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Ashton Vale changes due to Metrobus, Metrowest & South Bristol Link Road

The South Bristol Link Road (SBLR) opened in December 2016. It has a parallel shared use path for pedestrians and cycles which connects at Long Ashton to the Festival Way (National Cycle Network 33). It then links at the other end to the Malago Greenway at Hengrove. There is a spur connecting through the Long Ashton Park & Ride to the maintenance track / cycleway alongside the guided busway between Long Ashton and Temple Meads.

The Metrobus busway will overfly the Temple Meads to Portbury rail line at Ashton Vale on a new deck. The maintenance track / cycleway continues and terminates at Ashton Vale Road, where the railway is crossed by a level crossing (See sheet 201749-PA-908 at Travelwest https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/travelwest/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/avtm-general-arrangement-plans.pdf). On the opening of the railway to passenger trains to Portishead (as part of Metrowest), it is currently proposed to close the level crossing (providing a new access from the west to the industrial estate). This will also close the public footpath crossing to Barons Close.

The current proposed route for cyclists and pedestrians between Ashton Vale Road and Winterstoke Road is a diversion of about 300 metres via a ramp to Ashton Road, and a convoluted series of crossings, ramps and subways, all of which fall short of current guidelines for such facilities due to gradients, and width.

For cyclists travelling to South Bedminster / Ashton Gate, the diversion adds considerably to the journey time. Travelling towards the city, the route is much less attractive, more inconvenient and congested at peak times with school foot traffic.

We have written to MetroWest as part of the ‘Ashton & Pill micro-consolation’ suggesting that the direct link between the Metrobus cycleway and Winterstoke Road is maintained by creating a subway under the railway at Barons Close. This would require onward facilities on Winterstoke Road to link to existing cycleways.

PS There was a dramatic ‘Santa Cycle Ride’ in December 2016 to mark the opening of the SBLR. Check out the Flickr gallery.

Metrobus construction impact on cycle routes

As construction work starts on the various Metrobus routes we can expect considerable disruption to some key cycling routes through the city. In some areas this is a worthwhile inconvenience to get some valuable improvements. In others the outcome is less clear. There’s a useful website with all the various projects at metrobusbuild.info.

Key points at present include:

  • Ashton Avenue Bridge by Cumberland Basin will be closed for a year (a full 12 months!). We are told that “The diversion does not use the road. Cyclists and pedestrians will be segregated and protected from the traffic by safety barriers. Temporary cycling improvements to both Ashmead Way and McAdam Way will be provided to complement the main diversion whilst the bridge is closed.” Further information on betterbybike.info

  • Work on the Centre will start mid-September and will include segregated cycle routes.

  • Redcliffe Roundabout has been resurfaced and widened, with barely a nod to helping cyclists across this difficult, and now faster, roundabout.  Nor any improvement to the congested and overused shared use Brunel Mile, already a point of unnecessary conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.

  • South Goucestershire has works at Stoke Gifford and Bradley Stoke way. Hambrook Lane will be closed to motor vehicles for 38 weeks from Wednesday 2nd September which could be very pleasant while it lasts. In other areas there’s little evidence of benefit for cycling.

  • South Bristol Link road is also underway. This will improve some cycle trips, but the new road and the new traffic it generates is likely to make cycling in South Bristol even more challenging.

Of course there’s also other things going on such as Princes Street Bridge closed to cars, and Strawberry Line temporary closure.

As an example of the kind of problems likely to arise the section of cycletrack/footway along Winterstoke Road was closed for several days for ground tests recently with no provision for those unfortunate enough to try to cycle there. This is a main route to Ashton Park School and will probably be closed again but for a longer when the main works begin. The working assumption seemed to be that it is not a cycle route at all, perhaps as anyone trying to use it now would be quite lost without pretty detailed local knowledge due to existing poor signing. As all the works are being lead by different contractors it’s as if the everyday management of the road system live in parallel universes as far as walking and cycling as concerned.

We’ll be doing our best to press for proper provision and alternatives for those cycling while these works are going on. Do get in touch if you spot something that can be improved or if you can help make things better for others.

All change in the centre – MetroBus and Temple Greenways

Metrobus

The Government has now approved the North Fringe to Hengrove Package, the third and final section of the MetroBus network. This means all three MetroBus schemes now have funding approval and planning permissions.

We remain concerned that these major schemes will prove very expensive for the city and will not deliver the promised improvement to public transport that people are crying out for. Further, we feel the plans marginalise cycling and will not contribute to achieving the 20% level of cycling that the Mayor has committed to in the Bristol Cycle Strategy.

We do welcome the publication (in a rather dark corner of the Travelwest site) of a list of the ‘new and improved facilities for cyclist that will be provided across the MetroBus network, making it easier and safer to travel by bike’. MetroBus cycling_short version. These include:

  • Cycle stands at all stops
  • 4.5km shared path along the South Bristol Link
  • 2.5km shared path alongside the guided busway from Long Ashton to Cumberland Road
  • Shared path on the new Bathurst Basin bridge and Redcliffe Hill
  • Significantly redesigned city centre ‘to give greater priority to pedestrians and cyclists’.

Temple Quarter

Further changes will come through the Temple Quarter Greenways around the station. We’re not impressed by what we’ve seen so far. The one ray of hope is that they are now asking for views before final proposals are set. We’ve really tried to be positive but it’s hard when all the big decisions are made before trying to squeeze cycling in around the margins.

We’re still working on a formal response to the informal consultation (!), and there’s still a lot to play for, but at present our assessment is that this is just not good enough. It may actually be worse than nothing as it will set back getting a proper Triple A (All Ages and Abilities) network by a generation.

Do chip in on the consultation, in particular making the point that there is almost no ‘Space for Cycling’ – it’s yet more of the highly problematic shared use and shared conflict. (Note, we generally like shared use where volumes and speeds are low but that just won’t be the case here.)

Space for Cycling

Does this measure advance the six themes of 1) Protected space on main roads; 2) Remove through motor traffic; 3) Safe routes to school; 4) Cycle friendly town centres; 5) Cycle routes in green spaces; 6) 20mph speed limits?

Amber – overall neutral

Road Danger Reduction

Does this measure seek a genuine reduction in danger for all road users by identifying and controlling the principal sources of threat?

Amber – overall neutral

Triple A Quality (All Ages and Abilities)

Will this measure be attractive to all ages and abilities using all kinds of cycles?

Amber – overall neutral

Strategic Cycling Network

How does this measure contribute to the development of Bristol Council’s planned integrated and coherent strategic cycle network?

Red – overall disbenefit

Cycle-proofing

How far does this measure provide for Triple A Space for Cycling in the future?

Amber – overall neutral

 

 

North Fringe to Hengrove Package MetroBus

North Fringe to Hengrove Package MetroBus Informal Consultation

http://travelplus.org.uk/NFHPconsult/ (Deadline passed 16 Jan 2015)

Our response:

Bristol Cycling Campaign wishes to comment on the NFHP proposals across the route. We seek commitment that all developments and designs will take cycling into consideration and will conform to the Bristol City Council (BCC) Cycling Strategy that is soon to be published.

BCC endorsed our own Freedom to Ride Bristol Cycling Manifesto.

Both documents call for improved cycling infrastructure design including road danger reduction and installing physically protected space for cycling on main roads.

The Campaign would like to discuss further with you the opportunities presented by the Metrobus project for supporting Bristol City’s objective of doubling cycling numbers and look forward to ongoing dialogue with the project.

Our detailed comments follow, but are by no means exhaustive:

  1. Creswicke Road is currently fairly low trafficked and reasonably comfortable for cycling. The proposal to narrow traffic lanes with use of central hatching will squeeze cyclists. Additional pinch point build outs are proposed which will cause further problems for cyclists (the plans are vague, but this appears to the case)
  2. The proposal to create a gyratory system in the South Bristol campus draws on 1960s style traffic planning, and will make cycle access more difficult. Contra flow cycling should be catered for.
  3. A large number of cycling desire routes focus on and through the Centre. There is no comprehensive attempt to recognise this as part of the design, just a few tokens. (The new road across the centre space further diminishes this area). The new cycleway on Baldwin St needs to be extended to The Centre.
  4. The plans suggest that the cycling traffic signal at the eastern end of St Nicholas Street will be removed – please would you confirm the situation.
  5. The uphill segregated cycle track on Coldharbour Lane reduces in width at southern end (already substandard). Additional conflict at new bus junction.
  6. Cyclists should be legally allowed to go both ways on East St but this is not addressed by Metrobus plans.
  7. Two narrow traffic lanes (bus and all purpose) are to be introduced Bedminster Parade, squeezing cyclists close to Imperial Arcade wall. This is not acceptable and does not conform the Cycling Strategy. Several people have commented on this at https://www.change.org/p/metrobus-project-team-and-mayor-of-bristol-drop-the-metrobus-proposal-to-remove-footway-space-at-bedminster-parade-including-the-footway-running-along-the-outside-of-the-imperial-arcade-for-road-widening . Children from St Mary Redcliffe school use this informally to avoid having to use this hostile section of the A38.
  8. Cyclists are dumped onto Hartcliffe Way where the existing cycle track ends. Metrobus bus doesn’t attempt to address the need for provision but creates narrower traffic lanes that cyclists will be squeezed in.
  9. Dangerous junctions where cyclists are in conflict with traffic, such as Headley Lane/Hartcliffe Way, not addressed

We have raised issues previously during the project but do not feel that they are being addressed.

Please would you arrange a meeting with the Campaign to discuss the issues raised by this and the other Metrobus projects.

 

Martin McDonnell
Secretary, Bristol Cycling Campaign

Metro Mayor 2017

In May 2017 people living in Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset (BaNES) and South Gloucestershire will vote to elect the first Mayor for the “West of England metropolitan area”. This newly created role will chair a “combined authority” comprising Bristol’s mayor and council leaders from BaNES and South Glos.,  and will have powers over Transport, Housing & Planning, and Education & Skills.

Cycling is great for the economy & people’s health and the election of a new Mayor represents a huge opportunity to improve cycling facilities in the area. The Mayor must have a transforming vision for transport and the political will to take bold action. We are calling on candidates to:

Support a CycleWest Strategy by expanding the the Bristol Cycling Strategy commitments to the wider West of England area.
Bristol Council has already committed to £16 per head investment in cycling, an ambition of 20% of commuter trips being cycled and the progressive delivery of an attractive, safe cycle network. We must see these measures expanded to the whole of West of England.

We need the following:

REDUCED THROUGH-TRAFFIC  on residential streets making streets more pleasant and liveable for residents

PROTECTED SPACE – Lots of high quality, protected, continuous, cycle lanes.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL so that children can to cycle to school safely helping them be more active and independent

PEOPLE-FRIENDLY CENTRES – Prioritising walking, cycling and public transport makes public spaces more pleasant places to work, shop and relax.

TRAFFIC-FREE ROUTES – Open new routes for cycling, giving safer options for recreation and commuting.

LOWER TRAFFIC SPEEDS – Design streets to naturally encourage lower speeds

 

We are writing to the candidates to understand their position and are sending them the following questions:

1. Will you champion the West of England’s cycling and walking culture?

2. Will you commit 10% transport budget for walking and cycling in response to the scale of the challenge and potential benefits to health, wealth and
happiness?

3. Will you establish MetroCycle on an equal footing with MetroRail, MetroBus?

 

General Questions for Candidates

1. How do you plan to Get Bristol Moving?

2. Will you prioritise Funding for Cycling​ with sustained investment of £16 per head, and an aspiration for £25 per head?

3. Will you open up our Streets for All​ through a ‘good transport plan’ in every neighbourhood?

4. Will you take every opportunity to create Space for Cycling​ on busy or fast roads and junctions, with ‘Triple A’ standards for All Ages and Abilities?

5. Will you plan for Living Hearts​ for the centre and our neighbourhoods?

6.  What would you prioritise in your attempts to improve levels of Active Transport in the area?

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