In response to the Council’s ‘Harbour Hopes’ visioning consultation for Western Harbour, the Society has stimulated debate amongst its members and encouraged them to respond. Complementing the individual responses, the Society’s Transport and Place-Making group has taken a considered look at the road layout options, even though roads are not part of the consultation, as the road layout is an essential part of the next stage of masterplanning. This builds on the Council’s 2019 consultation on road options, and the associated Arup feasibility report.
A summary of the group’s conclusion is:
- A ‘decide and provide’ approach might be taken to reduce road capacity here, but only as part of a holistic transport programme to support behaviour change. But changing travel behaviour and reducing traffic capacity in this location is particularly difficult: to some extent high-capacity roads seem a necessary evil of Bristol’s topography which gives no realistic alternative of siting both the inner and outer ring-road here. All the options considered by Arup except retaining the existing bridge reduce the road capacity for these ‘strategic’ traffic flows.
- The housing crisis is a strong driver for a revised road layout, and the Option 8 eastern option is the front-runner. Keeping the existing bridge alignment and the raised highway would be acceptable to most people, but it delivers fewer new homes than other options. Other options return the roads to a more human scale, but the favoured Option 8 brings more traffic through Hotwells.
- More information is needed before we can make a definitive assessment of the road layout options, especially highway capacity based on traffic modelling. This ought to precede the masterplanning stage.
The full response is here.