Tag Archives: Walking

Road Justice meeting with police: 450 near miss reports, victim blaming, speeding complaints down

The Bristol Road Justice Group (BRJG) has again met with the police and representatives of the Police and Crime Commissioner. The Group was set up in 2013 to promote the agenda set by CTC’s report Road Justice: The Role of the Police. Formed by local members of CTC, Bristol Cycling Campaign and Road Peace, it was joined at this meeting by Amy Aeron-Thomas from Road Peace’s national office, Kate Cooke from BCC’s Public Health Team and Ben Barker representing the recently formed Bristol Walking Alliance.

The purpose of the meeting was to review progress in implementing Avon and Somerset “Policing the Roads Strategy”. The Strategy’s aims and objectives include, amongst other things, reducing road traffic casualties, especially among vulnerable road users, and reducing concerns about road safety.

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Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study – our response

These two major strategic plans will shape some profound changes to our city and towns over the coming years. The four West of England councils (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset) together are working on a draft Joint Spatial Plan setting out how the area will accomodate 85,000 new homes and growth of 20%. The companion Joint Transport Study will shape how people travel, and whether we achieve the Bristol Cycle Campaign vision of ‘a city where cycling is so easy that everyone does it’.

There’s many good words, as you’d expect they take account of the Bristol Cycle Strategy, and the Draft South Gloucestershire Cycle Strategy. Overall however we feel they’re in danger of rushing up the ‘business as usual’ path.

Our full response is here: 2016-29-01JointSpatialPlanTransportStudy.

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BCyC Policy – Shared Space Streets and Shared Use Pavements

What’s the issue?

The Bristol regional cycle network is almost entirely made up of shared space with motor traffic, or shared use with pedestrians. Both are essential and useful where appropriate, but otherwise can create conflict and anxiety about safety from more vulnerable users, whether perceived or actual. The Bristol Bike Life 2015 Report rated shared pavements and bus lanes as the least popular measures.

Concerns about safety is the major factor preventing more people cycling. A safe, direct and convenient cycle network is the key factor in making cycling so easy that everyone feels able to do it.

BCyC position

Cycling, walking and driving need different networks with specific design requirements. These may overlap and be shared in specific circumstances. While comprehensive and suitably separated networks exist for walking and driving, there is little real Space for Cycling for a city with aspirations for 20% of trips by cycles.

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Is Bristol the UK’s most active city?

Bristol featured as the most active city in the UK in a new report, Active Cities – a guide for city leaders. Nine cities around the world were compared and common themes and lessons drawn out. The report, sponsored by Nike, is a useful summary of the issues and evidence and deserves to be widely used. It seems that active cities typically do four things really well. 1) They make physical activity a priority, 2) Use existing resources, 3) Design for people and 4) Create a legacy of lasting change. News article here.

On a related theme UWE is starting a research project called cycle BOOM to understand cycling among the older population and how this affects independence, health and wellbeing. See the press coverage here. The ultimate aim is to advise policy makers and practitioners how our environment and technologies can be designed to help people to continue to cycle in older age or to reconnect with cycling. They are looking for participants in Bristol, Oxford, Reading and Cardiff who are over 50.

Some of the points from the Active Cities report include:

Walking is great for business and so is cycling
Multiple studies have shown that making places better for walking can boost footfall and trading by up to 40 percent and raise retail rents by 20 percent. Projects in the United Kingdom were shown to increase employment and the number of visitors – each by 300 percent. A conservative estimate of the annual economic impact of cycling in one metropolitan area was $60 million. The annual economic impact of cyclists is almost nine times as much as the one-time expenditure of public funds used to construct special bicycle facilities. Among 20 different studies on the economic benefits of walking and bicycling interventions, the average benefit-to-cost ratio was 13:1. Read this interesting article from CityLab collating 12 different reports.

People like their cities more when they have active transport options
Ciclovias (cycling events that close streets to cars for a full day like Bristol’s Biggest Bike Ride) are great community builders. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 people agree that the events cause them to look more favorably on their city.Public transport options also impact how people feel about their cities. One survey found that half of residents who lack access to mass transit are dissatisfied with the lack of availability.

Walkability and bike ability drastically reduce driving and related pollutants
In one study, a 5 percent increase in walkability was associated with a 6.5 percent decrease in vehicle miles traveled. This equates to a 5.6 percent decrease in emissions of oxides of nitrogen.In a study of a county in the United States, it was determined that the addition of sidewalks to all roadways would lead to a reduction of vehicle miles traveled equal to 183 million miles, resulting in an annual air pollution cost saving of $8 million.

Cycling facilities lower health care costs
A modeling study of Portland, Oregon (USA) estimated that by 2040, investments in bike facilities (costing from $138 to $605 million) will result in health care cost savings of $388 million to $594 million, fuel savings of $143 million to $218 million, and savings in the value of statistical lives of $7 million to $12 billion.

It’s what people want
It turns out that people want to live in cities that are walkable, bikeable and playable. From the surveys and consumer research available, it appears the public is already very much in favor of activity-friendly options. For example:

  • Many people are “mismatched” and do not live in their preferred neighborhood type—specifically, people who do not live in walkable neighborhoods would prefer to.
  • Nine of ten people prefer that more local government funds be devoted to walking/jogging trails, recreation centers and bike paths.
  • If bicycling were made safer from motor vehicle traffic, bicycle riding at least once per week could increase from 8 percent to 40 percent of adults.
  • In the United States, 59 percent of people surveyed support walkable communities.
  • More than half of Americans prefer neighborhoods that are close to shops, have a mix of incomes and provides public transportation.

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