Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Tories for off-road biking

On Saturday, we'll have Lord Mayor Geoff Gollop here in Stockwood for the Grand Opening of the new bike track, set into the slopes behind the Whittock Road allotments. It's rumoured (well, I'm starting a rumour...) that he'll hurtle down the course on a penny-farthing borrowed from the M-Shed, to symbolise our rapid descent into the Tory World of Victorian Values.

No doubt our own Conservative ward councillors will be there too. The real credit for the new course, though, should go to the young people who put such effort into creating and improving the old one. It was enought to earn themselves Youth Opportunity Fund backing, to pay for all the earthworks on this impressive new run.

Question 1 is - will this new-found Tory enthusiasm for bikes off the road be matched by keeping their own cars on the road?

The new track's a good 100m off Whittock Road, across level grassland. It was always going to be tempting for those arriving by car (and it looks like there'll be plenty, this won't be a wholly 'Stockwood' track) to drive those final 100m over the grass, summer and winter. Will Bristol's Conservatives set them a permissive example on Saturday?

It certainly seems that Bristol's Tories are wedded to their cars. They've been pretty silent, but (like their Labour and LibDem counterparts) generally supportive of plans for Bus Rapid Transit for the city. Until, that is, they got round to reading the Cabinet papers for last week and realised that the cost wouldn't come out of general taxation - a big chunk of it must now (thanks to George Osborne) come from Bristol itself. And the only realistic way of doing that is to levy those businesses in the central area that have workplace parking, at a rate of (wait for it....) a pound a day a parking spot. Cue Tory Shock Horror.

Of course, there was no plan B from the Tories; why bother when you're not in power, and there's some easy political point-scoring that's there for the taking?

So Question 2 is, does the Tory reluctance to raise funds from those car-driving commuters blessed with free workplace parking in the city centre stretch as far as opposition to the South Bristol Ring Road which is an integral part of the BRT bid package? I think we should be told. After all, that road would have a far greater impact on the quantity of traffic in Bristol than all three BRT schemes put together. IMHO.

Back to the bikes. The conservatives' enthusiasm for the off-road bike track riders clearly doesn't extend to the safety of those who cycle to get from A to B on real roads. Stockwood Cllr David Morris, who's written to BaneS about proposed new housing development between Whitchurch and Stockwood, takes the opportunity in his objection to blame congestion on Wells Road on "the installation of cycle tracks along the A37 reducing the flow of traffic into and out of Bristol".

And there I was, thinking it was caused by too many cars and heavy lorries!


between-the-lines said...

Whatever happened to Bristol's lively blog debaters? Where have they gone?

Councillors and the like only see bicycles as part of the leisure industry, and unfortunately these sort of facilities just serve to reinforce that image.

As for the BRT, it's money meet mouth time, isn't it. Doesn't say much for councillors' grasp on reality that they don't seem to realise that.

bristolgeoff's comment in your link says it all:

“now some of council think it is a bad idea.just scrap the idea job done.when was the system of buses working probadly.when they was less traffic light and less closed roads i bet”

Yup, scrap it, now, before any more money is wasted!

Stockwood Pete said...

I think many of the bloggers are tweeting instead. But it's not the same.....

As for BRT we had some interesting answers at tonight's council meeting - I'll blog about them later.

But we also had Stockwood Cllr David Morris continuing his campaign against the bus stops and cycle lanes on Wells Road, using the public forum part of the meeting to present a petition and a statement in opposition to the work being carried out on the Bristol to Midsomer Norton 'showcase' bus corridor

Pedestria said...

But it's not the same.....

No, there is a Hutt-shaped hole where Chris should still be in the world.