Saturday 21 May 2011

Bristol's Balloon Problem

Sometimes the congestion in the city is so bad that people take to the air, but if you try that in a helicopter you soon discover that not only is the cost of fuel excessive, everyone on the ground assumes that there's trouble on the ground and comes out watch. You could create a riot just by hovering over Bedminster on a Saturday night.

What else then? Obviously: balloons.

But here there's still heating bills to run up, and the fact they tend to only go west to east.

This is why inbound commuters from the west of the city use them in the mornings -maybe even to Bath- but other mechanisms are needed to get home. We propose allowing ballonists to get towed by the trains from Bath to Bristol, but we think some of the bridges may cause problems. Experiments are required.

Incidentally, this post-RPZ photo of Cotham Road shows some consequences of the actions. The bus- only parking area is now only used by buses; school-run parents have many free parking spaces, and, interestingly, bike/car conflict is reduces, as now the bicycles can get to one side of the road. Admittedly, there are a couple of build outs and the odd car for them to swerve round, but it is actually easier to drive along -at least until you get to Cotham Brow. For everyone but the commuters who wanted to park here, it's better.

Which causes us to worry about these Clifton proposals to add more parking "For traffic calming". We don't want calmed traffic. We want to drive round fast without bicycles in our way. Yes, we'd like more parking, but it shouldn't be at the expense of slowing us down, or providing short-stay parking areas marked in yellow lines.

We'll be looking at "the Clifton proposals" more next week.

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