From next week, timed road closures will move to all day closures as part of walking and cycling improvements that were kick-started during lockdown to both support social distancing and reduce pollution in the area.
St Stephen Street and St Nicholas Streets will join Clare and Corn Streets in all-day closures, with the exception of a morning loading window for businesses between 05:30 and 10:30, Monday to Saturday.
Today (Wednesday 7 October) the council unveiled new art installations in the Old City to celebrate the work to improve the central environment, with other transport improvements including new city centre bike lanes and removal of through traffic from key roads like Bristol Bridge.
Over the coming weeks other temporary art from local artists illustrating the area’s heritage will join the inflatable artwork installed with Designs in Air today.
Mayor Marvin Rees said: “It has been an immensely challenging year, but we have moved quickly to try and capture the changes that lockdown brought to our air quality by bringing forward major transport improvements. I am delighted to announce that the Old City pedestrianisation will be ready for autumn in the next stage of our vision to transform Bristol’s transport network, creating cleaner air, safer and better public transport, and improved walking and cycling routes. By giving less space to traffic and more space to the businesses, visitors and shoppers in this historic area, we also look forward to seeing increased footfall to give the traders a boost amid the tough times we are all facing. We are committed to putting people, sustainability and environment at the heart of post-COVID recovery and cleaning up our air in the fastest time possible.”
Later this month four new disabled bays will be also added to High Street in the Old City and an additional disabled bay has already been installed on nearby Queen Charlotte Street. Disabled bays on Union Street also remain accessible despite the closure of Bristol Bridge to general traffic. Alternative routes are detailed at bristol.gov.uk/bristolbridgeinfo.
The Old City road closures are initially being implemented on a temporary basis, with the intention is to make these changes permanent in early 2021. The council is monitoring the impacts on the area and city centre as a whole and there will be public consultation before any change is made permanent.
Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Transport and Energy, said: “Lockdown brought with it many challenges but we also saw air pollution drop by half as people’s lifestyles shifted so dramatically. While some of these changes can’t last forever, it does demonstrate our ability to adapt to protect not just our own health but that of our neighbours. There may be some disruption as we all get used to the changes we are making to city centre roads, but it is essential we make big changes to reduce levels of harmful pollution. We would encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the extra space we are providing on walking and cycling routes across the city and to walk or hop on a bike for at least part of their journeys.”
For more information and to have your say, visit http://www.bristol.gov.uk/covidroadchanges or email email@example.com for enquiries. Anyone without access to the internet can write to: Transport Engagement Team, PO Box 3399, Bristol, BS1 9NE.
Find out more about what the council is doing and what residents, businesses and organisations can do at http://www.cleanairforbristol.org.