NEWSLETTER (38:17) on Walkability

Let’s Walk Bedminster
Readers will know that making BS3 a more walkable area has been an important community project for several years.   Lots of local people, shopkeepers and others have been involved in accentuating the positive aspects of walking (beautiful front and community gardens, art work from both urban painters and local children, improved signage, toilet maps, benches etc) and eliminating the negative (pavements cluttered with bins and parked cars, inconsiderate and speeding motorists and cyclists, dogs’ droppings etc).

We have been working with other neighbourhoods that also want to improve walkability and GBCP was a founding member of the Bristol Walking Alliance.

Walking is an Equalities Issue
Walking isn’t just a mode of transport with added benefits of enhancing health whilst making little or no contribution to either climate change or poisonous air, it’s also an equalities issue.   We know that frailer older people, people with disabilities of sight and mobility, buggy pushers and young children are all, at least, inconvenienced and sometimes endangered by broken and blocked footways that force them into the road or discourage them from leaving their house to visit friends, shops and other destinations.     It’s not right that some people can move freely and safely around their community and others cannot.

Talking the Talk, but not yet Walking the Walk
Through the Bristol Walking Alliance, GBCP has been working with various agencies.    Discussions have included Sue Mountstevens, the Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset and Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol.    We have been in touch with all four Bristol MPs both before and after the election.     We have identified a ‘Walkability Champion’ as our link city councillor in each of the four political groups on the City Council.    We have good links with researchers in the two universities and with Bristol Health Partners.    BWA hopes to talk to the new Metro-Mayor before the end of 2017.   Through Streets Alive we are plugged into the wider national scene.

All the discussions have shown that the problems of walkability are understood and there is a general desire to improve the situation, but the discussion usually also includes references to difficulties such as the vagueness of the law, costs to the public purse and the probable opposition of powerful groups.

iWalk – Innovations in Inclusive Walking Report.  
One of the people that the Bristol Walking Alliance has been been working with is Jess Read.    Jess was seconded into BCC’s Transport Team about a year ago, specifically to look at up-dating the council’s Walking Strategy.    The first step was probably to dust it off!!    Jess has come up with some ideas about how to make walking a first and more frequent choice for more people in the city.    Some of these are gathered in the attached document.   There are more to come.

In case you miss it, these are Jess’s ideas not (yet?) Bristol City Council’s. iWalk_June DRAFT

The document is a draft and it would be very helpful to Jess if you could send her your thoughts – for, against and maybe.    Jess is particularly interested in peoples reaction to the ‘continuous level crossing’ idea.    She can be contacted on jess.read@bristol.gov.uk

Pavement Parking Petition
BWA has a petition asking Bristol City Council to make it illegal to park on pavements, except where specifically allowed.    This would clarify the law and bring Bristol into line with London and a few other cities in the UK.    It is clear that BCC is unlikely to move on this issue unless we can demonstrate that there is strong public support behind it.    A petition is one way of doing this and if we achieve 3500 signatures we can trigger a debate within the council chamber.   This will smoke out those councillors and parties (hopefully none) who talk support, but actually don’t really care.

Please sign the petition and encourage others to do the same.    Thanks to those who have already done so.

You can access the petition by googling Bristol City Council Petitions.    Scroll down until you reach the one on BWA and Pavement Parking.   The site is worth visiting just to see the range of bees that folk have got in their various bonnets.

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