Monday 31 January 2011

Fun in the Forest

We're a bit concerned about government plans to privatise the forests. This is not because we have taken up mountain biking -even though we appreciate such activities do not get in our way, we fear that they encourage the riders to get fit during the week by commuting.

We're slightly worried that even our papers, like the Daily Telegraph, are expressing doubts. But frankly we don't care that much about dog walking, horse riding or other daytime leisure activities.
Some people may think we would be in favour of cutting down the trees, putting in more shopping malls, new suburbs. Motorways. But remember, we are part of a big society that uses those forests for night time activities too.

Who hasn't nipped up the M4, over the old bridge and up to the Forest of Dean, pulled in one of the laybys and had an intimate encounter with a complete stranger from time to time? It doesn't matter about your sexual preferences, it's classless: MP, priest, van driver, housewife, TV presenter of football or car shows -it's all the same in the dark. Anonymous entertainment, with only the bridge tax to stop us doing more than three or four times a week.

And with our van being a roaming retail outlet for the city's sex life's accessories, those trips can a big business for us. Selling safe sex accessories in the 'dean can be a nice little earner -some of those TV presenters have been round the block a few times, and you need all the protection we can sell you.

The proposals to sell of the country's forest to the highest bidder will interfere with small businesses all round the country. 

There's a national campaign against this organising a petition; everyone should sign. There's also a local group, Hands off our Forest, working for the Forest of Dean itself.

These people have been very active, and have this lovely quote from their conservative MP Mark Harper on Jan 3 2011:
there are not and never have been any plans to sell off the Forest of Dean to developers who would cut down the Forest to replace it with recreation parks.
This is beautiful. If they say, sell off half the forest to developers who cut it down and replace it with recreation parks, the MP was being honest. If they say, sell of the entire forest, cut it down and replace it with suburban housing estates, the MP can say they were speaking truthfully. And if if they do sell of the entire forest and have it cut down and replaced with recreation parks, provided the documentation shows the planning didn't begin until Jan 4, then again, he was telling the truth at the time.

For some reason it reminds of Bill Clinton's "technically we did not have sex" claims, or Tony Blairs' "The legal opinion was that we didn't need a second resolution". A statement which, from a legal perspective is honest, but means something entirely different at the time. We'll have to remember something similar the next time one of the team's drivers is caught in a compromising situation with a local MP up near the Forest of Dean.

This is why we not only support the Hood campaing, we propose a new slogan for the campaign " Fuck in the forest, not with the forest"

Sunday 30 January 2011

Sleeping with the enemy

We at Bristol Traffic never hesitate to drive where others may fear to tread in the pursuit of truth and justice for motorists. It is in no small part to our fearless reporting that the war on the motorist is finally being won but are always keeping a look out for any danger that the enemy will retaliate.

Which is why we were very concerned to hear about a splinter group that is being formed specifically with the aim of attacking the rights of the motorist to drive where we damn well please. Who else but the tax dodging, lycra lout, cyclists, always whinging about our hard taxed money being spent on cycling "farcilities" that they should be grateful for. It seems that they want cycling infrastructure that is as good as the Dutch model (which, incidentally, we were very disappointed to hear does not involve David Walliams's wife.)

The meeting of this splinter group was in a far away forbidding place designed to strike fear in the heart of any motorist, yet we were spurred on by the recent revelation that the police planted an informer into an environmental activist group. If they could do it then so could we and so we fuelled up the white van and headed east, braving the congestion charge and the danger that we may need to have sex with some of them (despite being confident that they were all certain to be mamils.)

Our fears were realised; not the sex part unfortunately, but the purpose and organisation of this subversive organisation. Calling themselves the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, it was a group of diverse, passionate and probably even intelligent people that are trying to take road space away from the motorist and give it to pedestrians, cyclists and communities. We were disturbed that there were so many attendees and as far as we could tell, not one of them was actually wearing lycra (apart from us trying to blend in), in fact the ringleader was wearing a suit!

It may be humble beginnings but we really fear that this group could actually make a difference with this manifesto. Whatever you do, do not encourage this behaviour or talk about the set up of their "Embassy" or before you know it there will be 20mph zones and no pavement parking for starters.

Do you really want this to happen to Bristol's gloriously car centric streets?

Jan 30: republic day

We are the only mass media outlet in Britain campaigning for Jan 30 to be celebrated as the day Britain became a republic, or at least a Commonwealth. No-one else mentions that on this day, King Charles I of England was executed.

We will celebrate it with some photos of Freemantle Square, site of one of the city's Civil War forts.

First, looking to Purdown in the distance.

Nearby a terrace of houses, their road taken from commuters, bicycles proudly placed up on the veranda's by the smug victors in this campaign to make the city friendly to their abhorrent lifestyle.
Also nearby -and this is most odd- the Union Jack of the "unionist quarter" is now flying the Scottish Flag.
A leftover from Burns Night, perhaps?
Whatever the details, the fact is that Bristol started off on Cromwell's side, the city fell and was occupied by the royalists, who eventually surrendered and tried to escape to Wales. England became a Commonwealth -one of the first states in enlightenment-era Europe to decide that royalty was something we could do without.

There's a probably lesson there, if only we could think of it.

But for now, the next person you greet today, say "Happy Republic Day!". We can start a new tradition.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Red Bull? We thought they were on our side!

A reader, "O.M.", tips us off with the breaking news that Red Bull are sponsoring a bike race up Park Street on Saturday night, Jan 29 at 19:00.

This sounds quite fun, we thought we could join in with the van. We swing past the racers, cut in and park on the uphill side of the road to do a delivery gambit, helping to get our main line of business -discreet delivery of sex toys to all parts of the city- a bit of publicity. But it will not be.

From 18:00, Park Street will be closed to traffic! 

This is so wrong. Not just because it denies Saturday night stretch-limos the opportunity to take stag parties up from the centre to whiteladies road, it gives the racers and the audience an unrealistic view of what Park Street is like without motor vehicles. Which then gives the audience an unrealistic view of what the city would be like without motor vehicles. Unrealistic, because all of us, from the parents driving their kids to school, to our white vans, discreetly delivering inflatable people everywhere from stokes croft to southville, keep the city alive. Have you ever tried to get a child to school on foot? Crossing the roads? Have you ever tried to get a matched set of official Sky TV presenter inflatable dolls (with the official presenters voices- its like having them on your own sofa) across the city on the back of a fixed wheel bike? It just doesn't work.

What galls us is, as  "O.M." points out, Red Bull were on our side. Their energy drink not only lets you stay up night drinking vodka until you have to drive home, if you only get three hours sleep a couple of cans of the stuff will wake you up and have you so buzzing that you'll be driving right behind the vehicle in front, flashing your lights, be they cyclist, commuter or even then avon and somerset police. There they are, doing the 20mph or 30 mph speed limit, and there you are, jittering so much you can barely text ahead to the office complaining that a police car doing 30 is holding you back and you'll need another five Jeremy Clarkson models as now he's the last remaining real man left on TV the fact that he looks like a run-over badger doesn't put the punters off.

Red Bull, whose side are you on? You sponsor a formula 1 team, the cars above, yet now you seem to think encouraging cycling will keep your business going. This fills us with resentment and fear

Also, and this is for the cyclists taking part:
We have given you Ninetree Hill. What more do you want?

Bike Parking Rollout

The long awaited bike parking on buildout rollout is taking place.

King Street East

This is in addition to the existing King Street area, next to the traffic warden writing a ticket.
Just off Park Street in Park Street Avenue
And on Tyndall's Road.
We await the Evening Post to discover these and complain, again.

However, we take a more relaxed view.
  1. These are all paid parking spaces that are being taken away, and who pays to park? Only losers who don't know the secret places.
  2. By not building the bike racks on the pavements, they are keeping them clear for our vans.
We're a bit miffed that the racks keep on reinforcing the myth that bicycles are welcome, despite the best efforts of our local press and conservative councillors to remind them that they are nothing, and despite the premier approaches to the city: M32, A4, A370 all going out their way to say "you'd be insane to cycle here". The fact that some do, all the way to the university, is why some students get so frustrated. There's not much we can do there though, except get together with the EP commenters and together pay for some banners to put up on the bicycle approaches to the city to say "with the money you have saved -now buy a car"

Friday 28 January 2011

North Fringe Route Update

Both cyclists who read this site will be interested to hear that the North Fringe cycle route, linking Abbey Wood with the Farm Pub, will be installed this weekend; the schedule still says "February". Here is the view from the B&Q side.
Sadly, for those cyclists, the council is still looking at selling off the land, so the greenery may not last for long.

Further up the route, the council is preparing for the event by parking vans saying "look out for cyclists" up on the pavement.

By parking directly opposite a road junction, the council van CN06CXR ensures traffic approaching Wordsworth Road will know to look out for bicycles.

Thursday 27 January 2011

A darkness over clifton

Aberdeen Road, Cotham. A one way street with the main entrance on Hampton Road, just past the car parked by the dropped-kerb build out with its hazard lights on. A bicycle locked to the road sign. We've covered this road before, mainly on the topic of school runs and parking.

Never looked at the houses much. Student houses. You can tell. The driveway converted into bicycle parking.

But this day: different. A police car with the engine on sits outside one of the houses.

This is where the current suspect in the murder of Joanna Yeates was apparently arrested.

We have nothing to add on this topic; Bristol Culture has done a better local analysis than the rest of the country's press. What we can do is show people what Canynge Road, where Joanna lived, is like. It's never had a mention here before for one simple reason: it's not interesting enough. It's a quiet road between Clifton and the Downs, most notable for providing parking for zoo visitors in summer. Otherwise, sleepy. Or it was.

Now the police stand outside one of the houses; a camera man stands across the road. One person is believed to have been murdered in the house just before Christmas, two other residents have (separately) been arrested and questioned -one of them charged. Whatever the outcome, Canynge Road will be tainted for a long time -like Cut-Throat Lane in St Werburgh's. It has gone from what was a quiet route for cyclists (it's faster to drive on the parallel road as this one is too narrow at the Clifton end), and somewhere for people to live, to a road with a dark history.

In Clifton and nearby, there's now a clear feeling of relief whenever someone who is potentially the murder is being detained by the police: that it is suddenly safer. Because Clifton is a safe part of town, and such things don't happen there, the way they do in Patchway, or down in Somerset, in Cheddar. Things that happen there don't merit national news coverage, despite the grief and suffering the relatives of those people will be going through.

We mourn them all.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

A38 update

After putting up an article on The Fringe hairdressers, we got some odd search traffic hitting us, people asking questions about the death of a hairdresser on Cheltenham Road.
We know nothing about it, except that the fringe has a sign saying "Business is now closed", and the web site gone. We hope everything is all right, that these searches don't mean what they could mean, but don't really know what's happening. Hope all is well.

To finish on a brighter note, the Prince of Wales has been repainted really nicely.

Beer is reasonable too. It's a nice tradition Bristol is gradually developing of painted pubs. Makes pub crawls more interesting. Lots of parking nearby of an evening, and there are some bicycle racks to the right of the establishment.

Monday 24 January 2011

Progress in Oregon

Oregon is usually held up as the hope of cycling in "the third world", a part of the US that has returned to bicycles. For us, the motorists, it is part of the front line of the backlash. This is why were an early supporter of the proposed bicycle tax.

That is why we are pleased to see a proposed law that not only makes it illegal to carry more than one passenger in a bicycle that is not designed for this, it will ban all bicycle transportation of children under the age of six!

This is for their own good!
  • It gets them used to driving everywhere
  • It stops their parents having a school-kid-dropoff-continue-to-work cycle run, so discourages the parents from cycling.
  • It stops them getting into riding bicycles, or even learning how to maintain them.
  • It stops their parents taking the kids on bike rides at weekends, such as this MAMIL-dad is doing over Willamette Pass, Oregon.
Such measures may seem harsh, but it is the only way to get these children and their parents to conform to what a modern society expects.

Before anyone complains that we exaggerate the problem, all these photos come from a source in Oregon. This state has a population of five million people, yet is only the same height and three times the width of Britain. There simply isn't room for bicycles and cars to co-exist in such a limited space. And if there isn't in this state, just consider how much worse things are in Scotland -with the same population, or England, with ten times as many people, or London, the place with the highest population density in the country.

This is why we are pleased to announce, along with our partners in the printed and TV media channels, our new 2011 campaign, to have bicycles banned from our city streets during peak hours and school dropoff/pickup times.

It's for the sake of the children!

Sunday 23 January 2011

AA in stokes croft

Lovely to see the AA van EU08CMD out rescuing someone whose car had broken down in the stokes croft "bike lane"

We use quotes around "bike lane" as we have never once seen a cyclist using it.
We do not understand why not, or why they are so ungrateful for all that our road tax does for them.

The Stokes Croft Bike Lane! Sponsored by the AA!

Saturday 22 January 2011

Cyclists: losers or gentry?

Our coverage of cycle-friendly hairdressers in Cheltenham Road raised a comment from a known subversive: are cyclists therefore gentry? Good point. We hadn't considered the origin of the word gentrification before now.
  1. Really important people: they drive.
  2. Poor, under funded students: they drive.
  3. Outside the inner city, people don't walk.
Cyclists are interesting. While cinema shows that any adult riding a bicycle is a loser, there is some discussion about how best to manage this conflict of images between cyclist-as-loser and cyclist-as-posh-git-with-fancy-bike. The answer is both images are true. Some have money, but not the intelligence to realise they can get a car for the amount they spend bicycles. All are losers.

That's why were horrified to see this footage from Horfield.

Within a couple of seconds, our van encountered two pedestrians and a cyclist -with one of the pedestrians walking in the road as if they had the right to. This is not Montpelier! This is a nice fast road where people park up on the pavement to let passing traffic through. Yet today, somebody walking. Here!

We had to drive up the rest of the road in shock, until the sight of all the cars and vans up on the pavement reassured us that this was a temporary event.

Friday 21 January 2011

Adventures in the scaffolding trade

Cycling down from Kingsland Road bridge, one can often see two fully laden scaffold trucks skillfully parked on double-yellow lines close to the junction with Sussex Street providing passing cyclists and drivers with an interesting and fun hazard to negotiate as they start the working day. In fact, this newly-assimilated length of, sorry..truck stop... is becoming somewhat of a mecca to the scaffolding trade often attracting various species of scaffolder to the cafe across the street. Here we can see King Scaffolding occupying their traditional spot and they are often joined by Northgate Scaffolding for a bacon butty and a cuppa. Oddly enough, they don't seem to be using the rest of the road and pavement leading up to the brow of the hill, which could provide extra parking for the rest of the fleet.
Now, the scaffolding trade is a high risk occupation and health & safety are paramount. After all, you don't want your scaffolding to collapse due to a faulty joint, maybe in high winds, or anyone to fall off it. Scaffolders have to be focused, dedicated and follow those method statements and risk assessments to the letter. But when it comes to road safety, it's Bristol, so the couldn't-give-a-damn rule applies as usual. After all, there's a cuppa waiting across the street....

Abbeywood week, a discussion

Yesterday we mentioned that one problem with parking on the abbeywood cycle paths was not just the new bollards, it was harassment from cyclists. Here, sadly, we have an example.

This is V134DYC, a lorry minding its own business, parked on one of the Abbeywood cycle/pedestrian paths. By getting almost entirely on the path it is not interfering with any passing traffic.

Yet our cyclist reporter felt that there was some need to criticise the driver, to take a photograph of them, "for the database".

Fortunately, our lorry driver sees their gambit and raises it by pointing out that they too have a camera in their lorry, and the cyclist looked pretty silly -which, coming from a professional hi-viz person, are pretty harsh words.

We aren't convinced that the driver saying that Hitler used to disappear troublemakers like our cyclist report actually wins the argument.
  1. Godwin's Law implies that whoever reverts to analogies with Germany's National Socialist government of 1934-1945 automatically loses the argument.
  2. It's not clear that that government did persecute cyclists except when their religious or political beliefs were not aligned with that of the government.
  3. It's not clear how this possibly incorrect bit of history deals with the problem that now there is nothing to stop cyclists taking videos and photographs of vehicles in their way and sticking it up online.
We look forward to better arguments in future.

Thursday 20 January 2011

Abbeywood: West Side Bollard Run

We sent our expendable cyclist up to Abbeywood again to see the other side of the MoD site/car park. Sadly, our fellow traveller, Kayla Maratty, would have been on her four week holiday, so if she's a UWE student, she wouldn't have got a chance to run this cyclist over.

Note how the cyclist swerves out of the cycle side before the first corner. After we took them into the MoD site where we got them to confess to being an enemy of the economy, we asked them about this. Apparently going round a blind corner on the wrong side of the path is stupid. Maybe, but S Gloucs has put the signs up, so follow it.

Further on, you can see the new bollards. Some now have coloured tape on, some reflectors. But it's moot. Their existence is now known and widely publicised. Nobody else is going to run into them, even in snow -unless the council moves them or adds some more -perhaps on that first corner?

Knowing of the existence of the feature, does our test subject obey the signs? Follow the approved lanes? No they don't! Instead they treat it as some kind of opportunity to go through them as if they were some kind of obstacle course, "practising singletrack manoeuvres at near-race-speed", they said, whatever that means. Such actions were wrong before the bollards went up, now that bollards are in, it should be a crime. And to think that the S Gloucs bollards actually encourage such action -that simply appals us.

Notice how we say S Gloucs bollards. We thought initially that these were MoD features, it being Ministry of Defence land and all (which is why cycle campaigner Terry Miller got detained by their site police for behaving suspiciously and taking photographs here last week). Yet as the video shows, the signs and bollards go on out of the site, right up to the A4174 Ring Road, one of the two proposed Ring Roads we actually got part of. That means it came from the council, presumably out of their cycling budget.

This is what introduces such a moral dilemma for us. It makes cyclists feel less welcome -good, and it doesn't take away any driving options -great. But is it enough? Apart from that one person who crashed into one, how many cyclists are going to give up their commute from this feature? And it stops us driving down the bike path here.

This is an ongoing topic and we will cover it more. Our experiment to see if anyone in S Gloucs is capable of reacting to reports of vehicles parked on the bike path is going well, so far, no reaction from anyone. But more research is needed.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Welcome to Bristol, Kayla Maratty!

We are pleased to welcome Bristol 24-7's correspondent, Kayla Maratty, who provides a well argued explanation of why cyclists deserve to be run over in her article "My homicidal tendencies towards cyclists".

Kayla manages to completely summarise how it is bicycles on Whiteladies Road and Blackboy hill that bring the city to a halt, as we have discussed previously. She says
"Part of me would take great pleasure in mowing them down when they choose to cycle in the middle of the road or are determined to peddle all the wayup Black Boy Hill. But obviously I would never do that; I can get by just on the thought of it to restrain my road rage."

We find driving really close behind them intimidating enough. Sadly, it is actually legal for them to cycle down the middle of a single lane road, which Whiteladies is. And when they are going over the Downs, they do need to pull to the right of the left turn only lane, so sounding your horn doesn't help.

Still, we are glad to see your fight against university tuition fees continue. Obviously this isn't an issue for you, as not only will the fee rise kick in after you have finished your course, if you can afford to drive and  park anywhere near the university, then you are clearly part of that set of students known as "well-funded", and we expect your parents to pay for all your living expenses. We look forward to your complaints about how the rollout of the RPZ is forcing you park and walk further. If you do not write such an article, we shall assume that the fact that Woodland Road and St Michael's Park now offer more short stay paid parking than ever before actually benefits you, as it makes it easier for you drive down to the university for a lecture and latte before heading home again, albeit held up by all the cyclists.

Can we take this opportunity to remind our readers that Bristol Traffic is not some satire or spoof. If it were, you'd have to conclude that the whole of the UK printed and online press is also some kind of spoof. The Daily Mail has been going on for over a hundred years now, so its time to own up to being a wind-up, if it really is.

Update 24-Jan: the original article has been pulled, the editor apologises and denounces the bullying by cyclists.

Abbeywood Bollards: they don't help motorists

Having looked at the bollards, we are not sure whether we support them. Not because they can injure cyclists, but because they prevent motor vehicle access to the bike paths. We paid for them, we should get to use them!

Here, for example, is a South Gloucester Council lorry S764THY making use of one of the Abbeywood bike paths to park their lorry somewhere while they do some work on a roundabout.

If you look at this area, the double yellow lines mean that the shared pedestrian/bike path is the only place anyone can park. Yet bollards and harassment by cyclists -more on this another day- mean that the council and tax-dodgers are, together, removing our parking options.

Experiment #2011-1: we are using this path as an experiment to see if the war on the motorist really is over in S Gloucs, by reporting vehicles here to the authorities ( ) and making sure that nothing happens. If anyone gets told off or ticketed: the war on motorists is not over.

So far, we are pleased to see that S Gloucs parking services are happy not to care about this path, with this reply twelve days after we reported the issue:
Thank you for highlighting this problem to our department, however our Civil Enforcement Officers are not able to deal with (UNNECESSARY OBSTRUCTIONS) under the current Legislation Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA04), this offence still comes under Police Officers or Police Community Support Officers who only have the powers of Enforcement for this Offence. 

I have also passed your complaint onto our street care department who are in charge of highways maintenance and asked them to investigate this issue and to please remove this vehicle from its obstructive position. 

Hope you find this information helpful and should you notice any other vehicles parked illegally with in South Gloucestershire please don’t hesitate to contact our department.
We are now continuing our experiment on new vehicles to see if S Gloucs police are on our side or not. The fact that Filton police station appears to be manned only by an answering machine bodes well.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Abbey Wood Bike/pedestrian path changes

We've sent the team to the North Fringe for a few days, to see what the fuss is about regarding Abbeywood and Bollards. In order to cover this accurately, we have had to recruit someone on a bicycle, for which we apologise. If it makes the audience feel better, they think they are being paid to be a courier for paperwork. Normally we just pay them to carry old phone books around, as it slows them down, and about once a week they have to deliver high-strength home-grown Montpelier herbs, an action which would get them put away for 20-25 years if they were caught with them, a thought which always cheers us up when we send them out.

Returning to Abbeywood, some people may recall the fuss made last year when someone cycled into a bollard that S Gloucester council stuck in. These are white bollards with a white stripe, no hi-viz markings, and on a path that is only intermittently illuminated. Well, yes, a crash was inevitable. Yet we agree with some the comments made in the Evening Post and Daily Mail -while we sympathetic to the lecturer's injuries, they have only themselves to blame for being on a bicycle.

We actually saw some of the bollards going in, but didn't think it was interesting enough to cover. Now that we see it is, we can go through the back records and find the video.

Now that the bollards are here on the eastern side of the MoD land, we are disappointed to see that it does so little to discourage cycling. Instead our courier can travel down the bike path at speed, slow down for the road, where apparently off camera someone driving a car actually gives way to the bicycle, hinting this green paint is giving some mistaken impression about rights of way to MoD staff.

Last year, this path had a proper anti-bicycle gate, which the subversives used to ignore by going through the vegetation, forcing the MoD deployment of an anti-vegetation-cycling feature, before they went and removed it, eventually adding this new bollard.

The bollard does not stop people cycling to the North Fringe. The only way to prevent that would be to improve A4174 traffic by widening it and banning bicycles from the ring road, while downgrading any adjacent bike paths. We may have some good news there, in a week or two.

For now, this side of Abbey Wood does little to discourage cycling. We shall visit the other side, which was where the crash took place to see if it is any better.

Monday 17 January 2011

Clifton's Road Theft

Dichohecho sends us a pointer to their photo of Oakfield Place, taken from us tax payers, and turned into a bicycle parking area.

This is not just a secret rat run from St Pauls Road to Oakfield Road, it lets passing motorists stop by that fine establishment, the Victoria Pub, for a quick beer, or the Lido for a meal -if they have the cash. Neither establishment has little to gain from having cyclists with no money visit, yet that is exactly what the council appears to be encouraging.

To be fair, with the tree, it did look very nice at Christmas.

And the bollards, with their reflective strips, were visible.
Even so, it is bad enough when parking spaces are taken away to make this city bicycle friendly. To take away an entire rat-run and replace it with bicycle parking and somewhere for people to walk, this is a dark day indeed.

Sunday 16 January 2011


Only last week were were criticising Bristol's town planners for a lack of vision in the 1970s, for a failure to regenerate the neglected inner city by building enough motorways through its core. We only have the M32. One city in Britain has had the vision, and stuck to it, turning their neglected victorian era housing and under-utilised parkland into motorways, so that wherever you walk round the city, you can hear the background hum of high speed motorway traffic. With this motorway through the heart of the city, we believe it is possible to drive from the M32 to the scottish highlands without having to stop for a red light or pedestrians.

Yes, we are talking about Glasgow, and unlike the Copenhagen Cycle Chic team, who think it is a nice place to cycle, as is Aberdeen, we know that Glasgow is our kind of city, as documented by our allies, At War With The Motorist, on their trip to Glasgow, premier city in Scotland.

We like best that the integrated advertisting on the phone-viewer brings up an advert for Robbie's Driving School, who will teach you how to drive round either city, Bristol or Glasgow, in Style.

Congratulations Glasgow, and come on Bristol, get your act together! How else can you solve this city's traffic problems?

Friday 14 January 2011

The Friday Quiz - Who are the Sleepers?

It's over, of course, the Cold War. But the legacy remains.

This map is a Soviet rendition of Bristol. Before the Glorious Cumberland Basin intersection was built. Note the existing railway route through the docks and the city. Note that, with a little thought and investment, this infrastructure could have provided an efficient and sustainable rapid transit system, linking southern and central Bristol with Temple Meads. The Soviets knew this, and documented it.

Which is why, in 1969, Bristol City Council decided they had to foil the CCCP, and came up with their own Glorious Five Year Plan for the docks. Just look at what we're missing...

This vision of Utopia never happened.

Bristol Traffic asks - was the Council infiltrated by a fifth column? We know that Cycling City took another 40 years to complete. There must have been sleepers...

Thursday 13 January 2011

Jamaica Street: more hints of Waltham Forest

Our next video of the tour of the RPZ shows the Stokes Croft end of Dighton Street - Jamaica Street. Again, it's Walthamization is ongoing. This road marks the border between Kingsdown and the part of the city where work takes place -and that means vans and vehicles: important people.

First they nip past The Bell pub, then head down Jamaica Street towards Dighton Street. One of the park cars tries to do the pull-out-no-signal trick but the cyclist is pootling along so slowly they avoid getting hit, no need for the driver to try the sorry-didn't-see-you gambit. The cyclist, so stressed by this decides to head back for the Bell Pub on the off-road bike path. This feature has been here for about 20 years, the widening of the pavement to allow this is probably treasured in Bristol cycling history.

After a short distance it drops down to the road where the cyclist would encounter the van parked at the end. However, today they can't get there because there is a roadwork sign in the middle of the bike path.

What does our cyclist do? Instead of getting off the bicycle and walking, the way they should, they do something worse. They pick up the sign and throw it to one side! Then the brick that was there to hold the sign in place!

Someone driving a car could be in a collision with the roadworks. Whoever put this sign up was clearly thinking about the safety of motorists, yet by moving the sign to one side they could create a collision. This is selfish and dangerous!

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Dighton Street: An update

We are busy watching the Walthamization of Dighton Street -all is going well, at least according to this video.

this time not only is another car parked outside Pizza Go-Go in the bike lane, showing how bike lanes benefit takeaways by providing somewhere to park, we see the minicab AE04NDG, taxi #2525, taking full advantage of those cycling facilities.

First, it's stopped part on the pavement, part on the road -but note how no wheel is actually in the bike lane. Then it pulls out -no need to indicate, it's a quiet day, and drives forward, where an ASL provides somewhere for the vehicle to wait for the light to change.

Such use of the cycling facilities of this part of the city ensures that the residents of Bristol do get some use of them. Note how our tax dodging cycle camera person (sorry!) opted to use none of them on this part of the journey. If they aren't going to use such features, well, we motorists may as well!

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Bus lanes: there for the taking

A lot of our fellow warrior-motorists complain that bus lanes have taken up away a lot of the road capacity of our cities. Far from it!
They have only taken away road capacity from those drivers too timid to use the bus lanes!

Look how here on a weekday evening on Cheltenham Road, the showcase bus lane provides a fast alternative to a congested private vehicle lane -for anyone bold enough to get in and use it!

If there's only one complaint, the moment the bus lane ends, someone in a 4X4 has half parked up on the pavement, so forcing us to swerve back in to the main traffic route.
This is insensitive parking that fails to take into account the needs of fellow motorists.

Monday 10 January 2011

Kingsdown RPZ, interesting, but too early to reach a conclusion

We've been driving round the new RPZ; watching. It's not until the students are back with their cars and their lessons that we'll see how it works, so right now it's in a transitional phase.

What is interesting is how much empty space there is. Here on Dove Street, the entire side of the road that you can park on legally is empty, though the Mercedes driver still wants to avoid the challenge of crossing the road.

Perhaps they didn't have a permit, and as the penalty for paveparking by a yellow line is the same as a non-resident in the resident area, you may as well park closest to your destination.

Elsewhere, the new restaurant Alfred's has space outside it in Alfred Place for lunchtime customers.
And along the road, a view of what the houses must have looked like in Georgian times, before modern inventions came along.
Most interesting was on Somerset Street, which is yet to be repainted. Look closely at the ground here, on Spring Hill
That faded paint implies there has always been a keep clear zone here. We never knew that -all we could see that it was an ideal place for wide vehicles to park. The markings on the ground imply the anti-motorist council will not just leave the obsolete signage to fade, they will be adding double yellow lines instead.

We close by sending our team cyclist round the area (sorry, but we did wait until a Sunday), to get a video. This shows us a number of things.

  1. There are some interesting pubs in the area.
  2. A loading zone is no substitute for zebra crossing zig zags if it involves more walking.
  3. Someone has added parking spaces to Nine Tree Hill.
That final point is interesting. Until now, Nine Tree was lost space, you could park there, but then you could get a ticket. Now locals can park there. How do they get out of this dead end? Presumably by reversing down the road which today is only used by cyclists and pedestrians walking up the hill. Even so, four extra spaces there barely compensate for all the lost corners. Our footage of this area will have to be preserved for posterity, "Kingsdown before the changes came"

Sunday 9 January 2011

Is "The Fringe" a sign that Cheltenham Road is being gentrified?

We like that bit of the A38 from the Arches to Stokes Croft: our bit of the city. Wide roads, bus lanes to drive and park in, and shops for our lifestyle. As well as the minicabs, there's the car stereo place before Kwik-fit.

Which is why, while we were out stalking the pedestrian from Cromwell Road that we saw something to shock us. A new hairdressers, the fringe.

Looks pretty, doesn't it? But what's that in the window?
A sign
(From Monday-Friday)
Apparently cyclists can bring their bicycles into the hairdressers and get a haircut while their bike is kept safely out of the rain, secure from theft or damage.
Can you do the same with a car? No. You can't even park in the bus lane for half an hour for a haircut, not with the CCTV enforcement that's now underway.
The sign in the hairdressers is is a terrible sign. What it really says "we are at risk of losing Cheltenham Road".

Saturday 8 January 2011

Secret Gloucester Road parking

At the end of Cromwell Road, just under the arches, there's a lovely wide bit of pavement by the double yellow lines.

It's a safe place to park even a nice car, such as the BMW LX06UXU thought the presence of bike racks on the roof worry us. Are these perhaps cyclists?
Whatever, we like to show that nobody is inconvenienced and unable to get past. Here we can see a pedestrian can easily get by with only one wheel of their child's pushchair in the road.

Wednesday 5 January 2011


There's an article up on the independent about the war on motorists.

Our fellow travellers, the Association of British Drivers added a comment:
Whilst we are pleased that the penny is beginning to drop with regard to taxation, it is sad that the author refers to driving as a "bad habit", when it is in fact merely a means of going about one's business.
We agree! Accordingly, we replied stating this fact:
We in the bristol traffic project agree. Some people view us driving our van around a narrow city, while texting one hand and sounding the horn at pedestrians and cyclists in our way as "antisocial", our activities, as the ABD says, "a bad habit". Yet as they say, this is the only way to get on with your business. When you are held up by pedestrians on a zebra crossing, of course you have to sound your horn. When you are held up behind a cyclist, of course you have to text ahead to your destination to warn them you'll be late. Yet still this anti-motorist country, with its zebra crossings, its traffic lights and its double yellow lines persecutes us.
And what's happened? Our comment has been "flagged for review" and it is no longer on the site. It has been censored by an online press that cannot accept the truth!

update: we posted asking why praising the ABD for being the voice of van driver is being suppressed and the ABD replied
the Independent is just trying to ensure comments are reasonable and well balanced. Whilst comments like those you made may have been acceptable during the last decade, the country has moved on to more reasoned debate.
That's good. We thought somebody had felt we were taking the piss. That happens all the time.

Kingdown RPZ and the school run

The government still pushes out its lie that the war on motorists is over. How can that be while the cost of oil is so high -and the exchange rate with the dollar so bad? The only way to end this war is for the price of oil to come down, which could done by  revaluing the pound -regardless of its consequences to industry or the economy. After all, that's what Thatcher and friends did in the 1980s, back when they were on our side.

Yet not only are Cameron and his cronies in London secretly cycling round, laughing as they pedal past petrol station, here in Bristol, the libdem allies in the coalition are making it harder for commuters to drive to work, by not providing enough free parking -and taking it away from the park-and-walk zone nearby. Kingsdown was ideal for this, not just because it was somewhere where your car would probably still be there in the evening, mostly unscraped, but if you drove in from the western end of town, you could void the anti-car features of "the triangle" and "park row".

Now, one interesting consequence of the RPZ zone is up here at the western end of Cotham Road, looking at Cotham School.

This area here is going to be mixed resident and pay to park - with 15 minutes free parking. This is actually going to make school dropoff easier, especially for people within the zone, who will also have the ability to park near their home after doing the dropoff. Until now, nobody in Kingsdown could drive their kids 500m to Colstons, Cotham, St Peter and Paul or St Michael's schools, because some commuter would steal their space while they were gone. Not now. With space at both ends, the school run just got easier by car than by walking.

It's also easier than cycling, on account of the hills. Here we see a couple of cyclists who have struggled their way up the hill, in the cold. Do they look happy? Not to us.
They are just getting on with their suffering while a whole new short-stay parking area awaits us, the important people.
We'll keep an eye on this area to see how it pans out.

It's only once the university students are back that we'll see the full consequences.

One thing we are worried about is the BRI physio department at the end of the road, because its paveparking area (yellow lined) is now a paveparking area in a resident parking zone. Will the pavement by the dropped kerb at the mini roundabout no longer be a staff parking area? This we will watch.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

RPZ day has arrived

Over in London, the Politicians tell the BBC that the war on motorists is over, and the BBC believes them, naively, unquestioningly, because they want it to be true. We know different. No, we aren't talking about fuel price rises, because we've seen the forthcoming price rises on trains and buses -which will go up more believe us.

No, we are talking about the war on motoring that is resident parking.

Today is  the big day - the Kingsdown RPZ is live. We hear some of the locals will be going to a pub to celebrate -presumably now they can drive there and back again.

We also hear that for the first few days the council will be issuing warning notes, not tickets; we'll see how that goes.

It's going to reduce the value of those houses where more than 40% of the house volume is dedicated to parking, especially as the council only issues one RPZ permit if you already have an off-road parking option. Try to explain to the parking services dept. that your garage isn't for parking as you are growing a large quantity of high-yield marijuana there and see if they care.

This actually reduces the value of all houses who turned their gardens into tarmac. What was a feature is now possibly a liability.

What about the bicycle parking that some houses have? Where does that fit in here? Should we be able to impose a limit on the number of bicycles that a household in the area has?

How can the government say the war on motorists is over when there is no limit on the number of bicycles people own in the inner city?