Special NEWSLETTER on Walkability (49:16) – 13th October 2016

Bristol Walking Alliance

GBCP is a founder member of the Bristol Walking Alliance and is acknowledged across Bristol as a leading advocate of improvements in the walking environment.   Below, the BWA NEWSLETTER picks up some important issues, including the walking conference this Saturday, progress on the up-dating of Bristol’s 2011 Walking Strategy being led by Jess Read and the launch of an enquiry into disability and the built environment by the House of Commons Select Committee on Women and Equalities.

The last two are especially timely.    A lot of the motivation behind our Let’s Walk Bedminster project arose from an awareness that a walking environment that was unfriendly and obstacle strewn disadvantaged people with physical disabilities even more than the rest of the population.    For many it was an important contributor to social isolation.    Why should one leave the house if the outside world was difficult to deal with?

As well as our campaigns (on going) to keep pavements clear of obstacles, we are now recruiting for the Bedminster Access Group or BAG.    This has already started to form from local people with the everyday experience of negotiating BS3 in a wheelchair, behind a zimmer frame, with partial or no sight or other disability.   When we get a few more members, BAG will act as an advisory group to GBCP, BCC, the Bedminster Business Improvement District and others on improvements to the environment.    One of the things we hope to do is to establish a ‘Most Accessible Business Award’ rather like the well established and successful ‘Good Garden Award’.

At the moment, BAG is just an aspiration.   If you have experienced difficulties getting around Greater Bedminster, make BAG real by joining in.    Contact us via gbcpnewsletter@gmail.com .   Please spread the word among friends, on social media and in other ways so that BAG can become a strong force in Greater Bedminster.

Bristol Walking Alliance
campaigning to improve Bristol’s walking environment

Dear Bristol Walking Alliance supporter

Welcome to the October BWA ebulletin …

Walkable Neighbourhoods event – Saturday 15th October 2016
A reminder of the BWA “Walkable Neighbourhoods” event on the morning of Saturday 15th October 2016, part of Healthy City Week.  This is a chance for Neighbourhood Partnership groups and local community groups to consider ways to support and improve the pedestrian environment in Bristol. Guest speakers will share updates on walking projects that are taking place across the city and we will explore ways to make your neighbourhood more suited to pedestrians.  The event is FREE but booking is required through Eventbrite. Informal follow-up Neighbourhoods meeting – early November
We are planning an informal follow-up meeting in early November for those who would like their Neighbourhood Partnership to get involved with walking issues, and to share ideas on how to go about it. If you might be interested in attending, please email: enquiries@ bristolwalkingalliance.org.uk. “Shared use routes for people who walk or cycle” event – Tuesday 1st November
The SHINE healthy environment team is organising an event on “shared use routes” on the afternoon of Tuesday 1st November 2016. You are invited to a discussion about how to improve shared use routes, and resolve concerns about tension and conflict between people who walk and people who cycle. Booking via Eventbrite.

Walking Strategy
In the last ebulletin, it was reported that Jess Read has been reviewing BCC’s Walking Strategy. Jess has produced a “Walking for Transport Action Plan”, deliberately pushing to turn policy into action. The Walking Strategy/Action Plan sits below the Bristol Transport Plan (BTP), currently in development. A final draft of the Action Plan will be shared with BWA soon.

Funding has been secured from Bristol Ageing Better to enable Jess to extend her work into October/ November, during which time she will research the needs/asks of older people for walking infrastructure/environment. It is hoped to secure further funding to research the needs/asks of disabled people for walking infrastructure/environment. Jess’s work is an exceptional opportunity to further BWA’s aims of improving the environment for walking.
Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into Disability and the built environment
The Women and Equalities Committee – a parliamentary select committee – is conducting an inquiry into ‘Disability and the built environment’. This inquiry explores the extent to which the accessibility of our homes, buildings and public spaces responds to the needs of with reduced mobility, and whether more could be done to increase accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces. You can send a written submission here. The closing date was Wednesday 12 October, but late submissions may still be considered.

About BWA
Meeting with Cabinet members
BWA has met with several Cabinet members over the summer, to introduce ourselves and raise awareness. We have met with Mark Bradshaw (Transport), Fi Hance (Public Health), Helen Holland (Place), Asher Craig (Equalities, now Neighbourhoods), Marg Hickman (was Neighbourhoods). New BWA members
BWA welcomes the following new members: Bristol Older People’s Forum. The full list of BWA members is here. More new members are due to be formally confirmed at the next BWA meeting.
Other Events
Healthy City Week
There are many interesting Healthy City Week events between Saturday 15th October and Saturday 22nd October. The programme is here.

For instance:

Equality Bristol presents Closing the Gap: screening of film ‘The Divide’ followed by discussion (Sat/Mon/Thurs)
Public Health, Bristol City Council: Putting health in all policies (Mon afternoon)
Architecture Centre: Developing Healthy Neighbourhoods – the economics of creating healthy places (Tues evening)
Sustrans: panel debate – should our transport system be considered a public health issue? (Wed afternoon)
Bristol Community Health CIC: Supporting Healthy Communities (Thurs – all day)

Thought piece: walkable cities
See this interesting article “50 Reasons Why Everyone Should Want More Walkable Streets”. From 1: It helps people live longer, to 50: It supports cultural heritage. This is part of a report by Arup called “Cities Alive: Towards a walking world” – see here.

Alan Morris
Chair, Bristol Walking Alliance

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