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Author Topic: Bristol: A stupid city?  (Read 14280 times)
Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #60 on: November 11, 2017, 08:06:56 pm »

Except that:

1. Who or what is this 'Bristol' that wishes to save money? Maybe we should put the whole Arena topic to a referendum? Actually maybe not; we'd end up having to to call it Arena-y Mc Arenaface, and being tied to having it staffed by 7 space faeries, all called David.
2. We may, just possibly, get a small concert and performance art centre near Temple Meads. And if so, there's a good chance it may be called the Cattle Market Tavern.
3. The BrabArena won't happen. Bristol would never fund something that would largely benefit those utter non-Bristolians who live in Patchway and Bradley Stoke.
4. I reckon I have another 20 or 30 years if I'm lucky. I doubt I'll live to see the Henbury Loop.
Hey, McArenal!
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Oberon
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« Reply #61 on: November 11, 2017, 09:29:55 pm »

Red Squirrel is right, it takes decades to do anything in terms of rail infrastructure improvement in our useless country.

How many years ago did we first hear of rails to Tavistock, Portishead etc etc?

Governments aren't interested, all they want is cars and more cars - oh and buses.
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Four Track, Now!
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« Reply #62 on: November 11, 2017, 10:27:28 pm »

If you live in SGC, and 300K people do, Cribbs Causeway is essential.

Thirty years ago Bristol failed to address traffic, parking and shopping issues that severely impacted the new and established areas of SGC. This failure created the Mall@Cribbs and further complicated the traffic issues in the Northern Fringe.

If Bristol CC had encouraged and help fund the Avon Metro envisaged, then it is unlikely Cribbs Causeway would exist as a retail hotspot as now.

To me, that sounds a little simplistic as a history, although on the right path. But 30 years ago, we still had Avon in charge of transport amongst other things, not the individual squabbling councils. In any case, I doubt that improved transport to Broadmead from Yate, Thornbury, Kingswood and the like would have prevented the Mall from being built. The Mall at Cribbs was not built primarily because of traffic problems, but because of consumer demand, and opened long before tram plans were finally abandoned. The first major development there was the Carrefour superstore on the site now occupied by Asda. That was served by a free bus service from outside the Colston Hall in Bristol, and I used that as free transport to the M5 a few times around 1978 when hitch-hiking back to Lancashire.

According to Bob Fowler, former Project Manager for Bristol City Council Rapid Transit the initial ATA project failed through lack of political support (I think he means Dawn Primarolo) leading to loss of funding. The finance model of covering the costs of building from the increased values of properties along the route didn't include a valid mechanism for extracting that money, so was a bit suspect anyway. The second incarnation of the idea in the 1990s died with Avon County Council in 1996. The joint Bristol / South Glos submission of outline business case in 1998 was received by a government that suddenly turned pro-bus, even though 60% of the funding would have come from the private sector.

Although private interest evaporated with the 2½ year hiatus that followed, the plan was not dead, and money was made available in early 2001. According to Mr Fowler (who admittedly could be biased):

Quote
At this point, faced with putting promise into reality, South Glouscestershire Council got ‘cold feet’. They wanted to reconsider the location of the northern terminus and the route to it. Instead of going east from Abbey Wood through the University of the West of England and then NE, they wanted to go west to the shopping mall at Cribbs Causeway. Bristol argued that the core route was viable and should go ahead but S.Glouscester could re-assess their alternative proposal. By Christmas 2002, the Bristol route to Parkway showed a positive cost/benefit ratio but the S.Glouscester route didn’t - so Bristol is going ahead, with an extension (ultimately to Cribbs Causeway?) safeguarded as a future possibility.

Faced with such division, Government lost patience and pulled the funds, telling the councils in 2005 to come back with proposals of a more rubbish nature, based on buses. Hence we not only end up with MetroBust, but almost saw the Severn Beach line turned into a guided busway.

Rightly or wrongly, I see South Glos as being far more behind this atrocity than either Bristol City Council or north somerset parish council. As evidence, I cite an article in one of their propaganda sheets earlier this year (or late last year - I'll have to look it up again) in which the author refers to the "already successful MetroBust project". I sent an email asking how they had measured that success - passengers carried, operators engaged, budgets kept to, schedules met, or jobs created at South Gloucestershire - but I am still waiting for a reply. I may have stood more chance of getting one had I not started the message "Dear Comical Ali, I wondered what had happened to you after the end of the Iraq war".

We certainly, collectively, missed more than one golden opportunity to connect the different parts of the geographical area formerly know as the County of Avon. Politics is the problem at both local and national level, and no one district or party is to blame entirely. Much money was spent on the various schemes, almost all wasted, and what we are finally getting has caused many more problems than it will ever solve. But suggest an Independent Transport Authority, and all bar Bristol scream "Remember Avon!"
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simonw
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« Reply #63 on: November 12, 2017, 10:40:16 am »

And the irony of an Integrated Transport Authority is that it helps South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and BaNES as much as Bristol.

Better rail, light and full, would help all areas and mitigate severe  traffic jams.

It is time that the government created one with the ability to collect a property tax (like police and fire) for Infrastructural Rail and Road investment.
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Oberon
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« Reply #64 on: November 12, 2017, 09:33:59 pm »

Would road charges for vehicles entering Bristol, or central Bristol, with monies raised being ring-fenced for public transport be a solution to changing Bristol's status as a car dominated place? Or automotive hell, choose your option. I suspect this sort of idea would be seen a form of political suicide in the short term, but in the end it might be something that simply has to happen.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #65 on: November 13, 2017, 09:21:53 am »

A Bristol congestion charge? I don't know how much that would help but I can vaguely see it happening sometime. My feeling is it might not reduce traffic entering the city centre much of itself, but that its existence could be used as a justification for other measures that would (such improved public transport of various natures, strategic road closures, removal of parking, etc).
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Four Track, Now!
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« Reply #66 on: November 13, 2017, 04:51:34 pm »

Would road charges for vehicles entering Bristol, or central Bristol, with monies raised being ring-fenced for public transport be a solution to changing Bristol's status as a car dominated place? Or automotive hell, choose your option. I suspect this sort of idea would be seen a form of political suicide in the short term, but in the end it might be something that simply has to happen.

I would say not. Bristol's geography is a little tricky, with rivers but few bridges. For many journeys undertaken between one part of the city and another, the alternative to cutting through the Centre is a long detour through residential areas. It would not stop congestion, merely shift it. There is also the question of what constitutes the city centre. Do we mean the historic tramway centre, also known as the A38, or Cabot Circus / Broadmead shopping areas, or what is becoming the commercial centre around Temple Meads? Nothing is as clearly defined as the congestion charge zone in London. Central Bristol isn't really that big, and now the road works are beginning to disappear, it isn't really congested enough to merit a charge. The residents' parking zones were forecast by most two-car families to be political suicide, but turned out to be largely popular, except with the aforesaid multi-car households and residents in the non-RPZ streets where the commuters now park. A congestion charge would please nobody but cyclists and pedestrians, most of whom are also drivers. It might not even please them if the decongested roads mean the cars move more quickly.

In any case, the suspicion would be that the council would not make any money out of it because of circumvention by the locals and council ineptitude - both have history. And even if it did make money, they would spend it, not on improvements to public transport, but on MetroBust.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 09:39:53 pm by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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bignosemac
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« Reply #67 on: November 13, 2017, 08:39:21 pm »

And other provincial cities have managed to build tram systems without charging motorists for the privilege.
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Oberon
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« Reply #68 on: November 13, 2017, 09:33:24 pm »

Well I just wonder how other places have managed to obtain their tram systems. Is it down to having friends in high places or is there a magic formula out there somewhere? Incidentally there is a move to introduce trams to Bath. This is a notion that surfaces every decade or so but I really can't see it ever happening.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #69 on: November 13, 2017, 09:46:14 pm »

Well I just wonder how other places have managed to obtain their tram systems. Is it down to having friends in high places or is there a magic formula out there somewhere? Incidentally there is a move to introduce trams to Bath. This is a notion that surfaces every decade or so but I really can't see it ever happening.

Many were started before the financial crisis a decade back. That said, systems like Nottingham's have expanded or are expanding (Midlands again) since then. The game changer now just might be the continuing development of ultra light rail technology which promises to significantly reduce start up and running costs. For some areas Tram/Train technology may be more expensive but it's ability to run on tram and NR rail lines gives it added value through flexibility which increases it's affordability.
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Four Track, Now!
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« Reply #70 on: November 13, 2017, 11:06:23 pm »

Well I just wonder how other places have managed to obtain their tram systems. Is it down to having friends in high places or is there a magic formula out there somewhere? Incidentally there is a move to introduce trams to Bath. This is a notion that surfaces every decade or so but I really can't see it ever happening.

There was a time (I think it was around 2002) when the Government announced that it would fund 25 new tram networks by 2020. I don't think there has been a new successful bid since then, and all current works are extensions of existing routes, or completion of systems already under construction. But for the tram networks now available to ride on, where did the cash come from?

Nottingham's was paid for in part by the DafT. It was a Private Finance Initiative, meaning that other parties funded the rest of the costs in return for a 30-year build, maintain, and operate franchise. Arrow Light Rail Ltd was a consortium of Adtranz, now part of Bombardier, who brought the trams to the party, Carillion, who did most of the infrastructure, and Transdev and Nottingham City Transport, who operate it. The cost of the first line, which was just under 9 miles long with 23 stops, was comparable to what MetroBust is costing in the Bristol area, although the latter cost does not include vehicles, depots etc. It was packed on Day 1, and continued to grow, exceeding expectations and bolstering the business case for the extension.

Manchester Metrolink had the advantage of being promoted by a proper Passenger Transport Executive working on behalf of, yet separate from, the many different local authorities  Phase 1 was funded in part by that authority borrowing from banks, with DafT and the European Regional Development Fund adding generous amounts. Funding for later phases drew on the Phase 1 fare box as well as grants from various government and EU piggy banks. Services began busy, and have risen year on year, with the network extending to cope.

The refurbishment of Blackpool's tramway was funded by DafT in the main, with a little over a quarter of the £86 million cost being shared between Blackpool and Lancashire County Councils. The result has been to transform Britain's last "first generation" tramway from a rickety system on its last legs to a modern light railway built to tram-train standards, and running modern trams with a reliability of over 99%.

The most famous / infamous was the Edinburgh tram system. That was funded by the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh City Council almost in total. No transport scheme anywhere was surely as badly affected by politics: the SNP in opposition fought tooth and nail against it, but had to champion the scheme when elected to power, as it had gone too far to cancel. Project management was a farce, but eventually it got built, and has since exceeded all expectations. I think that Nicola Sturgeon is secretly very proud of it, but daren't brag. It is now running at an operational profit, although it will be a while before it paints the front door of the headquarters red.

In Bristol, we're getting MetroBust as a punishment for squabbling with the neighbours. It is being funded by a fixed sum from DafT and an ever increasing bill being met by local councils holding car boot sales. Oh, and £2 million from Bristol Airport, the only one of the businesses who pledged cash to follow up with a cheque.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 11:12:42 pm by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #71 on: November 18, 2017, 10:16:57 am »

I think the most-recent extensions to Nottingham's tram system were (at least in part) funded through the introduction of a workplace parking levy.
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