UWE student report on ‘walkability’ in Bedminster and Southville

Three Architecture and Planning students from UWE carried out a five week ‘walkability’ survey in BS3 for their finals in 2018. The survey was linked to Action Greater Bedminster’s aspiration to make BS3 a more Age Friendly Neighbourhood. The community contact was Ben Barker.

The report had two main themes.

1. It examines routes to six destinations, looking in detail at walking conditions from up to 250 metres from each destination. ‘Walking’ in this context included taking into account all pavement users such as buggy pushers, mobility scooters and wheelchair users. The destinations were the Tobacco Factory on North Street, the Chessel Community Centre, Dame Emily Park, Gaywood House GP Surgery, Bedminster Library and Bedminster Station. Some parts of the routes were fit for purpose, but not surprisingly, the students observed that all footways included overgrown hedges, parked cars, abandoned recycling bins and other obstructions. They also noted some broken pavements and considered the quality or lack of dropped kerbs, road crossings etc. Positive features such as benches and planting were also listed. It is notable that many of the obstacles are, or ought to be, easy to remove and at very low cost. However, the political will to do this seems to be absent.

2. The students were asked to look at ways of measuring walkability. They used part of the Healthy Street Check List which has been developed by Transport for London. This lists features of the street (volume of traffic, width of pavement, street clutter, lighting etc) and marks them as good, moderate or poor. The intent was to provide a simple tool which the community could use to measure walkability to any destination. This might be a first step to improvements undertaken either by the community directly or by putting pressure on public agencies.

The report itself is now on the website of BS3 Community Development and can be accessed at
https://bs3community.org.uk/about/projects-partnership-2/ (scroll down)

Questions and comments arising from the report should be sent to benbarker@blueyonder.co.uk .

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