Why Bassett Avenue?
- Bassett Avenue and The Avenue are identified as part of SCN5 (City Centre to Chilworth & Chandler’s Ford) in the Southampton Cycle Network
- It is a key route linking Southampton City Centre, Common, University of Southampton, Chilworth Science Park, Hampshire Corporate Park, and Residential and Employment centres
- Complements other temporary cycle lanes on Hill Lane and Portswood Road, and provides an alternative for cycling in the Common
- Temporary cycle lanes along Bassett Avenue and The Avenue also join up existing sections of cycle route along SCN5 between the city centre and Inner Avenue to the south and Chilworth to Chandlers Ford via Hut Hill in Hampshire to the north
- There are narrow footpaths along the route that cannot support social distancing, particularly around bus stops
- Bus service capacity reduced by up to 25% due to social distancing
- Post Covid more people are using the Common and maintaining safe and social distance is important
What is happening?
The scheme comprises of a temporary 1.5m wide mandatory cycle lane in each direction from south of Chilworth Roundabout to Winn Road.
The sections are:
- The Avenue – temporary mandatory cycle lanes achieved by reallocation of road space from existing wide road; and
- Bassett Avenue – temporary mandatory cycle lanes achieved by removing one traffic lane in each direction that is separated by a white line. The cones have been removed on the northern section to allow for the cycle lane to be painted.
To enable the cycle lane to be installed and maintain capacity of The Avenue the right turn from The Avenue northbound into Burgess Road has been banned. Traffic requiring this manoeuvre will need to u-turn at the Winchester Road roundabout. Other temporary barriers on Burgess Road and Winchester Road have been removed to manage traffic capacity on these approaches.
Why are things changing?
The experimental scheme for Bassett Avenue-The Avenue was implemented at the same time to create a continuous link for people who are cycling and walking along this corridor. The cycle lane will also assist pedestrians with social distancing, particularly on the sections of Bassett Avenue where there are bus stops and narrow footways. The route is important for people who want to cycle to work or for leisure between Southampton to Chandler’s Ford and Eastleigh.
This will complement the schemes on Hill Lane and Portswood Road enabling people to cycle to work, school and for leisure.
- Cycling on Bassett Avenue-The Avenue – in ‘normal’ times the daily levels of use on Bassett Avenue was 340 people cycling with over 43,000 vehicles (2019). There have been fourteen cycle injuries on Bassett Avenue-The Avenue in the last three years.
Since the scheme went in, the numbers of people cycling are higher with 486 (June 2020) counted north of Winchester Road. The provision of a temporary cycle lane on the carriageway has also enabled people to socially distance when passing other people along the popular walking route.
- Segregated Cycle Facilities – the temporary scheme initially used cones on the northern section as a method of understanding the impact on how Bassett Avenue operated with one lane. We have observed that the cones create pinch points that people cycling are avoiding; by removing the cones, more people will remain within the lanes.
Further observations and adjustments were made but it has now been decided that the scheme is established enough to remove the cones.
There is still a separation between the cycle lane and the ‘live’ traffic lane which still creates a safe space away from traffic. The shared use paths are still in operation for those who may feel unsafe cycling next to a busier road.
Extra signage has been put up to inform people about the scheme, how it is supporting active travel and social distancing, and that this is still a temporary scheme. It will continue to be monitored and reviewed weekly as we continue to move out of lockdown during the summer.
- Winchester Road Roundabout – we have received feedback on the queuing approaching the roundabout on Winchester Road. Initially this was reduced to one lane for safety. The cones are now being removed and the two-lane approach is being re-instated with left hand lane for Bassett Avenue north and right hand for Bassett Avenue south. This will reduce the delays on that approach.
- Traffic Impacts – as lockdown has eased, traffic levels across Southampton have been increasing, however they are still 27% below pre-lockdown levels. On Bassett Avenue average traffic levels are 42% lower than early March.
Since the implementation of the scheme on Bassett Avenue-The Avenue journey times have increased by up to 20%, however journey times are on average 55% lower than 2019. In the peak hours, average speeds are similar to than pre-Covid despite the reduction in the speed limit.
- Cycling on the Common – the paths on the Common are heavily used by people walking, cycling and with their dogs.
A survey for the Common Forum indicated that there are conflict issues between people walking, cycling and with their dogs. Over 50% of respondents wanted to see more segregated cycle routes and moving people cycling from paths in the Common. The priorities within the Common Action Plan are to ‘improve facilities for green travel and reduce conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers’ and ‘improve the safety of users of the Common especially after dark through increasing both the natural light and lighting on the main path’.
- Events - it is unlikely that large events that use the Common such as Parkrun, or elsewhere in the City, will take place in the foreseeable future – particularly during the summer months where cycling demand and Common use is at its highest. We will continually monitor the situation and change / amend the scheme should this be required to manage large events in the area as and when these are confirmed.
- Schools and University - we will also engage with schools and the University, to fully understand their current and continuous plans for reopening. It is important to facilitate cycling in this area to encourage students and staff to access the schools and colleges by bike or foot when they reopen.
When is it happening?
The temporary cycle lane was implemented on 28 May. Cones were placed on the northern section of Bassett Avenue to help trial the scheme and understand the impact on traffic flows. This has allowed adjustments to be made to the scheme easily and quickly. While there has been a change in traffic behaviour and Covid restrictions have been eased, journey times along the corridor have not increased above pre-Covid levels.
This is still a temporary scheme and we will be continually reviewing it over the coming months.
What about disruption during the construction?
Work on The Avenue and Bassett Avenue will be carried out overnight to reduce the impact to the road network. 2-way temporary signals will be in place to ensure the work can be delivered safely.
What monitoring will you put in place to ensure that social distancing is respected and that different travel modes are counted along each section? You have said that there has been a "staggering rise" in active travel but you do not provide data on the specific locations in support of that.
The council has automatic traffic counters in various locations across the city, including counters using loop detection on Bassett Avenue. In addition, the council has access to journey time data collected across the priority corridors into and around the city. These sources have demonstrated a significant decrease in vehicular movements and increase in cycling over the last two months.
The measures we are implementing are to support social distancing and active travel, and we will continue to closely monitor usage of the different modes of travel and how social distancing is being observed.
Will road users be able to pull in and give way for emergency vehicles?
Yes emergency services have been advised of the changes and also as the cycle lanes are only painted lines, vehicles can move out of the way of emergency service vehicles if necessary.
I am very concerned about the safety of cyclists at the Bassett Avenue/Winchester Road roundabout.
The scheme will see a dedicated cycle lane provided for southbound cyclists with no need to give way to vehicles. For northbound cyclists, they will need to give way as per any other situation at a roundabout. Use of the new layout will be closely monitored and changes will be made if we feel they are required.
I hope that any measures you do implement will make better use of the Common. It would be much more pleasant to walk and cycle along the Common, rather than alongside these busy roads, so perhaps you could ensure better provision parallel to The Avenue.
In February this year, the council undertook an extensive consultation exercise on proposals to improve leisure cycling routes on Southampton Common as part of improvements to Lover’s Walk. The consultation achieved 283 customer responses with the majority agreeing with the council's commitment to its green charter to encourage sustainable travel and improve air quality in the city. The council is now progressing this scheme of work and is currently working through the legal process via a planning application. It is considered though that the two schemes will complement each other.
Social distancing is very difficult on Burgess Road (if you walk from Hill Lane to The Avenue, the pavement is non-existent on one side and is very narrow on the other). What do you propose to do there?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide a path on this section of Burgess Road due to the issue of land ownership and the fact that it is Common land rather than highway land.
If these measures are to become more permanent, could you consult on these measures?
The council is following the Department for Transport guidance to all local authorities to use temporary or experimental traffic regulation orders to implement measures swiftly. These types of orders allow councils to install highway changes and monitor their impact before making decisions on whether to make them permanent. As opposed to direct implementation of permanent changes which due to the legal consultation process can take months to actually bring the change about.
We will be closely monitoring the impact of the changes and collecting customer feedback and these will form part of any future discussions on whether the changes are removed or made permanent.
How can I comment?
The Bassett Avenue/The Avenue pop up cycle lane is a trial scheme and as such is monitored closely and under constant review. Feedback is welcomed from residents, businesses and users, and this can be made to email@example.com.