Asking questions for written reply in council meetings isn't always what it seems.
Sometimes you already know the answer, just want to get them to admit it on paper so it becomes part of the written record.
Sometimes, it's a way of putting a Cabinet member on the spot; the question's less important than the opportunity to put a 'supplementary' verbal question in the meeting itself. Cabinet ministers are adept at avoiding such traps, though.
Sometimes it's a bit of grandstanding (yes, I've seen it happen...) to score a party political point. This kind of question is especially favoured by councillors.
Sometimes it's designed to bring a Cabinet Member's attention to a particular issue that they'd otherwise ignore.
And sometimes it's simply an attempt to find something out. Here are three such questions, all transport related, that I've tabled for the next council meeting, on the 17th:
Through journeys by bus via the city centre
[This question tries to validate (or not) the importance of having through cross-city bus routes that pass through the city centre ]
Do the city's public transport surveys, or other data made available by the bus operators, indicate what proportion of passengers on buses entering the city centre are continuing their journey beyond the central area, on either
a) the same route, or
b) another route?
Callington Road (Cycle) Link
The Cycling City programme included an ambition to use the 'Callington Link' alignment (the old Whitchurch Railway trackbed) to provide a safe off-road alternative to the present 'Whitchurch Way' route with its crossing of the A4 Bath Road at Arnos Vale. We were told at the time that negotiations were in progress to acquire the land.
a) Has there been any progress in acquiring the land? and
b) What is the current situation regarding this project's development?
Predicted usage of the South Bristol Link Road
In an answer at the full September council meeting, you confirmed that only 10% of peak hour journeys on the South Bristol Link Road are expected to start or finish in those more deprived suburbs of South Bristol which the road is purported to regenerate (ie 90% would be through traffic either diverted from other cross-town routes or newly generated through journeys.) You agreed (webcast 2hr 20min) that these figures were a cause for concern and that you would revisit them for further analysis.
Have you discovered anything new?