'Changes to bridge are just ridiculous'
BRISTOL City Council is going to have another look at £129,000 of changes to a busy bridge in Redcliffe after they proved unpopular.
The bascule bridge on Redcliffe Way, between St Mary Redcliffe Church and the Severnshed restaurant, has been reduced from four lanes to three as part of the £22-million Cycling City project.
One of the lanes heading towards the church has been replaced with a two-way cycle lane, but alterations have also been made to the pavement and kerbs that were not in the original plans.
Alterations include replacing a former physical roundabout with a painted circle, and increasing the width of the pavement in front of the Hole in the Wall pub.
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Drivers, pedestrians and even cyclists have said they are not happy with the changes. Critics say the new design is "ridiculous" and makes life more difficult for many who use the bridge.
The council consulted on the proposals for 11 days a year ago, and put up notices on the bridge and in the press.
The bridge is a crossing point for First buses going to and from the south of the city.
The company "has had discussions" with the council as the alterations are not what they had been expecting.
The changes to the Queen Square side give buses less room to turn onto the bridge.
Tony McNiff, service delivery director for First South and West Wales, said: "As a company we were surprised by the changes made to the road layout around Redcliffe Bridge.
"We have discussed the matter with the council to find out what can be done to maintain the best movement of public transport through the area."
The so-called Brunel Mile changes are one of eight sets of "cycling improvements" the council consulted on last year. The idea was to remove pinch points and make life easier for people on two wheels to get about.
But like a number of the initiatives included in the much- criticised Cycling City project, cyclists themselves have knocked the work.
Jenna Talwart was one of a number of residents who criticised the plans on the Evening Post website.
She said: "Previously I had sung its praises. As a cyclist I am always appreciative of anything that makes our journeys safer.
"However, I walked it and from a pedestrian's point of view it has the most ridiculous layout.
"The pavement has been extended out on the Queen's Square side and you can cross safely to that bit. But if you want to cross to go down Welsh Back and past Severnshed the place where the dropped curb is actually means you step on to the roundabout.
"Then if for example you are on a mobility scooter, you then have to go across a two-way cycle path, face traffic going from Welsh Back to St Mary Redcliffe direction and then two lanes of traffic going in the other direction, all the time actually on the roundabout as this is where the dropped kerb takes you.
"You can't double back on yourself as there is a narrow raised kerb that separates the lanes of traffic. A five-year-old could have done it better."
Oliver Tunnah also questioned the logic of some of the changes.
He said: "They have got rid of the zebra crossing on the Queen Square side. They have replaced it with a glorified speed bump. What was the point in that?"
According to the council the east and west bound dual carriageways that previously featured on the bridge were a legacy of the A4, which ran through Queen Square until 1997.
When the A4 was redirected and Queen Square turned into green space, cycle usage quadrupled – up from 408 daily cycle trips in 1997 to 1,590 trips per day in 2010.
At the same time the number of cars using the bridge reduced by almost 6,000 per day.
Council spokeswoman Kate Hartas said the revised plans had gone out to consultation but not as extensively as the original scheme, which had contained a bus lane that was removed from the design due to problems with construction.
She said: "The scheme is currently being reviewed and is likely to undergo some modest changes at each end of the bridge to resolve the outstanding issues with buses. The zebra crossing has been replaced with a humped crossing. This is a pedestrian facility."