Residents determined to get solutions to parking problems
A GROUP of residents have presented a report to Bristol City Council, detailing the parking issues that are being experienced in Bishopston and St Andrews in the hope that finally, something will be done.
by Keri Beckingham
The Bishopston and St Andrews Traffic and Parking Group (BOSA) went back to Full Council on Tuesday November 13 to ask again whether the commitment to dedicate traffic officer resources to support finding a solution will be honoured and are awaiting a written response. Without this technical back-up, councillors cannot consult with residents and other stakeholders on a detailed solution to the problems.
Following a public meeting with Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire in May, BOSA was set up to address problems in the area. Ways to tackle the ongoing issues of parking and traffic in Bishopston and St Andrews were discussed. These included a shorter period for parking restrictions; the suggestion for buses to be free or offer cycle racks; more use of double yellow lines to help emergency vehicles get through; tighter restriction on students bringing cars and partial road closures to stop through traffic. In addition, approximately two thirds of residents were also in favour of introducing a residents parking zone (RPZ) in the area.
Since then, BOSA have also launched an e-petition on Bristol City Council’s website, calling for them to “Please manage commuter parking and driving in Bristol”.
All options discussed at the meeting have since been reviewed by councillors. To keep raising awareness of the issue, BOSA representatives have also attended a number of meetings including the “Community Conversation” in Bishopston with the Mayor in July, as well as several Full Council meetings. They have also met other local stakeholders such as Gloucester Road Traders and Gloucester Road BID, in order to talking about possible solutions.
The group also met Councillor Mhairi Threlfall at the end of July, who was the cabinet member for transport at the time, where issues were reviewed again and a promise was made that traffic officers would be available in October. In order to support this process it was agreed that BOSA would submit a detailed report that outlined any meetings or consultations that had happened to date and evidence of issues experienced, which was handed over to the council in September.
Mike Davies, Labour Councillor for Ashley Ward , has made a statement asking the council to help resolve the parking issues He said: “For the last two years, Councillors Hance, Fodor and I have had meetings with BOSA and with Bristol City Council Cabinet Members for Transport, regarding parking and highway safety in Bishopston and St Andrews. There is a demonstrable need for an RPZ in the area, and we have been able to persuade Cabinet Members for Transport that this should be pursued. However, there have been numerous reshuffles of that role since 2016, which has meant that progress has been slower than it might otherwise have been.
“Recently, Councillor Mhairi Threlfall indicated to me that the next steps for the RPZ (i.e. a formal consultation of residents, with officer support) were in train, and that resource was able to be earmarked in the capital budget for its implementation. She had been impressed by the consultation undertaken with residents so far, and with BOSA’s report. It seemed that this established that the criteria for ‘community support’ that was needed for a new RPZ had indeed been met.
“However, the transport portfolio has now been taken on by the Mayor, after Councillor Threlfall’s resignation. I have asked for a meeting with the Mayor to try to ensure that the work that was planned is able to continue.”
Discussing the group’s work to date and their next steps, a spokesman for BOSA said: “In some parts of Bishopston and St Andrews, enforcement is increasing but this is perhaps only because residents are taking more action: reporting pavement obstructions and poor parking on a regular basis. However, the issues are still present, with emergency access compromised in some streets as well as speeding, and pedestrian and cycling safety issues.
“And the future does not look set to improve, with the prospect of Severn Bridge tolls being removed in December and a clean air zone which may or may not cut through parts of Bishopston, commuter traffic looks set to increase. This combined with current public transport issues looks set to create a perfect storm for Bishopston and St Andrews.
“BOSA is currently recruiting volunteer street representatives to help continue reporting and highlighting local problems and to continue to collect evidence to press the council take action. If you are interested in representing your street, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOSA’s petition has received 205 signatures to date. To sign the petition, visit: democracy.bristol.gov.uk/mgEPetitionListDisplay.aspx