Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Better cycling for Bedminster

Today submitted this statement of strong support for the Bristol Cycling Campaign measures described below**, to improve cycling in Bedminster (West Street;  Clanage Rd Roundabout and Ashton Park School Link) as well as general support for their councillor manifesto. You can sign their petition here and ask election candidates where they stand here.

Just a quick email to say how strongly I support all that you are currently calling for to enhance cycling in Bedminster. If elected I will work hard to get support and action on these as well as working on developing further ideas and all sustainable modes of transport.

**This is the key Space for Cycling change needed in this area (don't forget all the smaller changes!):

1. West Street, Bedminster. As well as being a neighbourhood centre and destination, this is the most convenient route from the south west towards the centre. It's a very hostile environment at the moment that deters all but the most determined cyclists. The existing painted cycle lanes, where they exist, are constantly blocked making them worse than useless. It's time for the whole carriageway to be properly designed to reflect the multiple uses of this High Street with protected cycleway separated from bus stops and loading/short stay parking bays. Even though the street appears narrow by taking a whole carriageway approach the situation can be improved for all.

2. Clanage Road Roundabout and Ashton Park School Link. Connecting through from Greville Smyth Park to Ashton Park bottom entrance alongside A370. In particular addressing Clanage Road roundabout and improving links to the Festival Way. This would be one of the first properly designed roundabouts that work for everyone ('Dutch style).
Manifesto for Council Candidates
·         Cycling is good for Bristol - and more cycling is better
·         8 in 10 people want Bristol to be better for cycling
·         Cycling in Bristol means sharing space with intimidating motor traffic, or with pedestrians. No-one is happy
·         Two thirds of people consider cycling too risky for them
·         Bristol has a target to achieve 20% cycling by 2020 with profound benefits to wellbeing, congestion, environment and prosperity
·         The only proven way to deliver this is to provide a continuous and dedicated cycling network, to Triple A standards - for All Ages and Abilities.
Our councillors must work to help create an environment whereby it is easier for us to make choices that are good for us, good for our neighbourhood, and good for our city. We are calling on candidates and councillors to support Space for Cycling, for the benefit of everyone.
Questions for Candidates on specific priorities
1.    Will you work to make your ward and neighbourhood a better place to cycle and walk, so that people can travel safely to work, to school, to shop, to play, and to green spaces? Yes
2.    Will you do all you can to deliver the specific improvement in your ward identified at
General Questions for Candidates
1.    Will you support and help produce a good transport plan for your ward and neighbourhood which puts people first, and particularly the young, the old and the disadvantaged? Streets for All in residential areas means low speeds, continuous pavements across side streets, no rat running or through traffic, and all streets open for cycling, including one-way contraflows. Yes
2.    Will you press for Space for Cycling in your ward generally? This means protected space on high volume and 30mph roads and at busy junctions. It means accepting no less than 'Triple A' standards of design, construction & maintenance, for All Ages and Abilities. It means having safe routes to school, to work, to shops, and to green spaces. Yes
3.    Will you work towards a Living Heart for your neighbourhood? This means public spaces that are not dominated by through motor traffic, that have plenty of cycle parking and where people are the priority, not traffic. Yes

4.    Do you recognise that some changes will be controversial and will you stand up for those with most to gain but whose voices are often not heard - the young, the old and the disadvantaged?  Yes

Friday, 18 March 2016

14 reasons to vote Green

Reasons to even further increase the number of Green councillors this May eg by voting Green in Bedminster and elsewhere, as indicated by one measure of their work for Bristol's people - At the final Full Council of the civic year, the 14 strong Green councillor group has submitted motions on these crucial issues:
  • Introduce a Low Emissions Zone (with a budget and timescale) to tackle air pollution
  • Safer routes to schools
  • Improving transport to Ashton Gate, including a new rail station
  • Strategic reassessment of our transport and highways strategy
  • Reducing single use plastics in Bristol City Council
  • Ringfence the Independent Living Fund
  • Saving the Faithspace community building
  • Put Bristol City Centre first, ahead of out-of-town Cribbs Causeway
  • Prioritising homes at social rent in Bristol
  • Introduce proportional representation for local elections
  • Promote Passivhaus housing on council-owned land
  • A glyphosate (pesticide)-free city in 18 months
  • Sign the Local Authorities Mental Health Challenge
  • The UK should remain in the EU
  • Establishing Bristol as a TTIP free zone

This is in addition to motions Green councillors submitted in the rest of the civic year on:
  • Creating a festivals team at Bristol City Council
  • South Bristol Reuse & Recycling Centre
  • Tackle homelessness by using empty buildings
  • Reject plans for dirty power stations in residential areas
  • Lessening the damage of the Trade Union Bill
  • Blue badge disabled parking spaces
  • Supporting the introduction of a new fleet of electric vehicles
  • Welcoming refugees to Bristol
  • Assessing the cumulative impact of the cuts on vulnerable citizens
  • Defending the Human Rights Act

Green councillors also called in the Mayor's decision to introduce Digital Advertising in Bristol  - and had their "Golden Motion" PASSED on the Avon Pension Fund divesting from fossil fuels! 
(Thanks for providing this list Ashley Cllr Rob Telford, who is one of the Green candidates for the newly created Central Ward this May, along with Ani Stafford-Townend).

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Green Party newsletter for Bedminster, Ashton and Ashton Vale, No. 1, 2016

Greenminster, the Green Party newsletter for Bedminster, Ashton and Ashton Vale is now being delivered by volunteers throughout the area. In this first edition of 2016: biographies and priorities of the local election candidates for May 2016; the figures showing that Greens were very close to winning in Bedminster last year and can win this year; the need for a clean air zone; a transport plan for the city; fighting for tenants rights; the need for truly affordable housing for all.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Give us some fresh air

This week my Bedminster campaigning has focussed a lot on air pollution. I've gathered and presented the current  data on it from the Parson Street School pollution monitoring station.

See the comparison with the EU (and World Health Organisation) pollution limit in the graphs. Basically the annual average in Bedminster is double what it should be compared with current health standards.

We all need fresh air and our politics needs a breath of fresh air. Government figures show that 30,000 people die prematurely because of air pollution, including 200 Bristolians, each and every year. Locally the main cause is our heavy road traffic. It's a major public health issue - especially for children and those with existing health problems. I have been campaigning on it for decades (see the Bristol Post news clip from 26 years ago in 1989 at the bottom of this blog entry; also see here where I co-campaigned with Deb Joffe in 2015). 

We now have a 14 strong Green city councillor group who proposed a research and implementation plan for a Clean Air Zone in Bristol this February, funded by taking the already available surplus money raised from parking - but Tory and Labour councillors voted against it. Electing more Green councillors will greatly help to make the council give this long-standing health problem the attention it deserves.
See my recent article on this topic on Bristol 247 here. I've expanded on the wider and more technical aspects of air pollution here on the Sustainable Cities Collective website. The graph (left) shows how air pollution builds up in the Bedminster air and then stays at a high level, mainly due to heavy road traffic. 
In April last year the Supreme Court decided against the government and ruled that an immediate plan was needed as the UK consistently breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution (NO2; see graphs above showing the daily and annual air pollution trend in Bedminster now). Environmental law firm Client Earth took the case to court, now say that government plans are inadequate - and may take them back to court  if current policies don't improve (more here).