Pedestrianise Bristol!

Freedom To Ride, a manifesto by the Bristol Cycling Campaign, (sign the petition!) calls for a comprehensive cycling network across Bristol. As part of that, and to start a discussion, I’ve designed a plan that will pedestrianise Bristol’s Clifton Triangle.

Pedestrianise Bristol's Clifton Triangle

Currently there are many problems in the area when walking. It’s loud, unpleasant, with narrow crowded pavement and a wide road full of roaring traffic. When cycling it’s even worse, a junction only for the bold! Can you imagine a child cycling to school from Whiteladies Road all the way around to Jacob’s Well Road? A grandparent cycling from Park Row to the museum? There’s so many problems I made another map!

Existing problems with Bristol's Clifton Triangle

My aims were

  1. Pedestrianise the road from Victoria Rooms to Wills Memorial Building
  2. Modify the existing roads to necessitate a minimum of work so that it can be created and tested easily and cheaply, so if it doesn’t work it can be reversed.
  3. Improve overall traffic by creating decent cycling and pedestrian routes through a difficult and unpleasant part of Bristol.

I was inspired by a recent TED talk by Janette Sadik-Khan who describes how she pedestrianised Times Square in New York in a similar plan to mine. As you can see this was done cheaply and easily as a trial, using paint, bollards, and even folding garden chairs!

It’s motor vehicle junctions like the Triangle that cause congestion in Bristol. By bending over backwards to accommodate large volumes of vehicles through our living spaces it means alternatives are made unpleasant, inconvenient  and even unsafe, rather than real alternatives and part of an integrated solution. What does this mean? More cars. What causes traffic? Too many cars!

It’s been said that traffic in Bristol is on a knife edge, something I’ve witnessed when lorries block lanes in Queen’s avenue as the loading bays are full, and when recently Wessex Water undertook road works. These cause massive tailbacks, but what these road narrowings don’t do is allow for drivers to choose alternatives, instead the resulting traffic jams instead make it more unpleasant for cycling and walking, and the problems to public transport are evident. The primary cause of traffic still remains: too many cars!

So let’s tackle the problem, head on. Where a majority of space is given to motor traffic, share it out. Create places where people can walk and live, eat and shop. Meet the Bristol Cycling Manifesto’s demands and created a cycling network to a high standard, so all aged from 8 to 80 can cycle around the city.

We must stop making the flow of motor traffic Bristol’s the priority, but instead craft transport suit the needs of all it’s people, fairly.

If you agree, talk about it, tell your friends, ask the Bristol Cycle Campaign to fix a junction you know, and sign the petition. This post is the start of a new vision of a Bristol for people, your voice can make it happen. More plans will come, follow Bristol Cycling Campaign for news.