Bristol trials car-free Sunday

June 24, 2013 | By | In News

Bristol has held its first ever car-free Sunday, with city-centre streets closed to traffic.

The event is the first of five to be held monthly; the idea being to open up the centre of Bristol and provide a better experience for pedestrians.

The closures are part of Bristol Mayor George Ferguson’s ‘Make Sunday Special’ initiative and saw traffic-free zones enforced between 9am and 6pm.

The initiative was partly why Bristol has been awarded European Green Capital for 2015, though critics accuse Mayor Ferguson of being anti-motorist.

As circus performers took to the streets to celebrate the event, Mr Ferguson defended the decision to restrict traffic.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "This is about the city and how we bring it alive.

“People will still be able to drive into the city as there will be routes to the main car parks.”

Mr Ferguson also said that he planned to extend the scheme beyond October should it prove popular.

One party certainly not in favour of the scheme are the city’s taxi drivers.

"It's ridiculous. The passengers that want to go to the city centre, just the other side, they can't go there so you have to go all the way around,” exclaimed one.

Car-free Sundays were originally planned to take place once a week, though have been cut to once a month due to operating costs of around £39,000 a day.

Bristol isn’t the first city to start a car-free initiative. Similar events are held in Bordeaux, France, and Bogota, Columbia.

                Picture from Fotolia

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