Tag Archives: Living Heart

Update: City Centre Cycle Network

Prince Street cycle track at night

Bristol Cycling (BCyc) have recently been engaging with Bristol City Council (BCC) officers about the city centre cycle network. A lot has happened in the last few years so now is a good time for an update on some recent and upcoming schemes:

The Prince Street cycle track has been fully open for a few months, is very well used and is functioning pretty well. BCyc raised a few queries about some elements of the design and we hope that action will be taken on these where possible as well as lessons learned for future schemes. Minor snags aside, overall it’s a good example of high-quality, segregated infrastructure and demonstrates that if you ’build it and they will come’.

Wapping Road cycle track looking towards Prince Street bridge from the Louisiana pub

Prince Street now links to a new segment of track on Wapping Road. Unfortunately the ongoing development of Wapping Wharf means that the track is currently not continuous over the junctions. We have been assured by officers that, on completion of the next phase, the gaps in the track will be filled in to creat a continuous segregated route from the Louisiana pub to the Centre. We will be keeping an eye on this and definitely holding BCC to their word.

Redcliffe Bascule Bridge Bristol cycle track looking towards Saint Mary Redcliffe church

A scheme for redesigning Redcliffe Way is currently being developed by officers at BCC. Cycling officers, backed by us, are pushing for a fully segregated cycle track to link to the existing one on the Redcliffe Bascule Bridge.  This would be a much-improved connection between Bristol Temple Meads and the Centre at Broad Quay.

Officers have also been proceeding with developing proposals for a segregated cycle track over the Old Market underpass that will link into the Castle Park-Baldwin Street route and we hope to see action on this in 2019.

Victoria Street group of cyclists at Temple Gate

We also discussed the potential for a segregated cycle track along Victoria Street. This is part of BCC’s Draft City Centre Framework and there is certainly adequate width to achieve this. Victoria Street is an important link between the city centre and the Temple Meads transport hub and could be a really useful cycle route.

There is still a lot to do and there are still major barriers to cycling into the city centre and these will require extensive and expensive work to remedy. However things are certainly on the up for cycling in Bristol city centre and we are now at a stage where some of the investment in segregated tracks is starting to pay off as sections become whole routes and therefore the beginnings of a usable cycle network.

Road Rage on Nelson Street

If you’ve had problems riding this road please let us know

If you’re cycling along Nelson Street perhaps you should wear a flak jacket or, at least, a GoPro camera. In the last couple of months two of our members have reported road rage incidents involving buses and bikes.

A bit of an uneven battle you might think 15 tons against 15 kilos. Double decker buses pick on someone your own size!

But this is serious; someone might get hurt. Observations by our members suggest that these incidents are the tip of the iceberg, with many other cyclists suffering similar intimidation. As usual most cyclists, accept their second class status, just give way, get off the bike, get on the pavement, inconvenience pedestrians etc.

Legally, of course, we don’t have to do that. The cycle contraflow on Nelson Street heading towards the Centre is in force. The paint has worn thin (we suggested repainting to the Council) but the signs are clearly there and drivers must obey them; even FirstBus drivers are not above the law! Please don’t try to run cyclists off the road!

Our members have complained to FirstBus and reported the incidents to the Police but, of course, nothing was done. We have suggested bus drivers should receive instruction and training and have made our fears known to the Council. Really all we want is that buses keep to their side of the road give way to cyclists on the contraflow before overtaking and don’t overtake bikes heading to Broadmead, given the lack of space.

We sympathise with bus drivers; it’s not their fault; they should not be put in this position. Nelson Street is far too narrow a road to be used as a main bus route and, in fact, dual carriageway. The fault lies with the road design and use.

The Council have plans for Nelson Street and are well aware of our views as to their inadequacy. https://bristolcycling.org.uk/nelson-street-a-messy-chaotic-street/ If you’ve been the victim of, or witnessed, an incident on Nelson Street please let us know at infrastructure@bristolcycling.org.uk or come to one of our meet ups https://bristolcycling.org.uk/diary/ The next is 6pm Thursday 12 July at King William Ale House, 20 King St, Bristol BS1 4EF.

Something should be done before someone is seriously hurt or worse.

Induced Traffic and Traffic Evaporation

The recent debate on the proposed Callington “Relief” Road has brought the concept of “induced traffic” back into the limelight. And also the the related and much neglected evidence for “reduced traffic“, or the delightful concept of “traffic evaporation”. So what do these terms mean?

Induced Traffic

As car ownership and use have increased over the past 30 years the reaction to the pressure created by additional traffic demand has often been to increase the level of supply, in other words, provide additional road space. There is a growing body of evidence indicating that the benefits of creating additional road capacity are not as significant as was previously believed. In many cases, the provision of new road links simply increases congestion problems. This occurs through a process that is known as traffic ‘induction’. In 1994, the UK Government-commissioned Sactra report provided evidence on the impact of new road building on traffic levels in the area of the scheme. The report revealed that when new road capacity is provided, overall traffic levels in the vicinity of the scheme actually increase. The evidence does not offer a reliable means of predicting the extent of this traffic increase but case studies suggest that it is typically around 10 % in the short term, and 20 % in the longer term. In our cities, such as Bristol, there is an additional reason as to why the provision of additional road capacity is problematic for city planners — there is simply a lack of available space in which to expand.

Two recent reports from the Campaign to Protect Rural England on “the Impact of Road Projects in England” and “The End of the Road, Challenging the Road Building Consensus” discuss the latest evidence on the failure of road building projects to do anything more than attract more cars, increasing noise, air pollution and accidents. There is also 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.

Traffic Evaporation

So if building or widening roads causes more traffic, what happens when capacity is restricted or redirected? Chaos, surely? Well the evidence points to something else, something that unexpected, a phenomenon that has been called traffic evaporation, disappearing traffic, traffic suppression, or, more generally, reduced demand. The fact is that some traffic is displaced to other modes, and some simply vanishes, with no seeming inconvenience or disruption.

Case Study – Wolverhampton Town Centre

This case study examines a response to intense traffic congestion, worsening environmental conditions and declining economic activity in Wolverhampton in the face of competition from other shopping centres in the city of Telford to the west, and the Merry Hill complex to the south-east, and additional planned retail centres. In 1986, the local authority commissioned ‘The Black Country Integrated Transport study’ which concluded that building more roads would not solve the growing transport problems.

A more effective strategy would be to give greater priority to public transport and to put greater emphasis on improving the urban environment by creating an attractive physical space that would meet the public’s expectations. The response was a four-stage strategy, central to which was the removal of approximately 8 000 through-traffic cars per day from the city centre. The predicted traffic congestion did not occur. A significant percentage of traffic appears to have disappeared from the city centre, a result which could not be solely explained by displacement to other routes.

Below we’ve put together a short storyboard showing how the theories of induced traffic and traffic evaporation play out in reality.

The concept of “Induced Traffic” and “Traffic Evaporation”

Download our handout from the Callington Road meeting: 

Induced traffic and evaporation

 

 

Manifesto for Council Candidates – May 2016

We have produced a BCyC Manifesto for 2016 Council Elections candidates setting out key questions for the elections on May 5th. This is part of our Space for Cycling campaign. You can add your voice to the campaign by signing the petition. See also our manifesto for candidates standing for the Mayor, and for the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Manifesto for Council Candidates

  • Cycling is good for Bristol – and more cycling is better
  • 8 in 10 people want Bristol to be better for cycling
  • Cycling in Bristol means sharing space with intimidating motor traffic, or with pedestrians. No-one is happy
  • Two thirds of people consider cycling too risky for them
  • Bristol has a target to achieve 20% cycling by 2020 with profound benefits to wellbeing, congestion, environment and prosperity
  • The only proven way to deliver this is to provide a continuous and dedicated cycling network, to Triple A standards – for All Ages and Abilities.

Our councillors must work to help create an environment whereby it is easier for us to make choices that are good for us, good for our neighbourhood, and good for our city. We are calling on candidates and councillors to support Space for Cycling, for the benefit of everyone.

Questions for Candidates on specific priorities

  1. Will you work to make your ward and neighbourhood a better place to cycle and walk, so that people can travel safely to work, to school, to shop, to play, and to green spaces?

  2. Will you do all you can to deliver the specific improvement in your ward identified at bristolcyclingcampaign.org.uk/wards?

General Questions for Candidates

  1. Will you support and help produce a good transport plan for your ward and neighbourhood which puts people first, and particularly the young, the old and the disadvantaged? Streets for All in residential areas means low speeds, continuous pavements across side streets, no rat running or through traffic, and all streets open for cycling, including one-way contraflows.

  2. Will you press for Space for Cycling in your ward generally? This means protected space on high volume and 30mph roads and at busy junctions. It means accepting no less than ‘Triple A’ standards of design, construction & maintenance, for All Ages and Abilities. It means having safe routes to school, to work, to shops, and to green spaces.

  3. Will you work towards a Living Heart for your neighbourhood? This means public spaces that are not dominated by through motor traffic, that have plenty of cycle parking and where people are the priority, not traffic.

  4. Do you recognise that some changes will be controversial and will you stand up for those with most to gain but whose voices are often not heard – the young, the old and the disadvantaged?

Huge response to Space for Cycling survey

We have had over 600 responses to our survey on what people think about cycling in Bristol.

Most responses were from those who cycle regularly, 73% cycle more than 3 times a week, and the main motivations were for excecise and pleasure, commuting, and concern for environment

There is strong support for removing motor traffic from shopping areas to create ‘Living Hearts’. and 3 out of 4 saya there’s not enough secure cycle parking. People want police to priortise cycle theft.

in 20mph local areas half support further traffic slowing measures, but others feel these don’t help cycling and cause other problems. Removing though traffic and favouring residents is popular.

In 30mph areas a whopping 85%+ want PROTECTED cycle lanes and separate cyclelanes around roundabouts and major junctions, with over 70% wanting priority to pedestrians and cyclists at junctions.

In general there is strong support for the 6 main asks behind our Space for Cycling campaign. We’re launching the 2016 phase in March ready for the May elections.

Details of what needs doing is clearly set out in these Three guides to Space for Cycling.

Here are some of the things people said:

  • “We need plenty of cycle parking. On a wet autumn day I struggled to find a free stand in Broadmead. There is only designated cycle parking space at the top and the bottom of Park Street.”
  • “I’m all for reduuction in cars and through traffic. I also drive, but I have no need to travel at high speeds unless I’m on a motor way”
  • “I honestly have no idea how to make it safer other than giving cyclist a safer route that avoids it entirely. I’m looking at you Lawrence Hill Roundabout! You scary son of a bitch.”
  • “Separate cycle ways will only work if they are joined up – you have to be able to get on and off in the right places easily, or they just won’t be used.”
  • “A white line on a pavement is not cycle infrastructure. Cannot stand this cop out cheap solution as it is dangerous, hated by cyclists and pedestrians alike. The only group who win are car drivers.”
  • “Bristol is still confusing in the way cycle lanes integrate with the rest of the world… Turning on and off sometimes and disappearing. This is very noticeable when I have taken my children cycling and have tried to enable them in use of cycle lanes for safe cycling but it’s hard to communicate the elaborate thought processes I can do as an adult cyclist around the more confusing streets of Bristol! But I love that it’s always improving and that cyclists have more space and there is more awareness of our needs we just need more to enable people who are too scared of the roads to join us.”
  • “Cycle infrastructure in Bristol is poor quality and disjointed. Most are just footpaths, many are unsafe to ride on and cyclists are always lowest priority at junctions. Signage for cycle paths are unclear and lead to confusion and conflict.”
  • “I am a keen cyclist..but never really fancy cycling in Bristol.. it’s far too congestred and shared space with cars is so dangerous. I really don’t quite understand the reason Bristol got to be a Green capital!”
  • “I do not approve entirely of segregation between cars & bikes. I took some free cycling lessons with my local council and know it’s possible to cycle safely in traffic if you position yourself properly, especially when making turns. More awareness and education for cyclists & drivers rather than giving anyone preferences to fuel animosity would be an ideal solution.”
  • “In the UK/Bristol, I find that both people on bicycles (I don’t call myself a cyclist as it implies lycra, a hi-vis-vest, a helmet and annoying flashy lights) and people in cars have quite a misunderstanding about their responsibility to general road safety. As long as there is not an established road design including separated lanes the roads have to be shared in a sensible way. Education from young age is the key in this. I’d say to take countries like The Netherlands and Denmark as a proper example on bicycle friendly road design. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel in the UK.”
  • “Lack of continuous cycle lanes is awful. I lived in Holland, and the separated cycle lanes were amazing. I felt incredibly safe and cycled EVERYWHERE to the point where when I moved to Bristol I had to relearn how to walk!”
  • “Where routes popular with cyclists are too narrow to accommodate cycle lanes, I feel we should start removing parking places as a possible solution. We need to stop being so precious about parking spaces.”

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