Tag Archives: Prince St Bridge

Cycle lane plans for Prince Street

Travelwest have published their plans for a separated cycle lane along the length of Prince Street, from the Bridge (where work has already commenced) to Broad Quay.

The plans show plenty of separation between bikes and cars, well above the recent standard of ‘shared space’ (that is, pavement cycling). Taking the cycle route inboard of the footway around Broad Quay could be questionable as design standards invariably say put pedestrians inboard of bikes, not next to motors. But it may be the bus stops or the many crossing movements here that have influenced this.

Also the weak link in this design is the section north of Prince Street along Broad Quay. The cyclist either cuts across an extremely busy pedestrian ‘shared space’ area towards Park Street, or continues along Broad Quay to end up at Baldwin Street. It doesn’t make sense why a segregated path could not be continued through this space to link Park Street with this route as well as the new route from Baldwin Street.

Detailed plans can be found here.

For now we are assuming this will now go ahead, though do let us know what you think, as it’s not too late to influence some of the detail in the plans.. Please leave a comment, send an email or come along to one of our Space for Cycling forums.

Bordeaux bridge reclaimed

Last summer a major bridge in France was opened up solely for walking, cycling and public transport when Bristol’s twin city of Bordeaux bravely experimented with keeping private motor vehicles off the historic Pont Pierre.

A report by our sister organisation in Bordeaux, Vélo-cité (Bike-City) tells a story with parallels to our own Prince Street Bridge, which has just reopened this summer after a two year restoration. During this time access was limited to walking and cycling (albeit walking with bikes). Is there anything we can take from their experience?

(The original text in French can be found here).

On 5 September 2017 Vélo-cité staged a demonstration on the Pont Pierre, making a visionary speech “to show our support for a bridge that would be accessible only to bikes, pedestrians and public transport. Since 1 August, this bridge has been reserved experimentally to these three categories of users. This gave positive results and, for this reason, we ask for its continuation.

“Thirteen associations have joined together to sign a petition to request that the bridge be closed to car traffic, and over 1600 of you have signed: pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers and even car drivers.

“This is a historic opportunity for the city of Bordeaux, as was the case a few years ago with the repurposing of the quayside and the construction of the tram.

“Today, who could imagine Bordeaux without the tram or the conviviality of the quayside? For the Pont Pierre it will be the same  – soon people will be asking ‘Really? There used to be cars on the bridge?’

“The bridge was, and is, one of the symbols of Bordeaux. Closing it to car traffic will make it into a symbol of the Bordeaux of tomorrow.

“It is up to us to support this choice, so that Bordeaux can continue to be synonymous with quality of life, savoir-faire and savoir-vivre, which will be an example for other towns both nationally and internationally. This decision is already being followed with close attention in France, Europe and beyond.

“The Pont Pierre without cars has, and will have, a positive effect on the city. Of course, it may cause some problems for traffic circulation at first, just as the tram did, but today the positive economic, social, lifestyle, air quality and health effects are tangible.

“Numerous witnesses told us in August that the Bridge not only retained its existing users but also gained new ones who started to cross regularly, and with pleasure, between the two banks of the river.

“A new clientele of tourists and inhabitants is starting to use the bridge. This is an opportunity of economic and social development. Each pedestrian and cyclist who crosses the Bridge is a potential client for the shops on both sides of the river.

“The last figures are impressive: 203,000 cyclists crossed the Bridge in August, over 7000 a day, excluding weekends. The record was on 31 August with more than 10,000 crossing in a day.

“The urban area of Bordeaux is developing rapidly: the population is growing, creating problems of pollution and traffic congestion. We have to accept that the age of private car ownership for all is over, and at the same time make life easier for those who have no choice but to take the car.

“We are sensitive to this issue and we do not accept the stereotypical view that city cyclists are in support of closing the bridge to car traffic while surburban car drivers simply have to accept it.

“On the contrary, cyclists and car drivers have a common interest and a common objective: to encourage all those who can take public transport, walk or cycle to do so. Of all journeys, 75% under 3km are made by car. It is possible, and desirable, for everyone to change these habits!

“Our common struggle is the development of a more peaceful and sustainable city. Liveable, breathable, accessible to all. By taking ambitious decisions, Bordeaux can become a model with far-reaching influence.”

The Sud Ouest newspaper also carried a short report on the bridge experiment, as translated here:

“Since the beginning of August, the experimental closure has shown that limiting use of the bridge has not negatively affected traffic flow either upstream or downstream of the bridge.

“Over 90,000 cyclists were counted between August 1st and 15th, which could represent almost 400,000 crossings over the two months of the experiment.

“At the height of summer, the city council considers the overall effect to be positive.

“Two weeks after the start of the experimental limitation of the Stone Bridge traffic to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, Bordeaux Metropole [the city council] has announced that the results are mainly positive, even though it will be necessary to wait until September to have sufficient data to judge the effect of the experiment on traffic flow.”

So we await the results with eager anticipation and hope we can see Bristol apply some of this thinking and ambition to achieve the plainly obvious. Lets keep our humble Prince Street Bridge open to active Travel. Let it make its contribution to Bristol as part of a world-class and tourist-friendly (as well as resident-friendly) city.

Partial Win for Our Prince Street Bridge Campaign? [Updated with photos]

Update:   The covers are off and we can now see what the renovated bridge will be like when it opens in the next few weeks. Note that the southbound lane has the same narrow pavement as before. Northbound now has a cycleway and a footway, with a very slight height difference. It’s not clear if there will be further visual cues to separate the two.

Judging by the following response to our Prince Street Bridge petition from the Mayor’s office, it seems our concerns have been listened to and a compromise has been reached for now. Read on and let us know what you think by logging in here or commenting on Facebook.

Reply from: Marvin Rees
Telephone: 0117 922 2420
E-mail: mayor@bristol.gov.uk

Date: 25 April 2017

Full Council Petition: Make Prince St Bridge a cycling and walking bridge

Petition organiser: Adam Semenenko

Prince Street Bridge is one of the few direct and flat routes across the floating harbour so it is important to use this route in the best possible way. The bridge has two carriageways, which do not give enough room for three transport modes: people in cars; pedestrians, including people on foot or using wheelchairs or mobility scooters, and; people on bicycles. The bridge carries high volumes of people walking and cycling, and making them share one carriageway does not work well – both modes need their own segregated route with adequate width.

Number of signatures: 585

Dear Mr Semenenko,

Thank you for your petition regarding Prince St Bridge.

I have previously committed to reopening Prince St Bridge to traffic to ease the pressure on the traffic network. This is important at the current time due to the number of major schemes taking place and about to take place across the central area.

There are two key schemes due to start shortly in the area that we expect to have further impacts on traffic flows in the area – Temple Circus redesign and Prince St cycle route. Both of these schemes will deliver improved pedestrian and cycling routes in the area but both schemes are also likely to have some degree of impact on existing uses, particularly Temple Circus.

Congestion in the central area has knock on effects across the city, generating high levels of air pollution, blocking other routes and causing long delays to bus routes. We are also conscious of the need to provide good facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, particularly while these works are ongoing.

We are therefore proposing to reopen the bridge to southbound traffic only, maintaining the northbound closure, while these works are ongoing. This will enable additional capacity for traffic to exit the central area while Temple Circus works are taking place and impacting the network and also facilitate the construction of the Prince St cycle route scheme. Making the bridge southbound only will also provide benefits to southbound cyclists who will be able to use the southbound side of the bridge with no delays (as was previously the case when traffic signals were in place) and without the fear of having to contend with traffic coming the other way. This in turn will reduce the pressure on the mixed pedestrian/cycle side of the bridge.

We will monitor traffic, pedestrian and cycle flows during this period. The long term use of the bridge will be reviewed following completion of these works.

Kind regards,

Marvin Rees

Mayor of Bristol

 

Bristol Cycling present Prince St Bridge petition to City Council

Today Bristol Cycling presented the petition, signed by 585 individuals, calling on Bristol Council to make Prince St. Bridge a walking and cycling bridge.

Given just a minute to speak, we highlighted the benefits of cycling and walking in the city and the need to escape the congestion and air pollution caused by motor traffic. We look forward to the Council’s formal written reply.

During the same meeting several other members of the public also spoke and presented petitions on other issues from around the city. Interestingly a common theme connected them all. Every single one mentioned the need to improve the city environment for the benefit of people: to help people get around, to exercise, and to escape congestion & air pollution.

It should be clear to the Council the importance of taking urgent action and how much of a difference supporting walking and cycling can make to the people of Bristol – right now.

Cycling is great for Bristol. Let’s make Bristol great for cycling. If you’d like to support Bristol Cycling you can join us here.

Bristol Cycling talk to Made in Bristol TV and @mark_bradshaw about Prince St. bridge

On Monday 13th February Bristol Cycling member Sam Saunders spoke to Made in Bristol TV about the work taking place to restore Prince’s St. Bridge repairs. Standing by the MShed, in front of the temporary structure spanning the Grade II listed bridge, Sam reflected on the changes pointing out that the whole area has been much more agreeable, and attractive for tourism, while free of motor vehicles during the closure.

The long running repairs have been taking place to tackle the corrosion that have afflicted the bridge which was built in 1879, and the resulting closure has prompted debate about how the bridge should be used when it is re-opened.

Bristol Cycling have been campaigning for the bridge to remain closed to motor traffic for the simple reason that the city center is a nicer, healthier place to be when not filled with cars that take up space and emit fumes & noise. Bristol Cycling’s petition in support of this campaign (open until 1st March) has attracted almost 600 signatures. Bristol Cycling support the vision of a Living Heart.

Last week saw the 2017 Sustainable Transport & Health Summit take place  showcasing the quality sustainable travel infrastructure and behaviour change initiatives that are incentivising active travel choices. There delegates heard the benefits that active transport, and a shift away from car use, can have on people’s health. By reducing air pollution and inactivity we can tackle widespread problems of obesity &  encourage healthier lifestyles.

At the conference Bristol Cycling member Nick Davies asked Deputy Mayor for Transport Cllr Mark Bradshaw what his plans for the bridge were. Cllr Bradshaw confirmed that the bridge would re-open to motor traffic once repairs are complete partly to mitigate some of the impact of the road works taking place in other areas of the city. Cllr Bradshaw said the decision could be revisited in the future, once the worst of the works has passed. We also understand the Council are reviewing closing the bridge to motors at the weekend which we would welcome.

While we can understand Cllr Bradshaw’s attempts to mitigate the disruption we feel he has made a fundamental  error. The roadworks do not increase the need to open the bridge to motor vehicles – in fact it amplifies the need to support far more efficient alternatives. Congestion in Bristol is a result of over-dependence on motor vehicles that take up lots of space. The only way to tackle congestion is to support the use of more efficient alternatives including walking, buses and cycling.

During the temporary closure the space either side of the bridge, while not completely car free, has been noticeably better. The air is much cleaner and pedestrian traffic has flowed much more freely. The decision not to claim the space for healthy streets is a missed opportunity and flies in the face of the Council’s commitments to clean up Bristol’s air and tackle the city’s congestion. We call on Cllr Bradshaw and the Mayor to be bold in the face of resistance and take the difficult decisions needed to build a better Bristol.

Cycling is great for easing congestion. Cycling is great for Bristol.

Bristol Cycling believe that cycling can help solve many of Bristol’s problems and we provide a voice for cycling in the city. If you’d like to support us please follow us at @BristolCycling or become a member.

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