Results from a public consultation and monitoring of temporary measures introduced at Bristol Parkway Railway Bridge to enable social distancing and promote more active travel have been published.
We introduced changes to the road layout under Parkway Bridge on Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford in June, providing more space for social distancing as schools and shops began to reopen following the initial lockdown period.
We launched a survey in September to understand how the measures are working and the impact they are having on people who use this route. The survey closed in October and the results have now been collated and analysed.
Responses to our survey showed the majority of people support our plans for a new pedestrian underpass, while monitoring of the route revealed a significant spike in pedestrians and cyclists using the walkway under the bridge.
The majority of these active and sustainable journeys were before schools opened in the morning (over 350 people) and then after they close (over 300 people), demonstrating the clear benefit of the measures for school-aged children.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure, Cllr Steve Reade said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to provide their feedback on the measures in place at Parkway Bridge. Our objective is to encourage more active and sustainable travel and enable those returning to school and work following lockdown to safely socially distance and to use the underpass with confidence.
“While we acknowledge that these measures have led to a small increase in some car journey times, our monitoring has shown an uptake in the number of children walking, cycling and using the route to get to school in a more active and sustainable manner. More children walking and cycling to school means less traffic on our roads at peak times when parents may have previously driven as part of the regular school run.
“We remain committed to finding a long-term solution and recent proposals for a pedestrian tunnel have been supported by the West of England Combined Authority which is a really positive step in the right direction and great news for the local community. We are pleased this found majority support through the consultation.”
Local colleges (City of Bristol College, SGS Wise) have doubled their cycle storage due to the increase in students cycling, demonstrating the active travel benefit since the scheme was put in place. Local schools have also provided their support for measures which enable safer walking and cycling in the area.
Ian Henry, Assistant Head at Abbeywood Community School commented: “The modification of the road layout to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians is very much welcomed by us at ACS, and should provide a safer way for our students to travel to and from school. It will also benefit the wider community as a whole – making Abbeywood and the surrounding area a safer place for everyone.”
Our monitoring also shows that most of the waiting traffic at the lights clears with each change of signal. Other results from the consultation were:
• We received a total 929 responses to the survey, with 83% travelling the route once or more a week by car
• Some concerns were raised about the effect of increased traffic when more people return to work and the number of roadworks taking place in the area
• 591 comments said that car journey times had increased
• 96 respondents’ comments referred to very few pedestrians and cyclists using the extra space while they waited at the traffic lights
• 65% of respondents strongly disagreed with keeping the measures in place for the duration of the pandemic and 79% strongly disagreed with making them permanent
• Most respondents agreed with the council pursuing a new underpass for pedestrians and cyclists.
Social distancing is an essential part of controlling the spread of the virus and measures to enable people to follow the rules are more important than ever with the new tier systems and ongoing restrictions.
We are continuing to enhance and develop our cycling and pedestrian routes to improve safety and enable more people to switch to sustainable travel options. In the long-term we will be working with the West of England Combined Authority to progress a permanent solution to the measures in place at Parkway Bridge following approval at their December committee meeting.
More about our schemes to make public places safer and the results of the survey for Parkway Bridge are available at www.southglos.gov.uk/making-public-places-safer