Call from Living Streets group to improve vital route to city centre

March 21 2019
Make it easier and safer to walk Wells Road

A DETAILED study of one of South Bristol’s most important walking routes – from the Broadwalk in Knowle to Bath bridge – has found obstacles and dangers to pedestrians.

Wells Road pavement near Cemetery Road

Pictured: Top, the tricky junction with Redcatch Road.

Below, parking spaces in fron of Wells Road shops which mean cars have to cross pedestrians. Why not have the parking near the road, and the pavement near the shops, asks the report?

A DETAILED study of one of South Bristol’s most important walking routes – from the Broadwalk in Knowle to Bath bridge – has found obstacles and dangers to pedestrians.

The route from Knowle towards the city centre is the first to be examined by the Living Streets group – which says some simple changes could encourage more people to make walking their first choice.

“We are convinced that small changes to main routes in Bristol can make walking an attractive option to more people,” said spokesperson Charles Beasley.

Three walkers tested the route, which is 1.2 miles long and takes about 20 minutes going city-wards – but a little longer heading the other way up the 60m (197ft) hill to Knowle.

The report said the most important need is to make side roads easier to cross. At some, like Redcatch Road and Angers Road, traffic can swing off Wells Road quickly, making it hazardous for pedestrians.

Suggestions include making the pavement continuous across junctions such as Belluton Road (by the GP surgery) and Marson Road (by the nursery).

The Redcatch Road junction could be closed, and traffic sent down Oakmeade Park both ways, the report says. 

A new pedestrian crossing is needed somewhere between Cemetery Road and Greenmore Road, said Living Streets. This is a key aim of Knowle’s two Lib Dem councillors

Cllr Chris Davies said: "I  also support the  desperate widening of the pavement from Clyde Rd to the George Pub, again on the Wells Rd.

 "The A Boards and cycle racks placed on the pavements outside of shops on both Broad Walk and Wells Road are a hazard to pedestrians of all ages and should be removed in the interests of safety.
 
"All of this has been reported to mayor ages ago, but as I have come to expect him & his extensive office staff, costing us £1 million a year, have not replied."

A petition calling for a crossing (see below) was started by parents Rebecca Smith and Ben Zausner in December after their son Finn barely escaped serious injury when he was hit by a motorbike crossing the road.

The team found other hazards – such as cyclists on the pavement, cars parked on the pavement parking, and busy bus stops.

They called for wider pavements near the busy stretches like that near Clyde Road, and encouraging cyclists off the pavement.

Some of the bus stops, like the ones near Haverstock Road and Knowle Road, take up most of the pavement.

Other ideas to make the route easier to walk include changes to Pelican crossings. Make the delay shorter, says the report – it can take 90 seconds. 

Major junctions such as St John’s Lane and Broad Walk have to be crossed in stages – but why not make it quicker by having a Green Man in all directions at once?

The report also suggests cutting air pollution, with signs telling motorists to switch off when stopped. 

tinyurl.com/safewellsroadcrossing