Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

A Ring Road Rant

Fresh from seeing the display about the 'South Bristol Link' proposals at the Create Centre last week, I've tabled a couple of questions for answer at next week's Bristol City Cabinet meeting. I'm wondering why the only non-road alternative they've suggested is, put simply, a complete non-runner. They'd promised to have be 'a wide range of alternatives' on show for the present consultation.

The publicity is, unquestionably, rigged to get people to express a preference for a ring road. Not that they call it a ring road of course - the official purpose of the link between Hengrove to the A370 by way of the A38 is to give better access TO South Bristol, not THROUGH South Bristol.

The knock on effect will certainly be felt in Stockwood, because more traffic will be drawn from the Bath Road direction to cut through Callington Road and Airport Road, heading west to the M5, the airport, and the coast. And vice versa.

The consultation's only reference to traffic levels is the admission that there MAY be a bit more going down King Georges Road - and their pictures show no lorries, only family cars, cyclists and pedestrians in perfect harmony.

In reality, the increased congestion will make access to Hengrove and Hartcliffe more difficult from the east, so the whole scheme seems counter-productive. But they're not mentioning that.

As for the alternative that they're offering.... it's a 'rapid transit' bendy bus, running between Hengrove and the city centre. Not, as you might expect, directly down Hartcliffe Way or Wells Road. No, this one takes a meandering scenic route of 11 km plus, by way of Long Ashton. The 'rapid' trip to the city will take even longer than the clapped out 'First' single deckers that serve Hengrove now. Just what we need!

At the same Cabinet meeting, other Greens are asking a string of questions about all sorts of Bristol issues, including the traffic, noise, and pollution build up if they go ahead with building their ring road. I'm sure I'll be returning to the topic!

I called this a rant. On reflection, it's rather more rational and objective than the consultation documents that the West of England Partnership have presented us with.


thebristolblogger said...

Is there an organised group against the ring road yet?

Pete Goodwin said...

Yes, has been for at least a couple of years - judging by the fading on the poster in our front window.

It's really several neighbourhood groups plus transport pressure groups, operating under the umbrella "Alliance Against the South Bristol Ring Road". The website is here - though it doesn't seem to work as intended, and I prefer the exquisitely crafted analysis on the Green Party web pages, even though it's way overdue for updating!

Anyway, AASBRR's been beavering away lobbying the politicians and planners for the city and the region. They produce high quality evidence against road building, I'm always ready to raid it for my own contributions.

Oddly, quite a few councillors have declared themselves as opponents of a ring road - but we hear next to nothing from them.