There’s a lot of talk about congestion, traffic jams, air pollution, roadworks and getting people out of their cars and into public transport.
But for many drivers, that will remain a pipe dream until Bristol has the kind of proper public transport system, and segregated cycle infrastructure a city of its size deserves.
So while we are all still in our cars, what can be done to improve safety, traffic flow and the general driving experience?
As traffic increases, junctions and pinch-points get busy. And when they are busy, you see queues, and road layouts and management systems that were never designed for the number of cars they now see.
And that is dangerous. There are road junctions around the city the people who have to navigate their way across them every day say are ‘horrendous’. We asked Bristol which were the worst, and they answered.
Scores and scores of replies on social media suggesting people’s own, personal nightmare junctions.
Literally dozens of junctions, turn-offs, crossroads and roundabouts were suggested, many by multiple people.
Here, in no particular order of danger, are the junctions our readers think are the worst.
M32 Eastville roundabout
Lots to talk about here – and a lot of it could simply be down to the sheer volume of traffic using it. The lane system does the best it can, but you start in what you think is the right lane and go round to the next set of lights and suddenly you’re in the wrong lane. How did that happen?
And then, there’s the slip road from the M32 for drivers leaving the motorway having come from the M4. As Lois Wentworth eloquently explains on Twitter, you have traffic merging and have to cross over each other in the space of just 100 yards or so.
Bath Road/Stockwood Road
The traffic light-controlled crossroads junction near the Brislington Park and Ride was suggested by many, many different people.
Some people say turning right into Stockwood Road is bad, more people say turning right off Stockwood Road onto the dual carriageway towards Keynsham. It’s a strange one because it’s traffic-light controlled, but drivers report that cars come across the junction while others are turning right.
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It feels dangerous because you’re turning right as traffic is coming towards you and also turning right in front of you.
Kingsweston Lane/Kingsweston Road
So many people said this.
The main road here is the road from Sea Mills round the Blaise Castle Estate towards Henbury. In itself it’s not the best road – it’s a sharp bend, up a hill. But coming from Lawrence Weston and trying to join that road is a challenge worthy of a medal.
It’s a T-junction for you on a sharp little hill, you can’t really see to the left with the angle of the junction and looking to the right, the traffic emerges up and over the hill, round a bend and from the woods. It’s one of those junctions that’s actually safer at night, because you can see the lights.
Something needs to be done here, not sure what.
Castle Court/Bath Road roundabout/junction
Back to south east Bristol again, and lots of people suggested this area. Some say the traffic-light controlled junction where people cross from Arnos Vale onto the dual carriageway towards Sainsbury’s and others go from Totterdown and split to Sandy Park or the A4 was bad.
Other people say coming from the Castle Court Sainsbury’s and splitting all over the road to either go left, straight on or right, is really bad. Some complain the lights are not synchronised, leaving drivers from the north joining Bath Road stranded across the junction.
Does it need a roundabout?
Luckwell Road/Winterstoke Road
Winterstoke Road is a nice, safe road, but try joining it from Luckwell Road in Bedminster, on the corner by the climbing centre, and especially try turning right onto it.
You literally rely on the goodwill of everyone else on that road to stop for you, otherwise you have to force yourself onto the road and make people stop.
Many of those naming this one as their worst said they will take a detour to avoid it, it feels so unsafe.
Unlike other junctions on this list, which have traffic lights, or roundabouts with lanes, this has nothing. You’re on your own.
Greystoke Avenue/Falcondale Road
Falcondale Road is the main road around Westbury-on-Trym, the main route into the city from the north, but getting onto it from Southmead is a challenge.
Especially, once again, turning right. Traffic comes from the north, down the hill and round the bend at a rate of knots, and they are not going to stop for you as you try to pull out across them.
Or you wait for a safe time to do it, and everyone behind you gets cross.
Hockey’s Lane/Fishponds Road
You’re not allowed to turn left onto Hockey’s Lane from Fishponds Road, but people do. There’s been a long, long campaign to improve the road safety at this junction, with local residents even blocking the road in protest.
They warned back in 2017 about this, saying someone will be hurt, and sure enough, there have been several serious injury crashes there since.
Bridge Valley Road/Ladies Mile/Clifton Down
It’s a staggered crossroads, with a fifth little road joining it too, and this junction was named by many, many people.
The hardest bit appears to be turning right from Clifton Down (coming from the bridge) or coming from Ladies Mile, but anyone coming up Bridge Valley Road will have drivers nipping across or pulling out in front of them too.
St Michael’s Hill/Upper Maudlin Street
(B4051, city centre)
There’s so much people have to say about this one. For drivers, there’s the peril of turning onto St Michael’s Hill and having two lanes of traffic waiting to come down facing you, and a narrow gap round a bend and up a steep hill to squeeze through.
For drivers coming down the hill, the lights give you just a few seconds to turn right.
For pedestrians, there are so many issues – the crossings don’t line up with where pedestrians are coming from, the pavements suddenly stop, you can’t cross where you actually need to, it’s all a bit of a nightmare.
Brunel Way/Jessop Underpass
(A3029, A370, Ashton Gate)
You want to head north over the River Avon at Cumberland Basin. Brunel Way is a dual carriageway that passes Ashton Gate Stadium and heads over the river and the harbour. To get onto it, there are three choices, and all of them involve taking your life into your hands as a motorist.
The first, from the A369 Portishead road, is a neck-craning twist around to see gaps in a dual carriageway of vehicles travelling towards you at, maybe 50mph – if you’re lucky.
The second, from Winterstoke Road and the Ashton Gate underpass, sees drivers join into a proper lane, although you’ve got exactly 113 metres to get out of that lane, and onto the two of the main dual carriageway, otherwise you’ll be back off it and heading into Southville before you know it.
The third, though, is the one most cited by our readers. Joining from Coronation Road, you spiral up the Jessop Underpass and are on a sharp bend, up a hill, looking at just a few yards of visible road behind you, at a give-way line.
You’ve got two hopes, two strategies. Either you edge out and hope that all the traffic coming thundering around bend in both lanes somehow manages to see you and filter into one lane to avoid you.
The second method is to just see a gap and go for it, hoping and praying that you can accelerate with that hill start quickly enough so that whatever is coming around the corner in lane 1 of the dual carriageway does not go into the back of your vehicle. It feels really dangerous. It is really dangerous.
Zetland Road/Cranbrook Road
(B4054, The Arches)
It’s a T-junction that suddenly becomes another T-junction onto one of Bristol’s busiest roads – Gloucester Road.
Cranbrook Road is the de-facto main road from Henleaze, Redland and the back of Bishopston, and the only way to get to Gloucester Road is to negotiate this brain-melting junction.