A number of BCyC members attended a public meeting on Tuesday 30 January 2018 to promote the Brislington Greenway. This is the old Brislington Railway line, which runs from Sainsburys on Whitby Road to Tesco on Callington Road (see Railway path, not relief road and Old Brislington Railway – Relief Road or Green Haven?). Local residents think it would be a great idea to turn it into a cycle route! They’ve shot a video illustrating this:
The meeting was addressed by two Bristol Cabinet Members, Cllrs Nicola Beech and Mhairi Threlfall, responsible for Place and Transport respectively. It was unclear exactly what they were proposing but Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority want to use the old rail line for the Callington Relief Road, a bad old fashioned polluting and congesting motor road. This is design for the late Twentieth Century not the mid Twenty-First!
Rupert Crosbee of Sustrans spoke in favour of the Greenway as did our Space4Cycling Officer, Nick Davies. Almost all speakers in the Hall supported them and all the applause was for this view. The evidence is that a road would make congestion worse as it would “induce demand” for people to use drive more (see Induced Traffic and Traffic Evaporation).
We would be very surprised if the Council risk not consulting, increasing the prospect of a judicial review. This administration or a subsequent one, or WECA, could change their minds. The homes (presently quiet and adjoining a greenspace) of some local residents are yards from the new road. Good luck to them in opposing it. If you support them please sign their petition: https://brislingtonrailwaypath.weebly.com/
A public meeting is to be held on Tue 30 Jan to talk about making a new green route through Brislington instead of a polluting new road (6pm, St. Peter’s Methodist Church Hall, Allison Road, Brislington).
The Greater Brislington local councillors will be voicing their united opposition to the Callington Relief Road (as proposed under the WECA Joint Spatial Plan and recently reported by us here) and proposing a Railway Path instead. The associated petition is now pushing 500 signatures.
Our Space4Cycling team will be at the meeting to talk about the benefits of improved cycling infrastructure as opposed to the building of more roads.
Also at the meeting will be two Bristol Cabinet Members, Nicola Beech and Mhairi Threlfall. They will be promoting the road scheme, which many locals, including local Councillors from all parties, are vehemently opposed to.
So it is imperative that we have a strong voice to speak up for active travel and the more of us that can make it to the meeting the more likely we are to persuade Cllrs Beech and Threlfal that yet another road scheme is not what Bristol needs.
Cycling is for everyone, and even though we are seeing more women cycling in Bristol, and more than in the other Bike Life cities, we still have a long way to go for cycling to be an easy choice for everyone. Bristol urgently needs better infrastructure to make it simpler and safer for all types of people on cycles, whether they are passengers in a cargo bike, parents with panniers full of groceries, or those on specially adapted tricycles.
Can we also encourage everyone to pause, read and share this important article by @Sandi_Dheensa What it’s like cycling as a woman of colour. This explains why the key issue for cycle campaigning in Bristol is enabling everyday cycle use for women, BAME, children and all abilities. A city that works for these groups works for everyone.
BAME people are a disproportionately small percentage of those who cycle. […] But what happens when we do venture into the cycling world? From my own (albeit novice and still wobbly) experience, I worry that as well as the ubiquitous hazards of careless drivers and meagre cycle lanes, women of colour are vulnerable to verbal abuse, beyond levels that white people, men, and of course, white men, are likely to experience.
It goes without saying that changing prejudiced attitudes to women of colour and cyclists, never mind women of colour who cycle, is a difficult feat. So what can we do?
For one, we can put pressure on authority figures to improve infrastructure. About women of colour, Zoe says, “if you build it, they will come”. But in his State of the City address this month, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees made no mention of cycling infrastructure, instead talking about his controversial £2.5 billion mass-transit system project. I hope that he pays attention to voices like Zoe’s, who argues that “giving space back to people would help make getting around the city easier and friendlier.” She continued, “if we’re walking or cycling, it’s so much easier to engage and interact with people. That’s what we need more of right now in these difficult times we’re living in.” I wholeheartedly agree.
How many people know about the old Brislington Railway line, which runs from Sainsbury’s on Whitby Road to Tesco on Callington Road? It’s is currently derelict and unused. Bristol Cycling Campaign have been contacted by Brislington residents who think it would be a great idea to turn it into a cycle route! If you agree please sign their petition: https://brislingtonrailwaypath.weebly.com/
Think of the Bristol to Bath Rail Path. That’s a great cycle route, a nature corridor and a lung for our city. Could we have a similar Brislington Rail Path? This would provide a safe an attractive route into the centre of Bristol. It would form a missing link between the River Avon Path, which could be easily upgraded, and the Whitchurch Rail Path.
Currently getting from one to the other involves cycling over the busy A4 at Arnos Manor and negotiating Talbot Road and Hampstead Road, which are notorious rat runs during rush hour. This does not encourage families with children, or novice cyclists, to take to their bikes. It could also be a green amenity, and a linear park, for the local community. Of course, providing an alternative route to motoring will relieve congestion.
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 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
How far does this measure provide for Triple A Space for Cycling in the future?