Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Twenty is Plenty – the provincial tour starts

The roll-out of 20mph zones continues apace. And why not? In Stockwood, we're part of the 'Outer South' area where it's planned to go 20mph within twelve months. With the exception of chosen suburban arteries, of course. For Stockwood, that means Stockwood Lane, Sturminster Road/Craydon Road, and most of West Town Lane. The map's here

Cue all the same arguments. Time lost? Pollution caused? Fuel consumption? Unenforcibility? Er.... safety, even?

The Roadshow promoting all this will reach Stockwood Library on 12th April, but we won't get the chance to hear from, and comment to, council officers until they come along to our Ward Forum on 8th May – just six days after this 'informal consultation' closes!

Me, I'd go for a blanket 20mph for the ward. Here's why.

I fully accept the case for 20mph speed limits in residential streets. No argument there. Criminally irresponsible not do it, really.

As for the three Stockwood exceptions, what they have in common is that they're all rat runs.

Stockwood Lane has long been used as a de facto outer ring road by those heading between Wells Road and the Bath Road P&R, or on to the Ring Road at Hicks Gate. This traffic will increase in future as commuter parking becomes more difficult in the inner areas . Stockwood Lane wasn't built for this, and has become a barrier to pedestrians from the east side wanting reach the buses/schools/shops/health centre on the west side, though there's no single crossing point . All the more reason, then to limit the speeds to 20mph

Sturminster Road/Craydon seems like a simple uncluttered thoroughfare. But it too acts as a rat run – witness the number of heavy lorries using it. Like Stockwood Lane, it's hard to cross because it carries a lot of traffic, and at some points – like the bend where Sturminster Road morphs into Craydon Road – sight lines are poor and traffic is fast. Yet children from the west side of the road must cross to get to school; pensioners must cross to reach bus stops.

West Town Lane is the longest established east-west route between Bath Road and Wells Road, and although Callington Road was built to take the traffic off it, plenty still uses West Town Lane as a through route. That is likely to increase significantly once the South Bristol link turns Callington Road into a de facto South Bristol Ring Road, putting more pressure on West Town Lane as an alternative rat run. The 20mph plans recognise this in part by retaining the present (though advisory) restriction outside West Town Lane School – but that's hardly enough even now to discourage the through traffic. Better to 20mph the full Bath Road – Wells Road link.

If all three of the above 'spine' roads are embraced by the 20mph restriction, Stockwood becomes 20mph throughout. That not only makes it safer all round, it discourages through traffic and it removes the confusion caused to drivers who must otherwise constantly adjust to different speed limits.


Yee Poon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Interested said...


I cannot agree with your assertion that all roads in Stockwood should be subject to a 20 mph limit. The 2 bus to Cribbs already takes nearly 90 minutes to complete the journey. If it had to crawl at 20 mph all along Sturminster, not to mention the rest of its route (it's mainly residential so I assume you would support the limit in those areas too - Clifton, Henleaze, Southmead etc) it would take nearer two hours.

Even if the route was split the overall time would be the same - longer in fact because of a bus change.

I'm not a petrol head - far from it (I wish the police - whose responsibility it is - would stop people driving on the pavement all round Stockwood to park their cars)- but I do think we have to be realistic if we are not to return completely to the walking in front with a red flag days.

The police have hinted strongly that they can't/won't (because of personnel shortages/don't really believe it's useful) enforce it.

I don't know what our former baker turned expert police officer (so she would have us believe with her public utterances) thinks about it all.

Stockwood Pete said...

Thanks for the interest, Interested! I thought there might be more, given that it's such a contentious topic – but Stockwood doesn't seem to do online discussion.

At the Stockwood Forum meeting, most of the comments seemed to be about the need for more speed control on Stockwood Lane.

Sturminster Road is probably the weakest of the cases I put, but I wouldn't put that down to any possible delay to the No. 2 bus. When there are passengers to pick up at the bus stops, the buses can rarely get above twenty – and when there aren't, they'll find they're ahead of schedule anyway and will have to wait for time to stay on schedule.

That said, if anyone was serious about making bus journeys quicker they'd have introduced smart ticketting ages ago. It's been talked about for long enough. Imagine the benefits of saving all that time spent idling unproductively at bus stops while drivers and boarding passengers negotiate the payment of fares.

Anonymous said...

I think 20mph along the bottom half of sturminsters is a stupid idea, its a long, wide, relatively straight road for crying out loud! It should remain 30 if not be raised to 40! The trouble is when the limit is too slow along roads like this drivers loose concentration by effectively getting bored of going so slow! Making this 20mph will add to congestion at peak times as well as potentially causing accidents! The only reason for theses 20 limits everywhere isnt to make bristol roads safer at all, its all about getting cars off the road, slow everyone down so they get fed up of driving and get on a bicycle! the sooner red trousers is gone the better i say

Stockwood Pete said...

Anonymous: I`d be/interested what evidence you have for that last sentence. Just a gut feeling, maybe?
As for Sturminster Road, yes, there`s one stretch between the bridge over the brook and Manston Close where there is width, sight lines are long, and speeds rise. You can see that even with a thirty limit lots of drivers trigger the speed warning sign on the southbound side. But much of the road space is taken up by on-street parking and the two or three traffic islands create chicanes that vehicles swerve round. I`m wondering what effect a new bus stop just SOUTH of Longreach Grove will have - could create all sorts of hazards.

Anyway, the transport planners have ruled that Sturminster Road will remain at 30mph, so you get your way, and I imagine that every side road along there will have to be `gated` with new speed limit signs. Pity.

MikeF. said...

Hello Pete,
Good to see some discussion on 20mph safer speeds in Stockwell.
Just to let you know that the petition to keep 20mnph safer speeds in Bristol now has 3,738 signatures (!) and just needs another 263 to reach 4,001, it closes at the end of January.
20mph saves lives and reduces serious injuries, it encourages people to walk and cycle, and it especially helps vulnerable people like more elderly people, the visually impaired, and children.
A link to the petition is here:

Safer journeys all in New Year 2016!
Best regards,
Mike F.