Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees has launched his new Congestion Task Group to make recommendations on new ways to improve journeys for everyone in the city area.
The group of key city stakeholders, including professionals and experts in their field, represent a variety of organisations with a direct interest in improving mobility and connectivity in Bristol. They will meet monthly for the next year before making a series of recommendations for the Mayor to consider.
The first meeting will take place today (Tuesday 13 June) and one of the main tasks will be to agree a list of emerging priorities, including fast-tracking a new City Centre Movement Strategy, an updated managing roadworks policy, targets on journey time predictability and a fresh look at long term transport planning options.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:
“I want build a better Bristol and a high-quality transport network is crucial to that future. Traffic congestion is holding us back and affecting our health, so I take a personal interest in this challenge. I know it affects so many of you – residents, visitors and businesses alike – with a negative impact on our health, economy and connectivity.
“A quick fix is not the answer although some of the small changes we’re making are already improving traffic flow. We'll keep looking at both long-term strategy and quicker improvements, making good use of the professional expertise on this group to explore new ways of doing things, including what has previously been discounted. Nothing is off the table. I want a transport solution and so do the people of Bristol.
“I am very grateful for the time and commitment everyone on this new group will be investing and I look forward to working with them.”
James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber & Initiative at Business West, which is represented on the new group, said: “Improving transport and access is a critical issue for business and employers across the city and so we welcome the creation and invitation to become members of this new congestion group. It will provide new focus, ideas and action on how we improve mobility for people living, working and visiting this city and we look forward to working together on new solutions.”
The full membership of the new Congestion Task Group is as follows:
• Sue Arrowsmith – Bristol Women’s Commission
• Dr Adrian Davis – Public Health representative
• Peter Evans – Business West
• James Freeman – Managing Director of First Bristol
• Steve Gooding – RAC Foundation
• John Hirst – Destination Bristol
• Ann O’Driscoll – SUSCOM
• Professor Graham Parkhurst – Sustainable Mobility representative
• Cllr Steve Pearce – Bristol City Council representative
• Dr Miriam Ricci – Transport and Society Dept, UWE representative
• Melanie Watson – Transport Focus
• Kevin Slocombe – Head of The Mayor’s Office
• Cllr Mhairi Threlfall – Bristol City Council representative
• Patrick Williams – Cycling and walking representative
• Cllr Mark Weston – Bristol City Council representative
• Professor Eddie Wilson – University of Bristol representative
• A representative from Highways England
Each monthly meeting will usually focus on a specific area of interest and external speakers will be invited to inform the debate, bringing expertise and best practice examples. Each meeting will aim to establish a consensus and identify deliverables for Bristol, including timescales.
One transport project already in the pipeline and about to start will help illustrate the task group’s priority on journey time predictability. Work to remodel the Temple Circus roundabout, close to Temple Meads station, is due to start from 26 June. Once complete, the Temple Gate scheme will provide a more direct route for traffic travelling through the area to make journey times more predictable. It will also bring improved walking and cycling routes for the hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists using it every day. The work has been scheduled to avoid overlap with other major roadworks and as far as possible two lanes of traffic will be kept open during peak hours to keep traffic moving.
Mayor Rees said:
“This scheme, funded through the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, is an important step towards providing the right infrastructure for the next stage of development in the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, including a better transport interchange at Temple Meads.
“The new simpler junction at Temple Gate will help make journey times more predictable and will allow us to manage the roads more easily when there is heavy traffic. This builds on the approach taken in the city centre which has proved successful at reducing traffic delays. It will also make journeys easier for the hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists who use the area each day. However, in the short term there is likely to be some disruption to road users as the work is carried out and I don’t underestimate the effect this has on our citizens as they go about their daily lives.
“We have taken care to plan this work to avoid the main MetroBus works on the centre and the work has been scheduled over a longer period of time. I have also recently agreed that Prince Street Bridge will be opened to southbound traffic to help with traffic flow while the Temple Gate work is underway which I hope will help to reduce the impact of these works even further.”
Preparatory works for the Temple Gate scheme will take place from 26 June for approximately four weeks and will include short sections of lane closures for site investigation work across various locations within the scheme area. The main work will then follow from late July and is anticipated to be completed by Autumn 2018.
At an early stage in the works the southern section of the Temple Gate roundabout will be closed. This will restrict the number of traffic movements in the area to allow traffic to flow more easily during the works. Traffic from the north will no longer be able to turn right into Victoria St from Temple Way and traffic exiting from the Friary will no longer be able to turn onto Temple Way or straight on to Victoria St. Diversions will be signposted. The latest travel information will be available through Travelwest and roadworks.org. More detail about the Temple Gate scheme is available at www.bristoltemplequarter.com/gate.