Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Cycling City - Constructive Suggestion #5

Time once again to temper my criticisms with some constructive suggestions, despite the total lack of interest exhibited by our 'Better by Bike' brethren. The officers may be averse to anything imaginative or innovative, but I haven't yet given up on the hope that one or two councillors might recognise the potential to create something of enduring value as a result of the Cycling City funding.

Constructive Suggestion #5 might be called the Colliters Greenway, a largely off-road cycle/walkway following the Colliters Brook corridor through the Ashton Gate area of south Bristol. The key to such a route achieving a decent standard of segregation from motor traffic and environmental quality is the link proposed here around the perimeter of the existing Bristol City football stadium (above), due to be redeveloped in due course.
Bristol City - Tesco
As you are all doubtless aware, the current proposal (link above) is for a new Tesco supermarket. I don't want at this stage to get into the pros and cons of that but whatever the outcome the link through the site proposed here would be very valuable. The supermarket plans show the main building to the east of the site and the bulk of the land given over to car parking - some 530 spaces I believe.

This Greenway opportunity, which has inexplicably been overlooked by the planners so far, might result in the loss of a few of those precious car parking spaces, but on the other hand it might well encourage people to walk or cycle to the store instead of driving, particularly since the Colliters Greenway route as proposed here would be flat all the way from the city centre, harbourside, and Hotwells through to Ashton Vale.

View Colliters Greenway in a larger map

So once again it's over to our elected representatives and anyone else who fancies a crack at breaking through the bureaucratic inertia of Cycling City. Do we want to seize this once-in-a-lifetime chance to secure a vital link in what could develop into one of the City's most attractive Greenways, given the right sort of political backing, or do we let the chance slip away as has happened so often in the past?


woodsy said...

...despite the total lack of interest exhibited by our 'Better by Bike' brethren

Nice to see the 'not invented here' syndrome is still alive and well and living at the Counts Louse.

Chris Hutt said...

But there's a tiny chink of light. John Roy (a senior officer in BCC) has started following me on Twitter! At least we may be moving beyond the "first they ignore you" stage.

Jon Rogers said...

Some of us are trying to mainstream twitter at Counts Louse.

Chris, you have been described as the "best cycle route planner the council never had".

Is that true?


tony said...

I do hope you keep up the suggestions, Chris. I'm a new returnee to cycling in Bristol, and I do find the lack of facilities very depressing compared with those elsewhere in Europe. I'm writing this from Gothenburg in Sweden, where not all is perfect but at least the planners always seem to consider cyclists needs. The city has just installed a central free air pump as part of its efforts to promote cycling.

It's good to see Jon taking an interest, because most officers just won't bother with things they don't think will interest the councillors.

Anonymous said...


Can you let me have more info on the Colliters Greenway proposal. Some of the route would go through Bedminster and I'm keen to try and improve green space and access to/from Ashton Vale


Mark Bradshaw

Chris Hutt said...

Mark, you should be able to use the map displayed and navigate to see how the route continues. I'll modify the post shortly to allow the main map to be accessed more easily, but let me know if you still have a problem. You can click on lines and markers to bring up comment boxes.

To some extent the Colliters Greenway idea ties in with the Ashton Vale BRT/cycleway proposals but of course I'd like to see it acknowledged as a worthwhile route in its own right, worthy of independent progression.

At this stage it's important to safeguard the link around the western perimeter of the stadium site with an adequately wide reservation before those plans get set in stone. Judging from the plans published by Tesco/BCFC it will only require minor modifications and the loss of perhaps 10 or so parking spaces to accommodate what could be an attractive linear park.

The Greenway alignment closely follows Colliters Brook, even where the brook is culverted, and is intended to make the most of what is left of such natural features of Bristol's topography.

Chris Hutt said...


"Chris, you have been described as the "best cycle route planner the council never had"."

That sounds like John Grimshaw and his usual OTT flattery. I'll leave it to others to judge, but the important thing is to recognise the opportunities as they arise, such as the link through the stadium, and make sure they are secured for future exploitation through the planning process. Once planning permission is granted the chance is lost for a generation.

Docsavage said...

Chris, it makes me smile that all your suggestions have been entirely valid and the responses (or just mutters appeasement?)from the council folk who respond just underlines that actually they don't even bother thinking about this stuff on a daily basis.Thats a damning indictment on the planners and managers who are happy lapping up the CC fnds.

BTW Jon Rogers, having opened the 'new' St Werburghs path last week, can you now take action to sort out the parking abuses and effects on cycle access right down Mina Road, otherwise we'll have another 500 yards or irrelevant tarmac.

Docsavage said...

sorry for the typo's, attack of the sausage fingers!!

Gary Hopkins said...

Can I please appeal to all those interested in positive progress to keep the ideas flowing in Jon's direction.
We deal as Cllrs. in BCC with a culture that has been resistant to progress and inovation for many years.
We are starting to make progress but will not succeed on everything overnight and on a lot of the things that we are making progress on visable public progress will take time.
We are happy with challenge which sometimes shows as frustration.
This is far better than apathy or resignation.

Bigwok said...

Another Good Idea and timely too. I'm think the Ashton Park urban extension contains several public rights of way, one of which runs along the Colliters Brook up through Hanging Hill wood to the A38. This would make a better greeway connection to the chocolate path and allow more space for the potential BRT/railway interchange at Ashton Gate. Win win so to speak!

For cycling city I would like to see a bit more balance between individual schemes, contraflows etc and an overall strategy. I'm not saying I want to see resources unneccessarily wasted on a long term plan, but would be very keen to see the concept of a strategic greenway network taken forward and promoted. I think this is a long term benefit and will encourage more people to become interested in cycling for work and leisure

Alot of it exists already, and many of your ideas Chris seem to provide the essential links to create a more seamless network, e.g. Ashton Avenue railway cutting and River Trym to Blaise

Main routes could include:
Pill Path
Portway/River Trym Trail to Blaise
Northern Way
Frome Valley
Bristol to Bath railway Path
Avon Valley
St Philips Greenway/Whitchurch Railway Path
Malago Greenway
Collitors Brook
Festival Way

The Harbour provides a decent link to several of these routes and the provision a city centre triangle of routes:

1) Temple Meads to Harbourside via Portwall lane/queen square
2) Temple Meads to Broadmead via Temple quay waterfront/castlepark pontoon
3) Broadmead to Harbourside/Centre via castle park, queen square, and or
4) Broadmead to Harbourside via Nelson Street Centre North when/if its redeveloped for public space/transport interchange only.

All it really needs are good paths/signage and safe crossings. Once its in place they can just build on this over time.

Some potential greenway links that I also think are worth exploring:

Linking the Malago to the City centre: Victoria Park to Temple Meads via the Banana bridge and or Dalby Avenue/St John Road and a bridge to Wapping Road

A route along the Frome through snuff mills oldbury court linking the ring road path to Eastville Park. I think this mainly exists and just needs formalising/completing

A link to Knowle off the Malago Greenway. Hills are always going to be a problem getting to Knowle but I suggest a route starting from Parson street/Novers Hill heading East linking to Clonmel Road/Caravan Walk then eastward again to Wedmore Vale and finally coming out at Andover road and then along Broadwalk to to Redcatch park/Broadwalk shops. I need to try and cycle this route but I think it might be able to run along the contours to allow an acceptable gradient.

Nightingale Valley/Bris Brook/Victory Park. Link from Shortwood/Bris P+R to Avon Valley route and or to NCR3 at Callington Road. Partially on street with some Greenway. Main problem is the railway line/hills through to St Annes Wood from Nightingale Valley, But something like the boardwalk at centre park at longleat would be neat if people know what I mean.