Key Cycling City Public Meeting this Wednesday!

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Joshua Hart

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Oct 4, 2008, 1:46:37 PM10/4/08
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Speak Up for a True Cycling City in Bristol! 
Come to the Public Meeting this Wednesday evening from 6- 8:30pm at Fairfield High School, Allfoxton Road, Horfield!

You may have heard that Bristol is now one of a handful of “Cycling Cities” in the UK.  It’s hard to believe the hype after the last few months: the Council “forgetting” to include a single bike rack as part of the Cabot Circus development (boasting over 2500 car spaces), removal of a key cycle lane on Lower Ashley Rd., and an attempt to destroy the best bits of the Bristol-Bath Cycle Path.

Yet Bristol remains on track to receive over £11 million in funding (added to the City’s £11 million for a total of £22 million) to improve cycling in Bristol.  The “public outreach” and “consultation” has quite simply been a debacle so far.   It was recently discovered that members of the public were turned away from the last large public meeting on September 10th at Armada House.  Planners told members of an advisory panel “not to tell anyone else about the plan,” less than two weeks before it gets approved by the City Council.   Now they’re finally presenting the plan on Wednesday, but they tell us “we’re terribly sorry but it’s simply too late to accept public comment.”   

THIS IS JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH.   This is £22 million of taxpayer money being spent on cycling in Bristol- truly an unprecedented amount of money, and an incredible opportunity to develop a high quality cycle expressway network in Bristol.  Yet we could end up seeing the money spent on more of the same: inadequate cycle lanes- often in the dangerous ‘door zone’ that end just when you need them the most, ill-thought-out facilities that don’t join up and abandon cyclists at junctions, and underwriting the payrolls of existing city council staff and large charities.

At the meeting on Wednesday, many of us will be asking the City Council to meet their responsibility to consult the public and make the Cycling City plan work for the people of Bristol, specifically:

1) Set aside £1 million for construction of the first phase of a Cycling Expressway that would connect St. Werburgh’s, Bishopston, Lockleaze, Montpelier, and St. Andrews directly across the M32 to Easton and the Bristol-Bath Cycle Path, via a level, traffic-free pathway along the rail line.

2) Funding development of a 10 year Cycling Plan for Bristol:  If we don’t have a plan developed in consultation with all of Bristol’s neighbourhoods, we will end up with a fragmented network and disjointed policy (more of the same)

3) A 20mph speed limit in all of Bristol’s residential areas, to encourage cycling and walking.  A pedestrian hit at 30 mph has a 45% chance of being killed, while at 20mph it’s only a 5% chance.

4) Ensure that key on-road cycle lanes are included in the plan- such as striping a continuous bike lane on the A38 (Upper Gloucester Rd.)

5) Funding of grassroots initiatives to market and promote cycling, and hiring of a visionary, inspirational project leader.

6) Key restraints on motor vehicle traffic to prioritise cycling: closure of medieval City Centre streets to car traffic, filtered permeability at key locations along minor roads (allowing biked/ peds through while creating cul-de-sacs for cars)

If the City Council is serious about truly making Bristol a Cycling City, then this is one way forward.   If we’re happy with the way things have been, we can always just let £22 million be frittered away and continue to sit in our cars spewing more CO2 and cursing the traffic.  The choice is ours.

Come speak up for a better Cycling City Plan at the Cycling City Public Hearing on Wednesday October 8th at 6pm -8.30pm at Fairfield High School, Allfoxton Road, Horfield.  For more information about this campaign, see onthelevelblog.com or contact Josh Hart at velor...@yahoo.com


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