The end of free parking? A bonus for B&NES, congestion and pollution.

The end of free parking? A bonus for B&NES, congestion and pollution.

Are  city-based Day Parking Zones one way in which B&NES could help balance the books and help ease congestion and tackle high levels of pollution.
It’s an idea being put forward by local road traffic campaigner Adam Reynolds – well known as a cyclist champion – and now coming up with a scheme that the cash-strapped council may well be taking seriously.
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Adam Reynold

I asked him to write a piece for Bath Newseum. Here it is:

“Cities around the world are beginning to recognise that free parking simply encourages people to use cars. Free parking creates air pollution and congestion for any city and this cost is born by the residents in health and time, and financially by businesses of that city.

In 2012 Nottingham began an experiment that placed a cost on parking. The Workplace Parking Levy. This levy has provided Nottingham with the funds to expand their public transport network and be the only city in the UK where car road miles travelled have decreased. It has been a phenomenal success and has received international recognition.
But Bath is a different beast. It’s small. In fact so small that it is the most walkable city in England and Wales with 43% of commuters walking to work, and that, in a nutshell creates a problem for out residential roads as attractive free parking facilities.
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With over 29,000 people commuting into the city by car, 9,000 of those commutes by Bath residents themselves, we know that free parking is encouraging people to use the car.
Day Parking Zones enable the council to charge day trippers and commuters while enabling residents free use of their roads. With a council financially on it’s knees, a huge air pollution crisis, and a congestion nightmare, we simply cannot continue to offer free parking to commuters. Day Parking Zones offer an world leading opportunity to deliver a radical shift in improving public transport while getting people out of their cars.
Further more, the city could charge more for diesel permits or even disallow diesels from parking in the city, requiring them to use park and ride. People talk about Clean Air Zones, but if you simply cannot park your diesel car in the city, or it costs you more, you will definitely consider getting a new cleaner car.
However this is not the only problem with the city. By 9 am on a weekday, only around 700 out of 2800 park and ride spaces are used. Yet if you look at where you can go from a Park and Ride site, your only option is the city centre. Our Park and Ride sites do not service the economic centres of the city, that is Locksbrook & the RUH, the City Centre, and the University of Bath campus.
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We cannot simply introduce Day Parking Zones and leave it at that. We must invest the revenue in creating a Key Bus Network that enables Bath residents to get to where they are working using public transport. We need to use the money generated from parking to lower the costs of bus travel. 81% of car commuters live within 20km of the city and we should get to the point where, if you choose to travel by bus or by car to the city within 20km, then it will cost you around £400 per year.
Using Day Parking Zone revenue to deliver a Key Bus Network and affordable public transport throughout the city and into our rural areas is key to delivering an integrated transport strategy that is fair for everyone. It might even stop the council axing 300 jobs and many critical services.
I will be speaking at the Communities, Transport, and Environment Scrutiny Panel today, council officers have been instructed by Cllr Charles Gherrish to investigate Day Parking Zones, and there are moves afoot to get an all-party group to look at this proposal.
Bath has an air quality problem of enormous proportions (http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/news/bath-news/premature-deaths-air-pollution-bnes-873180) and a huge financial hole in their budget which will radically cut council services. Day Parking Zones are the answer to this.”
Delighted to see the following on Twitter today. Looks like B&NES IS listening.
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Wedged in Westgate Street.

Wedged in Westgate Street.

The Council does little to help traders in the city’s Westgate Street.

I make no excuses for regarding it as one of the dirtiest, run down and traffic-choked thoroughfares in our World Heritage city.

A few years ago – l was told – they were thinking about pedestrianising it. It didn’t happen. It’s now a one-way street accommodating a two-way cycle run. Not a good idea.

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You couldn’t push a beer mat between these two lorries

It has so many broken kerb stones from HGV’s parking on the pavement they have had to fill the gaps with resin-infused tarmac!

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Cab to cab.

Last night l witnessed a massive Dutch lorry trying to get through. I am assuming the driver – who would not have known the city – was using Sat-Nav?

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The two lorries appear jammed together.

Remarkable pictures of two lorries wedged side by side.

The truck was forced onto the pavement – blocking pedestrians. No police or traffic wardens anywhere near – while l was there anyway.

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Words fail me!

This city appears to have no rules about deliveries. There always seems to be a van or lorry parked somewhere.

Here are some more recent images illustrating public transport having to cope with streets clogged with delivery lorries during the day.

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This bus driver managed eventually to get the bus through in Broad Street.

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It shouldnt have to be like this – should it?

Plus a tight squeeze for pedestrians in Westgate Street.

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Not much between lorries and pedestrians in Westgate Street. Not what l think of as ‘shared space!’

Wouldn’t it be better – and safer – to deliver before 10 am and after 6pm?

 

 

Getting a picture on Bath’s pollution.

Getting a picture on Bath’s pollution.

Smart cameras and equipment to count incoming traffic are to be deployed by Bath & North East Somerset Council at a range of locations including rush hour hotspots over the coming weeks.

The temporary measures, installation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and automated traffic count (ATC) equipment, are aimed at building up a better understanding of the sort of vehicles that journey into and out of Bath as proposals are developed to improve air quality along the A4 London to Bath road.

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Location points for smart cameras.

The Council has worked closely with the central government Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) on the nature and extent of the surveys which will run for two weeks from Friday with additional traffic counts being carried out to supplement the ANPR data.

Bath has been identified by the Government as an area where nitrogen dioxide levels are projected to exceed national air quality objectives beyond 2021.Work being undertaken by the Council will explore measures which will improve air quality.

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Taming Bath’s traffic

The Council is preparing an initial action plan which will be finalised by March 2018 to be followed by a final draft before the end of next year. This strategy will build upon the wider Bath Air Quality Action Plan which is currently being consulted on.

Councillor Bob Goodman, (Conservative, Combe Down) Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods, said: “This technology is being deployed only to gather information for the basis of our Air Quality Action Plan to help us improve air quality. It will not be used for any other purposes.

“We know that there is increasing evidence that air quality has an important effect on public health, the economy and the environment and tackling vehicle emissions and improving air quality is one of the most urgent challenges in towns and cities across the UK.”

Consultation on the Bath Air Quality Action Plan runs until November 26, 2017. A number of public information sessions have already been held and further drop-in sessions will be held at:

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London Road traffic.

Morrisons supermarket, on London Road, Bath, on Thursday, November 2, from 5 to 7pm and on Monday, November 6, from 1 to 3pm.

For your information:

“Unlike greenhouse gases, the risk from nitrogen dioxide is focused in particular places; it is the build-up of pollution in a particular area that increases the concentration in the air and the associated risks…The effort to reduce NO2 also needs to be targeted on the sources that make the biggest contribution to the problem: road vehicles contribute about 80% of NO2 pollution at the roadside.” (DEFRA – ‘UK plan for tackling national roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations’)

As well as being able to draw from an Implementation Fund, Bath & North East Somerset Council will be able to bid for money from a Clean Air Fund to help implement air quality measures such as improvements to local bus fleets, support for concessionary travel and changes to the infrastructure. The Government is also making available £100 million for new low-emission buses and retrofitting of existing vehicles. A further Government announcement is expected to follow later this year.

 

Have your say about traffic pollution

Have your say about traffic pollution

B&NES wants to know what ratepayers and businesses think about air quality – bearing in mind that the main source of pollution is traffic.

The Council is reviewing air quality across Bath in preparation for the development of an updated Air Quality Action Plan.

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London Road is one heavily polluted area.

They are planning drop in sessions during October and an on-line consultation too.

To protect people’s health and the environment, local authorities have a duty to review and assess air quality to ensure it meets national air quality objectives.  Where specific air quality targets are exceeded the Council must develop a plan to tackle the problem.

In common with many other areas of the country, the main source of pollution in Bath & North East Somerset is traffic and national air quality objectives for nitrogen dioxide have been exceeded in some areas.

The Council currently has 3 Air Quality Management Areas in Bath, Keynsham and Saltford.  Recommendations have been put forward and specific initiatives have been implemented to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide in these areas.

The Council’s current Air Quality Action Plan for Bath was drawn up over 5 years ago and, after collaboration with a number of stakeholder groups, an updated plan is now ready for formal consultation.

Cllr Bob Goodman, (Conservative, Combe Down) Cabinet Member for Development said: “This consultation comes at an important time for the issue of air quality, following the inclusion of Bath in the recently published National Air Quality Action Plan. It is vital local residents and businesses get involved and provide us with their comments and suggestions so we can shape an action plan which will help to protect public health in the future.”

Bath was included in the National Air Quality Plan as it is projected nitrogen dioxide targets will be exceeded in the city beyond 2021. This means that the Council must carry out a feasibility study which will explore a wide range of measures to improve air quality.

The Council will be able to draw from an £255 million Implementation Fund to carry out the initial feasibility study and officers are already in talks with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) about this.

As it is important that the review of the Bath Air Quality Action Plan properly reflects the results of the feasibility study, the final version of the plan will be delayed until at least Spring 2018.

The consultation will run for 3 months – from Monday 4 September 2017 to midnight on 26 November 2017 and documents can be found on the Council’s websitewww.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/pollution/air-quality where comments and suggestions can also be made.

There will be 3 drop-in sessions for members of the public to speak with the Council team and learn more about the proposed Bath Air Quality Action Plan:

Tuesday 10th October 2017 between 2-5pm at the New Oriel Hall (Main Hall) Larkhall, Bath

Friday 13th October 2017 at the Bath City Conference  at the Guildhall, Bath

Wednesday 18 October 2017 between 1-4pm at Twerton Village Hall, Bath

 

Let’s hear how Bath’s election candidates aim to cure the city’s traffic issues.

Let’s hear how Bath’s election candidates aim to cure the city’s traffic issues.

Transition Bath –  an organisation concerned with the impact created by climate change carbon emissions and peak oil – has recorded audio interviews with all the local candidates standing for election as MP for the city.

As they “aim to build a sustainable future by harnessing the power of the local community in the face of declining natural resources and increasing fuel and food costs” you can imagine there were many questions regarding how each of the candidates would deal with the city’s traffic and transport issues.

Here is the link to the interviews:  http://transitionbath.org/transition-bath-interviews-parliamentary-candidates-subject-transport/

 

Would a walk to school zone ease the jams?

Would a walk to school zone ease the jams?

A 500 metre wide zone around local schools – in which children are persuaded to walk or cycle to school – is just one idea being put forward to ease the traffic effect caused by so many vehicles transporting youngsters to both state and private Bath schools in the east of the city.

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London Road traffic

 

Transition Larkhall are involved in a a year-long study investigating – amongst other things – how parents take their children to school and why they choose to travel that way.

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Deadmill Lane is one of the roads surveyed.

 In conjunction with the University of Bath and the South West Foundation, this local community body – part of a world-wide transition movement which is working towards a post-oil economy –  surveyed traffic on 4 successive Mondays between 7.00am and 10.00am, at the Gloucester/London Road junction and on Dead Mill lane.

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Transition Larkhall have held two local meetings to explain to the community the results of the survey.

The Study Coordinator – Joanna Wright – told Bath Newseum what they had discovered.

You can read a full report of the survey as it was presented to the West of England Joint Transport Study Consultation via http://transitionlarkhall.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/West-of-England-Transport-Consultation.pdf

There’s more information – via Transition Bath – on http://transitionbath.org/transition-larkhall-analysis-show-50-baths-rush-hour-traffic-can-attributed-schools/

 

Buses

Buses

A message – and point of view – from Bob Draper…..

‘Come on Bathonians – Get out your angle grinders & welding torches….!

Having seen someone almost swept off their feet on the lower pavement on the north side of George St. by the front overhang of a tourist bus coming up from Queen Square  I wondered who controls these behemoths of Bath’s narrow streets? 

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One of Bath’s bright coloured tourist buses on its way down Milsom Street.

 Is it the local council or the Traffic Commissioners?

At every corner & junction these gargantuans of the tourist trade have to stop and wait for opposing traffic to clear so that they can swing out on tho opposite side of the road in order to make the corner. there is an irony in the in the winter months that the load factors are often so low a Smart car would be sufficient!

 For the sake of pedestrian safety maybe buses should fitted with some of these:

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Maybe Bath Newseum readers would like to suggest what would be a suitable size of vehicle for Bath’s clogged arteries’?

Bob Draper, Bath.