Tag Archives: ‘Triple A’ Quality

WECA Joint Local Transport Plan Consultation

So we know our new West of England Combined Authority (WECA), and our new metro Mayor, Conservative Tim Bowles, will soon be celebrating being two years old. What are they for? Well they currently have a Consultation on a plan for transport (called the JLTP) throughout the region up to 2036.

Wow an opportunity to make our streets safe and healthy for people and kids. Reduce motor dependency, clean up air quality and create green space; well may be not. The author of the JLTP probably spent their childhood playing Grand Theft Auto in a dark place, not messing about on a bike. Certainly there’s much more emphasis on Airliners and Motorway junctions than people and mobility.

Click here for the transport simulator  

True, there’s something for everyone but it could have been so much more. Frankly it’s the sort of document which might have been written in the Sixties. That’s a missed opportunity when elsewhere Highway Authorities have entered the Twenty First Century with plans to restrict non essential car travel to enable access for essential vehicles. We’ve met with Officers, failing to get any commitments, but it is early days.

JLTP Plan

We must engage with the process. In the Bristol Transport Strategy consultation last year the main response was “cycling improvements” so thanks to everyone who supported us. Let’s see if we can do as well this time. The Consultation response is a Simulator which allows you to buy extra points (eg by supporting congestion charging) and then spend them. Please give maximum (5) points to the following two questions which are the nearest to calling for a comprehensive, safe cycle network;

  • Create a comprehensive and safe network, so active travel is the preferred choice for shorter trips and for accessing public transport
  • Reallocate highway space to public transport, walking and cycling, where appropriate

There are another three questions to which we would also give maximum points, to reduce motor dominance;

  • Use mechanisms to reduce dependency on private car use in urban areas, e.g. charging, parking restrictions
  • Restrict the most polluting vehicles from areas of poor air quality
  • Improve road safety by designing for and imposing appropriate speed limits, improving driver behaviour and providing training for different road users

In the general comments at the end please call for a comprehensive, continuous cycle route network, separate from motors, including buses, and pedestrians. Thanks you for taking time to support our efforts by using this Simulator.

Safe Cycling in NW Bristol ? Yes please

Want to cycle from Clifton to Henbury along a safe segregated cycle route? No we’re not joking; we don’t mean messy, sub standard national cycle route 4 but a new route along Westbury Rd, Falcondale Rd and Passage Rd, protected from motors. There is currently a consultation on new bus lanes on the A4018, which don’t seem popular locally. It’s not ambitious on cycling either; a new route on the Downs and, perhaps, traffic reduction in Westbury Village. Our meetings with Council Officers suggest, however, they’re seriously interested in a AAA (all ages and abilities) cycle route so may be something good can come of it.

 

But it’s early days. You can help; we have to get support. If you want your kids to cycle to school in North West Bristol or just fewer monster SUVs on the school run. Or you want some of the thousands of people who’ll live in the new homes to be built on Filton Airfield to travel to work in Bristol by bike, not by car. Or you just want to cycle around Westbury safely. Or you think, like most Bristolians, more cycling is good for our city, our health and the air we breath. In all these cases please complete the A4018 Consultation

Most of the questions concern buses and cars, people will have their own views on those, but three are important for cycling so feel free to adopt our answers;

Qu 4 (Cycle path on Downs beside Westbury Road ) Strongly agree – Comment “Please ensure the Path is segregated rather than shared use”

Qu 6 (Westbury Village) Please strongly support the reductions in rat running and restrictions on motor traffic.

Qu 8 (Cycling Improvements) – Comment “Please install a continuous cycle route, along Passage Road, Falcondale Road and Westbury Road. The route should be segregated, from cars, buses, and pedestrians wherever possible and shared use otherwise. Please also improve Parrys Lane.”

Our full response for those interested in the detail.

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.

Call for inclusive infrastructure

Fantastic article by Zoe Banks Gross on why we need to continue campaigning for a better environment for cycling, if we want to see greater quantities and diversity of people cycling in Bristol: https://betterbybike.info/news/seeing-women-cycling-bristol-theres-still-long-way-go.

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.

Victoria Park – JIMBY’s and NIMBY’s

 Update: Planning application withdrawn for ‘further consultation’. We will continue to press for ‘triple A’ ambition to make cycling feel possible for All Ages and Abilities.


The consultation has now closed on the planning application for the Victoria Park section of the Filwood Quietway (however comments can still be made, use link here Victoria Park – say no to Project Fear). There are 1065 comments with a breakdown of about 56% objectors and 44% supporters (thanks to Kit Wallace for analysis).

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, 85% of those living within 1km object. Those further away, and therefore more likely to consider cycling, are 82% in favour [updated 15/1/17].

We believe the proposals will improve Victoria Park overall and benefit everyone, walking or cycling, local or enjoying passing through, a real win-win. It will now be down to local councillors on the planning committee to decide how much weight to give local opposition when it goes against the wider interests of the City.

If you think this is contentious, wait until the proposals for Space for Cycling on Gloucester Road are put forward…

On a curious side note, in the review of 20mph areas in Bristol, the issue is ‘Just in My Back Yard’ or JIMBYism. Drivers are willing to curtail their speed where it matters personally, but revert to a habitual, faster speed where the benefits to themselves are less tangible.  People want 20mph on their street so that it is safe for their children, their cats, their grannies but they don’t want to have to comply with 20mph limits in other people’s streets! Similarly, really good ‘Triple A’ cycling provision (All Ages and Abilities) that will attract and encourage more cycling is popular across the city, but changes are often vigorously opposed locally.

If you have a moment there are some very high quality and thoughtful comments. We’ve picked out a selection:

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