Bristol is well known for its clogged streets and air pollution problems, as cars, bikes, buses, taxis and lorries compete with each other on its narrow congested roads. Disabled road users and pedestrians have a hard time too. These issues can lead to a lot of conflict and ‘road rage’.
What can we do?
In the year that Bristol is European Green Capital, the City Council is funding a project to bring road users together to discuss ways forward. It has awarded £10,000 to Bristol Mediation, the established independent local organisation which helps citizens resolve conflicts. Two part-time project workers have been appointed who will make contact with small groups of road users, to listen to their views and concerns.
There will be separate group meetings for different road users, e.g. a meeting for cyclists, a meeting for car drivers, and so on. We hope to include organisations and individuals, however spaces will be limited. Each small group will attend a two-hour meeting in November 2015, and will then choose two or three people to represent their interests at a larger all-day meeting in February 2016.
The large meeting in February will be run using a restorative approach. This means that the focus will be on expression of concerns, dialogue between different groups of road users and finding a constructive way forward. It is hoped that those who attend will gain greater awareness and understanding of other road users’ perspectives.
The project will be evaluated using questionnaires and filmed interviews of participants before and after the large meeting. And Bristol Mediation will communicate the results of the restorative conference to Bristol City Council.
If you or your organisation wants to share your views and concerns by joining one of the small groups, please download and complete the form on the Bristol Mediation website
http://bristol-mediation.org/Road Sharing A Restorative Approach/.
The deadline for return of these forms is 30 September 2015.
Annali Grimes tel: 07956 392777
Marian Liebmann tel: 07903 447518