There is increasing recognition of the intense and growing problems of traffic, road safety and parking in our neighbourhood. Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers all face problems from cars speeding through rat runs; cars are frequently parked across dropped kerbs, close to junctions and on pavements; parked cars have been damaged; air quality is further compromised by vehicles circling streets looking for parking spaces.
The sheer density of parked cars and the increase in commercial vans, unoccupied camper vans and other long stay vehicles left on local streets is also detrimental to the amenity of our area where the narrow roads were only designed for horses and carts! Sometimes vehicles are abandoned for months and occasionally set on fire. Visitors to the area who come by car have difficulty in parking to visit friends and family, to shop or to visit attractions such as local parks. In the view of long term residents of the area, the problem has been exacerbated by the formation of Residents Parking Schemes (RPSs) in the adjoining areas of Cotham, Redland and Montpelier as well as restricted parking in other areas such as The Downs.
Now a new campaigning group, The Bishopston and St. Andrews Traffic and Parking Group (BOSA) has been formed by a number of concerned residents who are committed to exploring possible solutions to these problems which may include the establishment of an RPS as was originally proposed some years ago. The aims of BOSA are :-
1) To provide a forum and community focus for coordinated campaigning by making interested parties aware of public meetings, petitions and other opportunities to make our voices heard on issues relevant to traffic and parking
2) To lobby Bristol City Council to launch a formal consultation about the possible implementation of an RPS in Bishopston and St Andrews.
This would obviously require a neighbourhood wide consultation of all interested parties which may lead to the long and detailed process of preparing a scheme that takes account of the many and sometimes conflicting needs of residents, visitors, park users, shoppers and Gloucester Road traders, among others.
As many Bishopston Society members will know, on May 12th local MP Thangam Debbonnaire hosted a public meeting attended by over 100 local residents at which a range of views were expressed about the problems of traffic and parking and about possible solutions. On a show of hands over two thirds of those attending favoured an RPS as a possible solution, a figure which mirrors the views of those people who answered a questionnaire sent out by our MP to 3000 households. Statements from local councillors and our MP were submitted to Full Council on 17th July to highlight these issues further.
At this time of limited resources the political will has to be there to ensure that this has a high priority and BOSA is fortunate to have the cross party support of all the local councillors in the relevant wards who have been very positive and helpful in facilitating meetings and providing information and guidance.
We are pleased to report that a meeting recently took place between representatives of BOSA, Councillors Mike Davies and Martin Fodor and Councillor Mhairi Threllfall, Cabinet Member for Transport and Connectivity. Local residents highlighted their serious concerns and their wish for long term solutions and Councillor Threllfall was able to confirm that, from October 2018 Traffic Officers will be allocated to investigate the problems and possible solutions in Bishopston and St. Andrews.
They could also consider signing the petition on commuter parking on the council's website here
Paul Bullivant - for BOSA