Bristol underground and Park Street closed to cars proposed by mayor

Mayor Marvin Rees delivering his State of the City address. Credit: BPM Media

Building an underground and closing a main road to cars were among the radical proposals put forward by Bristol’s mayor during a key speech.

Marvin Rees reaffirmed his commitment to building a £4billion mass transit system - including an underground - during his annual State of the City address on October 20.

Mr Rees outlined the scale of the challenges facing the city, and revealed Bristol City Council is facing a £42million shortfall on social care.

He said “difficult decisions” will have to be made.

The mayor said he will consult on plans to close Park Street to private cars.

Among his pledges, the mayor said he will consult on plans to close Park Street to private cars.

“On transport, our flagship policy remains the mass transit system including the underground,” he said.

“All routes have been identified linking the north, east, south, and airport to the city centre.

“It will integrate buses and trains and include new stations, to form a transformative, low-carbon transport system.

“We are about to launch a consultation on the introduction of bus prioritisation for the Wells Road, to the city centre, over the Downs and the whole length of the A4018.

Mr Rees said the council had submitted the full business case for the Clean Air Zone, which would come into force next year, and was negotiating a package of support with the Government.

This included £2million for clean buses, £720,000 for a new cycle scheme through Old Market, free electric bike loans and cycle training, free bus tickets, discounts on car club membership, support to buy electric cars and financial support for businesses and residents to upgrade polluting vehicles.

Traffic queuing in central Bristol. Credit: PA

“We estimate the CAZ will reduce traffic travelling into the city centre by approximately 2,000 vehicles per day, while delivering protections for lower paid workers, hospital patients and visitors, and blue badge holders,” he added.

“Over half a century ago, Bristol lost its trams and, 20 years ago, lost out on an opportunity for ‘supertrams’.

“This was down to poor leadership, impenetrable council structures, and regional squabbles.

“We have the opportunity today to get beyond these historical failures and deliver something transformative.”