Labour's transport spokesperson and former Executive Member for transport on Bristol City Council, Mark Bradshaw, has publicly criticised the Cycling City project that he was instrumental in 'winning' for Bristol just a year ago. Although the project has been widely criticised by cycling interests in Bristol, including of course this blogger, it has up till now enjoyed cross-party support from the elected members of the council.
Bradshaw's criticisms were first made public a few days ago when he commented on the Internet forum Twitter, accusing the Lib-Dems (who only took over in February this year) of "letting Cycling City role wither". This is an odd accusation to make when his Labour administration hadn't even managed to appoint a Project Manager in the 8 months that they were running the project. Poor 'interim' management was widely held to be responsible for most of the problems experienced during the first year.
Bradshaw's latest criticism, posted on Twitter on Monday, was that "Cycling City has now stalled and is in decline". This is an extraordinary comment, considering that Bradshaw forged close links with many of the senior transport and planning officers during his 22 months as Executive Member. It is quite possible that he is reflecting the private views of senior officers. Perhaps it is now recognised that Cycling City cannot achieve its over ambitious targets and Bradshaw sees this as the chance to distance himself.
Another surprising Bradshaw Cycling City comment of the last few days is his assertion that the "opportunity for radical new thinking to achieve big shift being missed". Given the utterly uninspiring approach taken by Cycling City under Bradshaw's watch one can only wonder what "radical new thinking" he has in mind. Twitter's post limit of 140 characters doesn't allow for the exposition of any detail - perhaps why some politicians find it a comfortable medium.