Conservative Councillor Graham Morris is once more taking up the cause of protecting the interests of all those who used to rely on access to the Prince Street Swing Bridge.
This important crossing over the harbour has been closed for twelve months in order to undergo extensive refurbishment with a temporary scaffold walkway erected for pedestrians and cyclists.
Whilst most people recognise the crucial role that this bridge plays in accommodating travel from south of the city, a campaign has again been mounted which seeks to ban cars and other vehicles from using it when the repairs are finished.
An online petition calling for a trial to permit only ‘healthy and active’ modes of travel on the bridge attracted 359 signatures and is strongly backed by Bristol’s Green Party.
Now, Cllr Morris has submitted a motion to the next Full Council meeting which urges the Mayor to confirm there will be no back-peddling over previous assurances given that this vital link would be available to motorised transport.
Cllr Morris (Con, Stockwood) said: “It is very regrettable that a tiny minority of citizens of the cycling lobby are agitating over future accessibility to this bridge.
“Previous campaigns to exclude the car have been fended off with the former Mayor promising only last March to keep this crossing open to most forms of traffic.
“The swing bridge remains a key feature in our road network and, as experienced this last year, its loss has had an enormous impact on congestion in the city and the significant decrease in the punctuality of the bus service as Temple Meads is often gridlocked.
“I hope to be able to gain cross-Party support for my motion which – if backed by the Mayor - might just succeed in finally putting this issue to bed for the foreseeable future.”
PRINCE STREET BRIDGE (to be moved by Cllr Morris)
“Council is concerned over the latest attempt to get motorised transport barred from using the Prince Street Swing Bridge when it eventually reopens after extensive refurbishment.
Since the closure in August 2015 of this crucial crossing point over the floating harbour, travel in this part of the city has significantly worsened, with traffic often brought to a complete standstill for long periods throughout the day but particularly during early morning and evening commutes.
Uncertainty over the future of this bridge was meant to have ended in March when the previous City Mayor gave a public assurance that, once restored, it would continue to cater for all types of road-user (including light vehicles) because of its strategic importance to the road network.
Accordingly, Council calls on the Mayor to confirm that this is still the position today and that campaigns to secure its closure to motorists are not only an unwelcome distraction but are actually detrimental to efficient transport planning in our city.”