Draft plans have been drawn up looking at how Bristol city centre might incorporate a bus rapid transit system in the future.
Cllr Jon Rogers, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainable Development, comments: “By 2015 our bus rapid transit system must connect in the centre and work in harmony with the Greater Bristol Bus Network arrivals and departures. When it does, we’d like passengers to alight in a smart, sustainable space, with clean air and a calm atmosphere.
“2015 is a long way off, but we need to open the debate on what could work and what plans could mean for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and motorists.
“We’re many miles from a formal plan, and even further from a decision. But this is your city and we know that many Bristol people will have strong views, so we have sketched out a very rough plan, which we call Draft A to kick-start a debate.
“It has been drawn up so we can all start thinking about this now, make the necessary changes before presenting more formal proposals and hopefully come up with a final plan which does the job it needs to do, but with some consensus that it is a good plan.
“When the centre was first laid out in 2000, the council already knew it needed to incorporate future changes for new modes of public transport. So there would not be a huge re-modelling job, just a reworking of the current design with traffic movements realigned and public transport interchanges further developed.”
Cllr Rogers said the aim was to achieve:
- A route through the centre for the bus rapid transit network incorporating plans for an interchange
- a safer and more accessible space for pedestrians
- a way to keep cyclists safer
- a better environment
- a peaceful, respectful and well-landscaped Cenotaph monument
- a way to manage taxi traffic and party-goers
Cllr Rogers added: “We will have to revisit the issue of motor traffic and its impact in this space. But by 2015, Bristol will be a very different place.
“Public transport including bus rapid transit and the Greater Bristol Bus Network will provide a far greater percentage of journeys to the Centre. And cyclists will have doubled in number.”
Draft A plans include the following ideas:
- general traffic would be reduced to one lane in each direction down the Hippodrome side.
- the whole of the east side would be designed for public transport.
- the western end of Baldwin Street would be closed to general traffic.
- two-way traffic using Baldwin Street would reroute down Marsh Street.
- Colston Street could be closed at the bottom to all but buses and a shared space considered in front of the Colston Hall.
Work is now underway to better understand what impact this could have on existing traffic patterns and existing public transport services and whether it is feasible. Also it will look at what other schemes may be possible or necessary to mitigate what is proposed.
This discussion has now closed. Thank you for the useful comments and information you have provided. These will be used to inform the Major Scheme Business Case submission to the DfT we are currently preparing as part of the North Fringe to Hengrove Package which is due to be submitted in late March 2010.
This is not the end of our engagement process with the public and other stakeholders. As the project progresses, there will be many more opportunities to have your say on Bristol City Centre. Developing and regenerating Bristol City Centre, especially the Centre, can be an emotive issue and we need to make sure this is done in a considered manner. We look forward to engaging with you about this in the future.