London Road squeeze

The new trees arriving on the London Road
The new trees arriving on the London Road

We’re nearing the end of the London Road upheaval but l see more problems ahead.

Trees and multi-coloured pavements do not solve the continual traffic problem that makes this one of the most polluted streets in the UK.

The new and striking rust-covered and sculpted plant containers do add something in terms of street furniture. They soften the harshness of a noisy and choked thoroughfare.

The summer greenery will also play a token role in absorbing some of the carbon produced by all those cars and lorries – but l loved the comment about how the ‘improvements’ were like ‘putting lipstick on a pig.’

With respect to pigs everywhere – and as one who doesn’t eat them – it’s a great way of illustrating how the traffic issue has been just played with over the years.

How much further can these plants dangle?
How much further can these plants dangle?

Getting down to finer detail. I am sure the original planting spec was for an edging of box privet hedge for the planters.

Instead we have a pendulous ivy-type plant which is already hanging down to the pavement. How much further can that grow?

A bigger issue to come is the arrival of a lane for cyclists. Some of the white markings have gone down but – as yet – no cycle symbols.

White stripes marking the new cycle lane?
White stripes marking the new cycle lane?

I was amused watching drivers darting up the inside only to be caught by the ‘scoop’ – that little baseball-type ‘glove’ meant to ‘catch’ cyclists and take them back onto the cycle-lane on the newly surfaced pavements.

I drive and cycle and say Bath has to accept the fact that motor traffic does not have the final say any more. Dealing with it – and lessening its central city effect – is a big issue and will take time and determination.

However – in the meantime – let’s open up Bath to people on bicycles and on foot.

Not in an arrogant way – l have seen plenty of cyclists going too fast, shooting through red lights and not even having a bell on their handlebars – but in a genuine and thoughtful determined effort to offer a healthier alternative to getting about in the city.

Maybe its time for some enterprising person to bring back the sedan chair but maybe this time handled by robots?!