Bountiful Bristol Bulletin


Cycle City Stakeholder Meeting-Open to the Public- this Wed Sept. 10th 6pm at Armada House by nadiacatkinhillman
September 8, 2008, 10:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Attention bicyclists, walkers, and anyone who cares about the possibility of a complete, cycleway network in Bristol:

***Cycle City Stakeholder Meeting- Open to the Public- this Wednesday Sept. 10th 6pm at Armada House****

Directions and address at http://www.armadahouse.co.uk/findus/index.htm

Come and speak up loudly and clearly for a high quality cycle expressway network in Bristol! Not just bits and pieces of cycleway that disappear when the planning gets difficult! Ask for a feasibility study on the shared use of the Severn Beach line, and improved public consultation for expenditure of public funds.

I’ve written an article for the upcoming Cycle Campaign newsletter, and is posted here on my blog:

http://onthelevelblog.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/the-bristol-cycle-expr…

Many of us believe that the cycle city project is a unique opportunity to focus Bristol’s energy on achieving a model bicycle network that will inspire thousands of Bristolians to start cycling- but there is the very real danger that the money gets frittered away according to inside political connections in the City Council that will do little to change Bristol from what it is now- very much and increasingly a car city.

The truth is that there exists great potential to develop a continuous, level, traffic free cycle network using vacant land along the city’s urban railway network. It may not be easy, there may be technical and political challenges. Possible conflicts with rail plans need to be investigated. But the fact that there exists a continuous strip of land between Lawrence Hill station, connecting with the Bristol Bath Path and crossing the M32 and Glenfrome Rd, and up to Filton Abbey Wood and directly to UWE Frenchay Campus (this last section is under consideration by the committee) needs to be investigated for feasibility at the very least. With a bridge over the rail junction (the footings are already there), it could connect directly to St. Werburgh’s and given enough right of way through the tunnel, to Montpelier and Gloucester Rd.

Many of us are also growing increasingly uneasy about the process of allocating the Cycle City funding- suspicious that Bristol City Council will take the credit for being a cycle city while not really making much of a difference: assigning the £11.4 million from Cycling England to a number of politically ‘easy’ projects- some of which have only a tangential connection with cycling, while the city’s match of £11 million goes to projects which may have been done anyway, including sections of the bus rapid transit network. The danger is that the money may be spent without making much of an obvious difference to the cycling experience- cyclists will still be routinely intimidated, killed, and injured while City leaders proudly proclaim Cycling City status from behind their windscreens. Are we really going to idly stand by while they squander this opportunity?

The process as I understand it is for the spending plan to be presented this Wednesday with public comment received, and then finalised within a week. This is a very short timeframe indeed to have the plan take into account public comment, and it is crucial that we make our voices heard loud and clear that WE NEED A CONTINUOUS CYCLE NETWORK IN BRISTOL, and to achieve that, ALL available rights of way must be considered before proceeding.

Hope to see as many of you out there on Wednesday as possible!

Josh

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1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

I think Josh’s proposals should be taken seriously. Yes, they’re
ambitious and would require a sea change in the attitude of Bristol
City Council, but isn’t that exactly what we need?

The success and popularity of the Bristol Railway Path shows us that
high quality segregated routes can give cyclists a sense of being
special and worthy of public investment. They allow cyclists to know
how cycling could be, how it should be!

Of course Railway Paths are not a substitute for the road system when
it comes to local access but they give cyclists life lines that
encourage them to make much longer trips than many would otherwise
dare. Railway Paths are for cyclists what motorways are for motorists.

We must also be realistic about the potential role of suburban
railways. Bristol simply isn’t big enough to justify the sort of heavy
rail systems that much larger cities indulge in, and most of us would
prefer that it didn’t grow to such a size. Bristol’s railways never
played a major role in terms of suburban transport, even before the
car. That was always the preserve of trams and buses.

By promoting and using Railway Paths we are paying homage to the
ingenuity and industry of our Victorian forebears in engineering such
bold structures with bridges sweeping majestically over busy roads and
rivers. The last thing they would have wanted would be for their great
works to remain abandoned or only lightly used.

Comment by Chris Hutt




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