Little changes can make big differences, and Bristol is clamouring for solutions to many problems, not least traffic, pollution and public transport.
Like most other places in the country, we establish ‘priorities’ and then allow lesser considerations to derail the programme. Let’s do it differently this time.
Most of the unnecessary pollution in Bristol is caused when vehicles are stationary. Make it possible for traffic to get to their destination without hindrance and, hey presto, we’ve made some impact on one of the major problems. There is, of course, more to it than that.
We would go a long way towards bringing this about by totally separating pedestrians and the disabled from vehicles. Changing the directions of routes into the centre of Bristol and making half the roads incoming only and half outgoing only could solve this.
If incoming traffic is the problem, then the numbers entering must not be allowed to exceed the number of spaces available.
Each of these proposals could be tested at low cost and implemented economically: there’s no point in spending millions on remedies when we will soon be using electric cars.
In passing, it would be much less expensive to put non-vehicular traffic above ground rather than spending billions on excavations. Cable cars are far less expensive than ‘tubes’. Imagine a Park & Ride service using cable cars.
However, there is a problem getting an idea before the mayor. There are ‘filters’ to pass before an initiative gets read. Believe me, I’ve tried.
So, the ‘professionals’ that have allowed the present situation to arise, sit in judgment on suggestions to solve Bristol’s problems from outside sources. And so we go on….
Peter Goodland has spent over 40 years studying city traffic and pollution across the world.
Read more: 14 ambitious transport plans for Bristol