1. Extra Government funding to provide more bus and light railway services
The government is going to make £283m available to increase the number of bus and light rail services as quickly as possible. The funding is about £254m for buses and £29m for trams and light rail.
As well as this funding, 3,400 people (including British Transport Police officers, Network Rail and train operator staff) have been placed in train stations to advise passengers and make sure people can follow the guidance put in place.
The Government is also working with local authorities and private car park owners to make it easier for people travelling to work by car to get closer to their workplace and finish their journey on foot or by bike without the need to take public transport. Plans will focus on developing new schemes at car parks near, but not in, city centres from where drivers could collect a bike – or use their own – and follow new cycling or walking routes which would be colour coded by distance [link].
2. Local Buses
First West of England is launching an update to its mobile app that will enable customers across the region to live track the location of their next bus and how many spaces are available on it.
The new technology will be rolled out across the UK as the operator continues to develop ways to help customers social distance on board its fleet. This reduces uncertainty for customers and allows them to make informed decisions about their essential journeys [link].
The Council has temporarily taken away parking bays on one side of a number of the popular streets for shopping, including Bedminster Parade, Clifton, Corn St, St. Mark’s Rd (Easton), etc. This is so that pedestrians can walk on the road to avoid going too close to the queues outside shops.
We have asked Bristol City Council what reasonable adjustments it will make for those Disabled people who need to park very close to where they are going. The initial response suggested this issue had not really been addressed. However, they have got back to us asking whether the one, existing, discretionary bay on St Mark’s Road is insufficient.
We do not believe one is sufficient – especially as the bay is only discretionary and, furthermore, put there for a resident – and we have yet to get a response about the other streets. Once we have a fuller response we will give you details of what reasonable adjustments they have or are going to make, to ensure Disabled people with mobility difficulties are not prevented from using these local shops.
The details of the next phase of this reduction in parking so that walking areas can be larger, to make social distancing possible are being worked on now. The areas affected will be:
Westbury on Trym,
Redcatch Road to Oakmead Park,
North Street (Bedminster),
Mina Road (St Werburghs),
Merchants Road Bridge,
Victoria Street and Counterslip cycle lanes,
Stokes Croft northbound cycle lane,
Marlborough Street, and
· Pedestrianisation of the Old City: We are proceeding with a limited Temporary Traffic Regulation Order on Corn St/Small St/Clare St with parking suspensions in the short term. We hope to deliver this within four weeks and we are in discussion with the Courts at the moment about retaining access. The intention is to follow with a larger scale scheme, closing the whole of the Old City to traffic for specific parts of the day.
· Bristol Bridge: Work is proceeding on a scheme to close Bristol Bridge and part of Baldwin Street, to facilitate public transport and walking/cycling improvements. The scheme is in the design process and is currently expected to be delivered by the middle of August.
4. Pedestrianisation of the Old City:
The Council has gone ahead with the legal process for temporarily removing parking in on Corn St/Small St/Clare St.
However, after the Forum contacted them about Disabled people’s need to park close to where they want to be, the Council has confirmed that Blue Badge users will still have access to on-road parking in these streets.
The Council plans to follow this with closing the whole of the Old City to traffic for specific parts of the day. As soon as we know when these specific times of day will be, we will let you know.