Bridge is key battleground for Bristol’s 'cycling city' plans

By Richard Peace | Thursday, November 6, 2008 4.40pm

Plans to close part of a city centre bridge in Bristol, England, to motor traffic have stirred up stiff opposition.

The city council wants to encourage cycling and walking by banning cars from the inbound lane of the

Prince Street
swing bridge.

The closure, which will run for a trial period, is part of moves to make Bristol a cycling showcase after it was named as the country’s first ‘cyclingcity’ earlier this year and awarded £23 million.

The success of the trial will be watched closely as the outcome could influence how the money is spent, even though the scheme itself is a relatively small scale one, with a likely cost of £40,000.  

But the project has already met opposition, with Councillor Richard Eddy, leader of the authority's Conservative group, branding it "barmy". He has set up an e-petition on the city council's website opposing the move.

Councillor Terry Cook, Bristol's ‘cycling champion’, is backing the closure. He said: “As you and I know, as soon as you close a road you’re going to get objections to it and we’ve got to win those arguments. I don’t think that’s going to be done without some degree of pain.”

Bristol-based sustainable transport charity Sustrans is also in favour of the move. Policy director Peter Lipman said: "Areas such as Southville which are served by the bridge have Bristol’s highest number of walking commuters and the majority of these are using the bridge to get into the city.

"If we want to encourage even more walking and cycling we should make those journeys as attractive as possible, and the closing of one side of the bridge to motor traffic is long overdue.”

The closure should be in place by early next year.

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