with the current high levels of traffic, and what techniques we can employ to overcome previous obstacles to change. We considered that by making it harder to drive certain routes could become a reason for people to leave the car at home and switch modes of travel, reducing traffic levels. But this may be met by some local resistance. There is a careful balance to be struck between making bold changes while maintaining local public support.
We agreed that a “car free day” to test these ideas would be a good starting point but that there are some highly influential stakeholders within the city that may object, and we want to find solutions that they will support too. So one idea was a shift of focus away from using the “car free day” name and title, towards a day that celebrates Winchester’s heritage and architecture. This event may include making certain streets car-free for a day to allow people to better appreciate the quality of the city’s fabulous buildings.
Streets that could benefit from this temporary treatment include Upper High Street, Jewry Street, Hyde Street, Chesil Street, Southgate Street and City Bridge. In west Dorset, “architectural heritage week” includes a car-free day in Dorchester giving people the space, time, and tranquillity to appreciate the buildings around them. Is this a useful model to be applied to Winchester? What do you think?
Share your views on what you might like to see for Winchester in the comments box below and stay tuned for the next update from the Movement Working Group next week! Don’t forget you can also join the conversation on social media, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram