Consultation on Bus Rapid Transit and City Centre Changes

A consultation is running (until July 13th)  on part of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit for Bristol, which will have important implications for the city centre and the Living Heart campaign. We have two important concerns: Comments on Zone 5 (city centre): The plans to remodel the city centre, as suggested, would be a lost opportunity.  They would spend a lot of public money to achieve very little improvement in the pedestrian experience.  The new direct road from Baldwin Street to the Hippodrome would make that part even worse than it is at present.  I/we support the proposals of the Living Heart for Bristol and believe the Council’s objective should be to remove through traffic from the city centre.  I/we believe the Council should return to the original proposals made by Cllr. Rogers in 2009 on: Comments on Zone 2 (Stoke Gifford transport link): As proposed, these plans would open up a new, fast, route for general traffic to drive from Bradley Stoke to central Bristol along the M32.  The new route created for cars would be faster than the rather convoluted one planned for the BRT.  This would undermine one of the main stated objectives of this scheme and the Joint Local Transport Plan to reduce carbon emissions and congestion.  Any local congestion benefits (around Parkway Station, for example) would be displaced onto the ringroad, the M32 and central Bristol The solution to this problem is very simple: a bus gate on the new road between Bradley Stoke and Hambrook Lane.  This would return the scheme to what it was intended to be: a plan to promote and encourage public transport, by giving a significant time advantage to the bus.  This would help to reduce the costs of the scheme, as making that section for buses only would allow it to be narrowed.

Park Street Playground – June 10th

On Sunday June 10th Park Street was closed to traffic for "an afternoon of family fun and frolics" as part of Big Green Week.  The Living Heart for Bristol had a stall and signed up 77 new supporters. BBC Radio Bristol interviewed Steve Melia about the Living Heart campaign on the same day [Listen - mp3 file]

20th Anniversary of Queen Square – Press Release

Thursday May 17th was the 20th anniversary of the closure of the A4 dual carriageway through Queen Square.  The road, which ran diagonally across the Square to the Harbourside, was initially closed on an ‘experimental’ basis – made permanent 18 months later.  The Living Heart for Bristol coalition*, which campaigns for new public space and removal of through traffic in central Bristol, organised several initiatives to celebrate the event:
  • Old newspaper reports and links to other historical information are now available on:
  • A bike ride starting and finishing in Queen Square, run jointly by the CTC and Bristol Cycling Campaign, will start and finish in Queen Square, on June 9th at the start of Big Green Week.
  • A display of photographs, old and new, will be put in an empty shop during Big Green Week (June 9th – 17th)
A recent recruit to the Living Heart supporters list (on is Dave Johnson, who was joint spokesperson for Planning and Transport on Avon County Council when the decision was made in 1992.  Dave said: “ Closing the road through Queen Square was a real struggle.  It took a lot of determination to get the Council to change its transport policy – to consider the needs of people and their environment and not just car drivers.  Queen Square was one of the first results of this change and the results are there for all to see.  The Square is now one of the main assets of the city.  Before, it was just the left over space around a dual carriageway!  It’s a great shame that the impetus for change was lost when the County Council was abolished in 1996.  I am pleased  the Living Heart for Bristol is looking for new opportunities to improve the environment of our much battered and bruised – but still wonderful – city.” Steve Melia, Spokesperson for the Living Heart coalition added: “Twenty years ago many people said the councils were mad to close a dual carriageway through the city centre.  They said the economy around Queen Square would suffer.  Today it is one of the most desirable business locations in the city.  Who would argue for a dual carriageway through Queen Square today? There are several lessons here for councillors and the business community and the new mayor, whoever he or she may be.  Queen Square shows how removing through traffic can create new public space and improve access for everyone.  If we want to build a better city for all, that process, started 20 years ago, must continue.”   ENDS     *    The Living Heart for Bristol aims to improve the central areas of Bristol and create new public space by removing through traffic, whilst retaining access for all.  It was created by the following 9 organisations: Bristol Cycling Campaign, Bristol Green Capital, Bristol Living Streets, Carfree Bristol, Friends of the Earth, Bristol Ramblers Group,  Streets Alive, Playing Out.  Several other organisations have endorsed its declaration – shown on      

Sticky: Public Realm and Movement Strategy

Living Heart for Bristol made the following responses to two consultation documents "Bristol Central Area Action Plan"published by Bristol City Council. Living Heart Comments on Public Realm and Movement Framework Living Heart Comments on Central Area Action Plan

Sticky: Bristol Uni talk by Steve Melia

Steve Melia gave a great presentation at Bristol University today. Bristol Lib Dem Councillor Jon Rogers was in the audience and contributed to the lively question and answer session that followed the presentation. PDF of the presentation (large file) - including more on: Bristol Bridge, Freiburg city centre and Maastricht Sint Servaasbrug....
The Living Heart for Bristol campaign aims to improve the central areas of Bristol & create new public space by diverting through traffic.
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