Monday, 11 May 2009

Prince Street Bridge - Changes Afoot

The physical features to enforce the traffic restrictions on Prince street Bridge appear to be changing. The ugly kerbing has been removed and replaced with traffic cones, although those are surely a temporary feature until something more permanent is installed. My guess is that bollards will be installed instead which will allow cyclists to percolate through the closures instead of being funnelled into narrow, sub-standard gaps by the footway.

This is progress of a sort, although one has to ask why this wasn't done in the first place. Indeed on the approach from the Arnolfini side there is no need for any physical restrictions at all since there is no reason why motor vehicles should attempt to cross on the 'wrong' carriageway. It is only the southern, Wapping Road approach where any deflection is required in the first place.

The removal of the kerbs will particularly benefit cyclists travelling south from Prince Street who formerly had difficulty diverting from the cycle lane across to the narrow cycle gap when they found the lights changing to red against them (which they often do due to the lights being set to favour car movements). Now they should be able to switch across with relative ease.

The question remains whether the Council will contemplate a total closure to motor traffic as requested by many cycling interests and others to deliver a significant overall benefit to cyclists as befits the funding from the Cycling City budget. However we now know that they intend to run BRT bendy-buses over Prince Street Bridge on the half currently open to motor traffic, controlled by traffic signals in the same way as at present.

We must assume that they will want to maintain the current arrangements for motor traffic in order to keep open the option of using the same arrangement for BRT. If they trialled a complete closure and it was popular and successful, leading to its adoption on a permanent basis, there may well be significant opposition to a subsequent degradation of the environmental improvement arising from the introduction of BRT bendy-buses.

So we have a situation where the demands of BRT are denying cyclists and pedestrians the sort of environmental improvements that they need and deserve if we are serious about encouraging the only truly green modes of transport.

Lest we forget - those daft kerbs


oliver said...


I think the kerbs were removed for yesterday's 10k run. The runners used both sides of the bridge and there would have been some nasty trips if the barriers were still there.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them back in place today.

Chris Hutt said...

Thanks for that Oliver. Now I think about it you're probably right. And there was I thinking that the Cycling City team had finally started doing something sensible. How silly of me.

Jon Rogers said...

Hi Chris and Oliver

I have had the following response from officers, "The kerbs were taken out for the 10k run on Sunday to provide for easier access for runners across the bridge and have been reinstated today.

"Removal will also be required for the half marathon in September. If the trial is deemed successful then a permanent scheme will obviously accommodate these events."

Have a good week all!


Chris Hutt said...

Jon, what a pity the opportunity isn't being taken to improve the layout. At the very least the kerbs on the north side could be left out. They are completely unnecessary and cause the most difficulties for cyclists trying to switch to the car-free side.

Docsavage said...

presumably the costs of doing this work won't be taken from the Cycling City budget?

If this 'removable' feature was something that needed factoring in, cementing in kerbs then taking them up again seems rather stupid. Surely removable bollards makes more sense?

Clare said...

Walked across this morning - the kerbs are going back in as promised - and the workmen parked their van right at the end of the narrow section almost completely blocking it to cyclists)

Chrisrhayes said...

Workvan: the temporary funnel pulled cyclists to the left, to be confronted by a work van. Great. brake-e-e.

And now again the fact that cyclists going both ways are entering/exiting the bridge with only a width of what is it - 1metre or less, combined with pedestrians who use that space too, is a recipe for disaster.

The worst traffic design I think I've ever seen.