Considerate Cycling 48: Primrose Paint and Good Intentions

My email box this week included a message about tonight’s Neighbourhood Forum meeting for Cabot, Clifton and Clifton East in Bristol. The text of the email read: “a late statement- lots of cross residents”. Attached was a one page document with text and three pictures, as follows:

Yellow Lines in Clifton Village

At the last Partnership meeting, I mad a statement asking that care should be made when marking out RPZ and had a meeting with John Toy (but no further replies when I asked questions again that had not been answered

Last week I tackled the men when I saw them painting broad yellow lines and told them they should be putting down primrose yellow narrow lines since it is a conservation area. They said they that if there were broad lines before they would be replaced by broad lines since they would have to burn off the lines and start again.

This is simply not true, there are many places where you can see narrow lines on older yellow lines (eg Princes Buildings). You also get the stupidity of Royal York Crescent and the Paragon where you have narrow lines on one side and broad lines down the other.

You get joins of broad lines to narrow lines eg top of Princess Victoria St, and Royal York Crescent.

Do not spoil our conservation area for the sake of a ha’porth of tar. You must be consistent with narrow lines”




   There are also all sorts of stupidities down Princess Victoria Street. They have put yellow lines outside a shop (about number 69) which has no off street parking and outside other houses further down the street (89).

I can see that a lack of primrose coloured paint on narrowed double yellow lines might make some people slightly agitated and I can visualise a perfect world in which it would really matter (Staithes in North Yorkshire comes to mind). However, this is a note about Clifton in Bristol. Clifton has its attractions, but the elegance and aesthetic appeal of its roads, streets and paths are not among them. Even if they were beautiful it would be hard to see them on some days for the numbers of cars, buses, vans and lorries parked on or moving slowly along them. Here are a couple of my own snaps.

a bit messy in Clifton

bigger problems

choked with cars

So what’s my point? I’m not sure really. Firstly, I think that motor vehicles are becoming the ruin of our pleasant city and secondly I think that some individuals are starting to use the policy vacuum of artificial “neighbourhood” structures as a ventilation for trivia that drive out consideration of things that have wider and greater importance.

I have attended a few meetings of the Cabot, Clifton and Clifton East Neighbourhood Forums but I don’t think I shall be there tonight.


Considerate Cycling 47: Thinking About Walking, Helping Cycling


This section of a CycleStreets map focuses on one lively part of Bristol. It’s where I go shopping sometimes. It also includes my favourite uphill ride in the city, a gradient that suits my 65 year old sense of fun. The best known section is called Park Street. Lots of people ride up and down Park Street despite the well-rehearsed myth that Bristol is “too hilly”.

Park Stret Bristol

But never mind the gradient. Look at the RTC data from CycleStreets brilliant search tool. In the map reproduced above  I used a mouse to click round the blobs of shame that mark all the failures of gravity, attention span, entropy and other abstractions that ended up with someone in A&E. Towards the north west end of the marked area is a mess of ill-made streets called “The Triangle” On its hypotenuse is Queens Road.

Once the area has been drawn, click on the submit button and CycleStreets delivers a more or less instant comma separated file for inspection in your browser. Downloading is recommended – it can be opened with Excel or SPSS  or whatever other gimlet you use  for data mangling.This is what I did with mine in Excel:


So there you have it. Pedestrians have a rough time of it on Bristol’s liveliest streets. What do we make of it? What do A&E make of it? What could we do about it? Here are some bullet points to start an argument:

  • Reducing speeds to 20 mph would be good.
  • Stop casual street parking (there’s a massive empty car park very close by – make the first hour free)
  • Re-balance traffic lights to favour pedestrians
  • Widen footpaths
  • De-clutter the footpaths
  • Add more crossing places
  • Persuade shops to use more “last mile” cycle deliveries
  • Make a two-way cycle track up one side of Park Street where the parking used to be
  • Pedestrianise the rest of Park Street
  • Improve lighting at night
  • Talk to taxi drivers about what they see at night and what ideas they have
  • Look at the two major junctions off Park Street
  • Narrow the very wide exit from Queens Avenue onto Queens Road
  • Ask the Government for some proper money

It seems to me that most of these could make a difference to the casualty stats for people on foot. As a big bonus they would also make life gentler for anyone riding a bike. I looked for pedestrian casualties where a bicycle had been involved. The data run from 2005 to 2013. There was just one. It was a slight injury collision in 2012. It was at quarter to three on a Sunday morning and both parties needed treatment..