Southampton City Council’s Q&A about roads

Southampton City Council road Q&A promo with text

The Southampton City Council hosted a live Q&A session on 4th March 2014 using their Facebook page.

Earlier this evening, between 6 and 7pm, Southampton City Council hosted an online questions & answers session on their Facebook page.

Think of it as a series of freedom of information requests without the 20 day wait! Credit to the people at Southampton City Council who answered so quickly and also promised to get back to others. Let us hope more councils adopt this format!

Although questions could be about anything road related, by a large margin the questions were all about cycling around Southampton, especially using their recently opened cycle routes.

Here is the raw transcript from three postings the council made on Facebook which had comments from the public about roads:


Southampton City Council: Join us here at 6pm for a live Q&A on the city’s highway improvement programme.

Andrew Reeves-Hall: What is Southampton cc doing to create real space for cycling? Ie a network of segregated cycle paths like exists in The Netherlands?
Southampton City Council: Hi Andrew, although segregated cycle paths are desirable and are included in future plans. They are subject to both financial and physical road space constraints.

David Thomas: What is the council’s policy on setting a 20 mph speed limit across the city.
Southampton City Council: We’re currently piloting a scheme in the Millbrook and Redbridge areas. We will be assessing the results and a decision will be made later in the year.

Hedge Hog: None of the so call safe cycle routes are safe and do not really join up – when is this going to be rectified ?
Southampton City Council: The evidence that our cycle routes are safe but if you have any specific areas of concern then please do let us know using action line:

Hedge Hog: Why is there two standards being promoted – on one hand you are told to cycle on the sidewalks – on the other it is illegal ? Bicycles are traffic and permitted on the road.
Southampton City Council: Where design permits it and they are legally approved, cyclists and pedestrians can share the pavement.

Hedge Hog: When are we going to see proper segregated cycle lanes like the dutch ?
Southampton City Council: The next phase of the Eastern Cycle Route will have segregated space for cyclists and will be built over the summer. In addition to this, we will always look to create segregated space to cyclists where it is affordable and physically achievable.
Joe Costello: “where it is affordable and physically achievable” – or in other words, they have no intention of doing it.
Hedge Hog: I would have to agree with you Joe

Rich Young: The reason given for not putting ASL’s on the new cycle friendly junction at Itchen Bridge (despite them being in the plans) was given as ‘a lack of space’, however, ASL’s are not a fixed dimension and are only as wide as the lane of traffic that they sit in front of, therefore what is the real reason these recognised pieces of safe cycling infrastructure were not implemented as standard and cyclists are directed to wait in a dangerous part of the road where they are subject to left hook? (As seen at this junction less than a week after it opened!)
Southampton City Council: Evening Rich. We have installed short ASLs to encourage cyclists to be ahead of the traffic. Also the design provides areas to allow cyclists to make right turns safely. (Eastern Cycle Route, Southampton-Junction of Itchen Bridge and Saltmarsh Road)
David Thomas: Why did you decide to install short ASLs instead of full size ones?
Hedge Hog: If it needs a video and a PDF it is poorly designed

Peter Painton: With Southampton Docks Expanding when is something going to be done to ease the container traffic using Redbridge Road West. The congestion at both Millbrook and Redbridge roundabouts and the M271 is very bad at peak times and not much better in the off peak time.?
Southampton City Council: Hi Peter, we’re currently bidding to the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and the Highways Agency for funding to deliver a scheme that will address these issues. We hope to be successful but, unfortunately is not guaranteed.

Sandy Mccarthy: There are more pot holes than traffic lights and that’s saying something.
Southampton City Council: Hi Sandy, you can report any pot holes through Action Line on

Hedge Hog: Where is this going to happen – whats the link ?
Southampton City Council: Stay right here, we’ll be live at 6 answering your questions.
Hedge Hog: Nothing is happening !

Matt Wilson: Surely the ONLY question is ‘When are you going to sort the roads out?’
Southampton City Council: Hi Matt, we are constantly looking to improve the highways infrastructure and manage traffic flow in the city. If you have a more specific question please let us know.
Matt Wilson: Just talking about the state of them!

Hedge Hog: Who dreamt up the stupid junction and so called cycle painted lanes at the end of Itchen Bridge?

Adrian Eyers: looking at the picture above i can see few issues with traffic turning etc would be better to stagger the lights as if its anything like the work on the bridge its an accident waiting to happen

Rich Young: Every ASL I have ever seen or used is the entire width of the lane, I struggle to see how you can describe what is at Itchen Bridge as an ASL. Is it the case that you have not installed ASL’s simply because you are trying to direct cyclists not to ‘take the lane’ as is the standard method of training taught in nationally recognised schemes such as BikeAbility?

Sandy Mccarthy: I drive 20 mph because of the pot holes. Lol enforced traffics restrictions without spending any of our taxes. Neat idea.

Hedge Hog: This is an exercise to make us feel warm and fuzzy

Lee Whitbread: Who is fielding the questions?


Southampton City Council: And we’re live. Welcome to our first live Q&A on the city’s roads. Vanessa Veal from Balfour Beatty will be joining Councillor Rayment and Stuart Love. Please post your questions below.

John Buckley: What actions are you taking about ASLs and their leader lanes which also fall into the blind spots of HGVs and put people on bikes at risk?
Southampton City Council: Evening John. We have installed short ASLs to encourage cyclists to be ahead of the traffic. The issue with HGVs is a problem everywhere and is being addressed through driver awareness campaigns.
John Buckley: It could be addressed tomorrow by placing a yellow hatched area behind each ASL and moving the first line back, rather than relying on ‘driver awareness’ which given the number of deaths and injuries does not seem to be very effective. Will you implement that?
Dave Warnock: How does a driver awareness program resolve the issue of your ASL’s placing cyclists in an HGV’s blind spot?
Southampton City Council: Thanks for the suggestions. We will pass this on to our technical team for their consideration and see what they say.
John Buckley: Will your ‘technical team’ report back here?
Southampton City Council: Can do, or we can contact you if you’d prefer.
John Buckley: Contact me. I have PM’d email address.
Southampton City Council: Thanks John. Appreciate the input.

Andrew Reeves-Hall: In previous thread where I asked about segregated cycle space you said, “although segregated cycle paths are desirable and are included in future plans. They are subject to both financial and physical road space constraints.” — Pleased to hear that your planners have started to allocate segregated space — Could you tell us where to find those plans that have the segregated space allocated? Which roads?
Southampton City Council: The next phase of the Eastern Cycle Route will have segrated space for cyclists and will be built over the summer. In addition to this, we will always look to create segregated space to cyclists where it is affordable and physically achievable.
Andrew Reeves-Hall: That sounds good. Were the plans to Dutch standards?
Dave Warnock: Are designs for the Eastern Cycle Route available? What design guidelines have been set?
Southampton City Council: Hi Andrew, our design was indeed inspired by similar continental schemes.
Southampton City Council: Hi Dave, Yes designs for the Eastern Cycle Route are available, please visit – (apologies for long URL)

Andrew Reeves-Hall: Will Southampton council increase by just 3 seconds the time given to people – especially elderly – to cross the roads at signaled junctions?
Southampton City Council: Hi Andrew, do you have a specific location in mind? If so, please email
Andrew Reeves-Hall: It is across the city – it was noted elsewhere that the London Mayor actually reduced road crossing times to “smooth traffic flow”. Will the council commit to ensuring there is adequate time for elderly to walk across junctions?
Dave Warnock: Everywhere! see (Give us Time to Cross | Living Streets; When children walk to school with their parents, research shows they walk at a speed of 0.9 m/s. Yet the guidance for green man time on our signalised crossings is 1.2 m/s.)
Southampton City Council: Our crossing times are set in accordance with good practice and do take account of all types of users. If you have a particular location in mind please email

John Buckley: What plans do you have to introduce full-green cycle only light phases at your junctions in order to remove conflicts between motor vehicles and vulnerable road users?
Southampton City Council: At this stage we have no plans to do this. The capacity at the junction would be severely effected resulting in congestion.
Fred Taylor-Young: Surely a little congestion is better than increased KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) numbers.
John Buckley: By how much would the ‘capacity’ be reduced?

Andrew Reeves-Hall: Thank you for having this Q&A. Over the pond, there is a ‘vision zero’ to reduce what they are calling “traffic violence” to zero. Is Southampton Council also aiming to get the Killed or Seriously Injured number down to zero and by when? (was 14 for Southampton/Itchen in 2011). Thank you.
Southampton City Council: We’re glad you found this helpful and yes, it is clearly our aim to have zero KSIs.
Dave Warnock: If zero KSI’s are your aim then why are you commenting about not choosing safer designs because they might increase congestion. Which is your higher priority “zero KSI” or reduced congestion?

John Buckley: How much does Southampton City allocate in its roads budget per head for cycling?
Andrew Reeves-Hall: Did you get an answer to this question, John Buckley?
John Buckley Nope. Still waiting. It should be easy to supply.
Southampton City Council: The amount invested per head of the population will vary from year to year. To give you an idea, cyclists currently make up 5% of all trips on our roads. 5% of the total investment in our road infrastructure would equate to approximately £200,000. This year we are investing £1.2 million in the cycling network.

Joe Costello: What happened at Itchen Bridge junction? The finished article is not the same as the plans consulted on. Within days someone was hit. Would you let your children, parents or grandparents use it?
Southampton City Council: Hi Joe, this incident is an ongoing police investigation however indications are that the layout of the junction was not a contributory factor. Whilst there were minor changes to the scheme that was consulted on, the overall principle scheme remains the same.
Dave Warnock: Also how many of the Councillors, staff and consultants have ridden a bike through this junction (attempting all direction options), especially at rush hour and alone?
Joe Costello: Minor changes? You obviously never ride a bike then. The principle was poor to begin with, but it was made even worse. And then you promote it as being ‘Dutch’ when it’s nothing of the sort!
John Buckley: As a registered cycling instructor I am very willing to meet Councillors and Officers at the junction. They could then demonstrate how it works. Perhaps some families could participate too. Could that be arranged?
Joe Costello: I would also add that any junction which places people cycling straight on to the left of left-turning motor vehicles is at least partly at fault. It’s your job to design out that kind of danger. You’re failing society!
Southampton City Council: Hi John, we have tested the routes throughout and please see this video which demonstrates the junction in action: (Itchen Bridge Cycle Infrastructure Test 20022014)
Joe Costello: Well that’s okay then. Would you let your children or grandparents use it unassisted?
Southampton City Council: Many Councillors and staff use the junction daily and we take on board their feedback.
Southampton City Council: Hi John, Cllr Rayment is happy to meet with you. Please contact her office via or 023 8083 2430 to make an appointment.

Mike Smith: Is there any chance of changing the timing of the Traffic lights at Thomas lewis way/St Denys rd .From the Mitre pub going to Bitterne Triangle the traffic light go green but the traffic queue means you can never go so often the lights go green about 4 or 5 times and if you lucky you may just be able to get through.
Southampton City Council: Thanks Mike, we can certainly have our ITS (intelligent transport system) look into that for you. Please could you email and then we can ensure we come back to you with their response.

Adrian Eyers: would it not be better to stagger the lights on the bridge as its a nightmare now the way its set up had 4 near misses already
Southampton City Council: Hi Adrian. We’re continually monitoring how the junctions are being used and we’ll take your comments on board.
Adrian Gill: was this aimed at me or Adrian Eyers?
Southampton City Council: Yes this answer was aimed at Adrian Eyers.

Adrian Gill: The journey times between Upper Deacon Road and M27 J7 have been getting much worse recently, rugularly taking up to half an hour. This impacts on many commuters leaving the city and returning during rush hours. I have 4 questions: 1. Are there any plans to improve the juncion between Hinkler Road and Thornhill park Road? 2. Any plans to improve the roundabout junction of the A334 and Thornhill pk Rd? 3. Anyplans to improve the NB approach of the A334 to J7? 4. Any plans to liase with HA and/or HCC to improve the timings of the J7 R’bout in general?
Southampton City Council: We are developing plans with Hampshire County Council and the Highways Agency, but they are likely to be expensive and at the moment we do not have the funding to do so. If a funding opportunity becomes available we will pursue it.
Adrian Gill: Please answer my questions in full, especially regarding junction timings at these locations. These options are relatively inexpensive and would significantly reduce congestion. Working with HA and HCC with a view to improving their signal timing would not be expensive and should be part of the day to day activities of Southampton ITS/ROMANSE and HA
Southampton City Council: The feasibility study is currently under way and will take three to four months to complete. Until this is done we are unfortunately unable to give a detailed answer.
Adrian Gill: What is the feasibility investigating?
Adrian Gill: feasibility study….
Adrian Gill: Again, this misses the point of my questions. Would it be possible for you to answer my questions which relate to the issues on SCC’s network?

Rachael Goldstraw: What happened to the residents permit parking consultation in the Upper Shirley area? Residents have heard nothing and parking problem is getting worse.
Southampton City Council: Hi Rachel – the consultation is about to start. It’s now a city-wide review and we know it’ll be later this year before we get a full report. We’re going as quickly as possible but we have to stick to the legal requirements.
Rachael Goldstraw: Thank you, but what happened to the one carried out last year in the Upper SHirley area? We never heard any results?
Southampton City Council: That’s because the review has been expanded to cover the whole city. Any previous comments will be fed into the new consultation – thanks for getting involved. Hope this helps.
Rachael Goldstraw: Thank you this does help me. Perhaps the Council could / should have communicated this to residents instead of being left wondering. I look forward to receiving the new consultation soon.

Julie Spanner: When is something going to be done about the state of Bellemoor Road? This is a bus route and is used by 3 schools and a college – do we have to wait for a serious accident before something is done it is particularly dangerous for cyclists and motorcyclists
Southampton City Council: Hi Julie, Bellemoor Road is on our radar however is not included in next year’s indicative programme. We are looking at options for increasing funding with the view of treating roads like Bellemoor Road in the future. In the mean time, we do carry out regular safety inspections.

Mike Smith: On Shirley rd where you have pinch points is there any chance of double yellow lines before and after these. Quite often people park to get takaways leaving it very tight for buses to get through
Southampton City Council: Hi Mike, if you can contact actionline and let us know specifically where this is occurring, we can get our traffic management team to look into it for you:

Alex Stanek: If a pothole arises on a public owned road, is the duty of the council to repair it under law?
Southampton City Council: No, however you might the following the link helpful in letting you know when we will repair a pothole: You can report potholes to actionline on

Sue White: only just logged into my email account so would have been nice to have been given more notice of this Q&A ….. anyway my question is ….. in view of the fact that most households have more than one car these days (and also bring home works vans), and realistically that is never going to change, when the Council are re-doing the roads and pavements, when will they give everyone dropped kerbs to get their vehicles off the roads? I live in Coxford Road, the Maybush end not far from the hospital, and it’s a nightmare with hospital workers parking both sides of the road from before 7am until after 6pm and there are also a few who park here when on nights. We have a main bus route, and it’s also an ambulance and fire engine route and there are at least half a dozen accidents every year
Southampton City Council: We will not be providing dropped kerbs but home owners can apply to the council. Sometimes planning permission will be required. If agreed, the cost of construction falls to the homeowner. Applications can be made to actionline:

Jason Smithwick: I feel especially vulnerable of left hooks at the new itchen bridge junction. Primarily because the markings are ambiguous for drivers. Are there any plans to revise some of the markings to make it clearer that cars are crossing a cycle lane when turning left? Or are there any plans for putting in the originally planned ASLs?
Southampton City Council: As with any new design, we’ll continually monitor the junction and make necessary adjustments.

Rich Young: I warmly welcome SCC trying to make cyclists commutes safer, however, Saltmarsh road is in my and many other cyclists opinion poorly signed and its suggested method of use for cyclists contradicts key elements of nationally recognised cycle training schemes such BikeAbility. I am simply concerned about the mass confusion this is creating (I have seen it for myself) for cyclists and motorists. Aside from a video on the internet what (if any) reviews or remedial measures are proposed to be implemented to make this junction safer before a KSI occurs?
Southampton City Council: A number of safety audits were undertaken prior to the junction going live and another one will take place shortly. Over and above this, we’ll be continually monitoring the suitability and safety of our new designs.

Tom Vetterlein: When is the council going to tackle pavement parking? It is antisocial and causes significant risk to pedestrians that have to walk in the road to get round. London and Exeter have banned it. Southampton should too.
Southampton City Council: Where parking restrictions apply, we do take enforcement action. If the parking is deemed to be dangerous and there are no parking restrictions, this would be a matter for Hampshire Constabulary. We do issue letters to households advising of the unlawfulness of pavement parking and take further action in the worst cases.
Tom Vetterlein: Why will the council not commit to banning pavement parking? It’s wholly antisocial. If people don’t have enough space to store their cars then they should not own them.

James Stone: On many city roads the lane markings and give-way markings are badly faded, for example Mountbatten Way and Cumberland place. I have reported some before on fix-my-street however they have not been repainted and are an accident waiting to happen. Surely there should be a proper system in place that markings are repainted before being worn away.
Southampton City Council: Evening James – Lane markings are inspected regularly and recorded as defects where appropriate. We will feed your comments on Mountbatten Way and Cumberland Place into the inspection schedule. Thanks for letting us know.

Adrian Gill: There are a number signaled junctions across Southampton which have inappropriate timings. Often, these junctions result in unnecessary waiting or increased congestion. Does anyone currently monitor the traffic flows and Journey times across Southampton? If so, what is the strategy for improving journey times in terms of changes to traffic light timings?
Southampton City Council: Hi Adrian, yes we do have a strategy for improving journey times. These are set out in the Local Transport Plan 3 which can be found here: (Local Transport Plan 3)
Adrian Gill: Thanks for the information. But does anyone actually check signal timings when they have been reported by the public? If so, what is the process for making changes to timings?

David Thomas: Does Councillor Rayment in her role as Cabinet Member for Enviroment & Transport regularly cycle around the city?
Southampton City Council: Cllr Rayment – No I do not ride a bike or cycle around the city. I personally prefer to walk.
David Thomas: Go on give it a go, it will help you understand what’s it like to be a cyclist in Southampton.

Matthew Read: When will SCC start taking a firm stance against obstuctive pavement parking? This is becoming a major issue across the city. This includes vehicles blocking cycle lanes.
Southampton City Council: Hi Matthew, where parking restrictions apply, we do take enforcement action. If the parking is deemed to be dangerous and there are no parking restrictions, this would be a matter for Hampshire Constabulary.
Tom Vetterlein: Why will the council not commit to banning this antisocial behaviour?

Rob Taylor: Could you explain how traffic turning right onto Itchen Bridge from Saltmarsh Rd is expected to do so at the same time traffic is turning left onto Itchen Bridge from Albert Rd North? The sequencing of the traffic lights is short at best and is confusing over who has right of way. Controlling traffic turning onto the bridge using filter lights would greatly help with the confusion!
Southampton City Council: We are monitoring the phasing of the lights on this new junction and will review as necessary.
Hedge Hog: The junction is a mess to say the least and a waste of money.

Rob Taylor: Police investigation aside, the proposed layout of Saltmarsh rd/Itchen Bridge junction included ASLs, for which there is sufficient space. Could you please explain why these never made it to the finished junction and how SCC feel this omission impacts on cyclists safety at this already busy junction? Thanks.
Southampton City Council: At the moment we are monitoring this new arrangement and we will review its effectiveness before making any changes. Thank you for your suggestions. We will take them into consideration.

Mike Smith: And i know you are trying to stop wide vechicles going up Atherstan rd but putting that concrete bollards in Buller rd it is so tight just getting a normal size car through it .
Southampton City Council: Hi Mike, the restriction on Bullar Road was specifically designed to discourage HGVs whilst accomdating normal vehicles.

Dave Warnock: What target do you have for the % of School children cycling to school? Surveys show that nearly 50% of children would like to cycle to school but very few do because they and their parents do not think it is safe. What are you doing to increase levels?
Southampton City Council: We have a Bike It Officer who is working with many schools to encourage cycling and scootering to schools. This involves parents as well their children. With regards to our targets we will provide you with an answer to this in the next few days.
Hedge Hog: Does your Bike It Officer Cycle everyday ?

Dave Warnock: How many of your Councillors, staff and consultants been on study tours in the Netherlands before being allowed to design cycle infrastructure?
Southampton City Council: Hi Dave, in this day and age of the internet, we are able to research without spending the money to send people abroad. For example, the improvements to Salt Marsh junction are based on a system widely used in Denmark.
Dave Warnock: So far your research has clearly failed at the Itchen Bridge Junction (is that what you mean by Salt Marsh?) That junction is absolutely nothing like anything in either Netherlands or Copenhagen (I have cycled in both). The Dutch are quite rightly unimpressed by Danish junctions which have a much lower safety record.
Dave Warnock: Please document your internet references that support your design. For example read this (long and detailed but includes your specific junction) (A view from the cycle path: TfL’s terrible “two stage right turn” – which is actually approved… As the As Easy As Riding A Bike blog discussed, the TfL design is not really a two-stage turn, it is a four or five stage turn. I can’t believe anyone will really do it as they hope. The worst aspect of it is the inbuilt conflict with pedestrians through the shared-space confusion. And you are right…)
Hedge Hog: When are you going to be brave enough to ban cars in Southampton like the Dutch did years ago or is the parking revenue far to great ?

Ian Roth: I’m aware of the trials involving traffic lights for cyclists that are going on in London. If the trials are successful, have you any idea when they might be rolled out across the UK?
Southampton City Council: Hi Ian, we’ve popped you a reply on your other comment! Have a lovely evening.

Dave Warnock: So you announced this with a picture of the highway improvement programme that showed:
– zero cyclists
– zero safe provision for cyclists
Southampton City Council: Hi Dave, good point, however this was a generic picture and not intended to demonstrate a highways improvement programme. As per a previous response, we’ve already made improvements to a number of junctions to make them more cyclist-friendly and we’re continuing to invest in the city’s cycle network to encourage more people to cycle.
Joe Costello: It looks like something from a 1960s “view of the future” article!
Dave Warnock: Why would you have a generic picture produced that does not reflect what you want to see in highways improvement?
I look at your images and see that you are uninterested in
– tackling pollution
– tackling obesity
– tackling congestion
– reducing NHS costs
– reducing employee time off
– increasing childrens concentration at school
All these are benefits that you are choosing to show as ones you don’t care about.

Rob Taylor: “Thank you for your suggestions. We will take them into consideration.” = We’ve made a decision, spent a small fortune, designed and built something fundamentally flawed and universally criticised, but we’re sticking to it so tough.

Jason Smithwick: Ref: Itchen Bridge. Trying my best to be constructive here, but the management of the expectation of priorities is wrong. Cyclists have a lane that cars should not cross unless it is clear (Highway Code 182,183) and that is their expectation. But all …See More

Louise Payne: Shared space, I personally think it is confusing and dangerous, due to lack of priority signs. I realise this is the point, but it doesn’t seem to work in Southampton. Also, the new junction on the town side of the Itchen Bridge is, I think more dangerous for cyclists and drivers than before. What can the council do to reassure road users there and prevent further accidents?

Matthew Read: Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately Hampshire Constabulary are unable to deal with the sheer amount of bad pavement parking, however as a council you have the authority to place a restriction on this and deal with it in a civil manner. Why is this not done?

Matt Dean: Who was the best ever Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport?

Jeremy Sargent: Why is the council spending money on re-paving work outside west quay centre but not sweeping the streets?

Jacqui Rayment: Thank you to all have asked Questions we have to stop ,but we are endeavouring to answer Q posed pre 7pm

Kevin Browne: Regarding Bellemoor Road and Julie’s question earlier, when was the last time anyone from the Council had a look at Bellemoor Road?? It is in a terrible state, and as Julie mentioned it is a bus route and has 3 schools on it. Something needs to be done much sooner than “it’s on our radar”!!!

Naomi Winson: Agree with Adrian Gill any ideas on how this could be improved?

Jacqui Rayment: Yes we are doing our best but we have a number of detail Q to answer.

Adrian Eyers: would it not be better to stagger the lights on the bridge as its a nightmare now the way its set up had 4 near misses already

Hedge Hog: Nothing is happening on the Q&A or is this happening elsewhere ?


Southampton City Council: Thank you to everyone joining in in our live Q&A. We’re working through all your questions so please do be patient with us.

Hedge Hog: Why do all councils build first then try to address the roads etc…after the event of clogging the whole place up and then hiding behind the excuse of “there is nospace” surely anyone with common sense puts in the road and cycle network and parking first before permitting the builders lining their pockets.

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