Monday, 29 September 2008

Car park is "evil" - Ferguson

I have to admit that sometimes George Ferguson hits the nail on the head. So it is in his latest By George column in the Evening Post. Talking about the new Carboot Circus development Ferguson refers to the giant 2,600 space car park as "the necessary evil" to make the shopping centre work.

I'd have hesitated to go so far as calling a mass of steel and concrete "evil" myself, but then I'm not a famous architect. So thanks to George for reminding us what it's all about. Forget about Park & Ride, buses, walking and cycling - it's all about the 7-days-a-week influx of thousands of cars and having a really flash place to park them all.

2,600 is a hell of a lot of parking spaces (over 10 times what George manages to cram into his Chocolate Factory development). Even so my own casual observations suggest that for every car parked at some expense in the state-of-the-art multistorey car park there will be another parked for free in the streets of St Jude's and St Paul's. Residents of River Street are particularly hard hit, having the monstrous car park looming over them (below) and all the extra traffic noise and pollution blighting their lives, but also finding that they and their visitors will be lucky to find a place to park within walking distance.

Similarly cyclists find that places to park and securely lock their bicycles are few and far between at Carboot Circus. It seems that since they won't be able to carry as much useless, overpriced tat away with them compared to motorists they are not to be made welcome at the Cathedral of Commerce. Nevertheless some appear to be visiting (perhaps taking a break from the futile search for a safe and convenient way of cycling through or around a development which has obliterated so many formerly useful cycle routes) and have had to improvise when it comes to cycle parking.


elizabeth said...

Just like the Downs - you may drive fast and dangerously across and round, but you may not bicycle carefully through.

This carboot mentality is all part of the throwaway "project" mentality which afflicts us in Bristol. don't bother with the boring old routine of daily maintenance and policing of the lovely old city we already have - let it all go to crime and vandalism, rubbish and traffic - but instead have exciting new "projects" and "put in for funding". That way you can have well paid "project officers" and many more tiers of "managers" not getting their hands dirty or coming into danger. It is a very false economy and we are getting like Liverpool.

sued said...

Elizabeth you are so right - the have nots have been effectively further marginalised by the protected and exclusive nature of the car park (enclosed bridge etc), while having to endure the environmental impact of the building - both the dust and disruption of the process and the overshadowing by the finished item. Other ruses to exclude any "chavvy" elements include the smoking ban - nowadays a habit in which the poor are over represented. Like it or not, there are loads of ordinary Bristolians who won't be shopping at the big Carboot, but will be suffering all the worst environmental effects.
Puzzling why a group like cyclists seem to be discouraged by the lack of parking in a "Cycling demonstration city". Cyclists are from a wide demographic I would have thought. But hey, Cycle city and Carboot projects won't have had any conversations at the planning stages would they? I shall be still shopping in Broadmead, using its cycle racks (assuming they will be replacing the ones removed during the repaving), with an occasional visit to Chandos Deli - a local business.

Profit of Doom said...

The economic crisis and latest news should be more than enough to worry George Ferguson, "project managers" and any building contractors planning on tendering for the chocolate factory project.

Remember Edward Ware's contractors being abandoned without being paid?