Filwood Quietway St John’s Lane & Wedmore Vale Consultation – our response

The Filwood Quietway is proposed to link the south of the city with the centre. It is one of the main elements of the £19m Cycling Ambition Fund to upgrade walking and cycling routes across the city. There are four sections, with different characteristics, and different processes for consultation and planning: Whitehouse Street, Victoria Park, St John’s Lane and Wedmore Vale, and the Northern Slopes. The Filwood Quietway section of the TravelWest website has a lot of background and detail. The Victoria Park proposals were withdrawn ‘for further consultation’ in January 2017. We have submitted a response to the proposal for Wedmore Vale and St John’s Lane.

Our full response is here: BCyC.Consults.Wed.Vale.ND.13.2.17

Our overall position on this consultation is: Support with qualifications

Bristol Cycling Campaign believes that every Bristolian, whatever their age or ability, deserves safe and inviting space for cycling on all Bristol’s streets. This should never be to the detriment of walking. We welcome the ambitious target in the council’s Bristol Cycle Strategy for 20% of trips to work by bike by 2020. We have the following general comments on this consultation drawing on the Bristol Cycling Manifesto, and the Making Space for Cycling guide for street renewals which set out how to achieve Space for Cycling:

Space for CyclingDoes this measure deliver 1) Protected space on main roads; 2) Remove through motor traffic; 3) Safe routes to school; 4) Cycle friendly town centres; 5) Cycle routes in green spaces; 6) 20mph speed limits?

Green – overall benefit

Road Danger ReductionDoes this measure seek a genuine reduction in danger for all road users by identifying and controlling the principal sources of threat?

Green – overall benefit

Triple A QualityWill this measure be attractive to all ages and abilities using all kinds of cycles? This means ‘Triple A’ quality for All Ages and AbilitiesGreen – overall benefit
Strategic Cycling NetworkHow does this measure contribute to the development of a planned, integrated and coherent strategic cycle network?Green – overall benefit
Cycle-proofingHow far does this measure provide for Triple A Space for Cycling in the future?Green – overall benefit

NB The above table has been completed on the basis that the final design takes account of points 1 to 6 below and specifically;

  • Need for cyclist priority across side roads
  • Need for even cycle track height across side roads
  • Cycle path width is adequate (2m generally not adequate for a two way track)
  • A proper cycle track, visibly separate from the footway not simply improved “pavement” cycling
  • Filwood Quietway scheme as a whole will be completed, not just isolated sections
  • A barrier or gap with the road and the prevention of cycle track parking

Bristol Cycling Campaign has the following specific comments on the plans in this consultation:

  1. It appears from the Consultation brochure and plans that the bidirectional cycle tracks on Wedmore Vale and St John’s Lane may not have priority over side roads. It is absolutely essential for safety reasons that the route has clear priority over all side roads. It appears there are only two side roads, both in St John’s Lane; Raymond Walk (a short cul de sac) and St John’s Crescent (west end only), both are quiet residential roads. Priority must be given to the cycle track, almost certainly with a raised table to alert motorists. It is equally important that the pavement appears to continue across these side roads and walkers enjoy priority over vehicles as well. This is critical, if priority is not afforded the safety of the scheme is massively reduced. Priority of cycle tracks across side roads
  2. The cycleway and pedestrian pavement need to continue at a roughly even height. It is better to raise the roadway of side roads and driveways to maintain this than to lower the cycleway and pedestrian pavement.

  3. The cycleway and pavement between them appear, from the plans, to be about 4 metres wide, taken together, this is split roughly 50/50 between them. 2 metres is not really wide enough for a bi directional cycle track (recommended minimum width 3 metres). The roadway could be reduced in several places to 6 metres, 3 metre carriageway each side, which has the desirable effect of slowing traffic, as does removing the centre line (which should be considered), and space could be reallocated to the more sustainable travel modes.

  4. This proposal is part of a whole; the Filwood Quietway. It is important that the complete Quietway is constructed; a route from York Road in Bedminster through Victoria Park to Almorah Rd where this scheme starts and a safe segregated route south from the junction of Wedmore Vale and Glyn Vale, where this scheme ends, on up to Filwood Broadway. This proposal in isolation has very limited value.

  5. On its own this is a very short section of bi directional cycle track. It only makes sense if continued in a way that enables people on bikes to access it easily. If that is not the case it will not be used, it will do nothing to encourage new cyclists and existing cyclists will stay on the road, which will bring the scheme into disrepute.

  6. This must be a proper cycle track, visibly separate from the footway not simply improved “pavement” cycling. It is also not apparent what, if any, barrier or gap there will be between the cycle track and the road; there needs to be some, for safety reasons. A barrier is also necessary to prevent some motorists using the cycle track as a car park as happens in other parts of Bristol; eg South Bristol Link Road.

  7. We welcome the removal of some parking which can only assist with reducing motor dependence and congestion in Bristol. It is essential that any opposition to this is not allowed to compromise the quality, and width, of the cycleway and/or pavement, which are not wide, as planned. We also welcome the segregation of the three different modes of travel; people on foot, on bikes and in motors. The bus stop bypass will reduce conflict.

  8. We further welcome the part traffic closure of an arm of Marksbury Rd and the safe turn from St John’s Lane to and from Wedmore Vale for pedestrians and cyclists. The new toucan crossing on St John’s Lane, a busy road which can be intimadating to cross, is potentially a real benefit to walkers and bike riders, both locally and more widely from other parts of Bristol.

Bristol Cycling Campaign has the following more general comments on this consultation:

  1. In order to achieve the council’s object of 20% cycling it is essential that every opportunity is taken to improve conditions for cycling where there are changes in road layout for whatever reason, so that people cycling feel safe and welcome.

  2. We are pleased that both Windmill Hill councillors gave strong supporting statements about Space for Cycling in Bristol and the BCyC councillor manifesto. The two ward councillors for Knowle are also S4C supporters. We trust therefore they will all support these proposals.

  3. We note this scheme is funded by Central Government not Bristol Council Tax payers, if it is not implemented the money could be lost to our City and spent elsewhere. That is a strong ground for Bristolians to support it.

  4. This scheme is not about those who currently cycle, nor is it for ‘cyclists’. Bristol has, thankfully, many people who ride a bike but about 2 out of every 3 people will not consider doing so, overwhelmingly because of fear of traffic. These are the people who will benefit from this route, separate from motors. Such safe routes disproportionately benefit children, women and the less able bodied. An integrated Filwood Quietway route will offer immediate and long term financial (cycling is cheap) and health (cycling is active) rewards to the people of Bristol.

  5. The scheme does not significantly reduce motor traffic capacity. Of itself that may or may not be a good thing but it should limit opposition and make the scheme less controversial.