Bristol Cycling Campaign has called on the local council to reconsider a diversion on one of the city’s flagship cycle routes which will direct cyclists onto a busy “unsafe” road and through a working farm while a new railway station is being built.
Sections of Concorde Way, which runs through Ashley Down in Bristol, will be closed for at least a year to make way for the construction of the new station and a diversion put in place – but the campaign group has claimed that the plans are rushed and that the 500 metre stretch of Muller Road used by the diversion is unsafe.
The same road will be used for deliveries to and from the construction site, according to TravelWest.
The council's recommendation is that cyclists walk their bikes on the pavement, according to Bristol Cycling Campaign’s notes from a meeting with Bristol City Council. They were told the route was “not ideal” but the best available option.
In the meeting, a member of the campaign group told the council that confident cyclists would be reluctant to walk this section of Muller Road on the pavement and would instead cycle on the busy road.
When asked if safety measures – such as a new 20mph speed limit or a temporary suspension of car parking spaces to make way for a pop-up cycle lane – could be put in place, the council said that they would investigate the possibility of implementing these measures, but that “both appeared unlikely”.
In October, we reported that Bristol scrapped controversial plans to close a different bike lane, this time as an apparent way to tackle flash floods.
> “Crazy” plans to scrap key cycle lane – because of flash floods – shelved by council
Concorde Way, one of Bristol’s flagship cycle routes, connects Filton and Stoke Gifford in the north of the city to the city centre. 1,000 cyclists use the route each day.
Map of the diversion at Ashley Down (Travelwest)
This diversion will last for at least a year, and it’s not the only closure on Concorde Way: a section in Lockleaze has been closed for two years and the closure has been extended until August 2023. Bristol Cycling Campaign say this is “incredibly frustrating”.
Ian Pond, chair of the Bristol Cycling Campaign, told the BBC: "Opening the new railway station at Ashley Down is a really important part of providing local residents and commuters with better public transport options, and we fully support this.
"However, we consider that the official diversion has been rushed through and inadequately implemented, especially on Muller Road. This is a very busy road without bike lanes along this section.
"It is clear that many of the around 1,000 cyclists who use Concorde Way per day are going to ride on the road, especially those who are bike commuting.
"Inevitably, this means that the risk of incidents and injury during the closure will increase."
> Council warned that removing key cycle lane would be “real PR risk” – but pressed ahead anyway
Councillor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “It’s exciting that construction work will be starting to bring a railway station back to Ashley Down that will serve the local community and be a valuable extra transport link, offering connectivity to the rest of the rail network, while reducing congestion on our roads.
“I’d like to thank everyone for bearing with us throughout the temporary closure of Concorde Way. I know it’s a popular route for walking and cycling but it will all be worth it in the end when we have a brand new railway station for everyone in the surrounding area to use.
“With work nearly complete at Portway, Bristol’s first new train station in almost a century, Ashley Down will soon be another step forward towards the mass transit system our city needs and deserves.”
We have contacted Bristol City Council for further comment.
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