Blog : Posts tagged with 'traffic'

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Too Much Information

In which something in the neighbourhood has changed


Not long after we moved here, we started to notice one particular car that was often parked in the neighbourhood. We noticed it because it had distinctive stickers in the back window. On the nearside, “Born-again Pagan!”. On the offside: “Bondage. It’s knot for everyone!” We’ve seen it again many many times since then, and speculated as to who would own a car with stickers like that; but we’ve never seen it moving. An aging hippyish type? A purple-haired couple? All sorts of stereotypes floated up into our heads.

The other day, though, we saw something that shocked us to the core. The car was there, again. The “Born-again Pagan!” sticker is still there, blue on white. The bondage sticker, though, has gone. Gone, with just a mark left behind. Never mind the driver or the owner: the missing sticker has really set our minds racing. What has happened to it? Is the owner worried what the neighbours might think? Have they decided to keep their sex lives to themselves? Have they lost their sense of humour? Did a couple split up, one take the car, the other take the sticker? Did it dissolve in the rain? There are myriad possibilities. I’m tempted to leave a note under the windscreen wipers asking the owner to get in touch

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More on that guided busway

More on the guided busway, as it paves over the Bristol Harbour Railway and replaces most of Cumberland Road


As promised yesterday, I’ve been doing some closer looking at the West Of England Partnership’s guided busway – sorry, I mean “Bus Rapid Transit” plans, and some measuring up on aerial photos. It seems I made a couple of misconceptions, though. Firstly: some of the plans show the Harbour Railway converted into a sort of tramway running along the same road as the buses. Secondly, I was slightly wrong about the route in the Winterstoke Road area. My mistake was to assume that it might actually serve a residential area; I was wrong, it doesn’t, and its sole use is as a replacement for the current park-and-ride services. The council have also said it will serve the football ground; but that slightly contradicts other things they’ve said.

Anyway, here we go: what does a guided busway actually look like? Never mind the Partnership’s shiny traffic-free plan: here’s a real one. This is the A64 on the outskirts of Leeds, which has a single-carriageway busway down its central reservation.

Aerial shot of East Leeds guided busway (from Google)

Never mind the bus lanes at top and bottom; the busway is that lovely expanse of concrete in the middle. The width of the whole thing, by my calculations,* comes out at about 3.8m. So, for a two-way busway such as the council wants to build in Bristol, you’re looking at 8m width. That’s for plain road without stops. Here’s a picture of where the council wants to build it: Cumberland Road. To the same scale, as you can tell by the cars.

Cumberland Road, Bristol (from Google)

From the top: road, railway, cycle track, river.

The plans include building over the railway for one side of the bus route. Remember what Councillor Bradshaw told me: the plans “do not prevent” trains being run. Does that mean no bus services at weekends when the railway’s running? Or fewer trains? Who, at present, knows? Anyway, that means, for our FP Militant Invective Laboratories simulation (better value that the Partnership’s, I’m sure), we only need paint over part of the road:

Cumberland Road with proposed busway overlaid

There goes the railway and just under 4m of the road, painted over in wobbly freehand. That’s the amount of land the council’s planning to concrete over for its posh new buses (and all the older ones which will also be allowed to use the busway).

So, goodbye to half of Cumberland Road – even by narrowing the pavement on the north side, there wouldn’t be enough room to make the road full-width. The council’s simulation does seem to show there being a bus lane in the road at this point, rather than a proper busway. However, there’s a slight problem with that: the buses and the road traffic would be going in opposite directions, unless one were to drive on the right, so no space gets saved. The published proposals go on and muddy this point by showing both buses and normal traffic driving on the right at this point – which, of course, would be no help at all.

Still to come: the even more awkward pinch-point where the busway is due to run alongside the Portbury Dock railway line, at Winterstoke Road, with a stop which will take up even more space. They seem to be planning to run the busway over Network Rail land – I wondered if Network Rail knew about that, so I’ve asked them. For that matter, I wonder who owns the land the rest of the busway will run on – presumably either Network Rail or BRB Residuary, the organisation that is one of the last remaining stubs of British Rail. BRBR’s website is a bit broken at the moment, so I can’t search their property listings to see what they do or don’t own.

* including the small width of kerb separating bus and road on the buses’ left, which is presumably needed for safety reasons.

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Things I Have Had Enough Of

In which stressful things get itemised


Things I have had enough of so far this weekend:

Shopping, crowds, crowded shops, not being able to think of things to buy people, not being able to find things I’ve thought would make really good presents, people getting in my way, people walking too slowly, people who take ages to park, not being able to find a parking space, traffic, getting stuck in traffic, traffic jams, road works on the motorway, motorways in general, having to find clothes to wear for the Christmas party, not being able to find any, not being able to find the changing room in the store, buying clothes that don’t really fit, worrying that I’m going to look stupid, worrying that I’ll get too drunk, worrying that the whole thing will end up in a huge punch-up and I’ll get a black eye.

It’s our office Christmas party tonight. The main good point about our office Christmas parties is that at least we don’t have them at the office itself.

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