Council relying on public transport to save North Fringe from gridlock

Congestion on Bradley Stoke Way, near the Aztec West Roundabout.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) is relying on a massive increase in public transport patronage in order to save the North Fringe of Bristol from gridlock, it emerged at a public inquiry this week.

The Council is proposing to allow the building of around 12,000 new homes in the North Fringe area over the next 15 years, with around 8,000 in the Cribbs Causeway/Patchway area and around 4,000 in Stoke Gifford.

The plans are contained in SGC’s Core Strategy document that is currently undergoing examination by a Government-appointed inspector at a public inquiry in Kingswood.

An independent study submitted to the inquiry concludes that the additional travel demand generated by the new developments can “reasonably be accommodated by the transport network without adversely impacting on the local economy, the environment, road safety and quality of life”, provided that:

  • The new neighbourhoods are planned and designed with an appropriate balance of housing, shops, services and employment to minimise the need for travel by car.
  • Measures are taken to encourage and maximise opportunities for walking, cycling and public transport use to, from and within the North Fringe.

In reaching its conclusions, the study draws on modelling results that predict an increase of 18% (by 2031) in the total number of “trips” made during a typical 12-hour weekday period. However, the authors claim that the number of car trips will increase by only 10% over the same period, due to the number of trips made by public transport increasing by a massive 125% and walking/cycling trips going up by 20%.

A number of people speaking at the inquiry doubted whether the assumed “modal switch” to public transport was realistic, with Jill Kempshall for the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England telling the Council’s transport expert that he was “expecting a miracle”.

Cllr Adam Monk (Labour, Filton), who works as a recruitment consultant, pointed out that the average employee in the UK travels for 45 minutes a day to get to work, adding:

“To say we’ll build houses and people will then walk to work is simply not credible.”

The proposed North Fringe to Hengrove Package bus rapid transport (BRT) scheme, which will link Cribbs Causeway with Bristol city centre, via Bradley Stoke, is seen as a key factor in increasing the patronage of public transport in the area.

The Core Strategy also includes outline plans for an extension to the BRT scheme, which would allow it to loop back from Cribbs Causeway, through the proposed developments on Filton Airfield and then along Gipsy Patch Lane and Hatchet Road to connect with Parkway station.

The transport study identifies the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch lane as a traffic bottleneck and says it will be necessary to improve the management of traffic on the approaches to the bridge. This will include the provision of bus priority and a new crossing under the railway for pedestrians and cyclists.

The strategic road network in the area is also predicted to come under increased pressure as a result of the new developments and the Highways Agency, in its submissions to the public inquiry, expresses concern about increased congestion at junctions 16 and 17 of the M5 and the Aztec West Roundabout on the A38. In response, the Council says it will implement mitigation measures that will include “widening of specific approaches to each junction”.

Andrew Roberts, representing the Highways Agency at the public inquiry, additionally identified junction 1 of the M32 as a potential problem area. The junction is “approaching stress …  and doesn’t have a lot of capacity left”, he said.

In reply, an SGC officer said the Stoke Gifford By-Pass (officially known as the Stoke Gifford Transport Link), in addition to being a key component in achieving a modal shift from car to public transport (through the BRT),  would also alleviate congestion at the motorway junction.

Current and planned non-housing developments in the North Fringe that could also have an impact on traffic congestion include: employment areas within the Charlton Hayes and Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhoods, the new Bristol Rovers Stadium at UWE, the new City of Bristol College Engineering Department and University Technical College in New Road, Stoke Gifford, the Filton Triangle Rail Depot and redevelopment of the Rolls-Royce East Works site in Filton.

REMINDER: There’s still time to have your say on the North Fringe to Hengrove BRT – the public consultation ends tomorrow (Friday 13th July 2012),

Related link: North Fringe Transport Review [PDF, 746kb]

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  1. Yes Public Transport will save us all.
    We all work 9 to 5 in a big factory and can just jump on a bus!!!!!
    What utter tosh.

  2. Fine. But what if the buses don’t turn up.

    I waited 45 minutes at Aztec West this morning for the 310 to take me to town. Then, a 309 turned up, itself 10 minutes late. On enquiring about the missing 310 the driver replied, “Oh, it broke down”.

  3. Incredibly, South Gloucestershire Council are saying that Electrification of the London – Bristol railway line will reduce congestion in the North Fringe. Just what planet are these people on?

  4. 2 of us had to use Public Transport on Tuesday to get to London.

    Stood @ Manor Farm from 0755 to 0820 for the 73. Asked for a return and was charged £5.80, thought OK at least that gets us both ways.

    Got off the train coming back and ran to stop the return number 73. realised £5.80 was one way, was told the by a rathar fed up driver that was I having a laugh offering a £20 note to pay the fare. He had no change what so ever, between us we managed to get £5.80.

    So to my mind the Council are just plan mad. Chose your car, choose your bike, choose your feet but public transport in it’s present state isn’t a credible alternative.

  5. We are having to battle with a rubbish bus service as it is, especially at the south end of Bradley Stoke. Its all one big joke.

    Still, I suppose by the time the houses are built we will be an area of mainly unemployed so won’t be on the roads because we have nowhere to go anyway so the transport system as it is will be able to sustain whatever is on the roads.

  6. Welcome to North Bristol.

    You’ll never leave.

    As you’ll be stuck in traffic.

    SGC – You don’t know what you’re doing.

  7. Aztec West Roundabout traffic is a nightmare. Bradley Stoke way is the only road joining A38. This really inadequate and show complete lack of strategic planning as part of the SGC.

  8. Utter ineptitude onthe part of SGC who have never had a grasp on traffic in this area and now display total capitulation to the developers whilst not doing anything to help motorists.

    Gipsy Patch Lane bridge is to get bus priority, are there any buses that go through it that carry fare paying passengers? The only hold ups there are due to the ancient, polluting fleet of knackered buses from the depot there.

    But there is a small glimmer of common sense, 50% of the speed bumps on Brook Way were removed today, a pleasant surprise. Hopefully never to be replaced but I bet there’s a plan to waste yer more money on raised tables or some other kind of hindrance.

  9. How on earth to they expect to see a 125% increase in public transport use given the prices that First charge and the service they provide?! The latter is, to be fair, generally due to the appalling congestion resulting from exisitng road users… so that’s only going to get worse then.

    When Avon County Council planned Bradley Stoke in the eighties they left lots of room for a tram system to link Bradley Stoke with Bristol. This could have been extended to other areas of the North Fringe relatively easily. Then the unitary authories arrived in the nineties and squabbled so much that the government told them they couldn’t have nice things like trams because they wouldn’t play nicely. Consquently, this land is now going to be used to build more roads. Brilliant.

    The 20% increase in cycling and walking is a joke too. I do cycle, but provision off and on-road is so poor that this isn’t going to appeal to a lot of people – just look a the accident stats along Bradley Stoke Way.

  10. I use to live on the south side of Bristol aka Bedminster.

    I thought traffic could not get any worse…

    But now living on the north side i’m completely wrong!! Traffic is so shocking, i am now forced to start work at 7am instead of my usual 9am.

  11. The ONLY way to avoid a massive congestion problems around the North Fringe (including Bradley Stoke) is to NOT build another 5,000 homes in the middle of it. End of.
    If anyone in Bradley Stoke wants the opportunity to drive out of it in the future, then they need to be lobbying SGC *heavily* to stop them building all over Filton/Patchway.
    Remember, Bradley Stoke itself was promised multi-modal public transport that would negate our need for cars when it was master-planned. What happened to that? A few buses that randomly turn up during the day, that no-one can rely on. So, what do you think will happen to a new estate at the airfield?

  12. I don’t have any information about the humps I’m afraid, although I do recall someone saying they wouldn’t be replaced should they need to be removed because they had worn out or become damaged. Perhaps one of our BS Councillor readers can confirm that?

  13. SH, if I recall, the humps that have been removed no longer meet the “standard” (not sure if that is local or national). I for one will not mourn their passing.

    As for the credibility of SGC to implement improvements to the road infrastructure the fact they cannot mend potholes months or years after reporting them (A38 opposite the Patchway shops) suggests they are totally out of their depth.

  14. Loving the fact they have removed some of the humps on Brook way! Not to sure why they haven’t done the rest of Brook way but please remove the rest leading up to Oaktree Crescent!!

  15. Public transport is a joke. I drive and cycle into work. I would rather walk than mess about with buses. The timetables aren’t clear, it’s impossible to know what the fare is, where the stops are and you need exact change a lot of the time. This is all stress I don’t get with my own transport.

    The last few times I had the misfortune of using a train I had to stand next to a toilet for 2 hours.

    No thanks.

  16. Well it was too good to be true. At this very moment the council’s contractors are busy in Brook Way knocking together a frame which suggests they are going to replace the old humps with Braydon Avenue-style tarmac types.

    I would love to know where this budget comes from, obviously a different bucket to the one for doing something about the disgraceful number of potholes which plague our local roads,

  17. Hmm… When they removed the speed bumps on brook way i was happy!! But they just replaced them with more Braydon Avenue style ones..

    Don’t understand why there are so many speed bumps on Brook Way! Its like living in Knowle… Pretty sure my car suspension is going to break anytime soon!!!

  18. And why only change half of the Brook Way humps?

    All or nothing, there is no reason to retain the old ones.

    But I agree with you James, it was so much better without them.

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