Monday 16 February 2009


This web site likes to be shallow and entertaining: focus on irony over insight.

But sometimes we have crossover posts, and today is one, based on information discovered by Chris Hutt.

The Chocolate Factory development includes money to traffic calm the railway path, and the speeding bicycles

That's right, not satisifed with turning swathes of the greenery that constitutes the parkland of the path, they now want to slow down the bicycles going past. Presumably that's their workaround for the problem that has been noted in all public consultations: having a row of staircases accessing the path is a stupid idea. Rather than fix the idea -access via a shared route, the architects want to retain the staircases, and then somehow traffic calm the cyclists.

Because there is no way to safely build cycle houses alongside a bicycle and pedestrian route, without doing something about all those pesky bicycles.

This makes a complete mockery of the cycle housing. Everyone who saw the plans thought the steps were two things: an attempt to enclose the greenery, and a stupid idea. This new plan is even more stupid, and an attempt to take over the path itself.

It's also another form of gentrification. That's always the problem. Take a run down area, turn the nice-but-abandoned factories, dockland housing, empty greenery into nice houses for nice people, and they start wanting to change details of the area. Some things are for the better -its nice to have pubs where you can survive a night without having to deal with two knife fights and a glassing. But some things are for the worse. That pub stops being your convenient place to buy your week's worth of cooking-ganja; it starts to be sit-down-meal gastropub. It stops letting you in.

Trying to traffic calm the bristol-bath railway path is an example of this. The designers loved the theory of an urban walking/biking path through greenery, but didn't like the details: the greenery made for good plots of building land, and as for the biking, well, its' too fast for people trying to live alongside the path. Presumably next the walking will become an issue, with the residents reporting suspicious looking people walking up and down the path. For resident's safety they will ban walkers and try and run a bus along it instead.


WestfieldWanderer said...


Is there no end to the utter incompetence of the ruling clique?

Or are there other forces at work, here?

Chris Hutt said...

"Or are there other forces at work, here?"

In this case at least the underlying story has been quite extensively investigated by various Bristol bloggers and it turns out that there are indeed "other forces at work", sometimes in quite nefarious ways.

See Bristol Blogger and Green Bristol Blog for details.