Launch of citywide campaign: Liveable Neighbourhoods for Bristol
27th August 2020
The Liveable Neighbourhoods for Bristol campaign promotes safer, quieter residential streets. In the blog post below, campaign member Alex Stephenson explains why ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ allow people to feel safer in residential streets as well as encouraging more people to switch to active travel. Alex works as a Senior Transport Planner for Paul Basham Associates and joined Bristol Cycle Campaign at the start of the year, leading him to get involved in this campaign.
During lockdown Bristol residents benefited from cleaner air and quieter streets; we could hear birds singing, children played out on the street and families enjoyed walking and cycling in their local area. Many of these unexpected benefits of the pandemic have now been lost but there is a way to experience them again.
Over the last few months organisations from across Bristol have come together to launch a new campaign for Liveable Neighbourhoods. Liveable (or Low Traffic) Neighbourhoods are simply defined as residential areas with strategically placed traffic filters that prevent through traffic using quiet neighbourhood roads as rat-runs. The filtering techniques will include bollards and planters; the latter also limit traffic speeds and introduce more greenery into the urban landscape.
It is important to note that full access to properties for residents, visitors and deliveries remains but through traffic is prohibited. Quieter streets create a safer space for children, older people and those with disabilities. With traffic filtering in place, social distancing is easier, and roads become safer recreational areas for children who may not have access to a private green space. Businesses benefit from a higher pedestrian footfall and can increase outdoor seating; a significant asset if social distancing is to be maintained whilst Bristol’s economy starts to recover.
Our open letter to Bristol City Council asks them to work with local residents to establish ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ in every area of the city between now and May 2024.
Recently the council listed a number of roads which were being considered for potential ‘access only’ or filtered roads so we are hoping that this is the start of the journey in Bristol.
The model for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods for Bristol has been based on the exemplary ‘Mini-Holland’ scheme in Walthamstow. The scheme has been so successful that local residents have even been asked to run tours! It was great to see that Cabinet Members Kye Dudd and Nicola Beech took part in a tour earlier this year. To find out more about the scheme please watch this short video. I find this video really inspiring: hopefully in time all children in Bristol can grow up neighbourhoods that are free from dangerous through traffic.
It has been brilliant to see the campaign gain traction. It is already supported by over 20 groups including Playing Out, Bristol Older People’s Forum and Bristol Walking Alliance.
Facebook groups have been set up for every area of the city so that local residents can discuss ideas and push for change wherever they live. We are now calling on anyone interested to join the conversation. Find your nearest group using the search form on the campaign website here.
We are also looking for local ‘champions’ to help us engage with residents and businesses in every area of the city. The aim is to kickstart the conversation on Liveable Neighbourhoods and explain how those in favour can show their support and make a difference as we take our campaign to the council.