May 2018: Your Local MP

May 01 2018

Building a better transport network

LAST month I wrote about the UK’s illegal and unsafe levels of air pollution, which cause 300 premature deaths a year in Bristol alone. We know that 80 per cent of this air pollution comes from vehicle emissions, with private cars the biggest culprits. We need urgent action to tackle this problem, including curbing use of the most polluting vehicles in the areas worst affected and improving our transport network so that using public transport is genuinely an option for people, ie it is convenient, affordable and reliable.

Having a decent transport network is crucial for any city. In Bristol many key routes in and out of the city centre, including Fishponds Road, are already at over-capacity, leading to congestion and frustratingly long delays. Yet many people feel they have no alternative, but to drive.

In the council’s new draft Local Plan, which is out for consultation now, central Fishponds has been designated for major new housing development - eg on the underused industrial land around Goodneston Road - with the provision of up to 1,400 new homes. This cannot go ahead unless it’s accompanied by major investment in transport infrastructure too. I’ve spoken many times before about my disappointment with the Metrobus proposals - agreed before the current administration at the Council took over - which do little to improve transport links in east Bristol. We cannot have a repeat of this, and I speak regularly to the Mayor and the members of his Cabinet responsible for housing, transport and planning about these concerns.

We must also do more to ensure more people feel able to get around Bristol by bike. Sadly much of the city’s cycling infrastructure is poor and there are too few cycle paths, meaning cyclists are often forced to ride in fast-moving traffic. There are other safety problems cyclists face, car doors being an example. With 16 cyclists seriously injured in recent years because of people carelessly opening doors into them, Bristol is second only to London on the number of these collisions. On the Fishponds Road five cyclists have been hit by car doors in the last seven years.

We must build the infrastructure that makes cycling and walking safe and pleasant, and invest in public transport that is consistently clean, cheap and reliable. In Parliament I am often calling for the Government to do more to invest in sustainable transport, and I am working with Bristol City Council, including Eastville Councillor, Mhairi Threlfall, who is in the Mayor’s Cabinet leading on transport issues, to improve the situation here. Feel free to get in touch if you have any problems with transport or suggestions to improve the situation.

If you would like to contact Kerry or her office you can call during weekdays on 0117 939 9901 (between 10am and 1pm) or email at kerry.mccarthy.mp@parliament.uk