Have your say on proposals to boost sustainable transport options

People who live or travel along the A4 Portway in Bristol are being encouraged to give their views on a series of designs that have been drawn up to allow buses to move more quickly through traffic along the route and make cycling and walking safer and more enjoyable.

The council ran an early engagement exercise last summer to find out what issues people face when travelling along the north western section of the A4 Portway.

This feedback has been used to create proposals for how the route could be improved, including introducing a 24-hour bus lane on both sides of the road along most of the route, widening narrow pavements that are shared by pedestrians and cyclists, and reducing the speed limit in places from 50mph to 40mph.

As part of our ambitious programme to improve major transport routes in and out of Bristol, we need people to feed into this consultation to help us to create a better, more connected city for everyone, and bring down air pollution as we work on our goal to achieve net zero by 2030.

If we are to meet these goals, as a city we need to continue the transition to sustainable modes of transport, such as walking, cycling and public transport. Adapting key routes, such as the A4 Portway, will help us meet this challenge head on. And, now that we have opened a railway station at Portway Park & Ride and boosted the number of free parking spaces at this key site, there are more options for commuters and visitors to travel sustainably along this route.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

The scope of the A4 Portway project starts at the M5 flyover, it travels along the A4 passing the Avon Gorge and onto Hotwell Road to the Jacob’s Wells Road roundabout, then along Anchor Road, and up to Explore Lane.

The project is part of a wider transformation by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority over the next decade to make Bristol’s transport network better for all.

Throughout the first round of early engagement, we found that bus users wanted to feel more connected to the north of the city with more frequent services to more areas. Many were in favour of longer operating times for the Portway Park & Ride service and thought bus lanes would make buses more reliable overall.

People who walk or cycle along the route raised issues of narrow shared spaces on pavements, the quality of the surface, and questioned the speed of traffic.
“In response, we’ve put together a series of proposals that answer many of these concerns. At this point, we are not recommending a segregated cycle route on the road as there would not be enough space for this along with the 24-hour bus lane. However, where pavements are narrow, especially around bus stops, we are suggesting widening them to reduce potential conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.

This consultation is a further chance to be involved in the process and have your say.

Councillor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport,

Views can be given through an online survey which is running until Sunday 12 November 2023.

To find out more and complete the survey, visit www.bristol.gov.uk/A4Portway23 or come along to a drop-in session.

For a paper copy of the survey, please write to: A4 Portway, Transport Engagement Team, PO Box 3399, 100 Temple Street, Bristol BS1 9NE or email [email protected].

Drop-in sessions

Four drop-in sessions will run throughout the engagement at:

  • Sea Mills library on Thursday 12 October from 1pm to 5pm
  • Shirehampton library on Friday 13 October from 1pm to 5pm
  • Hotwells Primary school on Monday 16 October from 6pm to 8pm
  • Portway Park & Ride on Thursday 19 October from 8am to 12pm

Portway Park & Ride station

The railway station opened on 1 August 2023 and is served by the Severn Beach Line. It is the first new railway station to be delivered as part of the MetroWest programme and is the first new station to be opened in Bristol in nearly 100 years. The train service complements the existing Park & Ride bus service and is a useful extra transport option for the local community. The car park has been expanded to provide additional parking spaces for bus and train users. 

Western Harbour

A section of the A4 Portway – from Hotwell Road, Dowry Place and Oldfield Place, including the elevated Cumberland Basin flyover system – is part of the Western Harbour project. As a result, this part of the route is not in the scope of this consultation.

However, feedback from the A4 Portway engagement and this consultation and the Western Harbour engagement and consultation, which took place in 2021 and 2022, will be shared between both projects and appropriate improvements proposed across both schemes.

Clean Air Zone

The government has directed Bristol, and other cities, to reduce harmful pollution from vehicles in the shortest possible time. The size of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone and its boundary has been designed to meet legal air quality targets in the central area where air quality is worst.

Central areas of the city and main routes, which includes part of the A4 Portway and the Cumberland Basin, have breached legal levels of pollution for several years because of the number of vehicles that use them. For this reason, they are included in the Clean Air Zone.

The A4 Portway supports the aim of the Clean Air Zone by helping to make sustainable transport modes – such as public transport, walking and cycling – the natural choice for people’s journeys.

Press release by Bristol City Council