– Council respond to our Stop Pinching Bikes campaign by improving QA process

– Heritage concerns for the City Centre Promenade Route

– And the joint BCC – BCyC cycle network plans.

We’ve long been asking for the Council to adopt a thorough Quality Assurance process for all its road schemes and it appears we have some progress on this.  Terry Bullock, the Council’s chief Traffic Manager, acknowledged mistakes were made before the QA process was fully implemented. He tells us things will get better and the consultation process will be improved, not least via the Bike Forum.

Terry took some trouble to explain the pressure his department is under both with limited budgets and with balancing the needs and safety of all road users. We were pleased to hear him state walking and cycling are high up in the pecking order and his engineers are understanding more the needs of cycling. So much so that new recruits are to be encouraged to take the Council’s free cycle training. Lets hope that some of the ‘old’ recruits get the opportunity too.

With pressure on the Council to cut budgets we’ve been concerned that not enough resource is in place to spend the LSTF and Cycling Ambition funding effectively. Ed Plowden (Senior Project Manager, Local Sustainable Transport) answered these by stating he was confident they do have enough expertise already in place across the department and that roles and responsibilities have been made clear.

Ed went on to talk about the latest plans for the Promenade Route between the Create Centre and Temple Meads. There are many issues to address, not least to preserve the heritage of the area as well as fitting in with ever shifting schemes such as the controversial MetroBus (BRT2). These include a new bridge at Camden Road instead of constructing a second bridge next to Gaol Ferry Bridge, which would block the view of the older bridge. Our very own Eric Booth was credited with this alternative plan, which better spreads the demand evenly along this stretch of the New Cut.

There are also heritage concerns about adapting the ‘Banana’ Bridge at St Luke’s Road, though interestingly a cycling ramp would make the bridge DDA compliant. Finally the proposed bridge avoiding the Wapping Road / Commercial Road roundabout has been removed from the plans to be replaced by an improved roundabout and crossing by Bathurst Basin leading to a newly paved route through Redcliffe Wharf. Disappointingly, Commercial Road will be shared use pavement at first, rather than the Dutch segregation of Clarence Road though it’s hoped this section can be upgraded at a later date.

Our cycling network map has now been merged with the council’s version. To our mild surprise, both versions turn out to be remarkably similar. We hope to work on the mapping more to show various layers according to the type of route, where our thoughts differ from the Council’s and which routes are a priority for implementation.

Finally John Richfield, Cycling Policy Officer, updated us on the Baldwin Street safety scheme, which is ready to be put forward for approval, and the Gloucester Road safety scheme. This has already been presented to the Bishopston Neighbourhood Forum and will be an experimental scheme lasting between 6 and 18 months. At the end of this period it will be implemented either in whole or in part, based on the results of monitoring.

Keep an eye out on our Bike Forum page for the full minutes, which we will publish as soon as they are ready. This is a temporary arrangement whilst access to the Council’s website is being worked on.