“They are just making people take an unnecessary risk”.

This is how one of Southampton’s main cycling campaigners has reacted to plans to remove part of a bike route on The Avenue.

Lyn Brayshaw, of Southampton Cycling Campaign, says she is confused by the changes to the lanes which were announced by the city council yesterday.

As reported, the authority confirmed that part of the route on The Avenue will be kept from The Cowherds junction to the subway underpass – halfway up the road.

This means that the routes on the road north of the underpass are being pulled up.

But the council says it will instead direct cyclists onto new ‘quietways’ which will take them into parallel-running side roads.



Daily Echo: The AvenueThe Avenue

The decision to remove the lane comes as a 15-month cycle lanes trial comes to an end.

But Lyn says this was not long enough, adding: “It takes time for any scheme to encourage people to change their behaviour

“Making people [cycle on] a road with two lanes of fast traffic will not encourage them to want to cycle.

“What will it take for councillors to realise that you have to create sustainable options for people to cycle, walk, or use the bus [instead of driving].”

However, the council says that it is mitigating the loss with extra works taking place on certain junctions to give cyclists and pedestrians ‘priority’ over motorists.

But the news has not been taken well by opposition Labour leader Satvir Kaur.

She said “After another u-turn, it’s great that the Conservative administration has come to appreciate the value of the cycle lanes they spent so long opposing last year.

“However, it is a shame that these half-baked plans, for just half a road, have been watered down and fallen victim to their ‘just enough’ strategy, designed to try to appease the sustainable travel requirements of their own government.

“Other places have lost funding from the government for their lack of ambition when it comes to these schemes and I fear Southampton risks the same fate.”

This was a point agreed by Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead.

The Labour member said: “I would have hoped for a more ambitious announcement from the Conservative administration. It’s clear they have no real plan for sustainable travel in Southampton.

“I doubt that keeping a short stretch of cycle lane whilst ripping out the rest is what their government had in mind when they called for local authorities to take active travel seriously or lose overall transport funding. “

Nevertheless, Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, was applauded the decision, adding: “This is a sensible and balanced approach by the council. Making the temporary cycle lane at the lower part of the Avenue a permanent arrangement with light segregation is the right move.”