A Bristol MP will join councillors and campaigners at a protest this morning against a bus lane reorganisation that the say has left motorists in misery.
The new bus lane – part of the Greater Bristol Bus Network – is causing more traffic gridlock instead of solving the problem, Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West, has claimed.
She said the bus lane on Westbury Road, between Henleaze Road and North View, was leading to traffic backing up as far as Falcondale Road.
As a result, bus passengers are finding themselves held upon a route which is supposed to be free flowing.
Ms Leslie is backing a petition launched by Conservative councillor and former Lord Mayor Geoff Gollop which calls for the route to be redesigned or even scrapped.
“Bristol has enough in the way of traffic problems without a high-profile bus lane which actually results in more holdups,” she said.
“We will never persuade people to use public transport if they find themselves not moving in a bus lane, which seems to be totally ridiculous.
“What we are seeing here is an example of a traffic measure which does not work because it is causing more problems.
“I have constantly called for a well thought out, integrated public transport system – and the Bristol Metro is a good example – but we cannot have isolated schemes which lead to more gridlock because they will simply undo good work elsewhere.
“I want Bristol to have a modern, appealing public transport system. Bus passengers sitting on a bus in a bus lane which is not moving will simply drive people back to their cars.”
The online petition has drawn more than 470 signatories since it was launched. The protest begins at 8.45am at the White Tree Roundabout next to Durdham Down.
Bristol Ramblers trample over Bus Rapid Transit plans
Bristol Ramblers Group has today criticised Bristol City Council and neighbouring authorities for promoting Bus Rapid Transit schemes that it says would seriously damage some of the best parts of the city and increase traffic congestion over a wide area.
Susan Carter, Environment and Planning Officer for the Ramblers’ Bristol Group and Avon Area, said: “The Ramblers would actively support bus rapid transit (BRT) schemes that significantly reduced traffic and that did not significantly harm the walking environment. The two schemes currently proposed fail on both counts.
“Both BRT2 (from the Long Ashton Park-and -Ride to the city centre) and BRT3 (from the North Fringe to Hengrove) involve the construction of new routes. These would encourage more traffic to enter the city centre from both the west and the north.
“As for the walking environment, we are most concerned about the impact in the city centre. BRT2 would run along the Harbourside, where the noise, sight and smell of buses would spoil enjoyment of this precious part of Bristol’s heritage. For BRT3, a new road from Baldwin Street to the Hippodrome would carve up the Centre Promenade. Both schemes would make use of Prince Street Bridge, where pedestrians and cyclists would be crowded on to one side.
“These schemes would not only affect walkers but everyone, residents and visitors alike, in these very special places. The schemes should not be allowed to proceed in the environmentally destructive form now proposed. ”
At the recent public consultation into the plans, the group added that: “The benefits of this scheme appear limited at best and, in practice, none may be realised. Its costs in terms of damage to Bristol’s environment are much more certain. The character of Bristol’s unique and beautiful Harbourside would be traded for hypothetically faster journey times for relatively few people.”
Bristol City and North Somerset councils are preparing planning applications for the South Bristol Link section of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) network, costing about £200 million.
New services will transport passengers to and from South Bristol, linking Long Ashton Park & Ride to the new hospital, Skills Academy, the shops at Imperial Park and leisure centre at Hengrove Way.
The South Bristol Link is a combined road and rapid transit route for buses to travel between the A370 Long Ashton bypass and Hengrove Park, including new cycle and pedestrian facilities. The route will link into the wider rapid transit network with direct access to Bristol city centre and along the M32 to Cribbs Causeway and Emersons Green in the north.