Saturday 25 June 2011

Gloucester Road #3

Update #1: Nail Creations Salon, next to the Thai place.

Update #2: we have a link to a video.

The commentary is perfect given the circumstances. For those concerned about them Franco and colleagues are OK. At least they were at 12:00; if they stayed in the Blue Lagoon all afternoon, they may be a bit worse for wear by now. There was someone walking in the road asking if they knew a good hairdressers. "Well, there used be Francos", was the response. We'll have to see what state it's in later. Hopefully it'll be OK.

Gloucester Road #2: an eerie calm over the A38

Normally this road on a Saturday is pretty chaotic: through traffic, shoppers trying to park outside their shops, either in the designated areas, or in the bus stops, the buses trying to get through, pedestrians trying to get across without walking 200m to the lights and back again; then there are the cyclists.

Today: silence.

Police to keep things calm, close the road and keep people on foot out the way.
One conclusion you can draw from the emptiness of the parking area is that the area really is only used by shoppers and shop staff. Today there's just a Paul Roberts car and a fireman -who does walk around with helmet and hi-viz clothes with identification details, the way we think everyone should dress.
There's also a command unit with a CCTV camera to the top and a satellite uplink pointing towards something in geostationary orbit above Africa.
The odd thing is everyone assumes at first that the troubles have come up from Stokes Croft -an eviction, another bank wrecked. But not today. It's worth visiting though, just see what Gloucester Road is really like when closed to traffic.

Gloucester Road Incident #1

Some breaking news here: Gloucester Road is closed on account of the Thai Nail Bar Corrections Nail Studio near the co-op and just round from Franco's Hairdresser's blew up at 10:00 today; Gloucester Road is closed.

1. The good news: no serious injuries.

2. People are free to re-use these photos with accreditation, though they would be better off contacting Franco and team -last seen outside the Blue Lagoon having early beers, as they have better photos, on account of being at work three doors away at the time. No haircuts are on offer today.

Gloucester Road is closed off even to foot traffic from the Breadstore to the Hobgoblin pub.
You can just make out on the pavement some burned out bits of shop.
Apparently they have chemicals on site; the owner was upstairs.

The road is closed to cars from Zetland Road; people are being directed to Elton Road or right onto Cheltenham Road and Cromwell Road.
There was some concern by outsiders looking to get to the cricket match that they didn't know where to go. Turn onto Cromwell Road, head up to the first left-turn that isn't no entry, head along that road all the way and you end up at the cricket ground. For us locals, that's faster than the A38 anyway.

Wishing anyone injured a fast recovery.

Update: Allotmentqueen says: "Creations Nail Studio, actually, next door to Simply Thai. But then, as a van driver, I don't expect you get your nails done that often. "

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Tesco Stokes Croft: A consultation

We're reproducing a message sent out today, in order to prevent any misunderstandings if our email became public through other channels, just like that recent incident involving "Quercus", twitter and a naked man on a unicycle. First, we need to make clear that we do not in any way support the use of bicycles or public transport in the city. We are, however, concerned that the delivery and shopping processes of the Cheltenham Road Tesco Mini-mart are making it impossible for us to drive down the bus lane then swing left into Ashley Road, so avoiding the bearpit roundabout while heading out of town on the M32. Furthermore, the congestion caused by buses trying to swing back into the single-lane traffic is creating tailbacks as far as the Gloucester Road/Zetland Road junction, which makes nipping into Booze express harder. We couldn't come out and say this as it would make us appear shallow and self centred, so instead we pretended to have unified interests with the people that Jeremy Clarkson only this week denounced as anti-capitalist subversives.

Here is the letter

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bristol Traffic
Date: 21 June 2011 15:17
Subject: Express Cheltenham Road, Bristol

It appears that you are looking for feedback w.r.t the Tesco Express, Cheltenham Road, Bristol, the one that recently became nationally famous due its unfortunate history of catching fire late at night.

The Bristol Traffic Project wishes to provide some feedback about the newly re-opened mini-mart.

In case you are unaware, we are a web-based community project to build a defensible dataset on who drives, parks, cycles and walks badly round Bristol. Our stokes croft coverage dates back to 2008, and so forms one of the largest dataset on road usage in the area. As a result, the search terms "Tesco Stokes Croft" invariably lists one of our articles in the first page of responses, despite the recent national and international media coverage.

One conclusion of our three year dataset is that the number of people cycling along Cheltenham Road is increasing. This is something which the council believes is a good thing, which is why the Cycling City program deliberately set out to encourage people in Bishopston, further up the A38, to cycle to work -down Cheltenham Road. For this reason, the Greater Bristol Bus Network offers a mandatory bus lane during some parts of the day; this ends outside Tesco Cheltenham Road, where a non-mandatory cycle path begins. While historically the bus lane only ever existed on those rare days that Bristol Parking Services enforced the rule, the roll-out of in-bus camera and CCTV enforcement of lane-blocking legislation means that compliance is now higher, except amongst those entities that are prepared to view the penalty as an operational expense.

Within the last ten weekdays of the supermarket being "live", community contributions show that
Accordingly we can conclude that:
  1. The official Tesco deliveries, while scheduled for 10:00-10:30, render the bike lane inoperable for a minimum of 30 minutes out of every working day. This bike lane being, as mentioned, the primary cycle route into the city from north Bristol.
  2. This official blocking of the bus lane impacts bus schedules, inconveniences passengers across the city, and may even lead to financial penalties to FirstBus.
  3. Other organisations with an apparent relationship with Tesco (e.g. G4S) are prepared to block the bus lane during its operational hours, and therefore presumably view parking tickets as an OPEX. This reduces the availability of the bus and bike lane even further.
  4. Customers engaged in a park-and-shop process are prepared to short-stay park in the bus/bike lane through out the day, so rendering it unusable to buses, cyclists, and anyone coming down of Arley Hill who wants to nip down the bus lane before turning left on Ashley Road towards the M32.
  5. Customers engaged in a park-and-shop process are prepared to short-stay park outside the shop during the evening bus-lane hour, so creating congestion that runs as far back as Zetland Road and so has a negative impact on all road journeys.
Overall, then, the combination of scheduled Tesco deliveries, possibly scheduled visits by partner organisations, and short-stay parking by customers has effectively rendered this bus and bike lane unusable to anyone in a bus, bicycle, motorcycle or taxi, or anyone simply prepared to nip up the left lane to get to St Pauls, an action to which a blind eye has historically been turned.

Given the role of the road and the fact that the loss of this lane is leading to congestion morning and evening, we consider this outcome unacceptable.

We would recommend some actions to mitigate this. Sadly very few actions spring to mind other than the closure of the mini-mart.
  • Your cost model is built around an optimised supply chain that uses the same vehicles for delivering to Tesco Express outlets as other Tesco sites, so the HGVs could only be eliminated by the adoption of a new city-friendly supply chain.
  • Your cost model does not include the external costs of the impact on the journey times of non-customers, or other externalies such as the increases in their fuel use and pollution.
  • Passing motorists popping in to shop may have been explicitly or implicitly included in the business model of the shop. It may be possible to enforce a "do not sell to people who park in the bus/bike lane" policy by refusing them entry, however this will not help customer loyalty.
  • It is hard for you to enforce policy on how your strategic partners such as G4S arrive and park outside your premises.
What is possible is for the local council to act in such a way as to mitigate such issues, independent of any of your actions:
  1. Use the CCTV camera at the junction of Cheltenham Road and Arley Hill to enforce the existing bus lane parking rules. This does not require any legal process and could be rolled out almost immediately.
  2. Use existing the CCTV camera to enforce the 15 minute loading/unload time limit. Again, no legislation necessary.
  3. Uprate the cycle lane from "optional" to mandatory, so earning all vehicles which park there a £120 fine.
  4. Enforce the then-extended cycle lane driving/parking rules using the same CCTV camera
  5. Increase the physical presence of Bristol Parking Services staff, so offering more of a visual deterrent before 10:00 and after 16:30.
Being a data-gathering exercise we shall be using the FoI process to track the number of parking tickets issued in this area, so see if it correlates with the increase of delivery and customer parking which our data implies is happening. We shall also encouraging our existing community base to collect more photographs of the situation, which we shall then place online along with the vehicle registration numbers, and so help build up a better dataset of who chooses to block this invaluable facility, and when.

Please thank your staff, partners and customers for their participation in our experiment.

The Bristol Traffic Team.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

As stated, do not interpret this as some form of subversive activity. It is just that the tailbacks prevent us getting down and parking on the pavement outside Ritas or sprinting over to the M32. We are, as people should recall, a data gathering and analysis project, so we welcome documentary evidence from everyone on this issue, even people engaged in un-British activities like walking, cycling, and getting on a bus as opposed to standing there hoping that one will turn up. The threat of using FoI information to collect ticketing statistics is real, and we enjoy the irony of having the CCTV camera put in "for the mini-mart's own protection" being used to ticket people parking in the bus lane during its hours of liveness. Expect updates in future

Tuesday 21 June 2011

We confess

Ok, we confess.

Just for once, we rode a bicycle, instead of using the van. In the spirit of investigative journalism, of course.

Here you can see a bunch of Bristol Traffic supporters, who turned out to photograph us (naked!) at the Council House on College Green. Shame they weren't naked too, but we don't ask that of our readers.

And here you can see why our fan-base is so attracted to following us.

For once, our copy of The Sun remained unopened. Page 3 is safe.

Sunday 19 June 2011

We feel for the unicyclist

The world naked bike ride

World Naked Bike Ride comes to #Bristol. #WNBR #StokesCroft on Twitpic

We worry about the sunburn for most of the participants, but for the unicyclist, the biggest risk is that they end up coming off the front of their toy. We can see from the photo that he has wrist-guards on, but aren't sure that will be enough.

We'd also like to see the video from the bloke on the left of the picture with the camcorder.

Tesco's plans to Walthamize the cycling city in the back.

We are impressed. Every day that one of the team members has been down to Cheltenham Road this week, there's been a vehicle or two outside Tesco. What was once one of the showcase "cycle city" and "Greater Bristol Bus Network" routes has been returned to the tax paying driver -and as vans and lorries pay more road tax, they deserve to use it first.

"Slug" sends a couple of Pics from 09:15 on Friday 17 June showing a security van outside tesco,
And right outside the credit union, another lorry, MX07GJV

As slug says " It can be very dangerous for a cyclist to cycle in the cycle lane because it is to the left of traffic turning left. So the lorry driver out of concern for the potential danger that inexperienced cyclists are putting themselves in, decided to park on the double yellow lines ... ignoring the no unloading sign.

Behind the vehicle you can see all the way to the security van that is also parked on the cycle lane -and in between the lane is completely empty! Mission accomplished! no cyclists Left Hooked at Ashley junction this morning.

Interestingly, we have a different video of the same stretch of road from someone else taken about ten minutes later. This video is interesting because it is from the perspective of one of the tax-dodgers, someone who is trying to get across the city "after 9am because the roads are quieter." See that? These people have deliberately chosen to commute outside "the rush hour" because they prefer it. But that reduction in road traffic creates an illusion of safety -and encourages more of such behaviour.

At 0:03 there's another cyclist on Freemantle Road -heading towards the university or Clifton, then our underemployed camera-enabled tax-avoider descends Nugent Hill, an option forbidden to cars, especially since they put that island in at the bottom to stop right turns, a feature few motorists have managed to deal with. Our troublemaker negotiates that island by abusing the contraflow bike lane on Arley Hill, then flips into the left lane to undertake the stationary traffic to wait for a green light.

While waiting we see important people in cars and taxis, some public transport users, and unimportant pedestrians, and another cyclist at 1:58 crossing over to the contraflow. Because The A38 here, it could unify or divide the city. The council wanted to make it a showcase for the cycle city program, encouraging people from Bishopston (out of town; to the left) to head into the city centre, down this very road!

That is something we need to stop, which is why we are grateful for Tesco and its support. Because as well as unifying the cyclists, it could divide them. It and Muller road are the two roads that anyone cycling around north Bristol has to encounter, and if we can only roll back any pro-cycling "enhancements" there, then we can discourage anyone not just from cycling on these main roads, but even get across them.

That is why it is so essential to fight them on the streets, and why the Tesco delivery process is helping transform this road, and hence the whole of north Bristol.

At 2:14 you can see the bicycle head in to town. Although they think they have a lane to themselves, at 2:22 you can see their mistake -the security van has moved on since 09:15, but another delivery van has taken its place. Then at 2:34, a car half on the pavement, half on the bike lane. That bike lane is considered unsafe anyway, which is why they and the next lorry are blocking it. What's changed since the photos earlier is that the lorry seems to be deciding to pull out now; it's flipped its indicators on. The tax dodger goes past, and at 2:47 you can see another paveparked van; a 2:49 a similar car. All it takes is one or two vehicles doing this, all the time, every day, and people will be discouraged not just from commuting along this road by bicycle, but across it.

At 3:04 our troublemaker does a U-turn and heads out of town, showing that the bike lane there is in its usual state: short stay parking for shop customers and staff. This bike lane has been reclaimed!

At 3:36, they are now waiting to turn right towards montpelier, where you can see that the row of vehicles blocking the left lane do actually turn it into a bikes-only lane, albeit because nobody actually wants to turn left. Anyone turning left will have to swing over from the right hand lane, which might be a surprise to anyone cycling down it, of which we can see a couple at 3:50.

Then, finally, at 3:54, our errant tax dodger turns right, and then left into Montpelier, where they can feel slightly safer.

You see that? How the quiet bits of the city, Cotham and Montpelier, can be made cycling unfriendly not by adding any anti-cycling infrastructure, but by making it unpleasant to cross the roads between them. We don't need to ask the council for special anti-bicycle features, the way they do in Waltham Forest, all we need to do is park our delivery vans where we want on the roads the cyclist have to cross. It only takes a couple of HGVs to set an example, and once it's begun, every else will copy. What was a bike lane has become a parking area, not just to achieve the tactical goal: park outside our destination, but to achieve a strategic one: to knife the cycling city dream in the back.

Whose streets? Ours! For parking in whenever we want!

Saturday 18 June 2011

Tesco Walthamises Cheltenham Road

What we hadn't expected was how rapidly it would transit from a boring, functional bus lane and bike lane into a short stay shopping street. Tesco have brought the high street back again!

Notice here, on Thursday June 17, 10:18 am how the delivery staff have placed some warning signs out. At first we thought they were to warn cyclists not to go straight into the back of the lorry, and were a bit worried that Tesco may be starting to care.
A closer look reveals the real isse. Because the lorry has a loader that drops to ground level, they don't want any shopper to park their car on the double yellow lines too close to the back of the lorry. They are concerned about the customers, not the passing underpeople.
Here's a video of the same scene

Notice how you can just make out the bike lane underneath the lorry as it raises the floor.

Many of the troublemakers have complained that Tesco moved in to the area to profit from a road going upmarket. Untrue. Tesco moved in there because it wasn't upmarket enough, because people walked and cycled round, even though it was a main road with plenty of room for lorries and parking.

Tesco moved in to the area to save Stokes Croft from itself!

Friday 17 June 2011

Tesco Stokes Croft: did FirstBus torch it?

There are lots of theories about who torched the new Stokes Croft Tesco
  1. Some squatters made petrol bombs and tried to torch the mini-mart in a protest against supermarkets.
  2. Lots of drunk people reacting to the police blocking their road home.
  3. A group of hardend "black hat" anarchists secretly infiltrated the city, created a riot and then retreated to a nearby pub, returning two weeks later to the Anarchist Bookfair to buy the Banksy memorial posters and then resell them on eBay.
  4. An active service unit of Stokes Croft street food vendors torched it as any supermarket outlet selling chicken only five days past its best-before date would raise expectations excessively amongst their existing customer base.
We have a new one: Firstbus did it. Watch this video, taken before 18:00 on a weekday, to see why.

See how the vehicles coming from Bath Buildings only have time for the front two to pull out on red before the cars coming down from Arley Hill get out and block the junction. Then Cheltenham Road gets the green light, and all vehicles heading into the city get held up -including two FirstBus buses. What is happening?

The answer is, out of camera, a parked car is blocking the bus lane. This stops buses from getting through, and it stops any car coming off Arley Hill and heading left towards Ashley Road and the M32 nipping in to it and heading off to the motorway without being blocked in the tailback stemming from the bearpit.

This holds up cars, but for the buses it is worse: it holds up the entire schedule, on which they can pay financial penalties.

This then, is who has the most to lose from a Tesco on Cheltenham Road: FirstBus management, whose company will pay fines caused by short-stay shoppers parking in their bus lane, and whose bonuses and stock options will be threatened. These people had far more to lose than Slix or Ritas, far more to gain than the anarchists could make from reselling Banksy prints. This is why we believe that the police should study their CCTV camera footage for the signs of any FirstBus bus going down this road after 11pm. Normally all FirstBus buses would be in bed by then, so any bus going down the road is clearly full of FirstBus operatives, planning to create a riot, destroy a supermarket, and so avoid penalties for late bus schedules.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Cheltenham Road goes upmarket

The Tesco Express has re-opened on Cheltenham Road.
It shuts at 18:00, so anyone wanting value beverages after that time is recommend to walk past the Arches, turn left to Zetland Road and go into Booze Express, who are happy to serve discounted vodka and red-bull throughout most of the evening.

Being closed at 6, the bike path in front of Tesco is unused.
What is interesting -and worth knowing- is now that the troublemakers have been evicted from the Telepathic Heights squat, there's room for two cars or vans in front.
Before there was always the risk someone on the roof would drop a brick or a bottle full of petrol onto your paintwork, but now it is safe.

With Cheltenham Road becoming safer and more popular, knowing the secret parking places is becoming important. This is a new one.

Monday 13 June 2011

Breaking news! The Polis at the tesco parking area!

A quick trip in our van at 09:59 shows the delivery van YR59YUD happily ensconced in the bus lane, waiting to deliver to tesco.

We say waiting, because apparently as long as they don't start unloading until 10:00, it's OK. This actually makes sense. Anyone who is trying to use public transport or cycle at that time of day are clearly low-income people whose time is effectively worthless, according to the D of Motoring spreadsheets.

What is more interesting is later the same day, now at 18:37, we spot the "Mighty Banana" van of Stokes Croft, now parked outside Tesco. Has someone driven up from the Croft to get their weekly shop in?
Possibly, but they would have found their way blocked by a large group of strangely dressed people. That said, anyone driving up from the croft wouldn't find this unusual, or interfere with their daily shop.

What could, however, would be the police enforcement of parking rules. And here is where we saw something so shocking we almost dropped the mobile phone from our steering wheel hand (the other hand is for gear changes and the horn). Yes, a policeman actually went up to the van to note its registration number. We were in shock. This could destroy Bristol as we know it. Watch the video.
You see that? Panic over. It turns out that the "Mighty Banana" Van, W878MDC, is actually Chris Chalkey's van, and the police are only doing it for a laugh. In the voiceover you can hear Cllr Jon Rogers -whom we suspect of not being in the Waltham Forest Faction of the LibDem council- explaining this and why it's all a setup. Chris see's what's happening, starts waving his masonic hand-waves at the police and all is well. Masonic Handwaves, incidentally, are the van drivers' version of the Masonic Handshake -make the secret wave to any traffic police and they'll let you past.

False alarm: panic over. There's no problem with parking in the mornings, no problem in the evenings either. We were worried there, but at least everyone has come to their senses and realised that if there's one group of people in the city not to mess with, it's us van drivers. Those videos of people shouting "whose streets? Our streets?" wouldn't stand a chance against a roadblock of us going "whose short-stay parking areas? your bike lanes!"

pavement work in Southville

"MB" sends these shots of some vehicles in Greenway Bush Lane. Southville.

He notes that even the trucks are parked on the road.
Only one vehicle is showing how much they care about their paintwork and wing mirrors that they choose the pavepark option.
We don't see what MB is complaining about.The council owns the task of repairing all the pavements in the city, and, as such, have the right to park on it. The only unusual thing is why nobody else parks their either.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Laura Local: our favourite new tier-3 provincial journalist

We feel really sorry for the Bristol Evening Post. Most of the real journalists have moved on, leaving only a few people who are actually valued for their knowledge of the area and their willingness to type what senior management want them to write (Ian Onion), and, to replace the others, some unpaid interns trying to learn how to write HTML content to put local journalism as an item on their resume.

In the latter category, then, can we welcome Laura Local, who is now our favourite third-tier reporter for the Redland People subsidiary web site of the Evening Post. We think "redland people" is a bit overambitious, as it implies all the residents check it every morning saying "what's happened in our part of the city?", but that doesn't happen. Nothing much happens there except when some drunk students put some traffic cones on some cars, or the helicopter over stokes croft keeps people awake. Even then, reading about in the Redland People site isn't the way most people discuss some items. In fact, given their readership count, we believe the site would be called "Redland Eight People"; the eight being friends and family of the authors.

Laura, we are pleased to see, is trying hard to get the audience into double digits by printing an anti-cyclist rant. We do that ourselves, which is why our daily audience is in the high double digits, and we can see why a commercial site that tries to make money through advertising revenue would aspire to be as successful. Hence this lovely article, Redland cyclists among the worst in the Bristol? Here's the opening paragraph
I was turning right out of North Road by the Arches when a cyclist, who wasn't wearing a helmet I hasten to add, whizzed by in the middle of the road heading the direction I wanted to go - towards Gloucester Road. I pulled out behind him, as I would have done had he been a car and he stopped in front of me all of a sudden and started mouthing off before jumping the red light.

Maybe I was a little too close to him when I pulled out but I felt any criticism was rich coming from a guy who was bombing down the centre of the road without a helmet and straight through a red light!
We aren't going to defend the tax-dodger, but we will provide some constructive feedback to the author
  1. It's not actually a legal requirement to wear a helmet. The only time you should criticise them for not wearing a helmet is when someone gets run over by an HGV driver on the phone, then you can say in the daily mail comments section "were they wearing a helmet" and so absolve the whole of society for their death. We do.
  2. It's not illegal to cycle down the middle of a lane. Yes, it annoys us as it stops us driving above 25 mph, but for the troublemakers, it gives them more options avoiding being hit by redland residents who are too lazy to drive to the gloucester road shops, and who open their doors without looking or pull out without indicating.
  3. If you were the first vehicle to pull out, and you were parked in the ASL under the arch itself, the cyclist may have crossed the traffic light while it was still green, then if you pulled out aggressively he may have had some reason to express concern.
  4. Don't ever admit in print something like "Maybe I was a little too close to him when I pulled out." It removes your ability to take the moral high ground. We never discuss our own driving actions for this reason, or make videos from our van -the police might want them.
  5. Gloucester Road isn't Redland. It's Bishopston, on one side, St Andrews on the other. When when it becomes Cheltenham Road it's called "the arches" until you end up on the disputed Cotham/Montpelier/Stokes Croft region where the new Tesco is. Not Redland. If you have to drive outside your own reporting area just to get content to rant about, well, that may show some weaknesses in the "Redland cyclists amongst the worst in Bristol" story. We recommend spending some time in Cotham Hill, which, while again not quite Redland, is full of pedestrians, cyclists, school-run parents and us vans, so creating a lovely mix for new articles, such as "Redland Van drivers amongst the worst in Bristol?", "Redland students amongst the worst pedestrians in Bristol", and of course "Redland school-run parents amongst the worst in Bristol". Together this will keep your article quota fulfilled for a month with only one morning's worth of research. Or you could walk along Chandos Road and have a geographically correct region for the "Redland parkers amongst the worst in Bristol" article.
  6. Do try and back up your articles with photos other than faded bike path signs that may convince everyone, motorist and cyclists alike, that Bristol's cycling facilities are dire.
  7. If you do want to get a video of someone cycling through the red lights on that stretch of Gloucester Road, stand there with a camera on a weekday evening and wait for one lights cycle: it's not hard.
Anyway, Laura -welcome to the tier-3 anti cycling rant pages of Bristol. Those of us already in the business welcome new competitors, as it keeps us on our toes. Just try a bit harder and we might even feel slightly threatened.

The Battle of the Bearpit Continues

We are pleased to have another photo from "TH", who is rapidly becoming out city-centre correspondent, today with another "Bearpit Incident", this one being rated as "minor" in the international Bearpit Incident Scale.

Apparently the Snap-on van was trying to cut into the road running into Park Row, when the car which was following the markings on the road went ahead and followed the markings on the road, forcing the van to cancel its plan. The van driver is apparently making their views known to the driver of the car.

No, this is not the Bristol Traffic van. Furthermore, the tactic of staying the right hand lane all the way from the end of the M32 to this roundabout is effective as it is the least congested, especially at the bearpit roundabout itself. but you should start to cut in earlier, once the lights from newfoundland way go green, then stay in the right of the two lanes past the bus station -so avoiding any waiting buses. You should only swerve into the left hand lane after passing the bus station.

This is one of the problems of driving like a local in Bristol: you have to know the real solutions to every junction, not what is painted on the ground, which are merely hints for tourists.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Left Hook at Kellaway Building Supplies

A tax-dodging troublemaker emails us this video to say "Is this white van DK04TBX that nearly ran me over on June 10 in its rush to get to Kellaway Building Supplies on Shaldon Road yours?"

Here is the response composed by our lawyers
  • Askmid says this vehicle is a VW Transport T30TDi. As the Bristol Traffic Team's white van is a Ford Transit at least ten years older, we deny responsibility.
  • We think all criticism of this van is unfounded, as by accelerating past the bicycle before cutting over it, it left plenty of room.
  • By indicating its intent to turn left while it went past the bicycle, the cyclist had plenty of time to take evasive action.
  • Kellaway Building supplies plays a key role in supplying everything a white van in the building trade needs apart from copies of the Sun and cans of Red Bull. As the Bristol Traffic van is a key part of the Bristol sex industry supply chain, Kellaway Building Supplies rarely appears in our list of destinations, apart from when meeting the needs of an individual with an obsession about loft insulation. A superinjunction prevents us identifying the specific board members of one of our local football teams.
We trust that these answers are satisfactory.

Friday 10 June 2011

Don't try this in Stokes Croft

It seems that NYC is as bad as Stokes Croft. Both for Police persecution, and parking in cycle lanes...

Wednesday 8 June 2011

the luxury school run

We are sent an email by "Mike" showing the proper way to get the kids to school, here with a stretch limo outside Colstons Primary School on, what, Cotham Grove

The submitter of this photograph seems a bit, well, unhappy about the incident, and we can see why: a vehicle like this can take up the entire school keep clear area, so stopping other parents doing their dropoffs.

However, people need to recognise the hard truth: taking the kids to school in the family 4x4 is, well, common. Twenty-five years ago, yes, most kids walked to school and those that got driven were taken there in the mini metro, but times have moved on. From the metro, to the VW polo, then the VW Golf becomes car #2, now it's one of the little Audi or BMWs, while family car #1 has grown up from an estate to something with more status. Nothing has more status than a stretch limo -which CN55PZS clearly is.

Jealousy, that's what the other parents are suffering from.

Stretch Limo school runs: you saw it here first!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

The Bearpit: the heart of Bristol

Why were down at the Croft for the festival, then, apart from emergency deliveries to the massage parlours? To see the bearpit back in full swing again.

In the nineteenth century, the festivals that used to take place in the area were a subject of national scandal. Since then, it's got quieter.
Yet it remembers. Look at the sign on the exit, pointing visitors to the normal highlights of the area: the sex shops and takeaways of the croft, and the St James Barton Car Park. Nobody else would, normally, visit the bearpit.

Yet on the streetfest day, people are out enjoying themselves in the shadow of the old Avon County Council buildings, tweaked to hide their original 1974-era neo-stalinist glory.
Stalls selling clothes, food, alcohol.
People sitting in the sun, enjoying a beer or four.

Even from the three lane roundabout that surrounds this inner city parkland, you can see the smoke of freshly cooked burgers blowing over the road.

If the St James Barton Roundabout is the centre of Bristol, the one roundabout where you have to drive round, the bearpit is the core of the roundabout; the bit of Bristol around which everything rotates. Yet so few people come out to celebrate it. One a year, the city does!

Monday 6 June 2011

Respect buses

Contributor "TH" sends their second photo of a car/bus conflict. The car loses. Remember that.

This is St James Barton Roundabout, judging by the Primark in the distance. Apparently the bus was on the way to LHR, hopefully they didn't miss their flight, and DV51YYM didn't sustain too much damage.

Speaking of buses, here's a video from London of someone on a bicycle making a mistake.

Hipster Trash Compactor - East London from jssjmsvckry on Vimeo.

This video is doing the rounds of the international cycling sites, and should be shown to all schoolkids as a "what not to do" video. What they did wrong was not "try and slip between the gap of the car turning right and the bus that was pulling out having just got a green light". No, their mistake was earlier. It was "not slowing down for the junction". Approaching a set of lights, there are three states it can be in: red, green or changing.

Red: cross traffic with RoW at speed. If lucky, survive. Drivers get pissed off.
Green: vehicles pulling out hit you, especially large red ones. Drivers get pissed off.
Changing: either of the above.

There was no good outcome here, once the idiot chose to hit the junction at speed. The only unpredictable outcome was that someone else was videoing it. Speaking of which, isn't it a pity the cameraman didn't pull over and talk to the loser, because if you are going to be filmed doing something that near-suicidal, your face should be immortalised round the world.

Remember, both car drivers and cyclists: larger craft have right of way.