Roads could be closed to boost 'cycling city'
ROAD closures could feature in future plans to make Bristol even more of a "cycling city".
A report on how to make the city's streets safer for bike riders was endorsed by full council on Tuesday. It contained 18 recommendations about how it could be achieved in the council's cycling strategy.
One of the more radical suggestions is to introduce "traffic cells" in residential areas. Road closures would be introduced to deter through traffic by forcing motorists to take diversions to get to their destinations.
The theory is that this would encourage cycling and walking because it would be more "direct and convenient" and the reduced traffic volumes and average speeds would make the streets safer for all.
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Other suggestions include improving the quality and extent of the cycling network in the city, taking into account the needs of cyclists and pedestrians when junctions are designed and learning from other cities in the UK and Europe.
The report was the result of an inquiry at which 32 people from community organisations, council officers, experts and members of the Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission came together to discuss research and other evidence and develop "practical solutions".
Councillor Mark Bradshaw, the Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission chairman, said: "To be a people-friendly, healthy, vibrant city that cyclists feel safe in requires leadership and brave decision-making and we feel our recommendations contribute towards these goals.
"The inquiry was a snapshot of a very complex issue and we aim to return to this topic in the future to monitor how any changes are being implemented. I hope it will bring some real change to our streets and our roads."
Councillor Tess Green (Green, Southville) said: "We do need to make it more attractive and safer for everybody and we do need to take away the fear factor. We need to normalise cycling and champion cycling because of all the benefits it will bring us."
The £22.8 million Bristol got for being a "cycling city" came to an end in March last year, but the West of England local authorities had a successful bid to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund for £24 million, of which just over £2 million is specifically for cycling and walking.
This fund can be used to improve key commuter routes and services, public transport and walking/cycling through employer engagement, marketing and communications.
At Tuesday's meeting, Councillor Dr David Willingham (Lib Dem, Bishopston) said he thought Bristol should also promote sport cycling, suggesting a velodrome and trying to host a stage of the Tour of Britain.
New elected mayor George Ferguson – a keen cyclist himself – said he had already made contact with the Tour organisers expressing Bristol's interest, but he said a "velodrome" would have to be added to the city's wish list.