Scheme outline and benefits
Traffic modelling in the area predicts that with the introduction of the bus gate on Portswood Road, up to 8,000 vehicles would choose to use A335 Thomas Lewis Way (TLW) as a faster alternative, depending on the level of mitigation we adopt for the area to prevent rat running. This will be supported by the recent improvements along TLW such as the introduction of additional turning lanes and an upgrade to smarter junctions which has improved journey times along TLW to make it more reliable and increase capacity to ensure it is the preferred option for through traffic.
Some remaining through traffic is likely to choose to rat run through local roads though. To prevent this and protect local roads for those who live in the area, we could introduce an Active Travel Zone for Highfield to prevent this. The Council is committed to providing an Active Travel Zone for the Highfield area ahead of any improvements to the Portswood Broadway area.
Active Travel Zones (ATZs) are neighbourhoods that encourage active travel through a range of measures which calm or discourage traffic, reduce rat running and instead prioritise people walking and cycling while at the same time maintaining motor vehicle access for those who live there. Interventions for ATZs are scalable and can range from speed cushions, improved crossing points or road closure points which would be designed with local residents at co-design meetings.
The Council has delivered an ATZ in the St Denys area in conjunction with local residents, and is now implementing ATZs in the Polygon, Woolston and Itchen areas.
In the Phase 1 consultation, more respondents agreed than disagreed that implementing an ATZ would improve air quality, increase road safety, slow traffic speeds and deter rat running. However, concerns were highlighted around vehicle access and journey times. 3 suggestions were proposed for Highfield ATZ during the last consultation as potential options:
- Reduce the impact through traffic calming, speed humps and improved pedestrian crossings.
- Remove the impact through traffic filters, which block through-traffic along some routes.
- Do nothing.
Among those who said they live in the Highfield ATZ area and the overall respondents, the majority preferred suggestion 1, which would not include any traffic filters but deter people driving through the area. New traffic data has been provided in this consultation to better inform residents of the impacts of various options for an Active Travel Zone for the area, but no decision will be made on the type of Active Travel Zone without community co-design with residents and further feedback from this phase of the consultation. The co-design would ensure that this scheme is designed to best protect and serve the community.
The workshops and implementation of the measures that are designed with the community would take place in Autumn / Winter 2023 ahead of any works on Portswood Broadway later in 2024.
To view the additional traffic modelling and counts which were commissioned in April 2023 please see the Additional Information section on this site.