Study is underway to improve street safety around Bristol

Residents and politicians have been invited to a free event to discuss how to improve street safety
Stills from a video of a man being baptised in flood water at a roundabout in HartcliffeStills from a video of a man being baptised in flood water at a roundabout in Hartcliffe
Stills from a video of a man being baptised in flood water at a roundabout in Hartcliffe

A study is underway to improve street safety around Bristol.

Walking groups have called for Bristol’s existing pedestrian underpasses to be replaced with street-level crossings to address the issue of street safety but cite other challenges for people walking the streets.

Back in September 2022, the Hartcliffe Way underpass made national news after a video emerged showing a man being baptised in the tunnel which became submerged with water after heavy rainfall. Other underpasses across the city are notoriously known to flood during bad weather, making it hard for some to navigate Bristol by foot.

Dr Tamara Bozovic, Research Fellow in Transport Analysis at the University of the West of England (UWE), is part of an international team conducting research on ways in which walking environments might influence walking experiences. Her research helps to build evidence for cities to improve those streets that need it most.

She said: “Our street environments might make walking feel unpleasant, dangerous, or even non-feasible for some; and without understanding what the issue is, there is a risk of ‘making nice places nicer’ while failing to address what really matters.”

Bristol Walking Alliance and Bristol Health Partners will host a free-to-attend event at the Watershed, from 7pm on May 17, where members of the public, professionals and politicians can share their views about walking and the pedestrian environment. Dr Bozovic will present her at the event.

The month of May also celebrates Bristol WalkFest. Organisers have stated that “it is important to feel comfortable rather than ‘out of place’ in the environment.

“Whether your concern is with walking underground, overground or wandering free, the aim of the evening is to focus on ways to overcome some of the barriers to walking in Bristol.”