So from twitter it sounds like we'll have brt3 soon. Good news, I think?
Bristol BRT2 route - Ashton Avenue Bridge
I thought BRT3 was the N -> S route?
Anyway, this is what the Mrs sent:
Dear Mayor and Bristol City Councillors
I am writing to you to object to BRT2 and to express my concerns about the Cumberland Road route being considered.
As a Southville resident I am particularly worried about the impact that the Cumberland Road BRT2 route will have on the use of the area surrounding Ashton Avenue Bridge. This area is used for a mixture of purposes including walking, cycling, running, dog walking, skateboarding and other leisure activities.
As I set out below, I do therefore query whether in reality some of the key policy objectives for the scheme will be achieved, notably (from my personal viewpoint): increased patronage (and with it financial efficiency) and greenhouse gas emissions (better on a bike than in a bus). I am also a little concerned that the option of not proceeding has not been included for discussion.
Myself, I use Festival Way and the Ashton Avenue Bridge to commute to work (by bike), take my child to and from nursery (by bike), for family cycle rides, running and walking. It is only fairly recently that the Festival Way route was improved to provide a link to and from Greville Smyth Park as well as the cycle "pump track" opened, which is well used by young people in the area.
The impact of buses running along this area will be immense and it seems completely at odds with:
The investment that has been made in the area in recent years.
Bristol being a "Cycling City" - this is a great area to take budding cyclists to learn to ride their bikes and for older youths to improve their skills on the pump track. Getting young people on their bikes must be part of the Cycling City initiative yet this is one of the few areas in the south of the city that provides such a large, accessible and positive traffic free area. The route proposed for the BRT2 cuts straight through the main arteries to access this area and I cannot imagine that you'd actively choose to cycle or spend any time anywhere near a bus route.
Green Capital 2015, for similar reasons not to mention the impact that the works themselves will have.
Having been a Bristol resident for over a decade and worked in several locations around the city, I also wonder how well used the Park and Ride options ever are. I remember the photos of the underused Park and Ride at Avonmouth; spaces standing empty after significant investment was made to increase capacity. Knowing a number of people who commute in to Bristol from North Somerset by car, I cannot see any of them opting for the park and ride service, because it won't be seen as more convenient for them, so why choose it?
It seems to me, as someone who lives in and cycles to work in Bristol and would be affected by the Ashton Avenue Bridge option, that I am being disadvantaged to try to benefit those who I do not believe would take up the option (i.e. those who see that park and ride is an option are already using the current service). Not to mention the prospect of my taxes being used to fund/subsidise the activities of a bus operator and those users whose travel arrangements of those who don't live in the Bristol vicinity.
Given these reasons, if a Bristol BRT route has to be developed the existing Hotwells Road route (enhanced) must be the logical choice?
As my five year old son said to me on Sunday (as we were participating in Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride's Family Fiesta) - if the buses are taking our cycle paths then maybe we should ask the Mayor to do a swap and we (cyclists and pedestrians) can have the roads. You can't argue with the logic of a 5 year old.
I am not a "reclaim the streets" activist, just a south Bristol mum who cycles her way around the city and will continue to encourage my children to do so too, as long as there are safe traffic-free routes for us to use.
Yours, in hope of the right outcome,
If anyone wants to submit a written question, the deadline is 5pm today. The meeting is 27 June at 6pm
Ta ransos - will submit something suitably awkward.
Sterling letter, Mrs SammyC.
It's obvious that the StopBRT2 posters on the bridge are being expressly targeted (taken down late at night, other stuff is left intact, etc).
Seems that somebody would prefer it if local residents & commuters didn't know what's being planned. Whoever is tearing them down, I really want to meet them.
Monday morning type bump.
Anybody who has objections, be sure to submit a statement to the Council, to be read at the meeting. These need to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon 26th June.
This is being fought on quite a wide front - Bistol Civic Society are not amused, for one thing. Given how the dumbass scheme is being driven, bendy-bus style, through the planning process, it's hard to envisage it being stopped... but it's also an opportunity to direct some well-argued anger at the Council & the WEP. They need to be reminded that cyclists and pedestrians are already doing their bit to help resolve Brizzle's dire transport sitution - which is why vehicle-free routes like the Festival Way are so valuable.
George ferguson seems to be glossing over things on twitter, could do with some more effort there...
What was George's position during his mayoral campaign?
George ferguson seems to be glossing over things on twitter
I'm not on Twitter, but I noticed your questions re: the Bridge - good work!
The structure of Ashton Avenue Bridge is certainly in a poor state - parts of it are plain rotten, a process accelerated by its continuing neglect. Any structural refurb is going to be very expensive (&, IMO, it's not been adequately budgeted for in the BRT2 plans - more overspend...). It's a Grade II listed structure, so any work has to be done within those planning confines. How close it is to actual collapse is a moot point - but I would expect BCC to claim that it will in the river soon.
Now, I would be delighted to see the Bridge properly restored -but that's not an a priori argument for putting buses over it. But this will be the line that BCC & the WEP use to justify the BRT2 plans - i.e. that only this scheme will enable the capital investment to "save" the Bridge. Which has nothing to do with the actual merits (or otherwise) of putting a bus lane along that route. In a forward-thinking (and, admittedly, better-resourced) universe, the Bridge would be worth saving in its own right - & then we could have separate pedestrian/bike lanes! Imagine that...
What was George's position during his mayoral campaign?
He was very clear about it not going thru the harbourside (an area close to his heart - the cranes, etc). IIRC, he was rather vague about the Ashton Vale route, beyond being critical of the funding-in-search-of-a-problem (i.e. complete arrse-about-face) nature of the scheme. Interestingly, some of the contracts being put out by BCC seem to reflect the design of the original scheme. I don't know what's going on there.
More drilling is now going on adjacent to the Chocolate Path. The Bunker Bikes guy told 'em off for parking right across it.
@noteeth - Hang around overnight and confront / video them?
Hang around overnight and confront / video them?
More on Bristol Civic Society's stance: http://www.bristol247.com/2013/06/25/bristol-civic-society-condemns-bus-rapid-transit-options-87579/
They nail the issue - "To say that this is illogical is a monumental understatement."
Someone was putting fresh notices up around 0815 this morning. I woke this morning to find a link to this in my Twitter feed
with the quote: "the bridge will stay open for peds/cyclists. They'll have a wider, smoother, safer and separate path".
Much as I don't want buses on the bridge, it does appear to be going to rack and ruin, and refurbishment seems unlikely to be funded any other way in the current climate.
Someone was putting fresh notices up around 0815 this morning
That was me!
The patterning of poster removal (latest round - fri/sat/sun nights) suggests that it isn't somebody who regularly (i.e. daily) uses or commutes over the bridge, which just adds to the irony.
it does appear to be going to rack and ruin
Indeed - but, IMO, that's still not a valid reason for the exact choice of bus route, which should be decided on its own merits. BCC & the WEP have got some cheek taking this line, given how the bridge has been neglected in the past. It's also a staggering amount of money to be spending on moving bus services over from Hotwells, not least given how the cash could be better spent.
Anyway, in a final-stand stylee, the deadline for submissions is noon today. I crayoned this.. essentially a re-hash of all my ramblings on here:
To whom it may concern,
I am writing as a resident of Ashton Road and as a daily (cycle/pedestrian) commuter into central Bristol. I wish to object to the proposed routing of the BRT2 rapid transit scheme via the Cumberland Road. I remain deeply concerned at how this has been steamrollered through the planning process. I would like to raise the following issues:
1. From the outset, BRT2 appears to have been driven by the need to retain capital funding - rather than an honest appraisal of Bristol's transport needs. Both Bristol City Council and the West of England Partnership have been less than forthcoming about how they have reached their conclusions.
2. The criteria used to evaluate the cost-benefit ratios of the (Hotwells versus Cumberland Road) two options proposed by the Mayoral review are extraordinary! Modifications to existing highway (i.e. car) capacity are considered an economic 'dis-benefit' - in service of a scheme that is (likely) to be routed through valuable traffic-free space. A bizarre assessment for a city that is now priding itself on its European Green Capital credentials.
3. From the original plan onwards, foot and cycle traffic has been given minimal consideration. The importance of vehicle-free routes such as the busy (& newly-completed) Festival Way cannot be overstated: in a country in which many commuters are too scared to cycle on the roads, such infrastructure is crucial. Either we encourage people to get out of their cars - or we don't. Any truly radical transport plan would involve existing road infrastructure... not the annexation of valuable traffic-free space! I also note that, whilst dilapidated, the Ashton Avenue Bridge is still a viable railway bridge. In the long-term, a light rail or tram system would make far more sense than a fudged bus route.
4. At present, it is possible to travel into the city from South Bristol without having to contend with vehicular traffic. The proposed Ashton Vale bus route compromises this by placing pedestrians and cyclists in immediate proximity to a busy bus-lane. Claims that foot/cycle access will be "safeguarded" are disingenuous - if the proposed route is to carry the full volume of (Park & Ride/Airport) bus traffic, that is a huge number of buses being routed over the Ashton Avenue Bridge (presumably, dual bus-lanes funnelling into a single light-controlled guided lane over the existing rail tracks). This will completely transform the area, both on the Bridge and its approaches. On a standard (i.e. minimum 3 metre) path, walking/cycling becomes a good deal more imposing when immediately adjacent to a busy bus lane - not least for those accompanied by children, pushchairs, dogs, etc. Needless to say, the route is valued precisely because it is vehicle-free - and everybody who walks/cycles along it is already helping to resolve Bristol's continuing gridlock. This scheme does nothing to encourage them.
5. Although simply treated as a disused railway bridge in the original BRT2 plans, the Ashton Avenue Bridge is extremely busy at "rush hour" (both AM and PM) with foot/cycle traffic. Given the likely number of buses at peak hours, there is considerable potential for public hazard at the intersections either end of the Bridge. In addition, I fail to see how adequate traffic control can be accomplished without considerable delays for all concerned.
6. Although sentiment generally counts for nothing in planning, please do not underestimate how the area in and around Ashton Avenue Bridge (i.e. Ashton Vale fields, Sylvia Crowe Park, Butterfly Junction, the Chocolate Path, the New Cut) is affectionately regarded by residents and pedestrian/cycle commuters. It is a valuable green corridor - offering a reasonably peaceful and pleasant route into the centre, and affording fascinating glimpses into the city's industrial heritage & the wilder Avon Gorge beyond. There is a large flyover in the immediate vicinity - so keep the buses on that!
7. It is clear that the Ashton Avenue Bridge is in need of significant structural repair, having been neglected for many years. I suspect this has been inadequately budgeted for, adding to (the liable) overspend. Whatever its fascinating (railway/top-tier road bridge) history, and whilst the BRT2 scheme would provide investment capital for refurbishment, this is not in itself an a priori argument for the choice of bus route. As a listed Grade II structure, the Bridge is worthy of investment for its own sake - and I note that the Council have failed to provide even basic upkeep or improvements (e.g. paint, lighting).
8. Such disruption might be worth it, if the BRT2 scheme was to offer stellar improvements. Judging by submissions to the Public Inquiry, however, such improvements are likely to be negligible - not least in terms of passenger numbers, patronage and journey times. Although the promotion of Bristol Temple Meads as a transport "hub" is clearly important, I fail to see how Park and Ride passengers are better served by diversion away from the existing Hotwells route.
9. Improvements to the existing Hotwells route could be achieved at much less expense and disruption - were it not for the strange BCR modelling employed (see above). As it is, I suspect Bristol City Council will end up spending a huge amount of money, with very little to show for it. The Park and Ride/Airport services will have been re-routed at vast cost, central bus services will remain prohibitively expensive, few commuters will have been encouraged out of their cars - and the daily gridlock will continue.
10. Finally, and to be frank, the plans make a nonsense of both the "Green Capital" and the "Cycling City" rhetoric. What kind of civic authority trumpets about the completion of a demonstrably-successful cycle path - and then runs buses along it? Worries about how Bristol is perceived in London or by the Department of Transport are a poor excuse for the likely impact upon existing traffic-free and green space. If millions of pounds of public money are to be squandered for such vainglorious reasons, do not expect voters to be forgiving.
I would urge you to reconsider this scheme - and I thank you in advance for your consideration.
Problem is, there's a lot of scare mongering over the bridge falling into ruin. No actual info as to whether it's going to fall down or not.
Metro Bus TW seemed to think that because it's listed at risk, it's therefore going to fall down. No stats or survey information provided.
a lot of scare mongering over the bridge falling into ruin
Exactly - it's a weirdly-emotional appeal from interests who otherwise haven't given a flying **** about the structural state of the Bridge.... "and now only buses can save us."
Ok, today is the day. There is a Council Cabinet meeting this pm to discuss BRT2 - although I'm sure the decision has already been taken. I'm not hopeful of a happy outcome, but (& at the risk of sounding like the Portlandia fixie dude... "BICYCLE RIGHTS!!!") at least we helped fight the corner for a vehicle-free Festival Way. The Council is now taking a lot of flack for this ridiculous scheme.
So, thanks to everybody who has kept up with this thread & emailed/hassled the Council, thanks to the Mods for stickying it for the photocall - and thanks to the fine staff of Stationery World, Park Street, for their continued interest in what was happening (whilst laminating posters). No thanks to the WEP for being such muppet transport planners.
StopBRT2 are planning a walk and "protest picnic" on the afternoon of sat 6th July, if anybody would like to attend.
How much say does Ferguson have in the final route?
Last ditch on twitter from me:
#BRT2 decision tonight… "Watch this space - alternative to BRT2 following my proposed variations will certainly not do so." @GeorgeFergusonx
I fear we'll be seeing buses over Ashton Avenue Bridge and along harbour side before long #green #yeahright @StopBRT2 @GeorgeFergusonx
It's an odd argument, "the only way to save a rusty bridge is to start running buses over it". You don't hear people claiming that the only way to save this rusty old car is to turn it into a hovercraft, or the only way to repair this overgrown lane is to turn it into a motorway. The only way to keep the grass short in this park is to use it as a car park.
There's no point in pointing these things out, the discussion was held purely so that it can said that the matter was properly debated. Somebody is banking on making money out of the BRT2 scheme and they don't care whether it's good for bus users or the locality or for mildly dilapidated bridges. FTW & FBCC.
the only way to save this rusty old car is to turn it into a hovercraft
Indeed, what nonsense this whole thing is.
Difference being: hovercraft are awesome, bendy-buses ain't.
hovercraft are awesome, bendy-buses ain't
I would have supported a rapid transit hovercraft...
Bus to Pill, hovercraft into town / train station. Problem solved.
So to confirm, while no buses on harbourside, they will be going over the Ashton Avenue bridge?
They will be going over Ashton Ave Bridge... unless people turn out en-mass to raise awareness that this is a silly idea which is to the detriment of the city.
No harbourside, not sure about the chocolate path.
Precedent has been set by @GeorgeFergusonx, key to saving our treasured traffic free spaces is to put traffic on them #gogreen (@StopBRT2)
Chocolate path survives on the Cumberland Road plans, but I'm guessing there will be conflict up near Goal Ferry Bridge around the new bus stops. The pavement / cycle path up there is to be narrowed too.
About time the chocolate block path was re-surfaced, mind, it's treacherous after frost...
About time the chocolate block path was re-surfaced, mind, it's treacherous after frost...
I've complained repeatedly about that: there's now a small sign telling you it's slippy sometimes. Genius.
It's horrible on a road bike - I use the road instead.
It's horrible on a road bike - I use the road instead.
^ This. Then you may be the lucky recipient of abuse from a vehicular eejit, along the lines of "use the effing cycle lane you effing so-and-so".
The (brief) response from StopBRT2's transport consultant makes interesting reading. He was never given access to detailed reports, despite repeated requests - but it's clear that the Hotwells option was heavily "value-engineered" for the Mayoral review.
I wish Isambard Brunel would rise again and smite these fools.
noteeth was spotted yesterday, defeating an aggressive passer-by with the overwhelming superiority of his argument...
I like the new high up posters, difficult to take them down I'm guessing!
defeating an aggressive passer-by with the overwhelming superiority of his argument
Ha, only with your help... good job you arrived when you did.
the new high up posters
The work of a very angry lady, with a ladder.
I've been following the BRT2 scheme with interest, and am curious to know what people's opinions would be if, hypothetically, the route across ashton avenue bridge was shelved, and instead it was proposed to reinstate the rail line over the bridge to link up with the proposed portishead line, run by a peak hour train shuttle service, but retaining accessibility for cyclists and walkers?
Would people be in favour or against such a scheme, and why?
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