mill road 4 people welcome bus gate approval

Released 7 March 2023 14:00

Mill Road 4 People are delighted at the decision of the County Council Highways and Transport Committee to approve the TRO for Mill Road bridge.

Residents in the Mill Road area have been calling for traffic reductions for literally decades, and it is great to see their views being acted upon at last. Last spring’s consultation, which included a wide range of questionnaires, focus groups, and workshops, was unequivocal in its result – 72% favoured restricting motor vehicles from crossing Mill Road bridge.

Paul Lythgoe, chair of Mill Road for People said: ‘The results of the 2022 consultation didn’t surprise us at all. Every time we’ve done a street stall, we’ve had enormous support from members of the public. The fact that well over 700 people have signed up as supporters of our group shows how popular our campaign is.’

The modal filter on the bridge is only the first part of what is needed on Mill Road. Over 80% of respondents to the spring consultation were in favour of improving the ‘quality of place’.

Mill Road for People sees this as vital for the future of the street and for protecting independent local businesses. We want it to be a place where the tens of thousands of people who live within a 15 minute walk or bike ride can come to enjoy shopping, eating, and meeting up with friends in a pleasant, low-traffic environment.

Charlotte de Blois, a Mill Road resident and MR4P’s treasurer, says: ‘We need wider pavements, particularly on the north side of Mill Road. Pedestrians, wheelchair users and people in mobility scooters should be able to make their way up and down Mill Road in safety and without the risks from excessive traffic and pollution.’

Mill Road for People calls on the County Council to identify funding streams and move forward with this part of the project with urgency. We have drawn up a list of ideas, which include more disabled parking bays, extra pedestrian crossings, more trees and other plants, seating areas, more bike parking, including for cargo bikes, and many more.

We are very aware that a modal filter on the bridge will not solve every problem, and may even lead to an increase in traffic on some Petersfield Roads. We believe there are some fairly simple possible mitigations (apart from longer-term changes to stations access) that could help with this, and we call on our councillors to work on this issue with us.

We would also like to see far greater enforcement of traffic regulations, particularly with regard to speeding, close-passing, and pavement parking, which is currently endemic in Mill Road, and causes inconvenience and danger to pedestrians and cyclists. It is important to note that there will be no part of Mill Road that is not accessible by car. However, Mill Road will no longer be able to be used as a rat-run to the city centre. It has never been classified as an arterial road in the local plan. Through traffic does not benefit local businesses – on the contrary, it is likely to deter shoppers.