Ashton Avenue Bridge is delightful, peaceful, and traffic-free and well used for walking, cycling and running Ashton Vale Fields - a well-known local flood plain Colliter's Brook - an unspoilt, little known beauty spot about to be destroyed by running a busy busway through it Buses between the Avon new cut and Cumberland Road Buses crossing Princes Street Bridge at the rate of ONE A MINUTE! Buses passing on harbourside as frequently as every minute and a half

BRT2 financial and planning problems balloon

 

West of England Partnership continues to struggle with BRT2 and the scheme programme continues to slip and costs increase. According to public records Bristol's contribution rose from risen from £5.6m in 2011 to £13m in mid 2014, before works even begin. However, what was not revealed to councillors or the public is a further £9m increase in cost following the contract tender process in the summer (the full 'confidential' report on this can be viewed in the 'Read the latest' section) . Many people are commenting in social media that they find this concealment to be scandalous. Bristol now faces a bill of £20m-an increase of around 350%. The secret report makes clear that officers fear a potential legal challenge.

This cover up was exposed on 14 October by Bristol247-read the full article here http://www.bristol247.co.uk/channel/news-comment/daily/transport/secret-... .

West of England Partnership is the unelected body that is promoting BRT2. See the news item http://stopbrt2.org.uk/metrobus-brt-costs-continue-soar

According to a report to its Transport Board on 4 July, these are their top 3 risks:
1. Construction changes arising from additional design work on Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge owing to unforeseen defects / circumstances
2. Delay in securing agreements and possessions with Network Rail for bridge over
Portishead Railway.
3. Potential increase in utility diversions costs

BRT3 (Metrobus Hengrove-North Bristol Fringe) creates problems for Bedminster Parade and is hugely destructive of Stapleton allotments. BRT overall has massive implications for green spaces (see map below). You can comment at http://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDeta...

Information about the implications for high quality growing land at Stapleton, can be found at https://bluefingerfood.wordpress.com/

 

Statement by StopBRT2 in response to Bristol Council Planning Committee meeting to give consent to BRT2 (Metrobus Cumberland Road option) Weds 19 March

The Central Area Planning Committee granted planning consent for BRT2 Cumberland Road option on 19 March when 5 of the 8 committee members voted in favour of it. We consider that the dice was completely loaded in favour of this decision and this view is supported by our critique of the Committee report below. We sent this to all  councillors but only one confirmed that they had read it. StopBRT2 did not attend the meeting due to our disillusionment with the way that the council has handled this project, and and its engagement with local people, throughout. We consider that there continue to be huge risks and little benefit from BRT2.

Critique of 19 March BRT2 committee report-summary and conclusions section

Statement from committee report

Our response

The AVTM MetroBus route is one of three public transport schemes aimed at delivering a rapid public transport system across the city and the sub-region. Together with the NFHP MetroBus and SBL, these three schemes form a significant part of the approved Joint Local Transport Plan 2007 agreed by the West of England Authorities.

 

South Bristol Link is not a public transport scheme and it is not truthful to keep claiming that it is. Any limited bus services using the road will need heavy subsidy due to the low patronage numbers predicted by BCC's consultants. As highlighted by Bus User groups this week, it is the 'bread and butter' bus network that needs attention, not 903 service which already operates quite well (as stated by some users in their objections). See our video at Hotwell Road am peak https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNCaTQqcUw8

The Transport Assessment modelling represents a robust basis upon which to forecast future patterns of movement in the area. These forecasts show a reduction in movements along the proposed route with traffic being displaced to the surrounding network, thereby enabling a frequent and reliable public transport by virtue of it bypassing existing congested routes to access the city centre.

 

This modelling cannot be trusted-it is smoke and mirrors and only the 'experts' understand what data and assumptions lie behind it. The model predicts large user benefits but many bus users have objected because of the disbenefits that they will face. Isn't is better to believe the real world rather that the fictional world of transport modelling? Senior transport planners are now challenging DfT rules on appraisal-particularly the way in which major investments decisions are based on small time savings over a 50 year period (when anything could happen). Further, if traffic is being 'displaced' to the surrounding network it will cause even greater problems to the 'bread and butter' bus network referred to above.

 

The 2006 Atkins traffic model along with Government forecasts of traffic growth being used to justify BRT2 (see leaflet- traffic growth for Cumberland Road of 15% 2006 to 2016) is directly contradicted by Department for Transport annual traffic counts 2000 to 2012 which show 2012 traffic volumes remain below 2000 levels. Traffic growth on  Bristol's main roads stopped well before the 2008 recession.

Improvements to the pedestrian and cyclist accessibility in the vicinity of the revised AVTM route would, along with the proposals for bus improvements ensure that the proposed corridor along which the AVTM MetroBus travels will provide high quality non-car modes of travel in line with policy requirements.

 

This statement ignores the following detrimental effects:

·         The western end of Cumberland Road will start to resemble a series of motorway slip roads-in total four separate roads running in parallel-overall width 35-40m! Cyclists and pedestrians will be in conflict with buses at both ends of Ashton Ave Bridge

·         The heavily used cycle and pedestrian crossing at Avon Crescent is to be removed

·         The Cumberland Road crossing at Gaol Ferry Bridge will now be offset from the bridge, adding to pedestrian and cycling congestion in this area

·         At Bathurst Basin bridge, pedestrians will now have two roads to cross-no zebras are being proposed

·         The bus gate system doesn't work in Bristol (see the existing ones at Redcliffe Way and Lewins Mead which often seem to hold up buses) but create real problems for cyclists in terms of lane positioning

·         Much of the provision is shared use footway-hardly high quality

 

There will be no significant change in journey times and passenger numbers between the original AVTM scheme and the revised AVTM route with the proposed revised scheme providing an opportunity to deliver public transport linkage to generate sufficient modal choice, compatible with the City Council‟s strategic aims for high quality public transport routes and facilities in this area.

 

The report to Cabinet on 17 June contained figures that showed that passenger numbers are substantially lower on this option. These were not presented in a way which allowed clear like by like comparisons and so we have pulled them together in a way that does this job see http://stopbrt2.org.uk/buried-data-shows-cumberland-road-option-generate...

 

This shows only 50 extra passengers in the am peak hour over the do nothing minimum option in 2016

Public reaction to the scheme is split. Although there have been a high number of objections to the scheme, these are primarily from members of the public linked to the view that further improvements should be made at Avon Crescent. The views of organisations are more balanced between support and objection. Additional objections include views that the transport objectives are not achievable or

they are flawed, as well as objections regarding landscape, noise and air quality. Representations of support received relate to the need to deliver access improvements, reduce traffic congestion within

the city centre and provide better walking and cycle links across the city

 

We already know that the views of members of the public carry no weight with the council. Around 160 people wrote to object to the Cumberland Road option to the 17 June 2013 Cabinet meeting but these were barely referred to at the meeting. A further approx 250 written objections have been received covering a wide range of issues and many of these are not specifically related to Avon Crescent as the committee report implies. The August 2013 'consultation' on this route option (clashing with summer holidays) did not give the public the option to support or object and it is clear from this that the council wishes to suppress public opinion. To try to pretend that public reaction is 'split' is a complete misrepresentation of the reality.

Loss of on-street parking provision to facilitate on road bus priority will deter commuter parking, assist in reducing private car dependency and contribute to the delivery of a reliable public transport service.

 

Since when has the council had a policy of actively removing on street parking to deter commuter parking? This is the tail wagging the dog and is quite different to the RPZ approach.

Where necessary designs are sensitive to designated heritage assets, preserving

and enhancing the character and appearance of parts of the conservation areas, and protecting the setting of listed buildings and non designated heritage assets.

 

The western end of Cumberland Road will start to resemble a series of motorway slip roads-in total four separate roads running in parallel-overall width 35-40m! How is this compatible with heritage?

 

Cumberland Road will be littered with traffic engineering paraphernalia; views to the New Cut areas will be blocked off; God's Garden will be trashed; mature treed removed-need we go on?

In terms of flood risk, the proposed measures will improve the standard of flood defence and although its effectiveness will reduce as a result of sea level change over the life of the development (60 years), the defence measures will remain an improvement when compared against the existing probability.

 

This is a complete fig-leaf. The wall in required as vehicle restraint measure to stop buses going over the side of the Cut. But shouldn't Bristol be developing its own flood defence programme rather than relying on crumbs from the BRT2 table?

 

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Our most recent move was to issue a statement to full Council, to make a clear marker in the sand and to warn of elected representatives of the huge BRT2 risks ahead, see StopBRT2 statement issued to Bristol City full council meeting article in the news section to the right.

In January, the council submitted a planning application to give itself planning consent for the Cumberland Road option for BRT2. Approximately 250 written objections were submitted. Theses are in addition to the 160 objections submitted when the Cabinet adopted this option. We highlighted a range range of issues in out objection, including the following points.

  • A 4m wide trench will be dug along Cumberland Road as part of the works to build a 1.5m wall between Cumberland Road and the railway line. Several thousand tonnes of concrete to be used. This wall will block views towards the Avon New Cut. Bristol should have its own flood defence plan and not be dependent on BRT2's vehicle restraint wall, which is being built to prevent buses toppling onto the railway
  • The western end of Cumberland Road will start to resemble a series of motorway slip roads-in total four separate roads running in parallel-overall width 35-40m!
  • The Cumberland Road crossing at Gaol Ferry Bridge will now be offset from the bridge, adding to pedestrian and cycling congestion in this area
  • Trees likely to be lost on Commercial Road
  • Green areas converted to tarmac
  • A 'bus gate' will be installed on Cumberland Road. Where these exist on other Bristol roads, they seem to be so unsuccessful that bus drivers are seen driving into the main traffic flow!
  • The coach parking is to be removed. The planning applications plans simply says that an alternative location will be found by the council, which is another hidden cost of the scheme
  • At Bathurst Basin bridge, pedestrians will now have two roads to cross-no zebras are being proposed

The Council have published a colour brochure with visualisations showing the full ugliness of some of the BRT2 'features' here http://travelwest.info/sites/default/files/documents/BD5054%20-%20AVTM%2.... There are copies in Bedminster library. The brochure fails to note the points set out in the above and says nothing about Butterfly Junction. It also claims that BRT2 will stem projected traffic growth of 15% on Cumberland Road (doubtful!), although the Planning Inspector said that the project is unlikely to have a significant effect on congestion.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Recent background

In late June the Mayor adopted the  Cumberland Road option (see the map below) and this was supported by most of his Cabinet. The financial, transport modelling issues and environmental concerns raised by us were largely ignored, as were the large number of written statements (which weren't available at the meeting).

The decision was made without any meaningful public consultation. A very limited 'consultation' took place after the decision during the summer holidays but people may well have missed the point of this as the name has been changed from BRT2 to Metrobus. Also, it was not possible to say in that so say 'consultation' whether you supported or opposed the scheme. The result of the consultation has yet to be published.

The Secretary of State has provided the Council/West of England Partnership the powers that they need to build the original Ashton Park and Ride to Prince Street route. Sections along the heritage railway, in the harbour area and across Prince Street, have been dropped. The Council therefore intend to grant themselves planning consent for the sections not covered by these powers (i.e. Avon Crescent to Redcliffe Way).

Key points in our campaign:

  • The £50m plus scheme results in only 50 extra passengers in the peak am. Any impact on congestion will not be noticeable (with only 0.01% 'modal shift')
  • The 80% share of cost, over any government grant, is picked up by Bristol: this is unfair. This applies to cost overrun. The scheme cost went up by 6% in one year. This is likely to apply to subsidies for the bus service
  • This is not a new service, merely re-routed services
  • It has negative impacts on valuable open spaces and on walking and cycling
  • The promoters' analysis is based on flawed surveys and analysis
  • The short stop-start guideway is laughable

These and other concerns are covered in earlier news items to the right.

 

22 reasons why Hotwell Road is the intelligent choice

There are 22 good reasons for opting for Hotwell Road rather than Cumberland Road - see the map below:

 

Powered by Drupal
findoutmore