Improving the Public Realm in Nelson Street (Deadline passed 9 Feb 2015)

The consultation “sets out a vision for transforming Nelson Street from an underused and unloved canyon into a vibrant new quarter of the city centre and a key pedestrian/cycle link between Broadmead, Harbourside, Old City and Christmas Steps.”  Two of the documents also illustrate the traffic plans and general design of the Centre post-Metrobus (work is due to begin on Metrobus next year). Nelson Street Public Realm Strategy Final Report August 2015

Here’s our response:

Our overall position on this consultation is: Support with qualifications

Bristol Cycling Campaign welcomed the opportunity to be included in the Stakeholder meeting with the City Design Team and looks forward to ongoing direct involvement in the development of these proposals.

Bristol Cycling Campaign believes that every Bristolian, whatever their age or ability, deserves safe and inviting space for cycling on all Bristol’s streets. Developments should be planned so as to make cycling a more attractive option in order to encourage more people to choose to cycle and gain all the ensuing benefits. 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:

1. Space for Cycling. Does this measure advance the six themes of 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?

– The proposal will be Positive. It should make this area of the city centre safer and more cycle friendly and encourage more people to cycle to the centre.

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

– The proposal will be Positive. There will be reduced conflict between cyclists, pedestrian and motor vehicles. However, further steps should be taken.

3. Triple A Quality (All Ages and Abilities). Will this measure be attractive to all ages and abilities using all kinds of cycles?

– The proposal will be Positive. The aims of proposal fit with high standards but some elements of detail will require further attention.

4. Strategic Cycling Network. How does this measure contribute to the development of Bristol Council’s planned integrated and coherent strategic cycle network?

– The proposal will be Positive. These proposals will improve a key element of the Cycling Network.

5. Cycle-proofing. How far does this measure provide for Triple A Space for Cycling in the future?

– The proposal will be Positive. The proposals are clearly in the right direction and should support further steps either as part of widening the scope of this proposal or through subsequent schemes.


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

1. Lessons learnt on recent cycling schemes such as the crossing of Welsh Back and the new cycleway and crossing on Baldwin St. Some consistency of design and materials across the City would help people to get used to the new facilities whilst balancing this against the needs of individual locations.

2. We would support further reduction in traffic volumes and through routes in this area with controls over the use by private motor vehicles.

3. Loading restrictions should be imposed so that they only take place at off-peak times.

4. The needs of pedestrians and cyclists need to be prioritised over all other forms of transport including public transport.

5. The cycleway should be continuous and separated from traffic along the entire length of Nelson St and Quay St with priority across junctions. Consideration should be given to 2 one-way cycleways if traffic volumes are not sufficiently reduced.

6. The cycleway should be at least 4m in width in order to accommodate volumes of 2-way cycle traffic.

7. The surface of the cycleways should clearly differentiate the cycleway from the footway and be segregated from the road surface. The surface must be ideal for cycling and easy to repair and maintain to this standard – thinking here about for example block paving vs smooth laid tarmac.

8. Signage and lighting improvements need to apply to cycleways as well as to pedestrian routes.

9. We support Bristol Civic Society and Living Heart for Bristol in their calls for reducing traffic in this area by closing Bridewell Street, The Pithay and the start of Fairfax Street.

10. We propose that Fairfax street is closed to through traffic and a cycleway built along it to link through to Newgate and on to the Frome Greenway and other routes and reducing the need for travelling through Broadmead.

11. Cycle parking should be increased to cope with expected demands.