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Making Bristol better for cycling

Easton Safer Streets – ask councillors to support

Update: The proposal has now been scaled back to just a single street. Everyone loses.

There is a key decision point on Friday 10th Nov for Easton Safer Streets. Please show your support using the button below. This is Bristol’s first attempt to make a big difference to the vitality of an area by a joined up approach to through traffic (rat-running), rather than a piecemeal street by street approach. Of all the projects in the Cycling Ambition Fund package this is the one with the greatest potential to benefit whole communities, and offers a model for other areas. It continued after local councillors backed down on rat run measures in Windmill Hill Deterring through traffic in Windmill Hill.

There has been a very extensive and detailed ‘co-design’ process involving hundreds of people and dozens of events and meetings, lead by Sustrans. The final design proposals are being considered on Friday 10 November 2017 by the six councillors of the Easton, Eastville and Lawrence Hill wards to decide whether to move on the next stage of formal consultation.

As with all such proposals there is a vigorous lobby against change. We are encouraging everyone who lives in the area, or is affected by the changes, or who would like safer streets in their area, to contact the key six councillors to show their support. We’ve made it easy for you with this button which will open an email with all the info ready for you to add any comments.

Email the Councillors [add your name and comment]

As well as proper protected cycleways and traffic free routes, it’s important that our neighbourhoods become better for walking and cycling. This is one of the six key elements of our Space for Cycling campaign. The citywide implementing of 20mph areas, and steps to manage parking through RPS, have been big steps forward. But reducing through traffic and rat-running in our residential streets will improve life for all. It’s important to remember that this is NOT about stopping use of cars as access is maintained for motor vehicles.

In London there are now three large ‘mini-Holland’ schemes that have been intensely controversial but are now being held as major rejuvenating and business friendly successes. While we are concerned at the rather limited nature of the outcome of the Sustrans lead ‘co-design’ process but it is still worthy of support. There is sound research evidence to back the benefits and impacts of pedestrian improvements and road closures as set out in the new website from the UWE Centre for Transport and Society. Civic leaders also need to understand the lessons from Bristol about the importance of showing leadership The Reclaiming of Queen Square – lessons for ‘metro’ Mayor Tim Bowles.

The six councillors are as follows, and you can read their full statements in response to the Bristol Cycling Manifesto for councillors from 2016 by clicking on the ward links, below are extracts.

Afzal Shah (Easton): no statement of support for Space for Cycling

Ruth Pickersgill (Easton): “I support a transport plan for the ward and a more rigorous enforcing of parking restrictions and speed limits and increased provision of cycle stores, traffic calming measures and supporting new plans for developing ‘streets for all’ through community consultation.”

Mahmadur Khan (Eastville): “I understand and support your cause.  If I am re-elected, I will do all I can.”

Mhairi Threlfall (Eastville, Cabinet Member for Transport): “While some plans may be controversial, we are determined encourage more people to get on their bikes, and provide a safer more pleasant public realm. This means we work tirelessly to make cycling more accessible and safer for people of all ages and abilities.”

Margaret Hickman (Lawrence Hill): “Some plans may be controversial but encouraging more people to cycle safely must be a priority.”

Hibaq Jama (Lawrence Hill): no statement of support for Space for Cycling

Comments

  1. Eric Booth

    Here are some of the additional comments people have made in writing to Councillors:

    “As a resident of Easton, streets that feel unsafe for walking and cycling are my daily reality. I feel very keenly the real need, especially among more vulnerable local people, for quieter, safer streets.”

    “It is really important for the safety of my family that there is positive change to reduce the dangerous over use of cars in the streets in Easton. I work from home and regularly hear altercations between drivers – the very narrow street I live on (Hinton Road) is completely unsuitable to be used as the busy rat run it currently is. I cycle with my three year old daughter and would be much safer if the changes being proposed go ahead. I also strongly feel the area’s rejuvination would benefit with people using local services by foot rather than driving out of the area. So I’m writing to ask you to support the proposals to make Easton streets safer and better for everyone.”

    “As a local GP who has lived in the area for the last 17 years and as an advocate for health, I would like to encourage you to consider the changes proposed to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce rat running through the area. Increasing safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists not only encourages more people to exercise, allows children to get out and move (vital in the current obesity epidemic) and reduces pollution as well as enhancing community cohesion according to the research. Having lived for a some time in Sweden where routes for walkers and cyclists and safe routes for children are prioritised I can see the benefit both in terms of majority of children cycling and walking to school there, and in terms of health and well being.”

    “Not only are the proposals are innovative and dynamic, they have proven to have worked in improving the quality of life of communities (see established examples in Holland and more recently in London). We have a major issue in BS5 where our Victorian streets are not able to contend with current volumes of traffic. Poor air quality, which has such dire health consequences, is on the rise. We must seek to take action. I do not think we should ban the motor vehicle but I do believe that we should make other modes of travel much easier and more attractive. These proposals balance these needs and as such I welcome them. ”

    “It takes confidence to start the process of change and, as we are all too well aware, Change is a difficult process that is often met initially with resistance but that should not discourage us from embarking on a plan that has the proven potential to improve people’s quality of life through the benefits to not only their individual and societies physical health but also community wellbeing”

    “Thanks for your reply Cllr. “However…” sounds a bit like you have decided to appease the car lobby. It’s not really about disadvantage as residents can find other routes to drive through, they will just find it is easier (and cheaper) to walk and cycle through the middle of Easton. Please tell me you are not going to, at the last second and after a couple of years of thorough consultation with the community, scotch the one opportunity we have to model an exemplary approach to livable communities and sustainable travel. This really could set a great precedent for other areas of Bristol to change travel patterns and tackle the car dominance which has knock on health and environmental benefits which I am sure you’re aware of.”

    “This means a lot to me as an ex-cyclist who was involved in many near-misses from dangerously speeding traffic, and from illegally parked vehicles (often opening doors suddenly) in cycle lanes in the area, and having known many close friends who were less lucky. In the few areas with a degree of traffic calming, the community feels so much better connected and safer for people of all ages and modes of transport.”

    “Sustrans know what they are doing and their approach has brought success across the UK. Our traffic and pollution heavy needs to change and I am pleased to see campaigns like this take a stand. Please support them.”

    “I was particularly disappointed to learn that Chelsea Road may no longer become one-way. It is a road with lots of street parking and blind corners, and the fewer cars passing through it, the better.”

    “Easton is also a potentially safe through way for cyclists from Bristol Temple Meads to North Bristol. Currently you have to be insane and on drugs to cycle anywhere north from the station. Seriously; it really is no fun at all. I did it in the dark last week on roads I didn’t recognise and up an unlit cycleway. One of the most unpleasant experiences in order to avoid the unpleasant experience of cycling through town (Baghdad). I’m therefore writing to ask you to support the proposals to make Easton streets safer and better for everyone.”

    “Decreasing rat running improves communities, decreases pollution and makes healthier transport such a walking and cycling safer. It is time Bristol caught up with other major cities in supporting these initiatives.”

    “As a resident of Lawrence Hill/Easton, I am very concerned about the air quality and lack of safety on the local streets. The Easton Safer Streets project has proposed some changes to the current layout which I believe will help local people live longer, healthier lives. The proportion of children in Lawrence Hill ward is 26%, they are the recipients of high levels of NO2, PM 2.5 and PM 10, and their lungs may never develop to their fullest extent if they have been subject to inner city air their whole lives. // My 6 year old son has needed to be hospitalised because of the severity of his asthma. I am now expecting another child and am very concerned for her health too. We lead active lives and walk or cycle as much as possible, however it genuinely feels like we risk our lives due to the levels of traffic and pollution in our local streets. // The paradoxical situation where some parents drive their children to school because they feel that the roads are not safe enough has got to change. In the summer of 2016, in front of Bannerman Road School, a child was hit by a parent driving their children home. The child nearly lost both of his legs. This is but one example, there are similar stories from May Park and Whitehall Schools, other local primaries. We need safer routes to school and safer routes to travel through our neighbourhood on foot and bicycle.”

    “This is also an opportunity to keep commuter & leisure cyclists safer from the irresponsible behaviour of some taxi & delivery drivers using the city as a race track & for you to support the proposals to make Easton streets safer and better for everyone. You’ve got a tough job, and I take my hat off to you getting on with what needs to be done to make Bristol a good place to live, commute and work….and enjoy leisure time!”

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