Bristol Walking Alliance (BWA) has commented on the Issues and Options consultation for the West of England sub-region’s Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study, which set out possible ways forward for the period to 2036 in the context of a projected housing need of 88,000 homes. This is a summary of our comments.
Joint Transport Study (JTS)
Walking and the transport hierarchy: We believe it is important that the outcome of the JTS delivers on the existing policy commitment to put the pedestrian at the top of the transport hierarchy. Walking is part of most journeys and has the potential to be a major contributor to the shift to more sustainable travel patterns.
Health impacts and inclusive solutions: We believe that the JLTP/JTS objectives should be amended to more clearly recognise the health impacts of different modes of travel and the importance of inclusive travel solutions.
Big capital projects vs packages of smaller measures: There is a danger of over-emphasis on high profile capital projects which will not achieve the desired modal shifts. We would support packages of soft and hard measures to support walking as a sustainable transport option. Such measures would include improved crossing-points, traffic calming and reduced through-traffic, advice and information, removing polluting vehicles, creating pocket parks, wider pavements, better signage, places to rest e.g. benches, and good lighting and sight lines.
Joint Spatial Plan (JSP)
Quality of the urban environment: We believe that the consultation document does not attach sufficient importance to the quality of urban environments. We are concerned that excessive ‘densification’ would threaten this if it is at the expense of valuable open or green spaces. Bristol’s green spaces and neighbourhood facilities need to be protected and more public spaces created. Car use needs to be curbed and more sustainable and active travel encouraged.
Design of new development: We would like a commitment to making all new development walker-friendly and to improving routes throughout the region for walkers. We would like a commitment to following the principles in DfT’s Street Design for All and to adopting Natural England’s Accessible Natural Green Space Standard. The principles of mixed use, permeability and programmes of soft measures to support development should be made explicit, to ensure that there is adequate policy support for the development policies that will come later.