Monday 9 April 2012

Filton Shubbery battle -have the pavement instead

Remember how the traffic creators (calling them "Traffic planners" would imply planning skills and ignore demand creation) wanted to turn part of a park into an extra roundabout lane?

Well, the Filton Town Council response is "have the pavement instead"

FILTON councillors have rejected a request from South Gloucestershire Council to hand over a piece of parkland to make way for a road widening scheme.
South Gloucestershire's Mark Shearman, principal engineer for transport services, wrote to the town council. He asked for councillors to decide whether the town council could "contribute" a small corner of Elm Park to the scheme, originally asking for 317 metres squared.
In his letter he said that the extra land would provide an opportunity to address congestion on the approach to the roundabout, upgrade the traffic signals to a more efficient system and improve facilities for cyclists.
He explained that the scheme would be funded with section 106 money from the new Southmead Hospital development.
That is this would be the NHS funding the removal of parkland to make it easier for fat people to drive to the hospital for their Diabetes checkups. Does nobody in the council or traffic creation department think about the hypocrisy there? In Bristol, S106 money goes to encouraging cycling. In S Gloucs: extra lanes at junctions.

As for the claim this would help cyclists, that's clearly bollocks. How would encouraging more cars to drive down Filton Road and make it harder to get across the BAe Roundabout help cycling.


Resident Brian Smith, 75, who lives in Third Avenue, attended the last council meeting.
"I don't think the scheme is necessary," he said.
"The width of the footpath could be reduced to make way for a third lane of traffic before we start giving away our green land.
The locals like their greenery, but don't give a fuck about the pavement either. Well, nobody wants to use that pavement, though it is the only way to get to the shopping centre set up for people to drive in to, and it is part of the official ring road cycle route. Not caring about it reflects the views of the residents, rather than the council. At least they want the park to stay green.


A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: "The council is currently working with Filton Town Council on plans to improve the ring road junction with the A38 at Filton roundabout. 
"These improvements are a response to the Southmead hospital redevelopment and address the expected increase in traffic flows in the area as patients, employees and visitors travel to the hospital.
"The proposals involve widening the carriageway to provide an extra lane on the westbound approach to the roundabout and will use a narrow strip of land from the adjacent Elm Park, which is owned by Filton Town Council. 
"In order to minimise the amount of land needed for the improvements, options considered include placing the shared use footway/cycleway path running alongside the road within the Elm Park boundary. 
"An area of redundant highway land near Shellard Road is also being investigated for use as a replacement for the Elm Park land."
Let's think this through. There's no free parking being added at Southmead, the area nearby is going to have its parking rules enforced. While it makes sense for out-of-shift staff to drive in and out, if the council had actual support for cycling or public transport in the area then they'd be doing something to aid that, rather than push bicycles away and do nothing for buses.

Regarding Shellard Road -its on the east side of the fields. They may find something there, but given the council's habit of turning traffic free routes into rat-runs, don't expect it to stay parkland. Five years from now, they will want to widen the route further back from the roundabout, and at that point the small print in any land swap will surface to show the council can have it back for free.

For anyone who says the council can be engaged with, politely, this shows the traffic creation department's world view. Their hierarchy of Provision is

  1. HGVs (only S Gloucs has a bus/bike/HGV lane)
  2. Cars
  3. Parking for Cars
  4. Extra rat-runs to take the pressure off the A4174
  5. Extra routes to the M4
  6. Extending the A4174 around the South of Bristol to create the demand for even more lanes
  7. Grandiose Bus Rapid Transit schemes down the Bristol-Bath Railway Path.
  8. Trains
  9. Pedestrians
  10. Bicycles
  11. Greenery
Why put pedestrians above bicycles? Because every shared use path -the only bike paths in the area- have lots of signs up telling bicycles to slow down for pedestrians. But there is no single "shared road", open to both bicycles and cars, where there are signs up telling the cars to slow down for bicycles. If anyone on a bicycle gets hit by a car, it's their own fault for being there.

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