Trio back proposals to dedicate two main city streets to cyclists and pedestrians
TWO of Bristol's main streets could be closed to traffic, with access just for walkers and cyclists – if one of three mayoral candidates wins the upcoming election.
The idea was brought up at a hustings event last night, organised by charity Sustrans, Lifecycle UK and Bristol Cycling Campaign and hosted by law firm Burges Salmon.
Six of the 15 mayoral candidates were invited – George Ferguson (Bristol 1st), Geoff Gollop (Conservative), Neil Maggs (Respect), Daniella Radice (Green), Marvin Rees (Labour) and Jon Rogers (Liberal Democrats).
The idea for pedestrianisation of Corn Street and Clare Street was put forward by Steve Melia, from The Living Heart for Bristol Campaign.
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Dr Rogers, Ms Radice and Mr Maggs all categorically stated they would implement the idea if they got into power.
The event gave members of the public the chance to quiz candidates on cycling and public transport in particular.
Audience member Caroline Bartle asked candidates how they were going to get more children and teenagers riding bikes.
Most candidates agreed that it was a case of educating children in schools, and Dr Rogers and Mr Maggs both committed to funding cycling education.
Another question asked was how the new mayor would promote mutual respect among road users.
Mr Gollop said he wanted traffic to be able to flow around the outskirts of the city, rather than people having to drive through. Mr Rees argued that there needed to be "social maturity" between car drivers and cyclists.
Both Mr Maggs and Ms Radice suggested that they would set up segregated cycle tracks away from bus lanes so that people felt safer riding their bikes.
One question asked was whether candidates would consider closing the city to traffic one Sunday a month – something that currently happens in Colombia's capital city Bogota as previously proposed by Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy.
Mr Ferguson said this was something he may trial, including closing the Portway to traffic on certain days. Mr Gollop also indicated this was something he might do, as well as making sure people were consulted properly.
Mr Maggs said he would introduce a no car, no lorry and no motorcycle zone in Bristol's old city and some other city centre streets, while Mr Rees said he would try to improve public transport.