Keep Bristol Moving – Better than Bus Lanes

Other European cities have a frequent and reliable public transport system that doesn’t cost the earth and gets you where you need to be on time. Somehow we haven't got that right in the UK ... yet, anyway.

It might be good if Bristol gets some sort of rapid transport system – maybe trams or some sort of monorail. In the meantime, it is not the best thing to make life increasingly difficult for motorists.

Making life difficult for motorists has not resulted in fewer cars on the road – only in longer queues, more congestion and more pollution! That's bad for business, bad for the environment, bad for the increasing number of cases of asthma and makes every journey longer and more frustrating than it needs to be.

I have a multi-point plan to reduce traffic congestion -- each point makes an improvement and, together, we'll really get Bristol moving again = good for business, good for individuals, good for health, and good for making Bristol attractive to outside investment ...

  • Use and extend our existing local railway system - Some years ago, there was a move to close local stations and move everybody onto the roads. Well, we can see how that's worked out! We need to ensure the rail and stations are safe, and we need to discover (from the people who could actually use them) which stations should be re-opened first.
      Buses aren't the only or the best way to solve our problems - in fact the Greater Bristol Bus Network (GBBN) has itself caused some problems eg see these petitions: Westbury Road bus lane and Manor Rd / Fishponds Rd Junction.
      Trains are out of the way and don't get stuck in the same jams that road users suffer. And, apart from when the wrong sort of leaves are on the track, are more predictable.
      Road usage cannot just keep growing - Bristol's getting choked!

  • Open up bus-lanes - these are typically empty most of the day whilst the lane next to them is chock-full of slow-moving congestion, spewing pollution out for twice as long as necessary!
      Trams never needed a whole lane to themselves, laying empty 99.5% of the time. So, treating car drivers as sensible people who do care about the environment for them and their children, I would like to suggest a deal with Bristol motorists: when you see a bus behind you, pull in and let it pass - like you would an ambulance. It adds only seconds to your journey time!
      That way, we don't need to waste roadspace on separate bus lanes springing up all over the place, and ALL lanes can be available to ALL traffic, ALL of the time.   Simple, safe and sensible.

  • Make junctions more efficient ("1 in – 2 out") - to avoid delays and make travelling more efficient for everybody, where there is room, divide traffic approaching a junction into two lanes. Also, reverse some changes where it used to be like that!   eg:

    • From Sylvan Way to the Portway used to be two lanes so that traffic could split left and right, without waiting; that was changed to a single lane, causing more queueing.

    • On the Downs, from Saville Rd crossing Stoke Rd, similarly, now there's only one outgoing lane.

  • Where pavements are excessively wide, reduce them to 4-6 feet and create free parking space, where possible (except where large pavements are used by the community eg Gloucester Rd) - By creating more parking spaces (restricted in the busiest areas of town to maybe 1 or 2 hours), people can more easily get where they need to go, do what they need to do and get away again.

  • If it ain't broke, don't waste money 'fixing' it - eg there is a traffic light controlled junction which is working perfectly well at the crossroads of Shirehampton Rd and Sylvan Way. Everybody can go in any direction and there is reasonable parking nearby. The Council currently intends to replace the working lights with new lights, forbid turning in one direction and remove a lot of the on-road parking.     Why do that ???

  • Increase free parking wherever safely possible - I believe there are a lot of parking restrictions (double yellow lines and meters) where they don’t need to be – consequently, that roadspace is often underutilised while motorists drive round and round, increasing congestion and pollution, seeking an alternative.
      Open up as much roadspace as possible so people can do what they need to and go home again.
    Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ)personally, I would find the idea of having to pay to park in my own road very frustrating. It’s mainly a problem where parking is very badly restricted. If parking were freer, it might not be a problem at all. Each zone should have a mini-referendum to choose its own fate.   See this e-petition

  • Be fair - for example, don't re-surface roads that don't need it, whilst others have potholes year after year!

  • avoid closures, 1-ways, complications - (where safely possible) keep the road network open and flowing, allowing as many alternative routes as possible to spread the load and avoid congestion and pollution.

  • Listen to locals - Don't force through some plan that's going to make life more difficult for local people eg Manor Road/Fishponds Road Junction I would like to encourage Bristolians to tell us where and how the road system could be improved. You use it; I'm sure you have some good ideas of how it can be improved!
      There are probably a lot of junctions and other road areas across Bristol which could be improved for safety and efficiency – or, where safety/efficiency has previously been reduced (eg as above), changes could be undone – I would like local Bristolians to report those and have more say in their local neighbourhoods.

  • Remove large slabs of concrete - Surely squashing vehicles closer together can't make sense. If there's room to keep vehicles further apart, that reduces the risk of collision and means you have somewhere to go in case of emergency (eg a child or elderly person falling into the road).
      Restore roads to better flow and safety eg

    • From Linden Rd into Howard Rd

    • Between Stoke Lane and Reedley Rd

Good Ideas - that I didn't think of ...

(It shouldn't matter where a good idea comes from - the Mayor should be open to everybody's good ideas.)
  • Creation of an Independent Transport Authority (ITA) with powers to control fares and routes.
  • Transfer any Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) funds to improving local railways.
      Rail transport is far less intrusive and would improve congestion, unlike more buses!
  • A bus hub at Temple Meads.

Some that might be good ...

  • Smartcard ticketing (eg BBC) but not nearly as important as improving prices and effectiveness.

And some that might make things much worse ...

  • Forcing 20mph speed limits throughout the entire city. - This is not needed, unlikely to be obeyed, impossible to police, and damages motorists' trust in the Council acting sensibly and in a measured fashion.
  • Switching off traffic lights overnight. - I have some sympathy for this: traffic lights do waste a lot of time, cost electricity, add to light pollution etc. BUT I am worried about the risk to safety.
      Smarter traffic lights using LEDs would be an improvement but only when we can afford them.
  • Further growth at Bristol Airport - shouldn't we be cutting back on flights where possible ?
  • Building thousands of extra houses on Filton Airfield - there must be a limit on housing density and perhaps Bristol is getting close to it ?