Bristol BRT2 route – Ashton Avenue Bridge

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  • Bristol BRT2 route – Ashton Avenue Bridge
  • noteeth
    Member

    how did the meeting go?

    Sorry deluded, missed your post. 😳

    The meeting: I arrived late after my shift (& thank goodness they had Doom Bar – I was desperate for a pint!). I guess there were 15 or so people in attendance – a mixture of local/harbour residents & various transport types.

    The main focus seemed to be on how best to raise [the various] concerns with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (advice on writing letters here: http://stopbrt2.org.uk/how-contact-your-mp-and-local-enterprise-partnership). Needless to say, there was a pretty strong feeling that Bristol is being sold a duff scheme (both in economic & transport terms) – not least because the Council seem desperate to slap something down, just in order to merit the additional Gov funding (especially given current demands to ‘invest in infrastructure’). So, one angle of attack could be the de-coupling of that funding & directing it towards other projects. The trouble being that most people instinctively agree with what is touted as a ‘integrated transport solution’, without necessarily realising what is being proposed.

    Various issues were raised in terms of detrimental effects upon business, tourist & heritage interests (e.g. the M-Shed area of dockside), as well as the fact that some business interests are decidedly supportive of the scheme (e.g. Bristol Airport). The proposed bus route over the Prince Street swing bridge is a major issue – just daft, IMO.

    As a resident of Ashton Road (and as a commuter, mountain biker & reasonably-frequent Nova drinker!), I suppose my main concern was how little notice has been given to locals regarding the Ashton Avenue bridge. There’s a lot of dog walkers, runners, cyclists etc who are going to have a major shock when they start sending buses through there (& the festival way cutting). Yes, cycle/pedestrian access will be maintained, but I think it will be a sad day when/if it happens. Again, I’m being rather sentimental about that corner of town – but it has a certain charm the way it is: a kind of interface between the Avon Gorge, central Bristol and its industrial past.

    So, I’ve agreed to hand out some leaflets on the bridge – if only to raise awareness (if you see a Brompton rider waving at you, I’m not begging!). There will be another public meeting in early September, afaik.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    The next meeting’s this Monday, 7.30 at the Hen and Chicken:

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/Stopbrt2/posts/272685209499337

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Yes, cycle/pedestrian access will be maintained, but I think it will be a sad day when/if it happens

    This is the important bit – there are no plans to remove cycling access over the bridge or along the chocolate path. I have mixed feelings on the scheme, but to oppose it because you might have to share a bridge (which was built to carry trains and cars) doesn’t seem like the best of reasons.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Ah, the “dog in the manger” argument.

    They are talking about physically rolling back some of the few proper infrastructure improvements that have been made over the past few years, like the cycle lane on Bristol Bridge. None of these facilities are particularly adequate in the first place (name me one cycle path around Bristol that’s too wide!)

    The estimates of passenger numbers are tiny compared to the number of people who could potentially cycle from the same area.

    The plans initially showed cycle facilities which were then “value engineered” out.

    This is a good illustration of what a foregone conclusion the West of England Partnership think the whole Bus Rapid Transit thing will be – they’ve already started building the car parks:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-19368355

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    They are talking about physically rolling back some of the few proper infrastructure improvements that have been made over the past few years, like the cycle lane on Bristol Bridge. None of these facilities are particularly adequate in the first place (name me one cycle path around Bristol that’s too wide!)

    Do you have details? What are they removing? As a general point, I’d not be too sorry to see quite a few cycle lanes taken out, as they are worse than useless.

    The example given was the Ashton Avenue bridge – I’ve seen nothing to worry me about it, and I use it most days.

    wrecker
    Member

    Funny that there’s so much mention of cycle facilities eh?
    Not that we’re biased or owt.
    Money would be better spent improving the traffic into Bristol from the ring road at Brislington. Or along the Cumberland basin.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    They are being deliberately sketchy about the details of the work at present, but there are a few examples on the Stop BRT2 site.

    Ashton Avenue Bridge is part of the “guided” route. I don’t know if you’ve seen examples but they don’t look like it’d be easy for cyclists and pedestrians to cross them:

    So if you were using the bridge and you didn’t want to go all the way round the back of the Create centre, you’d be out of luck. Same if you normally use Prince Street Bridge. Now it may be that they’re going to put in crossing points to improve permeability, but there are no details whatsoever of this. It sounds like it’s going to narrow the width of a lot of cycle routes and chop others in half.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    So what is happening to the chocolate path?

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I’m also a very occasional driver in Bristol city centre and from that point of view it looks like it’s only goign to make things worse. It’s enough of a one-way-tastic headf–k as it is.

    The predicted reduction in traffic of 0.2%, when they’re spending the best part of £50 million, ought to get the Taxpayers Alliance types frothing but they’re probably just saving their ire for the next round of cycle facilities (if it ever comes).

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    From Long Ashton, the route is going to run over Ashton Avenue Bridge (by the Create centre) then turn right onto the old railway line (the one which the steam trains currently use during summer). Then it’ll go along the Harbourside, behind M:Shed, which if it keeps the cycle path at all will reduce it to a couple of metres.

    The Chocolate Path is going to have buses running along side it every few minutes instead of the current mostly disused railway track.

    It’s unclear how the connections between the Chocolate Path, the Pill Path and the Festival Way are going to be affected but I’m guessing they won’t be improved.

    wrecker
    Member

    It’s been shit idea after shit idea. The ringroad was supposed to be the answer to our prayers. All it did was funnel people into the centre by 2 heavily congested routes (A4 and M32). I work outside bristol now, it takes me less time to drive the 30 miles to work than it did to get into the centre on the bus (7 miles, over an hour) or driving. Cycling would be OK….until you got smashed around the head in Easton and someone nicks your bike.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    It’s been shit idea after shit idea.

    I agree that the proposal is a very expensive way of saving a small amount of traffic. But the fact is that there are too many cars wanting to get in/ out of Bristol, and a lack of will to do anything radical.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Taking space away from bikes and pedestrians isn’t radical. It’s been happening for years.

    We’ve recently approved city-wide 20 mph limits despite some shrieking from the comments section of the Evening Post, that’s a move in the right direction. The proposed metro rail system looks good too.

    wrecker
    Member

    There’s just no need for so many people to work in the centre. Offices could easily be out of town.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    There’s just no need for so many people to work in the centre. Offices could easily be out of town.

    = further away from where people live = more people driving.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Taking space away from bikes and pedestrians isn’t radical. It’s been happening for years.

    I know. That was my point!

    wrecker
    Member

    = further away from where people live = more people driving.

    No reason why, provided there are bus routes.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    If it is free to park in out of town office areas then car will always be king – the buses are way more expensive than driving for all but the tiniest of minorities.

    andyl
    Member

    Sadly I fall into the category of NEED to use my car to go in and out of Bristol as I always have equipment with me for work and will be visiting multiple sites from the Uni, Filton and out to Emersons Green. I also have to bring the dog with me at times. Fortunately, as I also own a flat in Bristol I have a permit so can park easily when I get into the University area but getting in and around Bristol is a nightmare and they have definitely made things worse with the ‘improvements’.

    But there is a lot of people who just go in for office type jobs that would surely be better off using s park and ride system. I remember the sustrans guy giving talks at Uni many years ago. Sadly his ideas fell by the wayside for various reasons but something like that would be ideal.

    TooTall
    Member

    There’s just no need for so many people to work in the centre. Offices could easily be out of town.

    If people are not using the existing good bus routes into the city centre, how on earth are you going to put in new and equally good bus routes to somewhere on the edge of town? Have you seen what it is like now around Filton? Moving offices away from the existing transport hub is not an answer.

    wrecker
    Member

    If people are not using the existing good bus routes into the city centre, how on earth are you going to put in new and equally good bus routes to somewhere on the edge of town

    What good bus routes? Why would you use them anyway; they’re still more expensive than driving.
    Perhaps along wider more suitable roads with more than one lane?

    Moving offices away from the existing transport hub is not an answer.

    What is, more cycle lanes? 😆

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    I blame First Group for everything. Even the mud in Leigh Woods. It’s all their fault.

    TooTall
    Member

    What good bus routes? Why would you use them anyway; they’re still more expensive than driving.

    Driving? Perhaps. Driving and parking? The £4 all day ticket on the bus is a lot cheaper than driving and parking in Bristol for a days work.

    The answer is complex, but involves supporting flexible working (hours and location), improving mass public transit and making the alternatives to driving at least two of the ‘quicker, cheaper, easier’ list.

    Putting a 2nd bridge across the gorge and turning Ashton Court into a business park would be a good way of moving those terrible business out of the city centre.

    wordnumb
    Member

    The next meeting’s this Monday, 7.30 at the Hen and Chicken:

    Thanks for the headsup, will turn up driving a humvee wander down.

    noteeth
    Member

    Ah, thanks MrA – I was going to bump this thread, but you got there first. I’ll be at the meeting, provided I can get out of work on time.

    but to oppose it because you might have to share a bridge (which was built to carry trains and cars) doesn’t seem like the best of reasons

    I’m not disputing its history, but things change. Whatever the past use, that bridge is now a major non-vehicular access route for those of us living in the Ashton Rd area. And at risk of being branded a NIMBY, I have no desire to see buses routed through there – especially in service of such an expensive, poorly-designed scheme.

    I blame First Group for everything

    It’s all been downhill since the demise of Badgerline. Actually, ‘Badgerline’ would be a good name for a trail.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    THE Badger Line 😆

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    I’m not disputing its history, but things change. Whatever the past use, that bridge is now a major non-vehicular access route for those of us living in the Ashton Rd area.

    And you still will be able to use it. Describing it as “major” is a stretch, too! I go that way to work quite often, and it’s very quiet compared to some other cycle/ pedestrian routes into town.

    As an aside, I know that the BRT has been evaluated using the DfT criteria, and has found to be compliant with their cost: benefit requirements. Yet £50 million for a scheme that will carry such a small number of people seems like a great deal of money.

    noteeth
    Member

    THE Badger Line

    As ridden by snuffling nocturnal MAMILs.

    Describing it as “major” is a stretch, too!

    It sees a fair amount of traffic – esp on match days, etc. It’s also a reasonably pleasant means of getting into the city on foot/bike. The scheme has minimal benefits for local residents – many of whom, IME, are entirely unaware of what the council is planning.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    you still will be able to use it

    But will anyone want to?

    It’s not a bustling commuter route but it’s busy every evening with people riding and running out to Ashton Court and the Pill Path.

    Same with the steam trains; obviously no-one goes to work on them but if they disappear it’ll suck a bit more of the life out of the Harbourside.

    If the only reason anyone used cycle routes was getting to and from places efficiently they would be deserted. But it’s not.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I blame First Group for everything.

    First Bus are actually the reason I started cycling in Bristol. Anything to avoid having to use them…

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    It’s not a bustling commuter route but it’s busy every evening with people riding and running out to Ashton Court and the Pill Path.

    It isn’t busy at those times – compare and contrast with Gaol Ferry bridge.

    Do you really think people will not run or cycle along the river path because of a bus on a small bridge?

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    The scheme has minimal benefits for local residents – many of whom, IME, are entirely unaware of what the council is planning.

    I tend to agree. I’m also not sure why they’re replacing a perfectly good Park & Ride.

    wordnumb
    Member

    But will anyone want to?

    Exactly.

    Bristol wants to be known for its green credentials, for the illusion of space in a busy city – and plenty of people I speak to say that they like the city because it feels more open, less locked into a grid. Optimising every route you could squeeze a bus along is the perfect way to spoil the place. BRT2 & BRT3 are being put forward because they are going to make lots of money for some people – they won’t have much effect on peoples’ daily commute. But they will spoil a historic green route into the centre of the city.

    I know the ‘it’ll spoil something nice’ argument isn’t the official anti-BRT line. It’s not a simple case of NIMBYism though, and it goes further than the arguments against wasting the work put in under the Cycling City banner. Those in charge of transport policy in the city have proven time and again that they haven’t a clue what they’re doing.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    compare and contrast with Gaol Ferry bridge

    Apples and oranges – that’s a really popular commuter route, Ashton Avenue seems to be more leisure users. Not that either of us have stood next to it and counted the user numbers, mind.

    Do you really think people will not run or cycle along the river path because of a bus on a small bridge?

    Yes, if it means more noise, more fumes, more user conflict (due to a narrowed carriageway), run-ins with service vehicles and a more convoluted journey. Not wanting to sound aggro, but your comments on here and the recent Sustrans path thread indicate that you haven’t got the foggiest idea why people choose to use traffic-free cycle paths.

    We’re getting a bit hung up on the Chocolate Path and Ashton Avenue but this will certainly affect major commuter routes like Prince Street and Bristol Bridge too.

    I’m also not sure why they’re replacing a perfectly good Park & Ride.

    Two reasons: the planned expansion of Long Ashton, and the need to be seen to be doing something about Bristol’s horrible traffic, even if it turns out to be ineffectual.

    Do you really think people will not run or cycle along the river path because of a bus on a small bridge?

    No, of course not, but the crucial link across the river will become irrepairably reduced, possibly to the point where it is effectively unusable.

    It isn’t a big bridge, I doubt there is room for busses/guided tramways and non-motorised traffic side by side. So what we’ll get is a u-turn on any assurances of continued access, or some hopeless traffic-light scheme. All, I’m sure, badly handled by Bristol City Council, renowned for awful project management and craven capitulation to the demands of any and every commerical operator. See FirstBus.

    This is the only traffic-free route into the city from the south west. The scheme, quite apart from the bridge issue, is poorly conceived, expensive, and threatens to wreck a whole lot of good stuff.

    This is speaking as someone who lives in Long Ashton, and would quite like to be able to get the 4 miles into the City Centre in under an hour during rush hour. Luckily for me, I’m able bodied and can ride a bike.

    I’m also not sure why they’re replacing a perfectly good Park & Ride.

    If they put a bit of thought into the Park & Ride scheme, it would be much better. Only that is less exciting and makes less profits for all involved. It could also impinge on road space, which would elicit howls of protest, and require some political courage.

    noteeth
    Member

    if it means more noise, more fumes, more user conflict (due to a narrowed carriageway), run-ins with service vehicles and a more convoluted journey

    Exactly. If it was in the cause of a genuinely radical transport plan, I’d take the knock. As things stand, it’s a badly-planned scheme of dubious benefit – hefty expenditure and minimal (if any) savings on existing journey times. And as for Prince Street bridge…

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    As both a cyclist and a car user, I absolutely despair at what they have done to Prince Street bridge.

    They’re doing it all over the city. Its like they have a committee specifically tasked with dreaming up ways to make life worse, and preferably more dangerous, for all road users.

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