Year-long roadworks planned to upgrade pavements and bike lanes on major Bristol route

Park Row and three other nearby streets will be made “safer and more pleasant” for people walking and cycling
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Roadworks are due to start in March on a major city centre road in a year-long project to upgrade pavements and cycling lanes.

Park Row and three other nearby streets will be made “safer and more pleasant” for people walking and cycling.

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Temporary bike lanes were installed along Park Row during the Covid-19 pandemic, using plastic bollards. Bristol City Council will upgrade these bike lanes as well as pedestrian crossings and traffic signals, and create loading bays and disabled parking bays too.

The project covers Park Row, Perry Road, Upper Maudlin Street and Colston Street, and is due to finish by early next year. Two-way traffic will be kept running throughout most of the work, although diversions and one-way traffic will be needed for some short periods of time.

Labour Councillor Don Alexander, cabinet member for transport, said: “Having carried out detailed engagement with key stakeholders, residents and people who travel along Park Row and the surrounding area, I am really pleased that work on this major project will be starting in March.

“It will make this whole area more pleasant and safer for pedestrians and cyclists. I hope it will encourage many more people to travel actively, improving their health and wellbeing and cutting congestion on Bristol’s roads and air pollution.

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“Ahead of the Park Row area construction work starting, I’d like to thank everyone for bearing with us. We will keep disruption to a minimum and aim to keep both sides of traffic open as much as possible.”

The temporary bike lanes received some criticism from both cyclists and local business owners. The floppy plastic bollards were sometimes driven over, and the new lanes were used as car parking. Meanwhile business owners on Park Row said there was insufficient provision for loading and receiving deliveries.

After consulting with the public, the council changed its plans to include new loading bays on Perry Road and Upper Maudlin Street, as well as installing “more resilient” bollards for the bike lane. No-entry signs will be installed at Lower Church Lane, and two bus stops on Park Row and Perry Road will be removed as bus services are no longer running.

An artist's impression of the changes planned for Park RowAn artist's impression of the changes planned for Park Row
An artist's impression of the changes planned for Park Row

Speaking to councillors in January last year, Adam Crowther, head of city transport, said: “I cycled up and down Park Row a lot when it first went in, checking on the traffic, it was great. It’s a little bit tired now, it has been parked all over, and those little plastic bollards can work — but they need to work in the right environment.

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“This scheme will put hard starts and finishes to a lot of those cycle lanes, so it feels more like a cycle lane rather than someone just putting a cone in the middle of the road that you can drive over if you want to.

“The traffic signals will be replaced, the bus stops will be upgraded, and there’ll be better pavements. It’s a big scheme, really ambitious, and it’ll be impressive when we get to a finalised permanent scheme.”

The project has received £3.1 million in government funding, as part of the Department for Transport’s active travel programme to get more people walking and cycling. Part of the reason behind the plans is to cut down on congestion and air pollution caused by drivers.

Elsewhere, the council recently finished roadworks on the Bristol Bridge, with a large new bike lane and wider pavements, while work is ongoing to upgrade the bike lane between Castle Park and the Old Market roundabout. Further work is planned on completing pedestrianisation schemes in the Old City and Princess Victoria Street.

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