Milsom Street bus-gate trial extended

B&NES is extending its ‘temporary’ traffic restriction on Milsom Street and is proposing to install more ‘resting places’ and cycle parking. It has launched another consultation on traffic orders needed to trial an extension.

The temporary traffic restriction was introduced in June 2020 by Bath & North East Somerset Council for social distancing purposes and to enable people to enjoy the health and environmental benefits of reduced traffic in the road.

Now the council is proposing a further trial of a ‘bus gate’ at the top of Milsom Street to test whether the restriction on general through-traffic between 10am and 6pm could work on a permanent basis.

To enable the trial to take place, the temporary traffic regulation order (TTRO) that was originally implemented for social distancing purposes will need to be replaced with an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).

The ETRO will be implemented on November 25 and will be in place for a minimum of six months to allow the council to gather data and invite feedback before considering whether to extend the experiment or make the bus gate permanent.

The measures set out in the consultation are designed to promote public transport, making the road safer for pedestrians and cyclists as well as reducing emissions to improve air quality. 

The proposals also include an upgrade of the street furniture and cycle parking on Milsom Street. These features would provide more resting spaces, support local trade by encouraging people to spend more time enjoying the reduction in traffic and making it easier for people to travel by bike and on foot.

The initial consultation will run until May 26, 2022 and can be viewed here

Councillor Kevin Guy, council Leader, said: “Since we introduced the temporary restriction on general through-traffic we’ve been monitoring the situation and gathering feedback from residents and businesses. As a result, several adjustments have been made as part of this trial to help people with limited mobility and to make deliveries easier including new loading bays, additional disabled bays on New Bond Street. We are also looking at ways to allow access for Dial a Ride community transport and improve the pedestrian route from Broad Street.

“The trial of the bus gate will give us more time to look at the effectiveness of the scheme in greater detail before considering whether it should be made permanent. The restriction has the wider benefits of reducing vehicle emissions in our city to protect public health and has a wide-ranging impact on our city, which is why it’s important that residents and businesses respond to the consultation.”

The wider renewal of Milsom Street is part of the council’s Bath city centre High Street Renewal Project, a five-year project to improve the city centre funded by £1.235m from the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets fund. 

The bus lane restriction operates from 10am to 6pm daily. Buses, emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists are not restricted. 

Blue badge holders can use the disabled bays on Quiet Street and New Bond Street by travelling via Old King Street and John Street. There are also four disabled bays available in Broad Street car park with direct access to Milsom Street via a pedestrian route.

The bus gate will be enforced through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras (ANPR). 

3 Comments

  1. Cllr Guy says: “The trial…will give us more time to look at the effectiveness of the scheme in greater detail before considering whether it should be made permanent.”

    Which begs the need for answers to the question: Why was 17 months not long enough for the trial and why aren’t details already gathered, over that period, being published in advance to justify a minimum 6 months “more time to look at the effectiveness”?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the second ‘trial extension’ the council have foisted on us, the first being eScooters and now Milsom Street. If I wasn’t so trusting, I’d say that this is their new anti-motorist tactic to slide their unpopular initiatives under our radar. Well, after the Cleveland Bridge debacle my trust in the Council has plummeted, so I will say it ‘Something is rotten in the state of B&NES’.

    The street has been long enough on a TTRO for adequate amounts of data to be gathered. I’m afraid there are no grounds to extend the restriction using a ETRO. The same applies to the eScooter trial. If the Council has not gathered sufficient data by now, then it must fall back on the default – no change i.e. no further traffic restrictions on Milsom St., and no eScooters permitted in Bath.

    If the Council decides to ignore the above, then as far as I’m concerned, that is conclusive proof that their ‘trials’ and ‘consultations’ are just a sham, a smokescreen for pushing through whatever measures they wish. The hubris of bureaucrats needs to be constantly challenged.

    (I wonder if Bath Newseum will publish this – it’s definitely not pro-Council. I’ll keep a copy in case I need to find some other channel.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not against reducing traffic but recognise it is a controversial subject. Nevertheless, I agree with your comment because there’s no excuse for avoiding controversy by issuing unqualified or vague statements which appear to suggest ‘proof of sham’ as you succinctly put it. Existing data is therefore key and should be published to qualify, or disqualify, proposed measures.

      Liked by 1 person

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