BRT2 financial and planning problems balloon
Please support the petition to save Bedminster footway from Metrobus/BRT http://chn.ge/12gUNZx
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
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/
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.
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: