Bristol City Council have announced that Bristol Bridge will be closed to private cars from 2nd Angust 2020. Why does FoSBR think the closure of Bristol Bridge is good news, and why is it important?
This scheme is about much more than closing a road; it is about removing all through private traffic from the area south of St James Barton roundabout (the Bear Pit), between The Centre and Temple Meads.
Older Bristolians will remember the Inner Circuit Road. This fast dual carriageway once encircled central Bristol. From the bottom of the M32 it ran past Old Market, over a flyover at Temple Meads to St Mary Redcliff, and then diagonally through Queen Square to The Centre, the Bear Pit, and back to the M32. Much of this has now been dug up or downgraded, but the boundary of the new ‘low traffic area’ roughly follows its route.
The scheme splits the area inside this ring into four zones, roughly corresponding to Queen Square, Victoria Street, The Galleries and Small Street. Private motorists will be able to drive into any zone, but they will have to leave the way they came in.
FoSBR campaigns for rail improvements, but there are no railways inside the ring. Why do we care about it?
- We care about clean air. This scheme will remove a great deal of traffic from the central area, and will simplify the junctions around it thereby reducing congestion-related pollution.
- We see rail as the core of a sustainable transport system which includes walking, cycling and bus travel. These will all be made easier and more pleasant within the ring. In particular, buses will be able to take people right into the heart of the city without getting stuck in traffic.
- We hope that this is just the start. There are already proposals to reallocate road space on Victoria Street as parklets and outdoor eating and drinking areas. Ex-motorists arriving at Temple Meads on new MetroWest services from Portishead or Henbury will find entering the city a much more welcoming experience than the current traffic-dominated mess!
Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
The closure of Bristol Bridge to through traffic will transform the way we travel in the city centre.
These important changes… are crucial to creating more efficient travel and reliable bus services in and around the city in the long-term.
We couldn’t agree more!