One aspect of the greenwash letter on the new BRI multi-storey car park was its claim that the current multi-storey transport hub only had 200 spaces. That was a surprise, as if you ever spend any time in that part of the city you will know that UBHT property can be recognised by the way all garden areas have been converted into some form of parking.
Have the PR consultants forgotten to mention that detail? Hope that locals wouldn't pick up on that any more than they'd be expected to notice that you can't set an 8 floor car park into a hill when there's a child's play area right behind it? Whatever the reason, that failure to list all the parking spaces seems designed to make you feel sorrier for those who can't park -and again, by emphasising patients over staff, going for the maximum sympathy
Sadly, we are a data driven organisation, so set out to count up the spaces ourselves. Attempt 1 was on a Sunday afternoon, it took about an hour to get round and is too boring to share. What's surprising is how many little blocks and crannies they've managed to fit a car into. We estimate that in the combin f BRI and St Michaels hill hospital "campus", there are 400+ spaces, outside the existing multi-storey transport hub. That's not obvious to patients for the following reason: a lot of these spaces are dedicated to staff. As for the disabled? You get into double digits, but really -the majority of dedicated disabled parking is the double-yellow line areas on the council roads.
Here is our second attempt at a tour of the parking areas, starting in Dove St at the children's playground the BRI pretends doesn't exist, finishing off directly above it in Marlborough Hill place. This complete loop of the many transport hubs belonging to UBHT here takes 15 minutes, and covers 1.9 miles. That is not a typo. If you cycle round each bay in the car parks, one by one, the total amount of space comes in at just under two miles. There's a small amount of public road to connect all this together, but there's parking there -free form disabled, paid for visitors. How can the hospital PR team say with a straight face that it doesn't have enough parking when it has 1.9 miles worth?
What they should be doing is looking at the allocation of it: how much to staff parking, does facilities have theirs in the right places, how many people with disabled parking needs come a day -and are they satisfied. Instead, we get a grand plan to poison central Bristol, one which simply puts off addressing the big issue: why does everyone seem to expect unlimited staff and visitor parking at a hospital in the centre of a city?
Anyway, here's the video showing exactly how much parking there is for the UBHT to choose how to allocate. It's taken about 5pm on the first day any light drizzle had fallen from the sky, making the roads a bit skittery; you can hear the back wheel slide out at one point.
(Literal) High point: our (expendable) reporter discovers the base of the St Michael's Chimney. It just comes up out the ground, behind the asbestos waste skip and near the toddlers house. Maybe in future it will get the recognition it deserves as central Bristol's highest structure. We'll need a Banksy or two on it first though.
For those who hate our cyclists (expendable), skip to the end of the video and you can see them getting a "snakebite" puncture just trying to ride down one of the many potholed roads in the city. This is Bristol cycling. You can't even complete a two mile loop of the BRI car parks without getting a puncture on the small amount of council road covered on the ride. Interesting question though: given this is clearly filmed as happening on a council road, are the council billable for the replacement inner tube?
Finally, purists may fault us for not actually covering three of the for floors of the existing multi-storey transport hub. Can't get in there see: staff only. The secret that UBHT press releases dare not mention.