Bristol traffic plans ‘take advantage of empty roads’

bristol traffic plans take advantage of empty roads - Bristol traffic plans 'take advantage of empty roads'Image copyright Google
Image caption Bristol Bridge will be closed to general through-traffic under the proposals

Bristol’s Mayor said he wants to “take advantage of empty roads” to ban vehicles from city centre streets.

Marvin Rees has announced plans to stop general traffic using Bristol Bridge and Baldwin Street and “accelerate” the pedestrianisation of the old city.

He said he wants to “make the changes right now” so people going back to work return with the “right travel habits”.

But campaign group the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) said it was “an absolute disgrace”.

The plans, which were announced on Wednesday, include a bus priority route on Bristol Bridge and vehicle restrictions in the old city area during business hours.

New sustainable transport, walking and cycling routes in the city centre and “city-wide pavement widening” to “enable social distancing” are also being planned.

It comes after the government announced a £250m boost for local authorities in England to improve transport infrastructure.

Image copyright Bristol City Council
Image caption The plans include a bus priority route on Bristol Bridge and vehicle restrictions in the old city area during core business hours

Mr Rees said many people had “embraced more walking and cycling journeys” during lockdown.

“The opportunity is to take advantage of those empty roads to make the changes right now,” he said,

“Lets get people coming back to work with the right travel habits and if we put these changes in place now, we can secure that benefit.”

Nigel Humphries, from the ABD, said it was an “absolute disgrace” the authority was “using Covid-19 as an excuse to advance a political agenda”.

“They’re determined they’re going to obstruct car use as much as possible,” he said.

“They’ve wanted to do this for some time and now they’ve got the excuse and it’s particularly poignant because at the moment the car is actually the best form of transport because it enforces social distancing.”

The changes, which will initially be on a temporary basis, are due to come into force by the end of the summer.

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