We are writing as a network of Bristol organisations to ask you to work with local people to create Liveable Neighbourhoods across the city, starting now and completing by the end of the next mayoral and council term in May 2024.
As you will know, Liveable Neighbourhoods are residential areas that contain traffic filters to stop cars, vans and lorries using the streets as rat-runs. Residents can still drive to their homes, residents and businesses can still get deliveries, and pedestrians and bikes can get through freely.
In Liveable Neighbourhoods, the resulting reduced traffic has many benefits. Air quality improves. So does road safety. Social distancing is easier. There is safe space for play areas for children, and room for outdoor seating for businesses. Tree-planting and landscaping can be done, making the streets greener and more pleasant.
Residents’ life expectancy improves because the air is cleaner and they walk and cycle more. High streets in Liveable Neighbourhoods become attractive destinations where people want to spend their time again and again, and so footfall and trade increase.
As well as these benefits for citizens, Liveable Neighbourhoods would help the council meet its One City plans for a healthy and sustainable city, including its goal for a carbon-neutral Bristol by 2030.
We are encouraged by the statement by councillor Kye Dudd, cabinet member for transport, that the council will be bringing forward initial proposals for liveable streets with less traffic on local roads as soon as possible, and that it will be be keen to engage with communities.
To this end, Liveable Neighbourhood Facebook groups have been set up in each local area in Bristol, and we invite you – the mayor and current councillors – as well as prospective councillors, to join the discussion in your local groups.
We have also started a petition that people in Bristol can sign to ask for Liveable Neighbourhoods to show their support for this policy. More information, and signposting to local Liveable Neighbourhood Facebook groups, can be found on our website.
The extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic present a perhaps once-in-a-generation opportunity to build back better. We hope that we can help each other to do this.
We look forward to your response.
Signatories as at the time of writing
Bristol Civic Society
Bristol Cycling Campaign
Bristol Dementia Action Alliance
Bristol Older People’s Forum
Bristol Sight Loss Council
Bristol Walking Alliance
Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate
Christian Climate Action Bristol
Future Economy Network
Landscape Institute South West
Living Heart for Bristol
Transport for Greater Bristol
Bishopston & St Andrew’s Traffic and Parking Group (BOSA)
Bishopston, Cotham & Redland Community Partnership
Clifton Climate Action
East Bristol Kidical Mass
Let’s Walk Bedminster
Totterdown Residents Environmental and Social Action (TRESA)
Main image of Cotham Hill: Smith Maloney