SOUTHAMPTON may be about to see some city roads reduced to 20mph speed limits as part of the creation of a new Active Travel Zone, the Echo can reveal.

The city council said it is part of a new drive to tackle road safety in the city, while also protecting cyclist using the roads.

As well as this, new ‘quietways’ will also be introduced, which will be alternative routes for push-bike users after the removal of cycling paths across the city – most recently on The Avenue.

“In the autumn we will be working with communities to both the east and west of Bassett Avenue to identify improvements for the creation of an Active Travel Zone,” The council’s deputy leader Jeremy Moulton said.

“As part of this we will explore a number measures to improve road safety and support more sustainable journeys, including the installation of 20mph speed limits.”

He also detailed to the Echo where the first of these ‘quietways’ routes will be.

Two, he said, will be to the north of the subway on The Avenue, which earlier this week lost its cycle lane. They will run parallel to the main route along footpaths and side roads to the east and west of the busy road.

The routes being considered will take cyclists via Coronation Avenue through The Common, Butterfield Road and Winchester Road to the west; and via Lovers Walk and Glen Eyre Road to the east.

There will be a consultation with local residents before these routes are officially confirmed.

Leader of Southampton's Labour Party Satvir Kaur said: "While 20mph speed limits are welcome, as we have seen by those already in place, they only make a difference if they are enforced effectively and come with traffic-calming measures.

"Labour are disappointed that there are currently no real plans for ensuring the success of these schemes.

"It’s a shame local Conservatives are using Southampton taxpayers’ money to rip up schemes their own national government paid for.

"Many have raised concerns that several of these new cycle quietways are a poor alternative to properly safe cycle lanes and fall short of what their government is asking for in terms of ambition on active travel.”

Lyn Brayshaw from Southampton Street Space said that "any measures that encourage drivers to walk or cycle for shorter journeys are essential".

"We need to put people first," she added. "So slowing and reducing traffic is vital for a healthy city. A third of people don't have access to a car and many people love car-free holidays in Centre Parcs or theme parks, so we need to embrace changes.

"We are in an obesity crisis, a climate crisis and an asthma crisis, so we must do all we can now.

"We do need good commuting routes as well as quiet ways, as for example I can't get to work without crossing many busy, scary roads, and I'm confident on my bike.

"There is a massive difference to cycling in a segregated lane to cycling on a shared pavement next to two lanes of traffic.

"Luckily our government is offering money to active travel schemes so Southampton has the chance to be known as a leading city, not a lagging-behind city."