Bristol City Council have replaced a cycle lane with car parking, in order to earn the council £20,000
Mr Terry Bullock, the Traffic Manager for Bristol City Council, admitted Thursday night at the Bristol Cycle Forum that a section of a cycle lane on Colston Street was removed in August so that five spaces for private car parking could earn the council £20,000 a year. Mr Bullock did not mention how much it had cost to remove the cycle lane or to create the parking spaces, or will cost to enforce and maintain the spaces.
Mr Bullock suggested that money raised in this manner could be good for cycling as it would pay for other schemes, while noting that the money could not be ring-fenced for cycling.
The five parking spaces that now replace the cycle lane, an official Sustrans route, are opposite a bus stop which has created a pinch-point for cyclists travelling uphill. This flies in the face of the council’s recently acknowledgement that cyclists are being overlooked in highway designs.
In July Mr Alistair Cox, the City Transport Service Manager for Bristol City Council, responded to the Bristol Cycling Campaign’s successful ‘Stop Pinching Bikes!’ campaign, writing
“It is of course not council policy to narrow a road to the extent that it disadvantages cycling, neither to expect cycling to share roads with heavy and fast traffic nor to build facilities that are obstructed by parked vehicles.”
Colston Street is not the only example contradicting the words coming out from Bristol City Council. A a recent pedestrian crossing on Whiteladies Road has removed a cycle lane, meaning a new pinch point for an even steeper hill.
What makes these contradiction even more incredible are the planned schemes for Clarence Road and Baldwin Street, where parking for private vehicles is being removed to introduce a segregated cycle lanes. While short of meeting a proper Dutch standard, they could be the start of a new era of cycling provision in Bristol.
So why must such bold schemes fight against the tens of smaller junctions made worse by the council’s actions? Obviously some in the council are fighting the good fight, but it’s clear that the prevailing car-centric attitude has still not caught up with the Bristol’s supposed status as a cycling city.
Mark Bradshaw, the deputy mayor, has responded to this on Twitter.
“we got this wrong re Colston St & I’ve asked for the pay & display bays to be removed”