Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Pearls from the Link

The mass of documents published as part of the planning application to build the South Bristol Link must baffle most of us who want to submit an informed comment. And every day it's being added to with more letters of support or objection. I've just put my own objection in; they're still being accepted.

To ease the burden, the links below are for the key 'Transport Assessment', which is part of the Environment Assessment and unhelpfully scattered in bits randomly around the official documents list.

Part 1 (there's an index in this one – after that you're on your own)

Especially illuminating are the predicted peak hour traffic flows – demonstrating, for instance, that once the road-builders have gone, residents of quiet, leafy King Georges Road will get over a thousand vehicles passing through in the morning rush. Not to mention those three (yes, THREE) passengers shared between half a dozen spanking new Metrobuses.

Still, every cloud..... Over at Barrow Gurney, they already get a thousand vehicles through in the morning peak, so they're naturally very keen to see the new road built. As one resident says,

"Villages like Barrow Gurney have been severely damaged with both the buildings and the community smashed by increasing traffic levels. In places the carriageway is only 14 feet wide with stone walls and no pavement but cars expect to be able to pass each other irrespective of any villagers trying to access village amenities such as the pub, village hall, playground and shop as well as visit friends. It is an attractive village with most of the houses in the centre listed but this narrow winding road carries around 15,000 cars a day, every day with no respite at weekends and bank holidays. The children and old people in the village need to be able to walk in safety but cars make no concession for pedestrians. The last village appraisal revealed that 15% of residents had been struck by cars in the village centre so it is not surprising that 85% of villagers felt unsafe walking in the village. Such a situation is unacceptable.”

The SBL predictions suggest that the traffic along Barrow Lane will be halved when the new link opens. Only a partial solution, then - maybe only 7.5% of residents will be struck by cars.   Still, there's at least one of the offending drivers who's conscience stricken - and looks forward to a clearer run. He writes:

I write as a North Somerset resident, as a chartered civil engineer and transport planner, and as Chairman of Bristol Chamber of Commerce's Transport Group, which I represent on the Mayor of Bristol's Transport Advisers Panel.

I moved to Bristol in 1984. At the time, the construction of the road that is now known as the South Bristol Link was part of the strategic plan for the area. I believed then, and continue to believe, that the construction of the road will be of major benefit, both by improving access to the communities in South Bristol and by providing a bypass to remove through traffic from Barrow Gurney.

I moved to Wrington in 1987. Since then, for 23 of the intervening years, I have commuted to Bristol via the A38, through Barrow Gurney and along the Long Ashton Bypass. Despite peak period hold ups in Barrow Gurney, this is the quickest route between home and work and takes my journey past fewer homes than any other option, meaning that my commute causes the least nuisance to others. That same route is preferred for many journeys between Bristol Airport and Bristol. Consequently, with increased air travel, it has become steadily busier and the traffic on it must cause significant harm to the quality of life of residents in Barrow Gurney.

I wish to express my wholehearted support for the scheme both because of my self interest, in that it will improve my journey to work, and because it will provide so many wider benefits for North Somerset and south Bristol.

Now there's a saint! Wherever would we be without transport planners like this?


between-the-lines said...

"Villages like Barrow Gurney have been severely damaged with both the buildings and the community smashed by increasing traffic levels."

Well maybe the inhabitants should get rid of their cars then. That would make a good start towards cutting down the number of vehicles on the local roads!

From what I've observed, modern rural dwellers are nowadays amongst the most privileged, as well as some of the worst for jumping into their cars at the drop of a hat to drive a few hundred yards to get their paper and milk etc.

stockwood Pete said...

I'm sure your last comment applies to the objector from Wrington. What a hypocrite!

Trouble is, as more people use cars in these places, (or, more often, moved in to enjoy the perks of a rural life while depending on the car to reach shops and urban amenities like jobs) the less viable the village's own businesses - shops, pubs, even schools.