How wide do they think the cycle path is?
A quick roundup of cycle path related shenanigans …
The meeting arranged for Tuesday 5 February 2008 at 7.30pm is at Easton Community Centre, not Easton Leisure Centre or The Cornubia.
The scale of opposition and anger to the plan to turn the Bristol and Bath Cycle Path into a bus route is now becoming clear. A petition set up to oppose the plan on the council’s website has gained over 5,000 signatures in under a week. A discussion forum on the BBC website is also demonstrating a similar level of opposition to the plans.
As does the rumour reaching the Blogger that one Bristol City Councillor has received over 800 emails opposing the plan. The recipient is likely to be Labour’s Mark Bradshaw, who is fronting the plan at present.
Anyone who has emailed Bradshaw may have to be patient though, as Bradshaw is known to get his local government officer assistant Roger Livingston to find out the political affiliations of any his correspondents before he sends them a reply.
Bradshaw also cropped up on the front cover of the Cancer today defending his plan. The newspaper already seems firmly on board, headlining the article ‘Welcome to the Future’ and giving the plan the thumbs-up in an editorial.
Tuesday night saw Bradshaw appear on BBC Points West. His tired line – that buses and cyclists can coexist on the path – is still broadly the same as the one in his press release last week.
However Bradshaw’s own project board who are responsible for developing the plan seem to disagree with him on this in their own minutes (pdf):
“It was a Sustrans policy to support the return of former railway corridors to public transport use as long as there was no negative impact in the amenity value for cyclists. It would be difficult to demonstrate this.”
Which hasn’t stopped Bradshaw trying to demonstrate exactly this anyway. Not least through the publication of some unrealistic sketches of a very wide cycle path indeed demonstrating bicycles and buses “coexisting” in his brave new world:
While Bradshaw and Labour take all the political hits on this at present, the Tories and Lib Dem are keeping very silent on the issue and so far haven’t responded to any emails and taken a public position.
This might be because their respective leaders, Bunter and the Pudding Basin, have been party to these plans all along and have nodded through tens of thousands of pounds worth of expenditure to work up a scheme that may well end up in the dustbin due to an entirely predictable public outcry.
Lib Dem boss Pudding Basin Comer is even a councillor for the Eastville Ward, which the cycle path passes through. So much for his local knowledge then.
The Greens meanwhile, who have been handed the issue on a plate, have not failed to take an opportunistic shot at this open goal. Having spent last weekend reading through the documents obtained by the Bristol Cycling Campaign through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the Greens have released a lengthy statement with some decent observations, which at least has saved the Blogger the effort of trawling through these interminable documents.
The Blogger’s eye was, however, caught by the minutes of a discussion the BRT Project Board (pdf) had about their communications strategy:
Richard Rawlinson (RR) raised the issue of awareness raising on BRT proposals. KH considered that this needed to be linked with GBBN and other initiatives to provide a more strategic approach. Peter Bartlett (PB) suggested use of a common overview context setting text across scheme communications activities. DO considered that more proactive communication strategy would assist with stakeholder support (eg Business West) as schemes develop.
So what the hell does that all mean? Well in practice “use of a common overview context setting text across scheme communications activities” seems to translate as “we’ll keep our heads down and force the public to use FoI legislation to find out what’s going on”.
More coming soon as it happens …