12 November is a date that all cyclists in Winchester should mark in their diaries with three red stars. It’s the date when Hampshire County Council (HCC) will be consulting on the next stage of their City of Winchester Movement Strategy.
Cycle Winchester understands that HCC will be asking people to choose between a small number of ‘high level options’ to form the basis of more detailed proposals to follow next spring. The consultation will, we understand, end on Christmas Eve.
The options will offer a choice of approaches to traffic reduction in Winchester. Some will suggest quite modest changes; others will be radical. Cyclists wanting to reduce the numbers of cars and lorries on the streets to make more room for bikes will probably want to vote for the most radical options. Remember to vote, and get all your friends to vote too.
A report to the Town Forum on 12 September gave some of the background:
What is clear from the evidence and feedback gathered is the overarching objective of the Strategy should be to reduce city centre traffic which will bring wider benefits and opportunities so the challenge is identifying the best ways to do this. To this end it is possible to model a combination of various scenarios which can be grouped into three themes; public transport such as expanding park and ride (number of spaces and location), demand management which could include changes to parking provision generally and highways which would involve making physical changes on the ground such as alterations to the one-way system for example.
Having carefully considered the evidence base and information provided from the engagement process the next stage in developing a draft strategy is to begin modelling scenarios. Hampshire County Council’s officers are working closely with their consultant, Atkins, to complete this work. It will involve using both a local micro-simulation model built specifically for the city centre as part of the project and Hampshire’s own Sub-Regional Traffic Model. This will enable us to explore and understand how certain changes would effect movement in and around Winchester and this is an iterative process which will take a number of weeks.
Once the modelling has finished a draft strategy will be prepared which will identify proposed high level options to improve how Winchester performs in relation to all forms of transport and this in turn should provide wider opportunities to enhance the city including its public realm.
Once the modelling is finished a draft strategy with proposed high level options will be produced and open consultation will be held in the autumn. A briefing for members beforehand will be provided and officers are also planning to organise a drop in session for parish councils and other interest groups.
The consultation on the draft Strategy will enable a final opportunity for interested parties to comment and there will be the opportunity to make changes to the document before it is finalised.
It is envisaged that a final version of the Strategy will be adopted by both councils early in 2019.
The full report is available on this web site, in case you wish to read the detail.