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Calls for improvements to notorious Gloucester Road

Bristol’s Gloucester Road, identified as one of the most dangerous commuter routes by cycling charity Sustrans, is the subject of two rival petitions, one calling for the lifting of parking restrictions, the other demanding a bike lane along the length of the road.

According to the Bristol Evening Post, Gloucester Road is the scene of confrontations between road users at peak periods. Its bike lanes are intermittent, and some drivers say it needs more parking spaces.

A petition by cyclist Jorge Sved calls for a continuous cycle lane along the full length of Gloucester Road.

“Why are there cycle lanes only on some portions of the Gloucester Road?” he says in a petition addressed to Bristol City Council.

The council, he says, should “make them continuous all the way from Zetland Rd to the British Aerospace roundabout.”

“Eventually there should be fully segregated cycle lanes on this route used by hundreds of cyclists every day. Until then, at least paint cycle lanes to stop motor vehicles from driving near the pavement forcing cyclists to weave between cars slowing down their progress and increasing the risk of injury.”

But city councillor Dr David Willingham wants parking restrictions lifted at peak times to make it easier for drivers to get to shops on Gloucester Road.

His petition calls for the council to remove restrictions on parking bays that don’t obstruct traffic lanes, and bring in ‘tidal’ parking rules so that drivers can park on the outbound side of the road in the morning peak, and the inbound side in the evening.

He told the Post: "Parking your car in some of the spaces which are currently restricted takes no longer than a few seconds.

"When you consider that some junctions on Gloucester Road may be at as much as 143 per cent capacity during peak times, it is not going to change the speed of the traffic.

"It will make no difference to congestion but will bring parking spaces back into use – for the benefit of the traders."

However, he concedes that cycle lanes the full-length of Gloucester Road and fewer parking restrictions are not compatible.

"As a cyclist, I support making a safe cycling route into town. I don't think continuous lanes are possible all the way but I also don't think my petition would affect the safety of cyclists," he said.

The cycle lane petition currently has 182 signatures and can be found at http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/community/petition/2519.

The parking petition has 103 signatures and is at http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/view/glosrdparking

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.