Bristol swaps car parking spaces for bike racks

But is the local paper siding with the motorist in its report?

by Martin Thomas   July 8, 2010  

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Bristol City Council has decided to replace 12 pay and display car parking spaces with cycling stands with room for up to 72 bikes.

According to the Bristol Evening Post, six locations across the city will each lose two car parking slots to make way for six bike stands, each able to accommodate two bikes.

Bristol City Council Cabinet member for care and health Councillor Jon Rogers told the Post, "Thanks to Cycling City, there are thousands less cars on the streets of Bristol at rush hour. It’s very good news for everybody travelling into the city. Five thousand less cars means considerably less congestion whichever way you travel.

"And we are obviously confident that there is plenty of capacity to lose the modest number of car spaces to ease residents' cycle parking headaches."

But the Post article’s opening sentence suggests the paper is taking sides: ‘If drivers think it's hard to find a parking space in the city centre at the moment, it's about to get worse.’

The article also highlights the fact that, while cars would be charged to use the spots, cyclists will be able to use them for free.

Councillor Rogers told road.cc, “My impression is that the Evening Post has a difficult job balancing the diverse opinions of residents in and around the city.

“The Post has supported Cycling City initiatives with many positive stories, covering most of the events and launches. No publicly funded initiative can expect an entirely smooth ride from a local newspaper, which will always seek to challenge authority on behalf of its readership.

“That said, the tone of this article does seem to suggest this is bad news for drivers! I think that is wrong! There is no shortage of city centre parking in Bristol and by replacing 12 car parking bays with 72 bicycle parking spaces we can encourage perhaps 60 or 70 car drivers to leave their car at home and cycle in. This reduces congestion, pollution and car parking problems! Win win all round!”

The comments under the article accuse the paper of being anti-cyclist, with one even suggesting the article is deliberately provocative in order to generate controversy and therefore traffic for the site.

The paper denies it is biased but has so far come up with no further comment.

5 user comments

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I'd be interested to know how many drivers entering the city are doing "bikeable" journeys (i.e. driver not physically infirm, not carrying heavy equipment or tools, driving say, 4 miles or less).

The paper could be playing a big role in pointing out how easy it would be for those folk to go by bike instead. And maybe adding that with ever more cars around, the city can't possibly go on using car sized bits of free space for (generally) single vehicles carrying single occupants into town...

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [418 posts]
8th July 2010 - 8:25

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I think that would be a very charitable view of the paper's position JTM, but who knows? You could be right.

Martin Thomas's picture

posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
8th July 2010 - 8:30

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I think it'd be interesting to see how many people there are across the UK driving bikable distances and without carrying heavy loads. I expect the percentage would be fairly high. And I also expect a fair percentage of those people would be in the category of being overweight and using the excuse 'Oh but I don't have time to exercise.'

Many people are lazy and afraid of change, which is why they wouldn't cycle even though it'd give health benefits and also cost them less money.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2180 posts]
8th July 2010 - 9:19

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The BEP is well known for stokeing up anger amongst the driving militia. There are plenty of drivers here who are fine with cyclists but the BEP continues to try and ramp everything up.

Gutter rag - in my opinion

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1080 posts]
8th July 2010 - 10:08

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The locations involved are in the University area - so the cars that are displaced are probably students who for the most part could walk, cycle or bus in.

posted by slugbike [4 posts]
9th July 2010 - 14:38

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