News / Transport

EXCLUSIVE: A new vision for Victoria Street

By martin booth, Friday Jun 19, 2020

A main road into Bristol city centre could be dramatically changed to prioritise health and wellbeing under new ideas drawn up by an experienced team of planning and design consultants.

“Victoria Street can be transformed to set a new benchmark for streets in Bristol’s city centre, prioritising people, and creating a new destination,” say Barton Willmore in their bold proposals for the road.

“Victoria Street has the opportunity of being a benchmark for the green recovery, a city street re-allocated back to people improving their health, providing for safe social interaction and being a place where creative ideas are encouraged between businesses, residents and visitors.”

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The vision from Barton Willmore, whose Bristol office is on Victoria Street, is to turn the road “into an exemplary city street”.

“Our proposals are conceptual with the objective of focusing the debate on the need to transform the street that has a key role both in the city centre and within Redcliffe – a neighbourhood set to change significantly over the next few years.”

Key themes would be to create a healthy street, with more trees and planting to improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and provide shade. Greener streets also contribute to improved mental health and wellbeing.

The Barton Willmore team also hope to reinforce a sense of community, creating a “social space that is a platform for creative talent, cultural expression, supports local businesses and involves the community in the process of transformation”.

Their plans are founded on safety and accessibility, as well as creating a sociable space with seating, outdoor meeting areas, new public spaces “and a place which could be car free (that) offers a new area of the city where people can socialise”.

Victoria Street from above, c. 1902 – photo courtesy of Bristol Archives

They add: “Far more people will be cycling and walking thanks to plans to boost greener, active transport, launched by transport secretary Grant Shapps in May 2020 in response to Covid-19.

“Transport and quality public spaces will be leading the green recovery demonstrated by a package of major transport improvements in Bristol unveiled in the same month, paving the way for safer and better public transport, cleaner air and improved walking and cycling routes.

“The proposed changes include Victoria Street becoming a new sustainable transport route through significant upgrades in walking and cycling.

“Linked to changes to Bristol Bridge, Victoria Street has the opportunity to transform into a people friendly, liveable street set within the heart of the city.”

Main image: Barton Willmore

Read more: Should King Street be the next road in Bristol to be pedestrianised?

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