A reader has sent in a series of photos to BBC Bristol of the Bristol and Bath Cycle path that show just how popular it is. This is the path described by local politicians, the West of England Strategic Partnership (WESP) and their BRT Project Board as “disused”.
One of the most interesting aspects of the photo above is that it demonstrates not only that people move up and down the path and use it as a safe cycling and pedestrian route but that they also go across it at very regular intervals to easily and safely access other communities and facilities.
A rapid transit bus route would put an end to this. The crossing points on the path would have to be reduced to a minimum of footbridges and the BRT route would effectively act as yet another road barrier as far as local communities and pedestrians are concerned.
This could be a potentially catastrophic development for Easton in particular, which is already blighted and hemmed in by the M32 and the only section of the abandoned inner-city ring road ever built. Movement, particularly on foot, is already difficult in the area. The BRT can only make it worse.
The Bristol Blogger is unable to attend this evening’s meeting about the BRT scheme. Anyone who attends, feel free to post a report, rant, update or opinion in the comments.
-It was fantastic; there were hundreds of people there, people outside listening in through a window, lots of really good ideas about publicity, awareness, working the council. We now need to keep that momentum up.
I also need to put the slides somewhere public -later today, I hope. I just need to find somewhere whose bandwidth can handle the demand!
There’s a report on the Green Party website (www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/east).
I went along as well.
Politically, the good news is Labour candidate for Bristol West (which now includes Easton and Lawrence Hill) Paul Smith was present. Even Easton’s famously hopeless councillor Faruk Choudhury came, a man described elsewhere as someone who “might struggle to find the railway path (or his own ward) on a map”. On the other hand, Bradshaw’s open letter to Sustrans today suggests these two need to do a bit more than utter warm words and turn up at meetings – how about threatening to resign if the plans are voted through boys?
Jon Rogers (councillor for Ashley) and Gary Hopkins (Knowle) of the Lib Dems were also there, though oddly no East Bristol LD councillors as far as I could see. Hopkins was his usual pleasant self, at one point trying to shout across into a microphone which had been clearly been held for someone else three seats away to make a comment.
When the pair later made their inevitable contribution, it consisted of the following:
1) We’ve finally been to talk to officers today, and have seen documents you haven’t, so we know more than you
2) We will be so kind as to share this info with you.
What this info consisted of wasn’t made clear. Hopkins later got into an obscure exchange with Jon Grimshaw about what Sustrans knew when, the relevance of which bypassed everyone else in the room entirely.
But the good news is that there are apparently backbenchers from both Lab and Lib who might vote against the proposals if push comes to shove. While it seems there won’t be a party line from either against the plans, a few rebels might be enough to persuade the council to withdraw Bristol’s support for the BRT project and thereby collapse the whole scheme. Though mooted backbench rebellions (eg over the South Bristol Ring Road) have of course turned out to be empty promises in the past.
Here’s hoping it’s different this time…
Blogger, the meeting was last night, not tonight! As Steve L says, it was absolutely packed, 350 people in the centre according to the Evening Cancer and many more “locked out” (health & safety!) and looking in through open windows!
Lots of enthusiasm for future action, including driving a bus along the Path to make the point! Bradshaw had been invited to attend but apparently he and the organisers could not agree an acceptable format.
Sorry blogger, I didn’t realise you’d posted yesterday rather than today. Note to self – check dates on posts.
Thanks Blogger, so much interesting stuff!
May I reply to Siesta? Gary Hopkins and I were quite explicit that we were attending as Liberal Democrat councillors. It is a vital issue, and one that the city has been ill-served by Bradshaw.
It is ridiculous (but not unusual) that it needs a Freedom of Information request to find out what this administration is up to. They are not keen to let people know what they are up to, until it is, they think, too late to change it.
In my State of the City statement I described the Labour administration actions as “DAD – Decide, Advise, Defend”. The decision is often behind closed doors, then it is announced, then they defend their decision. It is a poor method of decision making.
We are determined to get at not just the facts, but the thinking behind the facts, and the thinking behind the decisions.
Gary & I said very little at the meeting. It was very much a listening and then participation event, but Gary did make clear that this decision to prioritise one highly questionable route over the other suggested corridors was made by Bradshaw et al, behind closed doors, in June 2007.
I asked three questions.
(1) I asked whether Bradshaw had been invited to the meeting?
The reply was, I think “yes, but his conditions for attending were unacceptable to the organisers”
(2) I asked when the information that the Railway Path was the preferred option was made public?
The reply was, I think “November 16th 2007 at the Joint Transport Forum”
(3) I asked when SUSTRANS were aware that the Railway Path was the preferred option?
The reply was, I think, from John Grimshaw that it was “a few weeks ago”, corrected by a colleague to “one or two people had been involved before, in September, shortly before it was made public.” I had previously been told it was July 2007.
My colleagues and I have been discussing the situation and hope to make a statement shortly.
Jon Rogers, Ashley Ward Lib Dem Councillor
jon rogers, interesting analysis. but I thought your party was in charge right up to end may 2007 and surely your guy, Dr brown would have asked for detailed work to be done by his officers to get ready for a decision by June 2007. so to say bradshaw or anyone else did all the work and then decided doesn’t seem to stack up> dunno, guess you political people are all the same – shifty!