New signs on pavements will be popping up across Portsmouth from this week, showing people the easiest walking route to key destinations.
The green signs will be in the same style as existing signs that show where a pavement is shared use, for walking and cycling. They will be placed on several public Rights of Way and are part of Portsmouth City Council’s work to make walking around the city easier for everyone. They will show the direction and distance to places such as train stations, the hard bus interchange, and the seafront, as well as the time it takes to walk to them.
The council is also working on an updated Rights of Way plan that puts walking and cycling at the heart of every transport decision. The plan is part of the Local Transport Plan that prioritises cleaner air, walking and cycling, public transport use, and supports local business.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation said: “These new signs are another way to help residents and visitors walk or wheel with ease around the city. With easy information about distances and the best routes, I hope we will see more people walking for short journeys and leaving the car at home. Every trip that doesn’t use a car counts, and leads to better air quality for everyone. Walking is also good for you, so if you are able to do it, give these routes a go.”
Last week, Portsmouth City Council set out its ambitions and plans to create a more vibrant, welcoming and greener city centre that has the flexibility to evolve with the times. The council is inviting residents to get involved in reimagining the city centre and share their ideas and priorities for different areas in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development said: “We need to seize the moment to take a fresh look at what our city centre can be, how it can best serve our communities, our retailers and businesses and become an adaptable and vibrant focal point for future generations. There are already over 20 projects underway to make improvements and pave the way for the future of the city centre, but we have big ambitions for Portsmouth city centre and there’s a lot we want to achieve. We want people to share their big ideas and priorities for the future with us so we can create a city centre that flies the flag for Portsmouth.”
To support its ambitions, the council has submitted a bid for over £19 million from the Levelling Up Fund to spearhead improvements that would see new creative community spaces, better facilities, and greener, more welcoming streets – breathing new life into areas like Guildhall Walk that have felt the impact of changing habits and the coronavirus pandemic. If successful, the bid would also support a major refurbishment of The Guildhall and the Theatre Royal.
The council has also secured over £800,000 of funding from the Future High Streets Fund, Safer Streets Fund and Safety of Women at Night Fund to make improvements to areas around Commercial Road. These improvements aim to create new welcoming outside spaces where people can sit, relax and play, as well as take steps to tackle crime and combat violence against women and girls in public spaces.
“We’re working with partners and experts to unlock new opportunities like the Levelling Up Fund and Future High Streets Fund and looking at where the council has the capability to step in and drive regeneration forward,” adds Councillor Pitt. “We want culture to lead the way with new and inviting public spaces, innovative events, art, music, cafes and restaurants sitting alongside well-known and independent retailers. Where private developments are being proposed, we need to make sure that they are going to support our ambitions and play their part in delivering the right mix for a revitalised city centre.”
The north of the city centre will see some of the biggest changes. The council is working on proposals for new homes, a large open green space and new walking and cycling routes. The plans would the see the redevelopment of the former Tricorn and Sainsbury’s sites which the council bought to unlock the opportunity for long-term regeneration that will support the wider revitalisation of the whole city centre.