Bristol Cycling Campaign welcomes the final stage of planning for the 12,000 seat Bristol Arena. There are some real improvements over earlier versions, in particular a new bridge for access from the Bath Road (but it’s far too narrow), and an increase in cycle parking (but still a hopelessly inadequate 250 places).

Our overall position on this consultation is: Support with qualifications
The Arena will be a real asset to Bristol however current plans fail to provide for cycling in line with city policies and aspirations. A missed opportunity.

As usual we assess against five criteria and use a Red/Amber/Green rating. It’s disappointing that we can’t give a green rating on any point.

Our full response is here: BristolCyclingCampaignResponsetoBristolArena2015-12-18. Just click here to support our response, but remember to add your name and address.

Space for Cycling Does this measure provide for 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? Amber – overall neutral
Cycle-proofing How far does this measure provide for Triple A Space for Cycling in the future? Amber – overall neutral

  1. We warmly welcome the improved cycle and pedestrian access from the A4 through a widened pedestrian/cycle link and new bridge from Three Lamps Junction to the arena entrance on Bath Road. This is likely to become a well used route for everyday trips by bike.
  2. However the width should be at least 4m. The proposed width is wholly inadequate and will cause conflict with pedestrians and all users as it quickly exceeds capacity. This has happened repeatedly where the growth in cycling has been underestimated introducing unnecessary discord with pedestrians. Contrary to the statement in Chapter 7 p32 of the Environmental Statement we consider it most certainly NOT suitable “for accommodating the volumes of pedestrians and cyclists predicted to access the site from this location”.
  3. We consider it essential that a ramped structure should be added from the A4 to the Arena Plaza, given the challenging changes in levels from the Bath Road. This should have a gradient of 1:20 and be 5m wide. This would extend the linkage through the Arena Island to improve accessibility to the wider TQEZ. It would also bypass the existing narrow footway along the east side of the A4 Bath Road between Three lamps and Bath Bridges, so serving to remove crowd loading impacts and conflict with existing heavy pedestrian/cyclist use of this footway in the weekday 4:30-6:30pm period in particular.
  4. The provision of 252 spaces for cycle parking is inexcusable in a city that is aiming for 20% of trips by bicycle by 2020. The situation is even worse given the shortage of space at Temple Meads station, and that 20 of these will be for staff in a separate location. Even the Council’s own Site Allocations Policy (reviewed to our dissatisfaction in 2014) states that there should be a minimum of one place per 30 seats for ‘stadia’. This is supposed to be a minimum of 400 places. Particularly given that there will be a much higher proportion of already high bike use younger people using the Arena. The suggestion in section 7.6.2 of the Transport Assessment that it is acceptable to use figures from other authorities for guidance fails to take account of already relatively high levels cycling in Bristol, let alone city ambitions. Section 8.3.3 estimates that even at current levels of cycling there will be 37 staff cycling to events, already nearly double the level of provision.
  5. We are pleased that section 8.2.4 of the Transport Assessment acknowledges the already relatively high level of walking and cycling Bristol compared to other cities and includes an adjustment. We feel that this does not however reflect the significant and growing number of people already cycle and who can be expected to access the Arena by cycle over the coming years. These woefully low projections go some way to explain why there is such poor provision for cycling across the site overall.
  6. We consider the location of the cycle store to one side of the site and away from the desire lines will make them an unattractive option. The layout would also appear to introduce areas where people will feel isolated and unsafe and so tend to avoid using them. You can confidently expect bicycles to be locked up all around the site and surrounding areas in an unregulated way. This will also attract bike thieves to easy pickings.
  7. Provision should be made to deliver the proposed widening of the existing footway along the length of Feeder Road to create a shared use path for pedestrians and cyclists, including junction improvements. If this is delayed then access to Arena Island and the wider Enterprise Zone from the east of Bristol will be restricted.
  8. It is regrettable and unhelpful that cycling and walking are considered synonymous in the Transport Assessment, failing to recognise the significantly different requirements of these two modes. This will also tend to assume that provision for one will meet the needs of the other. We reject this assumption. BCyC policy is that these can only be considered suitable provision for comfortable use by those cycling and walking where volumes and relative speeds are low, both don’t apply here.
  9. The staff travel plan in the Framework Travel and Event Management Plan (page 6.1) makes no mention of restrictions on staff car parking. This is a necessary complement to measures promoting cycling. We would expect the travel plan to be explicit on this point.
  10. The visitor travel information (page 7.1) refers to provision of ‘a map showing cycle routes and the network locally’ but much better will be to ensure visible signing and visual guides taking people all the way to the (expanded) cycle storage, and back.
  11. Provision should be made for future access from the north west corner of the site to Temple Meads station over the existing railway bridge using the unused section of line, or over a new bridge across to the site of the derelict Post Office building.