Major improvements to Bristol and Bath railway path announced
Detailed plans to make the Bristol and Bath railway path safer have been revealed.
This comes after a series of crimes were reported in the path towards the end of last year, with police issuing an update on its policing plan for the area as a result.
Sustrans and Bristol City Council have now revealed designs which will aim to make the path a more inclusive space.
Changes will be made to the path on the stretch between Trinity Street and Clay Bottom, with the biggest changes at the section next to Easton Community Centre, at Clay Bottom, and the Russell Town Avenue access point.
James Cleeton, Sustrans’ director for the south of England said: “Over the last two years, we’ve engaged with a huge number of people who use the path, or who would if their needs were better met by it.
“The communities’ passion for the path is clear, and they have been crucial to the design process, shaping the conversation and helping us create designs to meet their needs.
“With so many people using the path in so many different ways, creating a balanced design that improves things for everyone has been a big challenge.
“Our hope is that this redesigned section of path is one that will now be far more inclusive, accessible and enjoyable for the many types of uses, now and in the future.”
In a statement, Sustrans said one of the most obvious changes would be seen on the path alongside the Easton Community Centre.
It said: “Here, the large mound of earth that sits in the triangle of space at the junction will be levelled. This will open out the area, creating a social space.
“It will also improve visibility, making using the path safer. Local people were clear in expressing their concerns about a lack of visibility and potential for crime during the engagement process.”
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At Clay Bottom, the section known locally as ‘the wiggle’ will be improved to create more space and visibility, separating cyclists and people walking.
This is an area where many people have reported accidents or near misses due to poor visibility, the Sustrans statement added, and the changes will reduce the risk of accidents in the future.
A new, level access point will be created just by Clay Bottom, from Rose Green Road, making it easier for people to join and leave the path in that area.
It continued: “At Russell Town Avenue, the access point from the road will be moved slightly to enable a more gentle sloped access to the path, without a sharp corner.
“This will make joining the path far easier, particularly for people using wheelchairs or pushing buggies. It will also ensure the junction is brought in line with recent accessibility guidelines.”
The project is being funded by the Department for Transport as part of Sustrans’ England-wide Paths for Everyone programme.
The Sustrans statement said nineteen trees will be removed to enable the path improvements to be made, with 250 trees being planted to mitigate the ecological impact of this.
It said: “Sustrans will sponsor the planting of a new area of woodland by One Tree Per Child Bristol.
“This will connect the woodland along the Bristol to Bath Railway Path to Coombe Brook Nature Reserve to the east, improving the green corridor. The woodland will be planted with a native species mix.”
Bristol City Council will also be removing several dead and decaying trees, as well as carrying out essential pruning while the works are carried out.
‘An important part of the city’s green transport infrastructure’
Councillor Kye Dudd, cabinet member with responsibility for transport, said: “The path is an important part of the city’s green transport infrastructure as well as a route enjoyed by families throughout the year.
“We recognise that work needs to be done to improve the path and ensure it can continue to serve the community in so many different ways.
“One of the biggest issues raised during the engagement was safety, so we are going to make areas of the path more visible.
“We will also be widening the path in areas, to make more room for everyone to be able to enjoy the space.”
Creating more resting points
Sustrans said that, in places, the path will be widened to create more space for people.
There will also be new seating and resting points and, in some areas, bollards will be moved and cobble stones removed to make for a more enjoyable, safer experience.
New surface patterns and signage will be added, marking particularly busy points .
Work to remove the trees is due to start towards the end of February, while the wider project is expected to begin in the summer this year.
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