As some of you Brizzle folk might be aware, Bristol City Council and the West of England Partnership are still trying to inflict the hideously-expensive & woefully-misguided, er, guided bus rapid transit scheme upon us. Normally, I'm a massive
fan of buses - but this scheme seems to be more about slapping down some infrastructure in order to qualify for government funding, rather than using it as an opportunity to improve existing bus services. In short, it's a monstrously flawed scheme (e.g. see here: http://www.persona.uk.com/ashton/Intere ... G/DG-3.pdf
The battle as regards the Harbourside and Prince Street swing bridge has received reasonable coverage (see the recent Mayor's decision & review -e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-20969679
), but what has been less publicised is the potential impact upon Ashton Avenue Bridge and Butterfly Junction (i.e. the old railway bridge near the Create centre). In both the original BRT2 plan and the Cumberland Road option (currently under review - http://stopbrt2.org.uk/22-reasons-why-m ... oad-option
), this will see a large volume of bus traffic routed over the Ashton Avenue Bridge - including, it seems, the airport service buses! Needless to say, this will have a dramatic effect upon what is (currently) a pleasant, non-vehicular route into the city - as enjoyed by many cyclists, walkers, runners etc. Indeed, go there on a sunny weekend and it's packed! The public enquiry into BRT ( http://www.persona.uk.com/ashton/inquirydocuments.htm
) pretty much demonstrated that foot/cycle commuters have been given minimal consideration by the scheme - quite aside from the flawed data used to support the business case. For such a huge amount of money, I would expect stellar
results - but there will be negligible improvements in journey time, and at huge cost.
I am well aware that opinions may differ over this, but speaking as a local resident, cycle commuter and mountain biker, I think we stand to lose out big time. It will mean that south Bristol cycle/pedestrian commuters will be contending with buses over & in the vicinity of the Ashton Avenue Bridge - which will certainly make for a hazardous intersection, and runs counter to the success of the new Festival Way path. And it will certainly be to the detriment of the riverside park environment (which I always think of as a kind of border between the City and the wilder Avon Gorge...). It also pretty much precludes a future light rail option, which (IMO) would be far more sensible.
Although the BRT2 scheme appears to be steamrolling over any & all oppostion, the StopBRT2 ( http://stopbrt2.org.uk/
) group are organising a couple of events on the Ashton Avenue Bridge, so as to raise awareness. Many people who use it as a route into town have no idea what's coming!! These events are: 1.) 6pm Wed 22nd May
- a group photo of commuters/walkers/cyclists on the bridge. The kind of thing that the Post might feature, given that they have taken a stiff editorial line on BRT (e.g. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/need-tac ... z2StXQD5hQ
). 2.) 2-4pm Sun 26th May
- a protest meeting on the bridge. Given how things are going, this might well be a futile gesture - but it's an opportunity to demonstrate local concerns... and to stick two fingers up at the Council!
StopBRT2 are trying to get the word out to as many people as possible - commuters, casual cyclists, walkers, runners, anybody & everybody. So, if you share their concerns, & whether you commute over the bridge or simply enjoy rolling back from Leigh Woods to the Nova Scotia, PLEASE
consider attending or dropping by the 2 events. And please spread the word!
And if you've got this far... thanks for reading!
PS. there's a long-running thread here http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic ... nue-bridge
which gives some background.