Bristol plans Dutch-style network of bike routes across city

Public consultation to start early 2014 - scheme based on Bristol Cycling Campaign manifesto

Bristol looks likely to get a Dutch-style cycle network after the city council adopted an ambitious plan put forward by Bristol Cycling Campaign to build a grid of commuter routes across the city.

According to the Bristol Post, Bristol City Council will put the proposal out to public consultation early next year. The plans could be signed off by Mayor George Ferguson by next Spring.

Bristol Cycling Campaign described the news as “a bit of a first” and welcomed the chance to influence the building of bike routes instead of the council “producing something on their own which needs to be changed later”. 

Mark Bradshaw, Bristol’s assistant mayor for transport, planning, strategic housing and regeneration, said: "We are producing a new cycling strategy and have been working with Bristol Cycling Campaign on plans for the strategic cycle network for the city.

"We are aiming to consult on proposals this year for a launch in early 2014 which will include many of the issues highlighted in the campaign group's manifesto.

"There are more than £10 million of new cycling measures in the council's cycling programme, including the new cycling ambition fund to improve cross-city and river links. We will continue to work with the campaign group and other stakeholders in delivering a comprehensive network for Bristol."

In its Bristol Cycling Manifesto, Bristol Cycling Campaign called for an investment of £109 million over 12 years to quadruple the level of bike use in the city. The manifesto’s aims include 30 percent of commuter journeys in Bristol being made by bike.

Martin McDonnell, from Bristol Cycling Campaign, said that the council's support is a big success for the group.

He said: "It is a significant step and a bit of a first.

"We are really pleased to be working with the council over this instead of them producing something on their own which needs to be changed later.

"It looks likely to go ahead but the issue is funding. Whether it will come from local budgets or national budgets there needs to be long-term, secured financing."

Cycling projects in Bristol are currently funded by an allocation from the Cycle City Ambition project which put £7.8m the region’s way with a £3.3m local contribution.

That money will be used for a new pedestrian and cycle promenade across the city following the route of the River Avon; five new or improved river crossings for cyclists; the Cribbs Causeway to Emerson’s Green trunk cycle route in the North Fringe of Bristol; and the Seven Dials National Cycle Scheme in Bath City Centre.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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