Internal advisers said the plans were “really not ideal” as that route is “busy and with vocal users”, according to documents released under freedom of information laws. Despite these warnings, Labour Councillor Don Alexander, cabinet member for transport, said he would try to “warm up” his cycling team and was “happy to remove the cycle lane”.
A traffic signal officer said: “Our preference would be to retain as much cycle provision as possible, only because we have just installed the first early-release traffic signals for cyclists in the city at the next junction down, at Triangle West, so it may look potentially contradictory if in the next breath we take cycling provision away here.”
A cycling officer said: “I think the public pressure to install more cycle routes will increase, and removing it — especially here, which is busy and with vocal users — will be a real PR risk to the authority. We have just consulted on the A37/A4018 project, where we stated we are improving pedestrian, cycle and bus routes.
“In a location like this, I don’t think we should be taking 2 to 3.8 metres out of use, as we need all the space we can get allocated to pedestrians and cycles, as this is one of the main corridors into the city from the north. I appreciate the issues here, but I think removing the cycle route and still only providing two metres for pedestrians is really not ideal.”
A transport project manager said: “It’s a vital bit of road for prioritising cycle infrastructure in the long term. I know it isn’t directly in the Triangle scope, however it links the Clifton Down, Cotham and Whiteladies Road shopping and hospitality area up to all of our projects in the city centre. It forms part of the key route onto the Downs and up the A4018.
“Any scheme here, where we are replacing the road surface for the long term, should have integrated protected cycling provision as far as possible, or we are really missing an opportunity. These are the missing links we need to be filling in where possible to work towards a cohesive network.”