A public consultation is under way on proposals for traffic calming and turning worn paths into an accessible loop around the Downs.
Developed by Cycle Sunday along with charity Greenways and Cycleroutes, the proposal would see a new path for shared use constructed along well-trodden ‘desire lines’, as well as raised crossings to slow traffic along Circular Road and reconstruction of the Ladies Mile path.
Desire lines are informal paths that have been worn into the grass, and many criss-cross the Downs. The proposals would formalise a path on the South West of Stoke Road through to Sea Walls, along with the introduction of physical traffic calming measures on Circular Road. Green Councillor Paula O’Rourke helped to convince the Downs Committee to approve the plans.
There is currently one shared use path along Stoke Road, but other than this, people riding bikes are only able to access the Downs on the roads.
Above: an example of the changes being proposed for the Downs Loop. More details available at https://www.thedownsloop.com/index.php?contentid=35.
Green councillors have been supporting those putting the proposal together. Clifton councillor Jerome Thomas said: “This is a fantastic chance to make a beautiful part of Bristol easier to access for families and for people with impaired mobility”
“The provision of a wide, durable path along what are quite precarious ‘desire lines’ for much of the year will help young children who are not confident cyclists, as well as allowing wheelchair users to get from the Stoke Road to Sea Walls with ease.”
Vicki Cracknell, the brains behind the Downs annual Cycle Sunday event, has been spearheading the project. Vicki said, “Since 2015, families and those less confident riding a bike have come to Cycle Sunday events to safely explore the Downs by bike and the response has been overwhelming. But this is about more than helping just youngsters on bikes – we all benefit from better access to this historic area and its rich ecology”.
Green Cllr Paula O’Rourke sits on the Downs Committee and added: “I’m pleased I was able to use my position on the Downs Committee to persuade members of the benefits of cycling on the Downs and that, as a result, they now support this application.
“We still need to show that there is public support for the Downs Loop, so we’re urging members of the public to complete the survey.”
The consultation runs until the end of September and can be found online at www.thedownsloop.com.