Are we being sacrificed for the greater good?

June 05 2016

THE battle over Stoke Lane has moved into its third phase this month following two significant victories by local campaigners.

Stoke Lane

THE battle over Stoke Lane has moved into its third phase this month following two significant victories by local campaigners.
They swung into action in April after discovering that the team building Bristol’s £200m MetroBus planned to close the road - a vital link between Frenchay and Bristol’s north fringe - for 12 months.
Stoke Lane Action Group - SLAG - was quickly formed and managed to achieve a four-week delay for the proposed ban on northbound traffic. As reported in last month’s Fishponds Voice, hundreds of people attended the group’s public meeting, after which the closure was delayed from April 24 to May 22.
Following the local elections, and just three days before the second proposed date, Bristol’s new cabinet member for transport, Mark Bradshaw, ordered a further delay so that more discussions could be held about the impact of making Stoke Lane one way and possible alternatives.
The campaigners said MetroBus’s modelling of the proposed effect of stopping traffic going up Stoke Lane was faulty as it failed to take account of the closure of Hambrook Lane - also for MetroBus works - the new housing developments at Highbrook Park, Cheswick Village and Lyde Green, and the move of UWE departments from Fishponds to Frenchay.
But MetroBus continues to argue that it needs to shut the road  so it can complete work on a retaining wall without risking delays to the MetroBus launch, which is scheduled for autumn 2017.
MetroBus,  a new bus rapid transport system for the West of England, is aimed at reducing journey times across the city. It is estimated that travelling from UWE to the city centre will take 15 minutes instead of the current 27. It is being delivered by Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council and their contractors.
Representatives of all sides met on May 22 to share ideas. Among those at the meeting were Frome Vale ward councillors Nicola Bowden Jones and Lesley Alexander, Lockleaze councillor Gill Kirk, South Gloucestershire transport lead Councillor Ian Boulton, Councillor Bradshaw, council officers and the contractors, and Neil Collard, Fiona Gleed and Amanda Vinall, from SLAG.
Further talks were still being held as the Voice went to print but it looks likely that traffic will be restricted to one-way over the summer, when the roads are less busy, and reviewed in September.
SLAG will continue to press for two-way with traffic lights in time for the start of the academic year and the return to work. Schools and commuters have already expressed concerns about how long their journeys will take if they cannot use Stoke Lane northbound.
Meanwhile, experts are monitoring the traffic lights in the area and have asked motorists not to jump red lights, as this makes them reset and cause longer delays.
Talks are also continuing about bus routes and diversions, as the original plans risked isolating people in Stapleton and Frenchay.
Mrs Vinall said: “ This one-way will have a detrimental effect on the wider Bristol network, but we believe that Stapleton and Frenchay residents, including the elderly and infirm, are being sacrificed for the long term ‘greater good’. Proper working traffic lights could avoid all of this.”