Cyclists in Bristol welcome congestion charge proposal

Mayor also supports Sunday traffic ban

by Sarah Barth   May 19, 2013  

bristol city centre.jpg

Cyclists in Bristol have welcome the mayor's proposals for a congestion charge in the city centre.

Bristol's independent mayor, George Ferguson has already said that he would like to make the centre of town traffic free on Sundays, and has requested a feasibility study into the possibility of charging motorists to enter the area at peak times.

Bristol Cycling Campaign's chairman Martin Tweddell told the Bristol Evening Post: "Congestion in Bristol has been estimated to cost the local economy £500 million per annum. We all need an effective transport system so that we get from A to B around Bristol quickly, easily and inexpensively.

"Improving transport will benefit business and help local people and visitors. We need to have a city-wide conversation on this. Improving cycling is part of the solution – with or without a congestion charge."

Although the scheme might be beneficial for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as those living in congested areas, it's not at all popular with local businesses.

Guy Kingston, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "When George Ferguson was elected there was a tremendous amount of goodwill from the business community. But what he is suggesting would be extremely damaging for Bristol's economy at a crucial time and will undermine a lot of that goodwill."

London's congestion charge, which now costs £10 a day, was introduced in 2003. It quickly saw a 30 per cent decrease in motor traffic and overall increases in the numbers of taxis, buses, and especially bicycles.

TfL also estimate that the scheme saves around 40-70 injuries due to traffic each year.


7 user comments

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If Bristol becomes 'traffic free' on Sundays, you can expect to see a huge number of shops being closed on Sundays.

Municipal Waste's picture

posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
19th May 2013 - 12:05

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But didn't many say the same thing about the bus lanes/parking restrictions on Gloucester Road - that it would harm business - and it hasn't?

And anyway, the car free Sundays idea wouldn't be set in stone for ever - just see how it goes and if it doesn't work, fair enough. Worth trying though, I reckon.

posted by Joegooner [3 posts]
19th May 2013 - 12:29

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Something needs to be done, people do not seem to want to act in a responsible way and moderate their driving habits voluntarily.
Bristols air is filthy. It destroying our health, but as long as everyone can drive to buy some shit from the shops, that is what really matter eh?

posted by ilovemytinbred [148 posts]
19th May 2013 - 13:00

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Not all cyclists support congestion charging. This one doesn't!

posted by Jerm [29 posts]
19th May 2013 - 13:18

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If Bristol becomes 'traffic free' on Sundays, you can expect to see a huge number of shops being closed on Sundays.

There speaks a man with his finger on the pulse of the retail industry!

I don't think congestion charging is the magic bullet, but something needs to be done in Bristol. I live a long way out - 7 miles from the city centre - but at peak times it's always quicker to cycle, especially once you factor in the extended game of hunt the parking space at the other end.

As an aside, it's a shame that have seen fit to recycle a story from our local rag complete with its anti-cyclist spin. The local cycling campaign don't support a congestion charge without evidence that it will work, and the whole idea is only a proposal at present, and will depend on the outcome of a feasibility study. Of course, this hasn't stopped them wheeling out a self appointed spokesman for small businesses to tell everyone why it's unworkable.

posted by Mr Agreeable [65 posts]
19th May 2013 - 14:01

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It became fashionable to bring up congestion charging in the years after London introduced it. Lancaster (where I used to live) talked about a similar scheme, conveniently forgetting that Lancaster is basically one big ring road and you kind of have to go round it.

Predictably, the idea got shot down in flames right from the start with the local free rag getting itself worked into a right tizzy about it.

Can see that same happening elsewhere - local residents, businesses ect (usually spurred on by some self-appointed "spokesperson") get themselves worked up into a froth before the proposal has even been debated.

True NIMBYism. I support congestion charging, restrictions on driving, limited parking so long as it only affects everyone else and I can continue to drive at will. Rolling Eyes

posted by crazy-legs [366 posts]
19th May 2013 - 15:15

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Remember the people of Manchester voted this down (in their infinite wisdom.) Just shows that the London Mayor is a powerful position; at least when there is a clear tax and spend connection between the London policy and other programmes.

Cheers, G

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [830 posts]
19th May 2013 - 19:27

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