University Hospitals Bristol (UHB) has held a long-term aspiration to replace the multi-storey car park (MSCP) (120 places) on the north side of the junction of Marlborough Street and Dighton Street with a new MSCP (820 places.) UHB, continuously receives complaints that public car parking is inadequate and access to the BRI by car, problematic. The new, larger MSCP would close Eugene Street and demolish the Eugene Street flats with the loss of the city centre homes. It is reasonable to infer that if the 700 new parking places had an 80% occupancy rate and rotated three times a day there would be over new 3,300 new daily car movements. Access to the car park is either be from Marlborough Street (both directions) or from Stokes Croft through Jamaica and Dighton Streets. Many cars would turn right across the traffic.
National and Bristol’s planning policies discourage development that attracts more cars into city centres. The public will support the Trust’s wish to improve the Hospital service but equally want the Council to reduce traffic congestion in the centre of the city. The city centre road system has no flexibility; any traffic mishap leads to hours of congestion. The largest flow of out-patients will arrive at the car park for 9.00 am, the morning traffic peak. The largest flow of in-patients’ visitors will coincide with the evening peak. The Council’s air quality audit shows the air quality to be chronically below the advisory standard. Marlborough Street is heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists.
Traffic around the BRI is at a standstill at peak hours and frequently between peak hours. When the local road network is at capacity and traffic is stationary, the concentration of particulates is unpleasant for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle drivers. This will be a difficult application for the Council to decide. The Council must decide whether the public advantage of more short-stay hospital car parking outweighs the public harm that it would cause through increased traffic conflict, congestion and worsened air condition. Can the local roads cope with another 3,300 private cars each day? UHB has not, so far, published evidence of the projected new daily car movements or whether the local road network could absorb the traffic increase. The Society is unable to support the proposal.
Bristol Civic Society’s response [PDF, 753KB] Right-click to download, click to view.