SIR: Unlike the views expressed in last week’s edition (letter by C J Ashcroft ‘Think again’) we and other city dwellers support the city and county councils’ recent actions and aspirations to increase space for pedestrians and cyclists in some of the city streets and spaces, including North Walls. Chris is obviously inconvenienced as a motorist and yet, a bit begrudgingly, feels that some of these measures to stop ‘rat running’ might be necessary. We whole heartedly support actions to prevent rat running especially when vehicles encroach on residential streets or through attractive and popular city spaces like The Square and Market Street (which ought to be pedestrianised anyway) and Hyde Street (which could be an attractive shared space over which pedestrians have priority). There are other historic streets in the city where similar action should be considered and we look forward to further initiatives being announced by both councils.

We, who try to daily negotiate the narrow city pavements, are fed up and feel threatened by vehicles which, other than at a few controlled crossing points, have complete dominance over pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians and cyclists in Winchester must always defer to the car. We need creative imaginative solutions to change this priority.

As a good start, the all important Winchester Movement Strategy contains priorities and options that will begin to change this status quo. Priority One is to ‘reduce city centre traffic’. If the strategy actions are implemented, the city’s public realm could begin to become safer, less polluted, quieter, more attractive and better connected for pedestrians and cyclists. Chris and others who frequently come into or pass though the city by car will have to adjust their travelling habits and patterns. At the moment the car rules over the pedestrian and to keep each apart we have erected all sorts of unsightly traffic paraphernalia which devalues historic streets and spaces (e.g. raised narrow pavements, railings, white and yellow road markings, plastic bollards, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and road signs). Pedestrians and cyclists ought to be able to enjoy streets and city spaces for their historic and cultural importance and for their leisure opportunity but they are prevented from doing so.

John and Dee Hearn,

Newburgh Street,