Bristol City Council

London has Space4Cycling, Bristol has CycleLanes4Cash

Bristol City Council have replaced a cycle lane with car parking, in order to earn the council £20,000

Colston Street, Bristol

Colston Street’s new car parking, wouldn’t Eric Pickles be proud?

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.

Colston Street, Bristol

Google Street View shows the old cycle lane

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.

Colston Street, Bristol

A new pinch point at the base of the hill

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.

Update 8/10/2013

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”

Replacement cycle lane, Quay street

Quay street is one way with a contraflow cycle lane. Building works have narrowed the road so there’s no more room on the road for both a road and the bike lane. Rather than remove the cycle lane it has instead been moved onto the pavement, which is quite narrow in places. The cycle lane also has to yield priority at junctions.


I’m in two minds as to whether this compromise is good or not.

On one hand it’s great that cycling has been considered and it’s still usable, albeit in a slightly unsatisfactory manner. It wouldn’t have surprised me if the cycle lane had simply been removed, so my low expectations have been surpassed!

As the road is a bus route it would be a huge hassle to close the road to motor vehicles. Other solutions like priority signs and or traffic lights are a step too far to solve the problem I think, probably introducing more issues.

When it comes down to it road works are temporary and inconvenience all road users in one way or another. It’s unfortunate that on Quay Street it’s introduced extra risk to pedestrians and inconvenience to cyclists.