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To: Southampton City Council

Make Woodmill a Safer Route

Make Woodmill a Safer Route

We call for Southampton City Council to prioritise the safety of vulnerable road users, especially children, over the convenience of drivers by making Woodmill a Safer Route for pedestrians and cyclists. We ask that the bottleneck be closed to through-traffic creating a traffic-free crossing of the River Itchen that children can use to safely journey to school and play in the park.

We envision a safe route for walkers, runners and cyclists and those working at, and enjoying, Woodmill Activity Centre and The SUP Company. This would allow social distancing during the pandemic and cease the danger to pedestrians who have to step into the road to pass each other. Emergency vehicles should continue to be able to use the route and would benefit from the uncongested route.

Why is this important?

Too many incidents have happened on this section of Woodmill Lane; most recently a Nissan Micra crashed into the mill building causing serious damage and closing the road for an indefinite period (1).

Previous major incidents have included the injury of a 64-year-old man, who was struck by a van as he was walking his dog (2) and a collision and altercation between motorists that involved the Police (3).

Other incidents include an 11-year-old cyclist being driven at as they left the activities centre with the driver claiming that they had ‘skipped the lights’ as well as cars running into the bollards - costing the council in repairs to the pavement - and numerous near-misses as cars and vans mount the curb.

This is a historic site (4) that, rather than being enjoyed, is blighted by air and noise pollution and the ever-present risks posed by unwary and dangerous drivers. Whilst many drivers have learned to take care passing through this bottleneck, there are always those who either don’t care or are unaware of the hazards on this stretch of road. For too long we have hoped that all drivers will take more care at this location and yet, despite efforts by Southampton Council to improve traffic flow, collisions and near-misses continue to occur.

Additionally, during a time of pandemic, social distancing is impossible with the path narrowing to less than a metre at some points and with two blind corners making it risky to step out and create safe space for other pedestrians.

Fears of congestion at other crossings of the Itchen are no reason to keep this route open; research shows that the only way to reduce congestion is to provide alternatives to driving - including making active travel both safe and attractive - and demand management such as reducing access to roads (5).

If Southampton City Council wants to encourage healthier travel to benefit the city, what better way than to implement a safe crossing of the Itchen for active travel at Woodmill? In time, drivers will opt for other transport modes that mean they can enjoy this safer route.

1. https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/19296021.closed-woodmill-lane-remains-shut-car-smashes-southampton-building/
2. https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/18483049.hit-run-woodmill-bridge-southampton/
3. https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/17918044.police-called-woodmill-bridge/
4. http://sotonopedia.wikidot.com/page-browse:woodmill
5. http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/jtrc/infrastructure/congestion/CongestionSummary.pdf

Southampton, UK

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Reasons for signing

  • I run and socialise in the area and really hate all the pollution, noise, and dangerousness of this route. I work for the emergency services and it’s a nightmare trying to get through on blue lights during peak times. It’s far too narrow for the constant use it faces.
  • Too many people are getting hurt all because of careless drives, this is a beauty spot and must be preserved so all of us can free safe when we visit
  • Crossing this bridge in a car has always been impractical because of the width, and the average size of a private vehicle seems to be increasing over time. There are three other (much better) ways to cross the river by car within the city boundary. Unless it's somehow possible to make this bridge wider, closing it to traffic just seems inevitable to me. Now would be the perfect time, as it's already closed for repairs.

Updates

2021-05-16 18:14:30 +0100

Wow, thank you for the support, it's really heartening. Please continue to suggest this petition to you friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours.

The barriers remain up at Woodmill following the incident last week and so you can continue enjoying quiet walking and wheeling through. We managed to get the concrete blocks moved so that people using wheelchairs are not as restricted. Hopefully the there is more room now than on the footway when the road is open to cars and vans.

2021-05-15 10:06:59 +0100

100 signatures reached

2021-05-14 19:18:13 +0100

50 signatures reached

2021-05-14 17:05:37 +0100

25 signatures reached

2021-05-14 14:10:00 +0100

10 signatures reached