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Monday, May 28, 2012

Charting the Copenhagen effect in Bristol [ibikelondon]

Last week I wrote about a recent visit to Nice, in France, and what the city is doing there to make people welcome and to accommodate their growing rate of cyclists.


I've also been fortunate enough this year to pay a visit to Bristol in the south west of England - the city where I grew up - and was really encouraged by the changes I observed taking place to make it a more people-friendly city.


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Bristol is of course the home of Sustrans which started life as "Cyclebag"; a hearty group of volunteers who kick-started the UK National Cycle Network by building the Bristol to Bath cycle path by hand on a disused railway.  Despite their head offices being located half way up Park Street - possibly the steepest street in Bristol - there were plenty of people slogging their way up and whizzing their way back down again by bike.


And in the broad flat city centre (Bristol is built on a flat plain - like Rome - between 7 hills) where motor cars used to dominate to the detriment of all other city users, some really enormous changes have taken place in the past 12 years.  The centre of the city, running down to the harbour (imaginatively referred to by locals as "The Centre"), used to consist of a multi-lane traffic gyratory surrounding some neat but almost inaccessible flower beds (not unlike Parliament Square, in London today)  The gyratory fed in to historic Queen's Square which was cut in two diagonally by a loud, fast main road.


[Continue reading at ibikelondon]

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