The historic quarter wants protection from traffic
The Christmas Steps Arts Quarter is appealing to the public to sign a petition asking Bristol City Council to stop excessive traffic through the historic area of the city.
Due to improvements and changes made to various areas of the city’s roads, the Christmas Steps Art Quarter has become a main through route for traffic travelling via the city centre.
The area now known as the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter is in the heart of Bristol, and is full of independent, creative traders, galleries, bars, businesses, cafes and restaurants.
It’s nestled within a historic part of Bristol city centre, encompassing the areas around Perry Road, Lower Park Row, Colston St, St Michael’s Hill, Upper Maudlin St and the Christmas Steps themselves.
It’s made up of both independent businesses, but also residents too, and communities serving the BRI and Bristol Children’s Hospital.
The community that makes up the Arts Quarter are welcoming of improvements to the roads in Bristol, but feel that some improvements have caused traffic to be heavily redistributed towards their area.
They state in the petition that this causes a “continuous stream of traffic past our homes and businesses prevent access to those wishing to visit our businesses and the hospitals, as well as severely impacting our health and quality of life.”
The residents and community are therefore coming together to “call upon Bristol City Council to swiftly identify solutions to prevent our streets from being the remaining through route in the city centre.”
“There is going to be a new active travel scheme along the main road that will increase cycling infrastructure and ease of walking. It will also make Colston Street one-way traffic only,” starts Ani Stafford-Townsend, chair of the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter Residents and Traders Association and ward councillor for central ward.
“It’s not expected for them to start work on this until 2024, though, which should hopefully massively improve the area and hopefully access, too.”
In the meantime, the group want the council to recognise that people live in the area and that health and wellbeing is being affected by the current conditions.
That’s on top of the impact it is having on businesses there too. “The petition is because the road changes elsewhere in the city centre means the route through the community is the main route through the city,” continues Ms Stafford-Townsend.
“Standing, idling through traffic means that the air quality is in excess of WHO levels. The health impacts are incredible.
“The traffic is passing through, it’s not stopping here. So this means that it’s hard for local businesses, which are small and independent, and they are struggling to stay in business.
“Patients find it hard to access the hospital too. We want the council to remember that people live here, we are a community that’s being forgotten about and are suffering the impacts of road changes elsewhere.”
To take a look at the petition and support the cause, and help the group make it to 3500 signatures, take a look here.