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Major Updates

Our proposals for Victoria Park forms a vital part of the Filwood Quietway, linking South Bristol to the city centre, with a safe and direct route for walking and cycling.

Find out more about the Filwood Quiteway route.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #CycleAmbition

News

17/07/2017 – The Victoria Park consultation has finished – thanks to everyone who provided feedback. To view comments captured during the consultation period visit – victoriaparkbristol.commonplace.is

Proposed Changes to Victoria Park – Public Consultation

Introduction

The Council previously proposed some improvements for Victoria Park, which focused on a new walking and cycling route through the park.  This was subject to a planning application, which was subsequently withdrawn in January 2017.  We have listened to the concerns raised during the previous planning process, met with key local stakeholders and re-designed to address comments.

We have now prepared a re-designed scheme and discussed these changes with representatives of VPAG and Forward Together. We are now undertaking an informal, local community consultation. We will review feedback, make any appropriate design changes and then submit a new planning application in July. You will also be able to comment on the planning application.

This scheme is being progressed by the Council, as part of its Cycle Ambition Fund (CAF) project, which is mainly funded by a successful bid to the Department of Transport. The CAF project is a range of schemes and initiatives that seek to encourage people of all ages and ability to cycle more to reduce traffic congestion, improve the health of citizens, and reduce carbon emissions for a cleaner environment for all.

Victoria Park is part of the Filwood Quietway route we are progressing, which has a number of sections – Whitehouse Street, Victoria Park, St John’s Lane/Wedmore Vale and Northern Slopes.

Existing paths within Victoria Park (BCC)

Change of Route

The previous route went from the access at the top of Windmill Close, in the north part of the Park, running eastwards before heading south close to the east edge of the Park, by Hill Avenue, to the Nutgrove Avenue/Hill Avenue access.  There were objections about the route running close to Hill Avenue and also about the new sections of path.

Following discussions, the route has been changed and is now more central.  This is a shorter route for those pedestrians and cyclists wanting to travel along the Filwood Quietway.  The majority of the route uses existing paths, which would be widened.  At the south end, a short section of new path is proposed to reduce impact on existing tree roots and the old path would be removed.

Plan showing new proposed route (BCC)

Change of Width

The previous path, being approximately 850m long, was to be between 4.3 – 4.7m wide, depending on location. It would have been segregated, with cyclists using one side and pedestrians using the other.  However, there were lots of objections, mainly about the path being too wide but also with segregation.  Many people felt a wide, segregated path would encourage cyclists to travel at speed.

The new path is now proposed to be 3.0m wide and approximately 760m long.  We found that parts of the existing route are wider than we all thought, because of overgrown grass on its edges.  In some places, the existing path is almost 3.0m wide if the grass was cut back and tarmac levels reinstated.

The new path will be shared by pedestrians and cyclists.  A shared path should help to encourage cyclists to travel more slowly.  To also encourage cyclists to give due consideration to pedestrians, we can use coloured surfacing and rumble strip effects at junctions with other paths and on approaches to access points.  We can also provide other markings, such as SLOW and mini Give Way triangles, and some advisory signage.

Impact on Trees and Planting

The original route required the removal of three trees and relocating a small one.  Six new trees would have been planted to compensate for the loss of these trees.  The previous route also required the installation of a short section of ‘no dig’ cellular confinement system for path construction adjacent to a mature tree, to protect its roots.  The original route also included the removal of a strip of the self-seeded bushes and woodland scrub along the northern boundary for the construction of the widened path.

The new route does not require the removal or relocation of any trees.  However, the route does run close to more trees and, therefore, longer sections of the ‘no dig’ cellular confinement system path construction are required. The new route will have minimal impact on other plantings.  Planting along the northern boundary will no longer be affected, other than for minor pruning of any overhanging branches.  Ground vegetation and grass that has overgrown across the edges of affected paths will be removed.

Route runs through avenue of trees (BCC)

Example of ‘no dig’ construction (BCC)

Other Route Options

A number of alternative route options were considered, which could take the cycle route outside of the park.  However, these were rejected by the CAF team for the reasons outlined in the table below.
Route OptionConsideration
Hill AvenueThis route presents poor provision for every user. The road is narrow with speed humps and vehicles parked on both sides. In practice, there is only a single file of traffic. Bicycle users often become congested with cars, which need to find the nearest passing place. An effective and attractive cycle route would require removal of car parking from at least one side of the road. Spaces are well used by local residents and commuters.
Cotswold RoadThis route is further away from the park and it is also narrow with parked vehicles on either side permitting only a single file of traffic. Additionally, both Hill Avenue and Cotswold Road are often used as rat-run routes in order to avoid traffic on the main roads and they would not create a safe cycling environment, unless traffic management measures were introduced.
Marksbury RoadThis route presents a significant diversion away from the Filwood Quietway proposals, which seek to create a new high quality link from the city centre into Filwood Broadway. This route would not be a short direct connection between the two areas.
St Luke’s RoadDue to the existing width constraint under the railway bridge, in order to install a cycling facility would require major engineering works or the introduction of shuttle working (give and take) for traffic. Approaches for the cycle route, particularly south of the bridge, would require significant layout change. Not considered a viable CAF scheme, due to delivery timescales but is a desirable route that might be delivered in medium/long-term, subject to community engagement.
Nutgrove AvenueThis route would require new parking restrictions on one side of the road, in order to create a suitable 2-way cycle route. In addition, the road is quite steep for much of its length, making it less attractive for many cyclists.

Lighting

Whilst lighting the new path is not mandatory, it is desirable to light it so that users feel safer and more secure during hours of darkness.  Lighting proved to be a contentious issue during the previous consultation, with responses split on whether it should be provided or not.  It was also a common comment in responses to the planning application.

We propose to use intelligent LED lighting heads:-

  • The system operates at standard brightness until the suggested time of 7:00 pm, when there are fewer people likely to be using the route
  • After 7:00 pm, the lights can be set to dim down to 30% brightness or less
  • The lights can be set to switch off if there is low demand after certain hours
  • For special events (e.g. bonfire night/fireworks), the lighting can be remotely controlled to fully deactivate, as and when wanted
  • All of these times are indicative and can be amended in consultation with the community

There are three options for lighting:-

  1. Provide lighting along the full route
  2. Provide lighting on just the north section, from the top of Windmill Close to the junction between the High and Low Routes
  3. No lighting

We did consider alternative lighting solutions, such as solar-powered studs and bollards, but their lighting output is much lower and does not comply with British Standards for path lighting, which are the recommended standards we use for paths used by the public.  If we had decided to use such lighting, we would have had to install lots more, at 5.0m spacing approximately.  This would have created a runway effect for the studs and barrier-type effect for the bollards and would have had a significant negative visual impact.

We also considered using shorter columns but we would have needed more of them, which would have resulted in closer spacing and increased power consumption.

Proposed lighting head

(image – Philips Lighting)

Example of lighting column & head on a path

(image – Philips Lighting)

We could light the northern section only, as the local primary school and parents have previously requested this.  However, this would mean users of the rest of the route would have no lighting.

Current outline lighting design plans for the route can be viewed here.

Impact on wildlife and Dark Sky Status

Whilst there is some existing lighting already within the park, many of the existing paths are not lit.  It is appreciated, therefore, that there are concerns with regard to the impact on wildlife and also the Dark Sky status of the park.  It is proposed, therefore, to use warm LED lighting that will be directed at the path only. The proposed heads we have chosen will obscure the light source from above and behind in order to keep the light spill to a minimum. Additionally, the column height will be approximately 4.7m (similar to existing lighting columns within the park) and spaced at approximately 30.0m to reduce the number needed.  With the dimmed lighting activated and ability to switch the lights off during the middle of the night, this will reduce the impact on nocturnal wildlife, especially bats, using the park and also the Dark Sky status.

Bats hibernate during the winter months when the lights would be most in use. A survey along the proposed route found no evidence of any bat roosts in any adjacent tree.  In addition, lighting will be downwards rather than onto the trees.

The minor widening now proposed and the ‘no dig’ construction should have minimal impact on existing wildlife.

Existing path near playpark (BCC)     

Upgraded path near playpark (BCC)

Existing path near South football pitch (BCC)
Upgraded path near South football pitch (BCC)

Historical Entrances Restoration

As for the previous scheme, it is proposed to reconstruct the gate piers at the Nutgrove Avenue/Hill Avenue entrance and also reconstruct the missing gate pier at the top Windmill Close entrance.  The restoration work to the two of the existing entrances will match the original designs that still exist in other locations, for example at Somerset Terrace.

For the Nutgrove Avenue/Hill Avenue entrance, we have also been requested to widen the entrance slightly, by approximately 0.5m, in order to allow larger vehicles to access the park more safely. This will be helpful for certain park events.

Existing Nutgrove Avenue/Hill Avenue access (BCC)

Windmill Close top access (BCC)

Proposed Nutgrove Avenue/Hill Avenue access pillar restoration (BCC)

Entrance Barriers

Victoria Park has 14 access points around its boundary.  The majority of these can be used by users of standard size wheelchairs and bicycles.  In order to improve access for all users, including larger wheelchairs, motorised buggies and non-standard bicycles, the previous scheme had proposed to replace existing barriers at three locations with bollards.  There are instances of anti-social behaviour, in terms of motorbikes/mopeds gaining access the park.  This would have initially been on a trial basis, for up to 12 months, as agreed with the Police, to assess if there was any increase in anti-social behaviour.

Barriers were another area of concern during the previous consultation and in responses to the planning application. We have considered this matter further and will not undertake these changes, as part of the revised design.  We have discussed this issue with VPAG/Forward Together representatives and agreed on the following changes:-

  • 7 existing A-frame cycle barriers will be replaced by new K-frame cycle barriers. Initially, the K-frame pads will not be fitted meaning easier access for disabled users as well as cyclists
  • the existing Hill Avenue/St Luke’s Road access will be altered, in order to have the barriers set back into the park, in order to provide a safer waiting area on the external side

Existing Hill Avenue/St Luke’s Road access (BCC)

Example of K-frame (kbarriers.co.uk)

Existing A-frame at St Luke’s Road Underbridge access (BCC)

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