How are the £19m Cycle City Ambition Grant projects are going?

Well, although there have been fairly regular meetings with project officers for some schemes, overall we don’t know much. We’ve only been shown the bid documents and some work in progress designs which are purposefully vague so that the council can change the plans according to pressure.

We are sceptical of the quiet routes. As the bid requires that schemes don’t impact motor traffic the amount of work that can be done is questionable. We don’t want to see what we’ve seen in London, where routes are only labeled as routes with no interventions made other than paint and signage, (although there is progress being made with the use of cheap and quick bollards for filtered permeability).

Overall we’re concerned about the ‘Triple A’ quality of some schemes (All Ages and Abilities). While Bristol Council can do high quality stuff this mostly comes from the limited number of council officers with ‘knowledge’.

One exciting bit is being done by a knowledgeable officer who is implementing Dutch traffic cells (Safer Street Places) in Easton. This is an idea that we think will form the next big transport change in our neighbourhoods we hope it will form part of the next Mayoral manifestos, perhaps under the name of ‘Democratising Streets’ or ‘reducing rat-running and through traffic’.

South Gloucestershire was allocated £5.8m of phase 2 Cycle City Ambition Grant funding spread over 3 years. Of this, they have allocated the vast majority (£4.9m) to the construction of a light-weight add-on bridge to the existing Ring Road bridge across the Frome river near Bromley Heath. Although the shared-use path on the existing bridge is uncomfortably narrow, we feel that the proposed solution is too expensive and that more benefit could have been provided to more cyclists by spreading the funding more widely across other schemes elsewhere in South Gloucestershire.

Of the remaining South Glos grant, £0.3m is to be spent on providing a cycleway alongside Hayes Way which is a new dual carriageway built about 5 years ago by the developer of the large adjoining housing estate. Many of us think that this cycleway should be funded by the developer, not from scarce grant funding.

Meanwhile we are watching with dismay as the shockingly poor value for money Metrobus schemes degrade the existing cycle network. The Winterstoke Road cycle/pedestrian path which is used by 100s of students travelling to Ashton Park School, was closed by BRT2 people with a ‘footway closed’ sign with no recognition that it is a cycletrack and no indication of where people are supposed to make their journeys. BRT thoughtless disruption to cycle and pedestrian routes will get worse. It is as if CAF and the everyday management of the road system live in parallel universes as far as walking and cycling as concerned.

The document attached lists the schemes in the original bid scheme WoE Cycle City Ambition Grant projects 2015. We will continue to try to ensure the best outcome from these schemes, limited though they are.

Of real significance however are things like the North Fringe to Hengrove MetroBus project which has now appointed a contractor for the city centre works which are due to begin on 1 October 2015. Part of these plans involve a new segregated cycle route across the city centre – from Quay Street to the Harbourside. We’ll get a chance to discuss and understand proposal at a meeting on Tuesday August 11th. More information at