Bristol's first car-free 'Make Sundays Special' event a "great success" with majority in favour

Bikes, music and sofas take over Bristol streets

by John Stevenson   June 24, 2013  

Make Sundays Special Image by Flickr user samsaundersleeds 05

Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson has hailed yesterday’s inaugural ‘Make Sundays Special’ event as a great success, reports the Bristol Post.

Motor traffic was banned from several streets in Bristol’s centre so that the area could be used for activities including music, food stalls, entertainment, a BMX demonstration area and a family cycling circuit.

The idea, an initiative of Bristol’s first elected mayor George Ferguson, a political independent, was inspired by similar festivals in Bristol’s twin town Bordeaux, in south-west France, and the Colombian capital Bogota.

Mr Ferguson told the BBC: “This is all about the people. Cities are made up of people, not buildings and cars, and this is a wonderful demonstration and wherever I go I have been stopped by people being enthusiastic about it.

“If it has worked like this in this weather, it is going to be absolutely tremendous in finer weather.”

Responding to the reporting of the event as “closing” roads, he said on Twitter: “We have to change the language - we were not ‘closing’ roads in Bristol but opening them for people and activity.”

3 to 1 visitors in favour: survey

A survey by supporters of campaign group Living Heart for Bristol found 99 visitors in favour, 33 against and 13 don’t knows, according to Bristol 24-7

Living Heart for Bristol spokesman Steve Melia said: “We were delighted with the response we got from people out on the streets. This was really good for business. Any shops, cafes or bars who were open today were doing a roaring trade. And most of the public agree with us that through traffic should be permanently removed from these streets.”

Presumably that includes the residents who even brought their sofas out on to the streets to enjoy the festivities.

Mayor George Ferguson said that the event had brought trade to Bristol. “I was amazed by the number of people not from Bristol that came,” he said. “It’s great for the economy. I want people here spending Welsh pounds and Birmingham pounds as well as Bristol Pounds.

“I don’t know how many people came but it’s thousands. On a grey day when people would have probably stayed at home or done something inside, they came outside. I want to congratulate all the people who have helped organise it.”

Cabbies unhappy

Main road routes into the city centre car parks remained open, but one group of Bristol’s road users was not happy. One taxi driver told the BBC:  “It’s ridiculous. The passengers that want to go to the city centre, just the other side, they can’t go there so you have to go all the way around.”

The next Make Sunday Special events are on:

21 July
18 August
29 September
20 October

5 user comments

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"One taxi driver told the BBC: “It’s ridiculous. The passengers that want to go to the city centre, just the other side, they can’t go there so you have to go all the way around.”

Possibly the first ever instance of a taxi driver complaining about having to take a passenger on a longer route Wink

posted by Ducci [67 posts]
24th June 2013 - 12:05

1 Like

It's difficult to maintain a straight face while reading that this is part of the ongoing 'war on the motorist.'

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [300 posts]
24th June 2013 - 18:33

7 Likes

I just wished I lived in Bristol Cool

posted by tradescant [15 posts]
24th June 2013 - 18:38

9 Likes

Its lovely to make sundays special etc but our Mayor really cannot explain the reasoning behind it.

Also, not sure how people are encouraged out of cars when there are massive temporary car parks opened up for the day. Also, why do they use it to promote electric vehicles which have inherently poor 'green' credentials.

Mayor George is making a name for himself in supporting, financially, his creative/dance/theatre/circus groups which all enjoy substantial subsidies from BCC. I would love to see cycling promoted but George hasn't actually done much on that score yet since being Mayor.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
24th June 2013 - 21:39

8 Likes

Ducci wrote:
"One taxi driver told the BBC: “It’s ridiculous. The passengers that want to go to the city centre, just the other side, they can’t go there so you have to go all the way around.”

Possibly the first ever instance of a taxi driver complaining about having to take a passenger on a longer route Wink

Try finding a taxi driver that doesn't complain! They'll moan about absolutely anything, it's a professional obligation.

Changing transport habits and priorities is a long term project. I expect there are plenty of things Bristol's mayor could do better but this is surely a step in the right direction. Rome wasn't built in a day etc etc...

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2057 posts]
25th June 2013 - 15:39

8 Likes