Development of Brunel Mile, Bristol
The Brunel Mile is a notional route between Millennium Square and Temple Meads Station. A video (date uncertain) on the Better By Bike website shows the intended journey. http://www.betterbybike.info/video-list/millennium-square-to-bristol-temple-meads-along-brunel-mile
Some of the route shown in the video corresponds with Bristol Cycling Campaign's important orbital freeway: Fo1 Inner Loop Redcliffe Way to Triangle. (see https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msid=213139683046776952805.0004d820d652973f23c70&msa=0&ll=51.491805,-2.665343&spn=0.025758,0.032959&dg=feature) To enable a network to develop coherently as it grew, Fo1 would be our recommended route.
As it stands (July 2013) there is only one short section of the Brunel Mile that meets a majority of the criteria that would characterise a cycling Freeway, namely the segregated cycle lane across Redcliffe Bridge which fails only on the "continuous" criterion. It seems important that all of it should do, as a priority, given that sections of the Brunel Mile are very heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians, especially at peak times. For many visitors coming by train with cycles or using the Brompton Dock at Temple Meads this will be a first experience of cycling in Bristol. It needs to make sense and to be easy to use first time.
Issues and suggestions, as things stand, are as follows
1. Pero's Bridge already has too much pedestrian and cycle traffic. It is often uncomfortable for pedestrians and for cyclists. Keeping it as part of a major cycle route through the city is unacceptable. Route Fo1 uses Prince Street instead, where a wide segregated cycle lane would be feasible.
2. The Royal Oak Avenue, Queen Square and Bell Avenue sections would benefit from clear segregation of pedestrians and cyclists, along the lines suggested by the de facto segregation that tends to happen at peak times.
3. The pedestrian and cycle crossing at Welsh Back might benefit from an analysis of behaviour at that junction and consideration of standards adopted in other places. Casual observation suggests a great deal of uncertainty among all road users as to what is supposed to happen and who has priority.
4. At the end of Redcliffe Bridge cyclists are faced with uncertainty as to whether to continue along the paved area beside Freshford House or use the pavement alongside Redcliffe Way. Signage at that point (as it is all along the route) is confusing, inconsistent and unspecific.
5. Crossing Redcliffe Street by cycling straight over the zebra crossing and expecting cars to stop seems to be condoned, and practised. This doesn't feel right and matches no standards that I am aware of. A clear decision needs to be made about how cyclists and pedestrians can cross here without arcane knowledge of "Bristol Rules". Many of those using this (as on the other crossings on the Brunel Mile) are visitors to the city on their first mile of city cycling.
6. The following section of Portwall Lane could be made into a fully segregated cycle lane, with a better crossing at Phippen Street. The numbers of pedestrians, cyclists and out-of-office smokers on this section can be very high and leaving the traffic to fend for itself is inimical to a genuine 8-80 environment.
7. At the end of the Portway there is great ambiguity about how to reach Temple Meads on a bike. The Better By Bike video shows the least satisfactory option that ends abruptly on the wrong side of Temple Way with two busy pedestrian crossings and an unsatisfactory cobbled road to negotiate before reaching the front of the station. Most cyclists seem to use one of the more direct routes over light controlled crossings to The Friary, thence to the side entrance of Temple Meads where the presence of the Brompton Docks and the Cycle Hub van give a natural welcome.
8. Development work on the derelict "island" around Portwall Road East should take full account of the existing use of that section as a crossing point for cyclists and pedestrians getting to and from Temple Meads Station.
In conclusion, A cyclist coming off the platforms at Temple Meads should be able to see very clear signs about which exit to use, and which path to use to get to Bristol City Centre. At present there is nothing at all. Once they have made an exit they should be able to see cycling specific signs that are prominent and clear. They should then be able to follow a designated route that is self-evident and waymarked. The current pedestrian signs are elegant and have good maps, but they are no more use to cyclists than they are to motorists.
A cyclist wanting to get to Temple Meads Station from Bristol City Centre should be able to find the Brunel Mile (on Fo1) from wherever they are without too much difficulty, and then follow it confidently all the way to the railway platforms.