You can have your say on the strategy until 2nd November 2018:
It is positive, but in my opinion does not go far enough. You can read my thoughts below.
Something radical needs to happen
I am broadly supportive of the strategy. However, I have some reservations. There seems to be a great reluctance to address the issue of over use of single occupancy vehicles head on. The strategy is clear that something radical needs to happen and yet it lacks that radical cutting edge. Many people who currently drive alone will have to change modes, just to retain the current unacceptable levels of congestion (due to planned growth to 2036). Even that assumes that nothing else changes, but if more road space is allocated to walking, cycling and buses then even greater reductions in driving alone would need to be made. Some potentially unpopular measures (eg road charging and parking levy) are proposed, but combined these would not yield a big enough reduction in private car use to keep the status quo (pp71-72).
Many people who currently drive alone will have to change modes, just to retain the current unacceptable levels of congestion
Unapologetic about benefiting the most deprived
The strategy needs to be up front with the fact that the needed changes will be unpopular with many of those that will have to leave their cars and change modes. The strategy fails to address this head on and is even apologetic to this group (the minority on some of the corridor routes such as Gloucester Road, p61). The strategy needs to be unapologetic that it is going to propose radical solutions that will benefit the ‘most deprived’, most of whom walk, bus or cycle to work and challenge the current mode of the ‘most privileged’ who mainly drive to work but can afford other options (p26). We need a proudly more equitable city. If BCC is going to spend £7million a year to maintain the road network (p33) then why not unashamedly turn more of that network over to walking, cycling and public transport, vastly increasing the highways’ capacity and vastly reducing the wear, thereby saving money and benefiting ALL and not just a privileged minority? Why not shout out loud that the strategy explicitly aims to eliminate many of the 300 early deaths caused by pollution in the city (p43)? The strategy should proudly provide a solution for low paid shift workers in the city to not feel they cannot afford not to have a car if they want a job, especially in places like Avonmouth (p46); low paid, part-time and shift workers pay disproportionally more for their transport to work and have fewer options. If they are forced to own a car then their low wages are drained further. The strategy should be unashamed to seek to eliminate road deaths and minimise casualties. Already the strategy mentions that walkers and cyclists are most at risk, accounting for 70% of the 135 injuries on the Gloucester Road over a 3-year period (p61), despite representing only 19% of users.
turn more of the network over to walking, cycling and public transport, vastly increasing the highways’ capacity and vastly reducing the wear, thereby saving money and benefiting ALL
Start with simple solutions
The strategy suggests that solutions for corridors like Gloucester Road are difficult and expensive. However, if the first mode choice for local journeys that the strategy promotes is walking then solutions don’t have to be too difficult, too costly or take up seemingly unavailable carriageway space. Continuous (or Copenhagen style) footways across the mouths of the priority junctions (side roads) in Gloucester Rd would be a huge enhancement to walking, giving it the priority the strategy is suggesting. At the same time it would make it clear to vehicles turning in and out of side roads that they need to give way to crossing pedestrians and if configured correctly could also give the same protection to crossing cyclists, making improvements for cyclists too, thereby potentially eliminating the vast majority of these collisions. UWE has recently completed research on Simpler, Safer Junctions for All and has produced a fact sheet (see previous post or contact me for details).
solutions don’t have to be too difficult, too costly or take up seemingly unavailable carriageway space
Put walking first
Finally, although the suggestions for walking, cycling and public transport are all good it would be better to put them up front and central. Walking objectives should be first and walking solutions the first to be addressed in the city. Cycling should be next, then public transport, then delivery solutions and finally, managing the remaining highway capacity for private single occupancy cars. Bristol has plenty of highway capacity for all to travel at speed on foot, on bike and by bus if access by single occupancy private cars is limited during peak hours so that it does not impinge on these other modes (which are already used by the majority in Gloucester Road and other corridors and would be everywhere if using these other modes were the best way of getting around). The strategy needs to bite the bullet and make this clear.
Bristol has plenty of highway capacity for all to travel at speed on foot, on bike and by bus
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