Tag Archives: Chris Hutt

On Chris Hutt – tributes to Bristol cycle champ

I’ve been away from the blog for a while – real life hassles, a bit of a cold, all sorts, really – but now I’m back, and playing catch-up.

As well as wading through all the screengrab nonsense that most of you aren’t in the slightest bit interested in, I’m going to try and get back up to speed with some of the things that have been happening lately in Bristol and on the blogosphere.

First up: Chris Hutt.

Chris Hutt ran the Green Bristol Blog and was a champion of cycling and all things environmental in Bristol. On Saturday he was found dead at his home. He has been paid fulsome tribute both on the interwebs and in the local media:

I never met him, but he was a regular commenter here (as he was everywhere else in the local blogosphere!) and seemed like a genuine sort of fellow, passionate in what he believed and keen to get stuck in. I’m sure the bunfights he started shall continue to rage, even in his absence.

Toodle-pip and watch those junctions!

[Edited to add more links.]

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Bristol’s Big Freeze: The word on the blogosphere

I thought I’d collect together all the local blog posts on the recent cold snap that I can find in one handy spot for your reading pleasure…

Aurea Mediocritas (Tony D)

Bristle’s Blog From The BunKRS

Bristol 24/7

Bristol Blogger

Bristol Traffic

Charlie Bolton’s Southville Blog

The Enemies Of Reason (Anton Vowl)

Eugene Byrne

Green Bristol Blog (Chris Hutt)

People’s Republic Of Stokes Croft

Stockwood Pete

Please let me know if I’ve missed anything out in the comments below, cheers 🙂

And wrap up warm!

Bristol’s Big Freeze: Snow joke in St. Paul’s – council abandons inner city Bristol (again)

I see that Councillor Jon Rogers (Executive Member, Transport & Sustainability) has been getting stuck into tackling ungritted pavements in Bristol. He spent forty minutes last night with local blogger Chris Hutt, gritting footpaths around Queen’s Road.

That’s Queen’s Road. In Clifton.

I look forward to seeing Councillor Jon Rogers (Ashley Ward) doing the same in St. Paul’s in the near future. Because the council he helps lead certainly doesn’t look like getting down to it anytime this side of summer.

Meow! What’s prompted this rather uncharitable assessment of Cllr Rogers’ Blitz-style, everyone-pitch-in-together gesture?

Pull up a chair, and I’ll tell you…

You could be mistaken for thinking that Britain had been visited by the horsemen of the Apocalypse judging by the institutional paralysis that the recent snow visited across our fair isles has caused. The failure of local authorities to adequately prepare for what has been, in all honesty, a fairly mild few days of snow and frost is both sadly expected and wholly needless. The weather was predicted accurately, the UK is a socially advanced state with a multi-layered and complex infrastructure, and the resources to deal with any big freeze are available.

But then the capacity to deal with a problem is no guarantee that the problem will be dealt with, certainly not in Bristol.

The snow began before Christmas, and then eased off. Gritting took place in the mornings, and Bristol rumbled on. Come the 5th January, though, and the people whom we pay to run our city on our behalf failed us. The snow began light, but continued through the day. It then continued through the night, heavier and heavier. We awoke on Wednesday morning to a chocolate box cover, a twinkly cityscape beneath a fluffy white blanket. It looked beautiful; it was not to last. There had been no widespread gritting this time, so roads had quickly become impassable. Bus services across the entire city were cancelled. Schools and workplaces were forced to shut down. Things ground to a halt.

A little personal side: I visited my parents in their small village over Christmas. They told me of similar inertia on the part of their own local council. The whole village had been ignored by gritting lorries, so my father rang up the council. ‘Why hasn’t our village been gritted?’ ‘We’re prioritising main roads, sir,’ came the reply. ‘But there’s a main road through the village!’ ‘I mean bus routes, sir.’ ‘But there are two bus services that use this road!’ ‘Ah, I mean main bus routes, sir.’ Or, to decode the municipal gentility, ‘Fuck you, prole – we’ll grit where the fuck we want.’

I live in St. Paul’s, which is in Ashley Ward. We’re not important enough to be gritted. I mean, sure, Stokes Croft has been gritted, leading up to Cheltenham Road and the Gloucester Road – a main artery into and out of the city. But what about the Frontline – Grosvenor Road and Wilder Street – which links the Easton end of the neighborhood with the city centre end? Nada. The same with Portland and Brunswick Squares, which are our interfaces with Cabot Circus and Broadmead. And you can definitely forget any of the side roads, the residential streets zigzagging across our densely packed ends.

Now, fair enough, priorities have to be made. I can understand that there are primary routes which need to be kept open before other roads can be dealt with. But the whole of St. Paul’s has – again – been ignored, and regardless of the potential for catastrophic accidents.

For example, the corner of Cave Street and Wilder Street. Cave Street leads off Portland Square, and gives way to Wilder Street. It inclines down onto Wilder Street, and visibility is restricted by Balloon Court to the north and Cave Court to the south. The junction has (obviously) not been gritted, and is now a dangerously slippery ice rink. All day long since Wednesday cars, vans and trucks have been caught out by the conditions on that junction, many sliding right across the road, some spinning out completely, often only narrowly avoiding other vehicles or – even more frighteningly – pedestrians. At least one car has slid across the entire width of Wilder Street and crashed into the fence enclosing the car park opposite. And let’s not even get onto the subject of pavements – because the council certainly hasn’t. I’ve lost count of how many people have fallen flat on their arses on the corners of Wilder Street and Brunswick and Cave Streets.

It seems that it is only going to be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured in St. Paul’s – or worse. Much worse.

So, because it seems unlikely that Bristol City Council will get round to protecting local people by gritting in St. Paul’s, I’ve been getting on with it myself. This afternoon after work I made a start, taking two hours to drag back four bin loads of salt from the grit store opposite McDonald’s, which seems to be the nearest to us (obviously, there are no grit bins actually in St. Paul’s*). There is now a rudimentary path on the eastern pavement of Wilder Street between Cave Street and the entrance to Cave Court flats, a well-gritted corner on Brunswick Street, as well as other patches through the ice across the mouth of Brunswick Street, at the entrance to the cemetery and on the path between Bond Street and Brunswick Square.

Passersby were keen to pass on their opinions of the council and its policy (or lack thereof) on gritting as I was doing this. One particularly angry local man walking back into St. Paul’s with his family talked of big public meetings, liability for preventable accidents, putting politicians out of office and those kinds of thing. He was particularly unimpressed that our local councillor was out gritting in Clifton whilst St. Paul’s people slipped on untreated pavements and roads. As we were talking his son slipped flat on his back trying to negotiate a particularly icy corner of Brunswick Square.

With an absentee, race jibe councillor on the one hand, and another, Clifton-preferring councillor on the other, one wonders what it would take for St. Paul’s to get noticed by its own representatives. I suspect that Jon Rogers’ new Facebook page will not be what local residents are looking for.

* Don’t believe me? Then check out this map of grit bins in relationship to St. Paul’s. It’s based on the Bristol City Council’s own map of grit bins across the city, and St. Paul’s Unlimited Partnership’s map of St. Paul’s.

Local elections 09 – Bristol City Council gets LibDem overlords, no new Green

The minority LibDem leadership in Bristol City Council has been converted into a LibDem majority after yesterday’s local elections. The Green’s targeting of Ashley ward wasn’t enough to unseat sitting LibDem Dr Jolly Jon Rogers, despite Shirley Not’s CoconutGate race shenanigans threatening to complicate matters.

I’ve been busy on other matters lately, so here’s some handy links to other Bristol bloggers on the elections:

As a postscript, he’s the sum of all the politicking I’ve been subjected to in the trenches of St Paul’s…

Election campaign results from the BunKRS

Leaflets-through-the-door count (alphabetical):

  • BNP (Euro) 1
  • Green (BCC) 1
  • Labour (Euro) 2
  • No2EU (Euro) 1
  • UKIP (Euro) 1

Leaflets-seen-in-windows etc count (alphabetical):

  • All parties (BCC) 0
  • All parties (Euro) 0

Canvassers for BCC elections:

  • 0

Conversations about BCC elections with local neighbours:

  • 0

Conversations about BCC elections with others in Bristol:

  • 1

This is all down my ends of Ashley ward. Seeing as we were supposed to be some kind of battleground, I was surprised there was no doorstep business from Greens or LibDems, and only one leaflet from either! The nearest to any kind of canvassing was a Green who buzzed my flat asking to be let in to the block on a Sunday to deliver leaflets, but they didn’t knock on the door to talk or anything.

You’ve Been Framed: The Google Street View Years

Bike crash captured by Google Street View

Bike crash at junction of City Road, Upper York Street and Stokes Croft, as captured on Google Street View. Perhaps more astonishing than this pile-up (and exactly how did that happen? Is the chap on the left riding an invisible steed?) is that there are no tramps in the background. I guess they heard about the plans to water down White Lightning.

Tip O’ The Titfer: [underscore] via Stefan Goodchild

ETA: Chris Hutt has spotted that The Sun has picked up the picture – it’s the third one in this slideshow, and also mentioned here.

ETA: It’s also featured in this BBC article (5th image in the gallery).

ETA: I can’t find any pictures showing the pre-crash situation, but this picture shows the aftermath in a bit more detail. That skateboarder is definitely acting suspiciously!

Bike crash aftermath

Sustainable gravy transport

Ooh Mr Grimshaw!

Josh Hart has written an interesting critique of Sustrans over at his On The Level blog:

There are an increasing number of concerns…but they centre around this: should a private charity with no accountability to the public or its membership (Sustrans calls them supporters) be given millions of taxpayer pounds every year without adequate consultation or oversight?

…It also turns out that very few Sustrans employees are personally involved in the Bristol Cycling Campaign-something I find very odd considering many of them live and cycle in Bristol. In fact, it sometimes seems that Sustrans goes out of its way to ignore Bristol, as if to prove to other areas of the country that the City that hosts their headquarters curries no special favour. When plans for a bus rapid transit route threatened the Bristol-Bath Railway Path (Sustrans’ flagship facility) they were sluggish in responding to the threat, terrified of offending the local council, actually going on record in the Evening Post saying essentially that they had “no comment” about the plans.

Though the beast finally woke from its bloated lottery-money induced slumber and opposed the plan with some force, the damage had been done. Thankfully, local activists stepped into the vacuum and formed Save the Railway Path, organised a 1000 strong march to the Council house that succeeded in getting the City Council to shelve the ill-conceived plans. We know that Sustrans knew about the BRT plan as early as July 2007 if not earlier, yet they did nothing to alert others and provoke opposition. They only jumped on the bandwagon when it was clear that their credibility was on the line if they did nothing…

Chris Hutt at Green Bristol Blog has provided some much needed (judging by some of the catty remarks already deposited on Josh’s comments section by College Green lycra-clad loyalists) back-covering; this one should run and run!

Bristol blogosphere united by the meme that cannot die… All hail CARBOOT CIRCUS!

Birth of a meme..?

Picking up the meme and running with it:

Eyeing the meme covetously, but restraining themselves:

Other contenders:

  • Bread and Cabot Circus
  • Cahoot Circus
  • Carbon Circus
  • Carrot Circus
  • Circusmead
  • Cornucopia Circus
  • Jesus Building
  • New Broadmead
Edited Friday 14th November to add more links