Monday, 25 January 2016

Should RPS be extended to Ashton survey

As Southville ward councillors, we have been contacted by a number of people highlighting the fact that RPS in Southville has pushed parking problems over into Ashton. (The ward includes the area of Ashton between North St, Smyth Road and Ashton Road).

Some have said RPS needs to be extended to cover a wider area.

We want to get an idea of what people think more generally, what the problems are and if an extended RPS is part of the solution.

Please complete this 4 question survey and let us know what you think.

1 minute 4 question Ashton RPS survey

Many thanks in anticipation

Charlie Bolton and Steve Clarke
Southville ward councillors

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Bus speech - why getting rid off bus lanes is a bad idea

So having read the Tory motion, and its reference to removal of bus lanes in Liverpool, I thought I’d contact the Green councillors there to see what they thought about how it is working. The good news for the Tories is the response from Green Cllr Tom Crone ended with the line:

‘BTW, compared to our Labour mayor, that motion makes your Tories look pretty moderate!’

Sadly, that’s where the good news ends. Contrary to the Tory assertion that the Liverpool scheme is a success, the assertion we have received suggests

‘I would question the success of the Liverpool scheme. Even in the narrow short-sighted terms that our mayor would consider it a success it hasn't really delivered. If it made journey times quicker for cars he would probably be happy, but if you look at the before and after you will see there was no clear pattern of reduced journey times.’

And I did look. I looked at what must be an enormously expensive 532 page report into the Liverpool, and it showed a mixture of results. Some - to be fair - showed a reduction in travel times for motorists. There was even the occasional reduction in travel time for buses. There was also a ruck of results showing no real change, and some not only increased journey times for buses, but saw significantly longer journeys for car drivers as well. Yes, removing the bus lane slowed down the cars.

The suggestion made being an increase in the number of vehicles on the road. Its obvious really. Remove the bus lane, you increase road capacity. Bigger road capacity means more cars. More cars means more pollution.
So then I contacted the Campaign for Better Transport - who pointed me to the website BUSPRIORITYWORKS.CO.UK.

This website, sponsored by campaigning organisations along with representatives of the business, gave examples of succesful interventions - Barking - a 20% rise in patronage; Chorlton a 23% rise; Leeds saw a 33% increase in numbers of cyclists; Mansfield £6.50 return for every pound spent; South East Hampshire - £6.94 for every pound spent.

At the end, it uses the phrase ‘a shining example’ to describe one particular scheme - the Greater Bristol Bus Network’.

I spoke to officers at Bristol City Council - who told me that 60% of the bus lanes in the city are already peak hour only. They also told me that they assess the lanes in terms of their impact, and have, on occasion, removed them.

It seems to me that there is an important piece of work this council could do to do with buses. An important piece of policy development would be to work out how to double the number of bus passengers, and then double it again. And within that, we should work out how we best design our bus infrastructure to achieve this. Work with the bus companies to come up with a bus plan.

But this motion does none of that. It is a crude piece of electioneering, and I urge council to consign it to the dustbin of history tonight.