Conference demonstrates how traffic removal schemes have revitalised cities

Issue date: 06 September 2017


On 15 September the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) will hold a conference 'Making Traffic Free Spaces in Towns and Cities' at the Arnolfini in Bristol. It will bring together planners, transport planners and councillors from towns and cities which have successfully removed traffic from central areas, and others where progress has been stalled by practical challenges or political opposition.

Steve Melia, Senior Lecturer in Transport and Planning at UWE Bristol, said, “Many European cities have been transformed by pedestrianisation, road closures or other forms of traffic removal over the past 30 years. European examples include: Paris, Copenhagen, Groningen and Freiburg. British examples include: Cambridge, Leicester and parts of London.

“By 'traffic removal' we mean pedestrianisation, road closures, reduction of road capacity or filtering of traffic using obstacles, signed restrictions or devices such as bus gates.

“One amazing example of traffic removal in our own city of Bristol is Queen Square, across the road from the Arnolfini. It's hard to believe this beautiful space in the heart of the city once had a dual carriageway ploughing through it.”

Dave Johnson, a councillor involved in the project at the time, and now a UWE Bristol lecturer, will lead an outdoor session in Queen Square, explaining what happened: how they overcame political opposition and returned the Square to return to its former glory.

The delegates will look at the challenges faced by authorities trying to remove traffic from cities and the political leadership that is needed to make it happen. Presentations will be given by people leading traffic removal projects today in: London, Leicester, Cambridge and Taunton.

A developer will present the potential for new housing in traffic-free areas and the conference will finish with smaller workshop sessions, to exchange experience of barriers, opportunities, what works and what doesn't.

For more details see here.

The conference is now fully booked but media are warmly invited to attend.

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