Backing for improvements to Bearpit
A COMMUNITY group says that improvements to the Bearpit in Bristol's city centre will provide major benefits for thousands of pedestrians and cyclists each day.
Cabinet councillors last night went ahead with a £1 million scheme to provide surface-level crossings and a walkway on the rim of the sunken roundabout at St James Barton. It will mean people can avoid the sunken area and subway at night.
The two new crossings will be at points where there are already traffic lights so traffic will not be further held up and there will also be more lighting in the sunken area.
The Bearpit Improvement Group put forward the idea to the council last year after consulting with people and interested groups.
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Kaz van den Berg, from the improvement group, said: "Our plans see this as an ideal way to improve the safety, convenience and aesthetics of the area, providing surface level access for walkers, cyclists and disabled users."
Ms van den Berg said the group was currently working on ideas for improvements to the sunken area which would complement the new surface-level crossings. These include an amphitheatre-style area for street performers, outdoor art gallery, market stalls and coloured walkways.
Ms van den Berg said: "We believe the collaborative approach we have taken to improving the area with Bristol City Council has been a crucial factor in creating the positive changes which have already taken place."
Executive member for transport Tim Kent said: "This is one of the most dangerous areas by public perception and it is very important people feel very safe going through the Bristol area at night-time."
Deputy council leader Jon Rogers welcomed the "exciting opportunity", and said that work would now start on more detailed designs for with the aim of the scheme being delivered next summer.