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South Gloucestershire Draft Cycle Strategy – our response

A lot of useful work has gone in to this draft strategy which follows on from the publication last year of the Bristol Cycle Strategy. As with all general plans and statements of intent they are likely to have only a slight influence on what actually happens, but they are absolutely necessary and important to get right as they make certain outcomes more likely than others.

Read our full response here: 2016-01-15SouthGloucestershireCyclingStrategy.

Ref: Draft Version Dec 2015

Bristol Cycling Campaign welcomes the development of a cycling strategy for South Gloucestershire and many of the aims and aspirations expressed therein. However all good things can be made even better, so here are our comments on the documents which have been presented for consultation.

Bristol Cycling Campaign believes that everyone in Greater Bristol, whatever their age or ability, deserves safe and inviting space for cycling. This should never be to the detriment of walking. We have the following general comments on this consultation drawing on the Bristol Cycling Manifesto, and the Making Space for Cycling guide for street renewals which set out how to achieve Space for Cycling:

  1. The strategy aims to “make cycling more attractive” and “make better places”, but this is not carried through to the rest of the strategy.  Too many of the current and proposed routes in the South Gloucestershire area are alongside and close to main roads with unpleasantly high volumes of motor traffic.  Making cycling attractive and comfortable by creating a more pleasant environment for cycling routes is important for encouraging more people to cycle.
  2. We strongly encourage and expect a fully integrated approach with Bristol City Council in delivering a unified and seamless cycle network across the whole of Greater Bristol. This should apply to all relevant issues including design standards, signing and routes. There should be a close match between the Bristol Cycle Strategy 2015 and the final one for South Gloucestershire.
  3. The aspirational network of cycle routes should include all those strategic and neighbourhood routes identified by Bristol Cycling Campaign as set out on the following maps South Gloucestershire North, South Gloucestershire South, South Gloucestershire Outer.

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Southville Bridge abandoned – what’s next?

One of the more iconic cycling schemes in the city has been abandoned (here and here). The Southville Bridge was approved in 2014 and would have linked Camden Road and through to North Street in Bedminster to the Harbourside. It remains an important part of the Greater Bedminster neighbourhood cycling plan.

Costs had escalated alarmingly so Mayor George Ferguson pulled the project. The budget will be reallocated into other cycling projects and there has been agreement from DfT for an extended delivery timetable. Nevertheless, it is disappointing news that this useful link for one of the areas of the city with increasing numbers of people cycling.

This adds to an alarming number of Bristol cycling projects that have been recently cancelled after months of work, and other schemes having a major impact on cycling:

  • Ashton Avenue bridge is closed with a detour, 
  • Prince St bridge is closed with a temporary walking bridge, 
  • proposed improvements to Banana Bridge abandoned, 
  • cycling elements of Bedminster Bridge Metrobus changes are not clear
  • Gaol Ferry Bridge continues to have detours and poor provision for cycling during construction of Wapping Wharf.
  • Merchant’s Dock improvements remain bogged down.

Pragmatically the redirect of funds makes sense. In principle it does not. Limited cycling money being used to shore up schemes that should have properly included cycling infrastructure from the start (we’re looking at you, Temple Quay Enterprise Zone and MetroBus, and at all the major developments). What message does it give BCC officers and others who are actively/passively working against cycling? “Continue as you are, don’t think about cycling, someone else will be swoop in and fix the mess later.”

This is what the council is proposing to redistribute funds to.

  • 20mph – complete the citywide roll out to cover 80% of streets
  • Easton Way – extend the 5m wide segregated route to connect the Frome Greenway and the Railway Path.
  • Old Market – alternative route to the busy roundabout
  • Cattle Market Road – part of the CAF2 bid but now in CAF1. But why is this not funded through the Local Enterprise Zone?
  • Bedminster Roundabout – to enhance Metrobus changes
  • Clarence Road – ‘snagging’ / replacing of the ‘toby bollards’ (in the news recently)
  • Baldwin Street – to tie in the ends of this segregated route.
  • City Centre – being remodelled by Metrobus and now with ‘a delineated cycle route’
  • Old City permeability – ‘traffic calming on Corn St’. WTF!

This comes at a time when it’s reported that the budget squeeze puts brakes on cycle safety pledge, while the Minister ‘hangs head in shame’ over British cycling provision, and yet George Osborne is told that investing in cycling will save £47 billion.

Tyndall’s Park Road and Woodland Road

[UPDATE: Response to the consultation is here 10TM028 Tyndalls Park Road Consultation Responses. Some good points such as no hatching lane markings and improvement to the ‘cycle-gate’. Others less so]

Bristol Cycling Campaign has made the following response to proposals for this important junction in Cotham.

Our overall position on this consultation is: Object, with qualifications

Bristol Cycling Campaign believes that every Bristolian, whatever their age or ability, deserves safe and inviting space for cycling on all Bristol’s streets. This should never be to the detriment of walking. We have the following general comments on this consultation drawing on the Bristol Cycling Manifesto, and the Making Space for Cycling guide for street renewals which set out how to achieve Space for Cycling:

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?

Green – overall benefit

Triple A Quality (All Ages and Abilities)

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

Red – overall disbenefit

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

 

Bristol Cycling Campaign has the following specific comments on this consultation:

1. This is an already a busy and important cycling route and likely to become more so. It is part of the existing signed Downs Way and the Strategic Bristol Cycle Network, a central part of the University precinct, and part of the National Cycling Network. It is part of the Q1 Downs Way Quietway and the proposed University Promenade route linking university to Clifton and Gloucester Road, see the Clifton, Cabot and Clifton East neighbourhood cycling page

2. We are of the view that there is an opportunity to progress strategic aspirations of reducing through traffic by closing Woodland Road to through traffic with bollards. This would then allow a proper zebra crossing across Tyndall’s Park road connecting both sides of Woodland Road.

3. The proposed scheme introduces an unpleasant pinch point for cycling along Tyndall’s Park Road. This is likely to deter more people than may be encouraged by a more general reduction of speed.

4. The scheme makes no provision to improve the current serious pinch-point one of the main desire lines for cycling which is to continue north along Woodland Road through the poorly designed and uncomfortable bike-gate. An increase in the width of the two-way cycle lane and removal of the post would deliver a significant improvement to the usability of the route for cyclists. It would also address the present uncomfortably sharp turn from Tyndalls Park Road.

5. We are also concerned that the “existing kerbs to remain at 50mm high around the speed table” as this height may pose a trip risk to pedestrians and cyclists who may not notice the slight kerb and either trip over it when walking or clip it when cycling – particularly at night. We would propose that a 30% sloping kerb could be used to divide the raised table from the cycle track and the footway providing adequate physical separation, yet remaining more forgiving to cyclists and pedestrians alike.

6. At least one of the ramps on the cycle way is shown at the same gradient as the ramps on the road. Since cycles will remain give way, applying ramps to make them slow down should be unnecessary, and the cycle ramps should be much shallower to minimise disturbance.

7. The centre line division on Tyndalls Road should not be reinforced by conversion to hatched lines through the speed table. Firm dividers are generally considered to promote higher speeds, sometimes called the railway effect. This is also confusing for south turns.

8. We would like to have been able to be more supportive but we feel the scheme as proposed will not meet it’s stated aims. While there may be benefits for pedestrians the overall effect will be negative for cycling and the scheme will make it harder to achieve the Mayor’s stated aim through the Bristol Cycle Strategy of achieving 20% cycling in 10 years.

Southville Bridge approved (and objections to South Glos plans)

Southville Bridge

The first new bridge over the New Cut in over 100 years was approved on Weds. 

The £3.2million Southville Bridge (pdf) will run across the New Cut to reflect the natural flow of walkers and cyclists and has been designed to be both functional and in keeping with other bridges in the city.

It will be the first crossing of the New Cut to be designed with both cycling and walking in mind and serving an area with high rates of active travel. It will run from Camden Road, which will not have motor vehicle access, to Chocolate Path and link through to the M-Shed.

Sustrans Area Manager Jon Usher is project managing the new Bridge. The Sustrans press release says, “Bristol is making significant investment in cycling infrastructure and initiatives to make it a viable travel option, reduce congestion, improve air quality and the health of residents. £11m will be invested through the Cycling Ambition Fund over the next five years building on the £23.6m Cycling City programme between 2008-11.”

Objection to Cribbs Causeway plans for 1000 houses without adequate cycling provision

At that same meeting there was also discussion of the impact of plans for 1000 new houses on land at Cribbs Causeway by Haws Wood (map here). This is in South Gloucestershire but the recommendation was to lodge an objection from Bristol due to inadequate transport infrastructure and in particular failure to provide for integrated cycling in to Bristol.  This should deliver the separated and protected part of our cycling Freeway F14 Outer Orbital as it passes through Henbury and Southmead, and the Cribbs area of South Gloucestershire.

The report says, “Walking and cycling – the A4018 does not currently offer an attractive or convenient route for non-motorised forms of transport due to its nature in this location. Whilst a number of alternative quieter routes suitable for cycling will be delivered by the CPNN, namely along Fishpool Hill, Charlton Road and towards Station Road in Henbury, this needs to correlate with improved infrastructure within Bristol to improve facilities and address safety considerations as above.”

Objection to Stoke Gifford plans for 550 houses without adequate cycling provision

Also being discussed were plan for 550 new houses behind the Dower House and Stoke Park (map here). Again the recommendation was to object due to failure to provide adequate transport infrastructure and in particular for cycling. Is there a theme here in South Gloucestershire planning controls?

Major developments like these must deliver the elements of the Strategic Bristol Cycling network they will rely on. In this case it’s F13 Northern Loop, and the Q3 Frome Quietway (see here).

The report says, ‘A scheme was submitted on behalf of Taylor Wimpey to address BCC’s concerns consisting of some coloured surfacing and an illuminated bollard in the vicinity of the Duchess Gate with the intention of alerting motorists to cyclists.

“However, this would fail for three reasons. Firstly, its minor nature will not mitigate the impacts of a 12.5% increase in traffic along Frenchay Park Road; secondly it would fail to encourage cycling along what is the last remaining unsegregated section of cycle route between Bristol City Centre and Stoke Park; and thirdly, its piecemeal nature bears no relationship to the more comprehensive strategy needed to mitigate major housing growth at this junction. Indeed the provision of coloured surfacing is irrelevant to such a busy and congested environment to sufficiently alert motorists to the presence of the cyclists, especially outside of daylight conditions, which is the case during both peak periods for five months of the year.

“The submitted scheme also requires that all cyclists are to use the road in this location. Officers find this suggestion deeply flawed and concerning in that it fails to recognise: a) the nature and characteristics of the road as has been demonstrated b) personal injury accident data specifically affecting cyclists at this location and c) the policy requirement to encourage cycling as a safe and viable alternative to car use. Some roads are conducive to cycling, however this junction is certainly is not, handling over 2,000 vehicular movements during each peak hour.”

We think these objections are fully justified and we’re very pleased that Bristol is putting the pressure on South Gloucestershire to get serious about cycling.

 

 

Filwood Quietway St John’s Lane & Wedmore Vale Consultation – our response

The Filwood Quietway is proposed to link the south of the city with the centre. It is one of the main elements of the £19m Cycling Ambition Fund to upgrade walking and cycling routes across the city. There are four sections, with different characteristics, and different processes for consultation and planning: Whitehouse Street, Victoria Park, St John’s Lane and Wedmore Vale, and the Northern Slopes. The Filwood Quietway section of the TravelWest website has a lot of background and detail. The Victoria Park proposals were withdrawn ‘for further consultation’ in January 2017. We have submitted a response to the proposal for Wedmore Vale and St John’s Lane.

Our full response is here: BCyC.Consults.Wed.Vale.ND.13.2.17

Our overall position on this consultation is: Support with qualifications

Bristol Cycling Campaign believes that every Bristolian, whatever their age or ability, deserves safe and inviting space for cycling on all Bristol’s streets. This should never be to the detriment of walking. We welcome the ambitious target in the council’s Bristol Cycle Strategy for 20% of trips to work by bike by 2020. We have the following general comments on this consultation drawing on the Bristol Cycling Manifesto, and the Making Space for Cycling guide for street renewals which set out how to achieve Space for Cycling:

Space for Cycling Does this measure deliver 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?

Green – overall benefit

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?

Green – overall benefit

Triple A Quality Will this measure be attractive to all ages and abilities using all kinds of cycles? This means ‘Triple A’ quality for All Ages and Abilities Green – overall benefit
Strategic Cycling Network How does this measure contribute to the development of a planned, integrated and coherent strategic cycle network? Green – overall benefit
Cycle-proofing How far does this measure provide for Triple A Space for Cycling in the future? Green – overall benefit

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