The ghost of Bristol’s Future?
There is a document, approved by Bristol City Council a year ago that says all you need to know about the role of cycling in the city’s mobility future:
Under the heading “Delivery Strategy” on pp 81-82 the text reads as follows:
The council will support the delivery of significant improvements to transport infrastructure to provide an integrated transport system, which improves accessibility within Bristol and supports the proposed levels of development. In particular it will support, subject to environmental impact assessment where appropriate:
1. The implementation of the Greater Bristol Bus Network.
2. The delivery of transport infrastructure improvements, including:
- Rapid transit routes (Ashton Vale to Emerson’s Green and Hengrove to the North Fringe, all via the city centre);
- Rail improvements, including the following prioritised schemes:
- The reopening of the Portishead rail line for passenger use; and
- The Greater Bristol Metro Rail Project;
- And the following potential long term schemes:
- The reintroduction of a local passenger rail service between Avonmouth and Filton (Henbury Loop);
- New rail stations, for example at Portway Park and Ride, Ashton Vale and Ashley Hill;
- And other passenger rail stations where appropriate;
- New and expanded Park and Ride facilities:
- New site on the M32; and
- Expansion of existing Park and Ride sites where appropriate;
- South Bristol Link;
- Callington Road Link; and
- A network of routes to encourage walking and cycling.
3. Making the best use of existing transport infrastructure through improvement and reshaping of roads and junctions where required to improve accessibility and connectivity and assist regeneration and place shaping.
4. Appropriate demand management and sustainable travel measures.
Safeguarding of Routes and Facilities
Land required for the implementation of transport proposals will be safeguarded to enable their future provision. Corridors with the potential to serve as future routes for walking, cycling and public transport will also be safeguarded. Appropriate existing transport facilities such as transport depots will be safeguarded where required.
Without prejudice to the implementation of the major transport schemes listed above, proposals will be determined and schemes will be designed to reflect the following transport user priorities as set out in the Joint Local Transport Plan:
a) The pedestrian;
b) The cyclist;
c) Public transport;
d) Access for commercial vehicles;
e) Short stay visitors by car;
f) The private car.
The needs of disabled people will be considered within all of the above headings. Development proposals should be located where sustainable travel patterns can be achieved, with more intensive, higher density mixed use development at accessible centres and along or close to main public transport routes. Proposals should minimise the need to travel, especially by private car, and maximise opportunities for the use of walking, cycling and public transport.
Developments should be designed and located to ensure the provision of safe streets and reduce as far as possible the negative impacts of vehicles such as excessive volumes, fumes and noise. Proposals should create places and streets where traffic and other activities are integrated and where buildings, spaces and the needs of people shape the area.
The key phrase is ” Without prejudice to the implementation of the major transport schemes listed above”. This administrators’ circumlocution makes it clear to me that the big money schemes take priority but where things can be tweaked, adjustments and accommodations will be made to look after pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, commercial vehicles, people from visiting cars and cars (in that order). These will be tweaks, they are not what run the show. They are not “priorities” in the normally understood meaning of the word.
Since the major projects take up all the big money and time, the assertion that the needs of pedestrians and cyclists are at the top of the list are the “priority” is clearly false. The Big Scheme comes first, and that’s it. Everything else is fitted in where it can be. A bit of a nuisance. It is understandable. I sympathise with those employed to work for us. But we need to be clear what comes first. It’s a big and difficult subject and I might be tempted back to write something more carefully weighted.