Christmas shoppers are back at Cribbs Causeway, two minutes from where I work . The schools are starting to go on holiday so the kids are flooding in to see Star Wars at the nearby cinema. Work 'do's are filling restaurants around the retail parks.
The other evening it took me 25 mins to get to the M5 junction on my way home, when it normally takes 5 mins.
Congestion is Bristol is getting to a limit I am not enjoying, so what do I suggest? I am no transport planner, but I do drive and I live in Bristol, so here's my two penny's worth.
Work with local businesses
Congestion is worst at either end of the working day. Creating safe cycle storage and changing facilities at offices helps to reduce congestion – as does allowing for home working and staggered start and finish times. In Nottingham a workplace levy for businesses with lots of parking spaces has generated much-needed cash to fund alternatives and will help reduce traffic.
Introduce a congestion charge
London's congestion charge was implemented in 2003 and has been a success, reducing traffic volumes by just over 10%.
Sort out the buses
The routes, certainly in Bristol, can be fragmented and illogical. Established hubs are not used as well as they could be, and there may be a case for large scale re-routing to make rides more efficient and cover more areas. One friend of mine takes 90 mins to get to work (on a good day), and he lives in Bristol. I used to commute from Swindon and it only took me 55 mins. That's not right!!
Open up old train lines
I would LOVE to go to work on the train - extra napping/reading/writing...working time, and no angry drivers. So many areas in Bristol are way off the train lines which currently exist, with many others closed and forgotten. I'd certainly use the Henbury station if it reopened! And surely Cribbs Causeway could do with something train-like, closer than Patchway...?
Give away free helmets and bike locks
One of the things that might put people off cycling and therefore remain driving is the cost of a helmet and a lock to secure their bike. The two together could cost upwards of £45 and can be quite an investment. However, both items are essential for riding, so funding free helmets and locks may act as a good incentive.
Promote bus apps more
There are some great techy options to help you plan your route on public transport, but many people don't know about them. For Bristol buses I recommend the app 'Travel West Bus Checker' You can put your postcode in for your starting point and destination and it does the rest.
Install more bike rails for securing your bike
When I biked into town for dinner a month or two ago, I struggled to find a spot to safely park my bike. I ended up going several streets over from the restaurant I was meeting El Husbandio in - hardly ideal. It would also help with businesses - business relations and residents who live in popular areas: fewer 'eyesore' bikes attached to railings on the shop/house fronts.
A single transportation body across the city
Coordinated and well-planned, well-timed projects for transport improvement should be run by one independent body, in my view. This will make development easier, possibly making it cost less, and would pool resources into one key place.
More enforcement against banned drivers and uninsured drivers
This would get a good percentage of drivers off the road!
Rewards for walking the short journeys
Reward schemes are big business nowadays - could log local journeys when you would have used a car but walked/biked and receive vouchers.
Cut train ticket and bus ticket prices
Raise the driving age to 18
Now school is compulsory to age 18, there is not a need for young people to drive so much. Argument was they might need it for work after 16, but that's no argument now. I would have hated this suggestion when I was 17 and driving, but it would knock down the number of drivers, and potentially make the roads safer too.
What do you think?
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Born to be a Tourist