‘Think again’ plea on cycle diversion

CYCLISTS have raised safety concerns over the diversion in place while the new Ashley Down rail station is built.

The route means riders and pedestrians have go up Boiling Wells Lane, which runs through a working farm, and then along the busy Muller Road before rejoining the Concorde Way near Aldi on Petherbridge Way.

Ian Pond, from the Bristol Cycling Campaign, has urged a rethink over the diversion, which began on March 6 and is scheduled to last a year.

He said: “Opening the new railway station at Ashley Down is a really important part of providing local residents and commuters with better public transport options, and we fully support this. However, we consider that the official diversion has been rushed through and inadequately implemented, especially on the Muller Road. This is a very busy road without bike lanes along this section.

“It is clear that many of the around 1,000 cyclists who use the Concorde Way per day are going to ride on the road, especially those who are bike commuting. Inevitably, this means that the risk of incidents and injury during the closure will increase. We would have expected that steps would have been taken to reduce these risks, for instance, temporarily restricting the road speed or installing temporary bike lanes.

“Or even better to have constructed a parallel path along the edge of Fairfield School sports ground from Boiling Wells Lane. Sadly, this is another example of how Bristol City Council likes to make claims about its road user hierarchy but fails to prioritise the needs and safety of cyclists and walkers when making these decisions.”

Concorde Way is closed from the allotments up to Station Road, through to the junction between Station Lane and Muller Road. The closure is needed to allow space for workers to build the Ashley Down train station, a project delivered by the West of England Combined Authority, Network Rail, Bristol City Council and Great Western Railway.

Labour Councillor Don Alexander, cabinet member for transport, said: “It’s exciting that construction work will be starting to bring a railway station back to Ashley Down that will serve the local community and be a valuable extra transport link, offering connectivity to the rest of the rail network, while reducing congestion on our roads.

“I would like to thank everyone for bearing with us throughout the temporary closure of Concorde Way. I know it’s a popular route for walking and cycling but it will all be worth it in the end, when we have a brand new railway station for everyone in the surrounding area to use.

“With work nearly complete at Portway, Bristol’s first new train station in almost a century, Ashley Down will soon be another step forward towards the mass transit system our city needs and deserves.”

The new Ashley Down train station will take passengers every half hour north to Filton Abbey Wood, and eventually to planned stations near the Brabazon arena and in Henbury. Trains running south will stop at Stapleton Road, Lawrence Hill and Bristol Temple Meads.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service