Welcome to the debate.
First of all, please read the latest contribution from Mayor of Bristol – George Ferguson – about his vision for a better and less congested city:
Next, please take the time to read the information on this page about the resident parking proposals and how they fit into the bigger picture. Comments are now open on this site. We read all comments and our officers will be joining the debate – these forums are moderated to maintain a civil space for debate based on our house rules.
Where we are at the moment
Accepting the need to tackle congestion and create a better environment, most UK cities and all of England’s biggest cities (the core cities) have already introduced residents parking schemes as a package of other measures. Bristol currently has four residents parking schemes in Cotham, Kingsdown, Redcliffe and within the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in the central area of the city. However, Bristol has been slow at introducing these, despite making steady progress with other measures to tackle traffic congestion and improve alternatives to the car.
Nevertheless, where residents’ parking has been introduced, often with significant opposition, many local residents and businesses have been won over to their benefits once they have seen the scheme in operation, although some still remain unhappy.
Inevitably, slow, piecemeal progress in bringing new schemes forward has led to knock-on effects on neighbouring areas and demand from these areas for their own residents parking schemes, as commuter parking has just been displaced by a few streets to outside the first zones introduced. This highlights that a consistent, area-wide approach is necessary, rather than just isolated interventions that displace the commuter parking challenge more than they tackle it head on.
Faster, coordinated and better implementation
So, the Mayor has decided to show leadership and tackle the problems of a protracted piecemeal approach towards residents parking schemes with a proposal to accelerate their implementation in a wide ring around central Bristol, and to complete this by early 2015.
Do remember that residents parking schemes are only part of the bigger picture of creating a less congested, healthier and greener Bristol, and so there are also renewed attempts to improve alternatives to the car and progress other initiatives. More about this later.
Let’s revisit what we’re trying to achieve with residents parking
Every morning a thousands of commuters descend on neighbourhoods around the central area looking for a free place to park. These people are often from areas outside the city with high and increasing car dependency – so the problem is getting worse. Bristol 24/7 contributor – Tony Dyer – has written a post on this.
So, residents parking schemes aim to improve neighbourhoods by:
- reducing the amount of circulating traffic but at the same time providing more space for local residents, businesses and their visitors to park. This can also contribute to improving people’s health and their local environment, including air quality and road safety.
- reducing and better managing overall traffic entering the central area, especially during the peak periods when traffic congestion is at its worst.
- Stop all-day blocking of road space by commuters and free up spaces for people wanting to visit local businesses and shops
- encouraging commuters and more people to use the alternatives to the car
Residents parking schemes in Bristol will work in conjunction with the other initiatives and improvements being delivered / planned in the Greater Bristol area to tackle traffic congestion.
Hear from Kingsdown residents and businesses in their own words:
Doing nothing is not an option
- Bristol is in a constant race to attract jobs and investment with other cities, both in the UK and Europe, that are far ahead of us in terms of tackling congestion and providing decent alternatives to the car
- Traffic congestion costs the Greater Bristol economy £350m a year. By 2016 this will cost £600m a year for the sub-region. Unless we tackle traffic congestion it will damage our future prosperity and Bristol’s ability to create new jobs (West of England Joint Local Transport Plan 3 (2011 – 2026)
- The total number of cars in Bristol and our surrounding authorities has increased by: 8.1% (Bath & North East Somerset), 14% (South Gloucestershire), 15.2% in Bristol and 16.1% (North Somerset) – (2001 to 2011 census).
- Car ownership in Bristol and our surrounding authorities has increased by: 3.5% (Bath & North East Somerset), 9.1% (South Gloucestershire), 11.6% (North Somerset) and 12.6% in Bristol (2001 to 2011 Census).
- There are more people commuting by car (driver and passenger) – Bristol 9% more, North Somerset 10% more and South Gloucestershire 6% more car commuters (2001 to 2011 census)
- In Bristol the number of households with 2 or more cars has increased from 24.6% of all households to 26% of all households – this is an increase of 19% since 2001 and represents 7,595 more cars. (2001 to 2011 census).
- In many areas of Bristol air pollution currently exceeds health based EU limits. Poor air quality leads to poor human health. Impacts range from short term effects on the respiratory system to longer term effects that have been linked to asthma, permanent reductions in lung function, heart and circulatory disease and can lead to premature death.
- The 2012 Quality of Life survey showed that public transport, congestion and traffic management were the chief causes of respondents’ dissatisfaction with the council’s running of the city
- The average peak hour traffic speed in Bristol is 15.7mph making it one of the most congested cities outside London. (2012 DoT congestion data – average vehicle speeds in the A.M. peak on local A roads)
- Greater Bristol is the second most congested city in the UK behind Belfast (2012 Congestion Index by TomTom – (the area covered by this survey includes the congestion hotspots of A4174 (Hambrook), M4, M5 in the Greater Bristol area)
What sort of city do you want to live in?
RPS as part of a package of many other measures
Many real improvements have already happened with the city’s bus services and the major improvements Bristol City Council and our neighbouring authorities have already done or won funding for:
- Greater Bristol Bus Network (GBBN) – an £80 million project which has created 10 showcase bus corridors in the Greater Bristol area. These corridors have priority bus lanes and traffic lights for faster more reliable journeys, better bus stops with seating and real time information, higher quality, more accessible buses – some have leather seats and wi-fi. The improved GBBN infrastructure provides greater capacity for more frequent buses.
- MetroBus – a new generation of rapid transit buses to improve journey times further across the Greater Bristol Area has already been earmarked £140 million by the UK Government and will be built over the next few years. Three new interconnected routes will be built in the Greater Bristol Area – well integrated with Metrorail and bus services
- MetroRail – a 30 minute metro-style rail service making the most of Greater Bristol’s existing rail infrastructure, creating stations as transport interchanges and reopening lines to Portishead and Henbury
- Walking and cycling improvements – There’s been a big jump in cycling and walking in Bristol (twice as many people cycle to work now as ten years ago – National Census Data) taking advantage of the investment in better and safer cycle routes from Greater Bristol Cycling City and programmes such as the Local Sustainable Transport Fund
- Getting the buses working in the city – we’ve got a great fares deal from Wessex Connect and we’re currently encouraging people to take part in the First Bus fares consultation. We’ll be campaigning for them to simplify and lower fares and give better value for money for existing and new Bristol bus users. This pressure has already resulted in them restoring the £1 three-stop hop.
- 20 mph – this is being rolled out in neighbourhoods across the city to make cycling and walking more attractive
Listening and responding
We’ve read every letter and email you’ve sent us about our initial proposals to extend residents parking. Our officers and the Mayor have also been to many public meetings – and there’ll be many more to come. This week (w/c 10 June), we’ll be announcing how we’re going to amend proposals in response to the feedback you’ve already given. Remember though, doing nothing is not an option and there will inevitably be more residents parking schemes – your feedback will help design these schemes and tailor them to local conditions. They’re part of the big picture to keep our city moving whilst moving towards a greener and healthy city – and a most liveable place for our future!
Comments are now closed but will reopen on Monday 1st July – thank you for your contributions to date. We are identifying the main issues and will shortly publish the council’s response. We are also preparing new web pages to reflect the major revisions to the Mayor’s plans announced on 27 June.