Wednesday, 13 May 2009

On the gentrification of Stokes Croft

Stokes Croft is in transition.

The PRSC are doing their best, but various other interests are at work. The Council have produced Planning Guidance, and the big boys have moved in. In the rush to 'improve' the area there will be many casualties...

This photo is of The Junction, sadly unmentioned as of cultural importance by the Council in their document, but a vital and lively venue. After a long struggle to survive it's about to close, which will be a great loss to the area, and to Bristol. Anyone got a slush fund for a good cause?

(Aside: For anyone reading this who hasn't been there, it has big black doors and inside it can be very loud. They're the sort of doors that most people would never push open without about 20 mates in tow. The patrons can appear rather intimidating, so it's not really on the tourist agenda. However, push the door, pay a couple quid for a gig and it's one of the most friendly of places you can visit. Anyone is accepted, respected and welcomed - even me. The music is great.)

But what has this to do with traffic?

Well, there have been recent 'improvements' to the Jamaica Street and City Road junctions.

Do they actually make things better? As a law-abiding citizen I can't now get to Brunswick Square from Stokes Croft unless I take a much longer route (2 wheels or 4). A minor inconvenience, perhaps, but a larger carbon footprint (with 4 wheels) or larger thighs (with 2 wheels). I can probably live with this in the name of 'Health and Safety', though.

The real downside, however, is the loss of The Junction. Could it be that by removing the railings - which were the only secure cycle parking in the area - and not replacing them with even one Sheffield stand as part of the 'junction improvement', Bristol's Traffic Engineers are putting The Junction out of business?

As all Traders Associations will tell you: No parking = no trade.

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