NEWSLETTER 33:17 on Transport & Traffic

Walkable Bristol
The Let’s Walk Bedminster project continues with groups and individuals across BS3 doing their best to combat the more hostile features of the walking environment, (eg overhanging bushes, dogs’ poo, pavement parking and obstructed pavements) and promoting the welcoming features (eg, great domestic and community gardens, interesting street art, people to chat to, clean toilets and somewhere to sit down etc).

As well as working locally through the Bristol Walking Alliance, we have been collaborating with local MPs.    A government response to our own Karin Smyth in April is attached (Karen Smith pavement parking).    BWA is following up to find out what’s meant by the ‘survey’ promised for this summer.    Other Bristol MPS – Thangham Debbonaire and Kerry MCCarthy – are also on the case and BWA will be approaching Darren Jones once he’s had a chance to settle in.

You will see from the letter that part of the issue is over jurisdiction.    Should a ban come in nationally or should it be up to each local authority?   At one level it’s an interesting constitutional debate about proper democratic processes.    At another level, it’s a dispute about who should pay the initial costs.   At the moment, of course, the people who are paying are the ones, often with parental responsibilities or physical disabilities, that find our pavements difficult to navigate.

Bristol Wide Petition
A petition calling upon Bristol to come into line with London and ban pavement parking except in very exceptional circumstances has been lodged with BCC.  We need lots of public support to demonstrate that people want action on this issue.   If 3500 signatures are secured, there will be a debate on the issue amongst city councillors.

Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways
FOSBR is holding a Rally for Rail on Friday, 23 June at 10am near Temple Meads station.   They are seeking to demonstrate public support for investment in the local rail network prior to the first meeting of the West of England Combined Authority (trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?) the following Wednesday.   More details of the rally are attached along with a summary of FOSBR’s aspirations.

What Next?
For most of the last ten years, GBCP has had a ‘Transport/Traffic Sub-Group’.    Mostly this has acted as the link between local people with ideas for improving how people moved around in BS3 and the professionals in BCC.    An important part of this group’s work has been advising on the expenditure of ‘devolved budgets’ and there are examples of zebra crossings, street islands and build-outs that might not have happened without this process.    Devolved budgets are now more or less over, at least until there is a radical change in the government’s austerity policy towards local authorities.    But, there still remains an interest in improvements to walking, cycling, access to buses and trains as well as car related issues such as speed and parking.    When GBCP is ‘relaunched’, it’s generally been assumed that people will want to continue with a local group looking at ideas making it easier, safer, cheaper etc for people to get about.    Please get in touch if you think that assumption is correct AND if you (and/or your organisation) would like to be part of a GBCP Transport/Traffic Group, after all, even in the current financial climate, BCC is still likely to have some resources for transport and traffic improvements and they will need to consult local people.     A GBCP sponsored traffic sounding board might be useful and we need to make sure that at least Bedminster’s share of future funds is spent wisely.

And, talking about travellers……
A hummingbird hawkmoth was spied in a Southville garden on June 15 and will go on the My Wild Bedminster list.    It was taking nectar on red valerian which is a very common Bristol weed.    This little insect will have flown in from the continent along with lots of others.   Has anyone else spotted one?

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