With the plan to turn the Bristol and Bath Cycle Path into a bus route formally announced, it looks likely local politicians will be readying themselves to play the infamous south Bristol ring road gambit.
This is an extraordinary technique developed over recent years where local councillors and politicos manage to point in two opposing directions at the same time.
Both Labour Leader Helen Holland and her transport boss Mark Bradshaw, you may recall, loudly opposed the south Bristol ring road during the local elections last year. This hasn’t, however, prevented either of them – now they’re in power – continuing with the preparation work needed to build the road.
At the last Full Council Meeting Bradshaw was even straight-batting Lib Dem questions (pdf) about the road claiming he knew no details of the public consultation he’s personally responsible for running this summer. Neither was he forthcoming on the funding required for the road from council taxpayers or the timetable the city council might be working to for the project.
Hardly the robust approach you might expect from someone supposed to be implacably opposed to building the road. Particularly when they’re the person doing the very job that could stop it going ahead if they wanted.
A similarly strange condition afflicted the Lib Dems when they were in power until May last year. They too continued to secretively engage in the preparatory work necessary for this road building project but now that they’re in opposition they are noisily opposing the project instead.
This bizarre attitude towards major transport projects in the city is already surfacing from the Labour Party over the Bristol and Bath Cycle Path. Labour’s Bristol West Parliamentary candidate, Paul Smith, announced on this blog on Saturday his intention to attend the meeting opposing the rapid transit plan for the cycle path organised by the Bristol Cycling Campaign.
Smith correctly says, “Public transport should displace cars and not cyclists and pedestrians – I can’t imagine that Bristolians will ever let this happen – see you at Cornubia.”
Smith is, of course, in the same party as Mark Bradshaw who – courtesy of his boss Helen Holland, Tory boss Bunter Eddy and Lib Dem leader Stevie “the Pudding Basin” Comer – has already signed up to the plan, featured in their West of England Strategic Partnership’s (WESP) Our Future Transport (pdf) document sent off to the government in the autumn.
Confused? You will be …