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.

Ben urges B&NES to sort out the traffic.

Ben urges B&NES to sort out the traffic.

Bath’s city roads are now operating at maximum capacity – says the city’s MP Ben Howlett – and that means any accident or obstruction within the system is causing chaos.

He’s jumped into the traffic issue fray by urging B&NES  to pull its finger out and take measures to ease things.

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London Road traffic.

Mr Howlett says Bath city centre has seen even worse congestion than normal in recent days. 

In a statement he says, “It is increasingly clear that the city’s roads are at maximum capacity and that any accident, or obstruction causes widespread traffic issues.  I am therefore calling on the Council to place renewed energy behind the Integrated Transport Strategy, which has received cross party support, to improve cycle paths, create safer non-car routes to schools and facilitate a stronger focus on walking in the city.  

I also urge the Council to take the long overdue decision on the park and ride to the East of the city to reduce the volume of traffic entering the city from that side.  The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership received £2.3M on encouraging more people to leave their cars outside of the city and I would like to see these fund spent to the benefit of Bath residents, businesses and commuters alike.

Ben Howlett MP

Ben Howlett, MP for Bath.

I strongly believe it is also time to get on and build the long overdue A36/46 link road to relieve the volume of through traffic and therefore begin to relieve congestion to the eastern side of Bath. 

Plans for the A36/46 link road are already being discussed with Highways England, Local Authorities and the West of England Combined Authority following a meeting with the new Transport Minister last month.  My own petition has now received over 2000 responses and announcements are due shortly on the next steps towards this vital infrastructure project. 

I hope in light of the severe traffic issues seen recently that the Council will take urgent remedial action to address the situation, alongside implementing longer term strategic initiatives and infrastructure projects to bring Bath’s roads back from their current capacity status”.

 

B&NES acts on traffic jams

B&NES acts on traffic jams

B&NES has taken emergency steps to try and ease the traffic congestion that has gripped the city this week.

According to a spokesperson, indications from traffic monitoring from the last three days shows that these steps are having an impact; traffic congestion is around its usual level during peak time and during the off peak period there has been slightly less traffic than usual. 

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Roadworks in North Parade – a factor

A number of factors have created congestion problems including Freshers week, a bus breakdown, collisions causing road closures and irresponsible parking. Unavoidable roadworks at North Parade have also had a contributory effect.

The Council’s contractor and highways and traffic teams will continue to monitor the network over the weekend to assist traffic flows. They are also looking at ways to speed up delivery of the North Parade works, and considering further restrictions on utility companies who want to carry out non-essential works in the city centre.

Actions already taken

The Council has taken a series of actions including:

Temporarily suspending one signal crossing in Dorchester Street until October 30. Three other crossings are available along this short road. This action should also benefit public transport movements.

Opening up Avon Street to St James Parade to all traffic – it was previously restricted to buses and taxis.

Additional VMS signage to inform the public and direct traffic away from the North Parade area.

Changing city centre traffic light timings.  Continuous monitoring is in place and signals staff are out and about ready to make any further necessary signal timing adjustments.

More regular and high-visibility enforcement from parking staff to prevent drop-offs and deliveries creating congestion. 

On Monday the bus gate was opened to allow traffic to flow through.

Traffic marshals have been deployed from the start of the works on North Parade, and provide updates and information to allow rapid responses to traffic issues.

Closing a temporary pedestrian crossing on Manvers Street. There are signal controlled crossings at either end of Manvers and Pierrepoint Streets.

The Council is also considering changing junction priorities to see if traffic can be moved through the Bath Quays Development site more quickly. 

The Council anticipates that these measures will result in further reduction to traffic congestion in the city centre and a return to normal traffic flows. Monitoring indicates that the steps we’re taking are having an effect, but we will continue to keep a close eye over the weekend and into next week.

Councillor Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “I would like to thank the travelling public for their patience over the last week or so. We’re very aware of the recent congestion issues and are doing everything that we can to keep traffic flowing through the city. We will continue to monitor this and put in place measures to tackle it as best we can. Bath’s road network is already operating at near capacity especially at peak times and so it only takes a small number of incidents to cause significant traffic problems.

“We appreciate that work at North Parade is having a knock-on effect on the congestion. We have carried out patch repairs to North Parade over the last few years but the lower levels of the road surface are now in desperate need of repair.  It is clearly better to take preventative action now than to allow the road to deteriorate further and cause greater long term disruption. I would like to see the works completed ahead of time and officers are looking at how this could be achieved.”

 

Bath MP discusses relief road for the city.

Bath MP discusses relief road for the city.

Bath MP, Ben Howlett took up the case of a relief road for the city when he met the new Roads Minister for the first time. 

He had talks with the Rt Hon John Hayes, Minister of State at the Department for Transport with responsibility for strategic roads to discuss the A36/A46 link road. 

Ben Howlett MP

Ben Howlett, MP for Bath.

Ben reported of the meeting

“The Minister was very receptive to the idea of the A36/A46 link road, particularly one that aesthetically reflects the character of Bath and the surrounding countryside.  I will be working closely with the Minister, Highways England and Historic England in the coming months to ensure that the correct feasibility and scoping projects are undertaken and that that views of constituents are listened to during the consultation period.”

The Minister himself said of the meeting

“There is a rare opportunity in Bath to protect the unique character of the city, and enhance the surrounding area with a beautiful infrastructure project that can be admired by future generations whilst helping to resolve Bath’s traffic congestion woes.  Action here is long overdue, and the importance to the entire road network for the region cannot be underestimated.

I very much hope to see rapid progress towards developing a solution that will ensure Bath’s unique heritage is both preserved and enhanced.”

Ben has also been collecting signatures on his parliamentary petition in support of this project which now total over 1500 –  and is urging people who have yet to sign,  to please do so.

You can email him ben.howlett.mp@parliament.uk and his office will ensure a copy is delivered.

Consultation favours skateboard facility for Alice Park.

Consultation favours skateboard facility for Alice Park.

A park and ride site east of Bath isn’t the only facility being pushed for at this end of the city.

A committee meeting at the Guildhall today ( Monday, August 22nd) will receive the results of a public consultation regarding the setting up of a skateboard amenity at Alice Park.

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The Alice Park sign.

B&NES set aside £100,00 as part of a programme to improve the quality of parks and play provision in the district after receiving a petition in 2013 of 572 names calling for such a play area to be set up.

There has been a total of 282 responses to the public consultation with an overall 2:1 in favour of the skate park.

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The skateboard site – across the city – at Royal Victoria Park

From the survey results – to be presented to the Alice Park Sub-Committee – the main reasons cited for favouring the development of the Skatepark were: 

A Skatepark would promote healthy lifestyles and physical challenges

It would promote a sense of community – through the social side of skate parks

There are not enough facilities for young people in the east of Bath

A Skatepark would keep young people occupied and out of trouble

It would create a safe place for children to develop a sense of independence

From a minority of responses (those not in favour of the skate park), the main objections to the scheme were that a new skate park would:

Cause increased parking problems in the vicinity of the park

Lead to a change to the landscape and loss of tranquil aspects of the park

Contribute to more people urinating publically in bushes and against trees rather than paying the recently introduced toilet charge of 20p

Bring increased anti-social behaviour.

The survey report continues: ‘One of the prime reasons for building a skate park is to encourage families with a range of children to visit the park and to keep young people playing outside for as long as possible. Bath has a higher than average level of childhood obesity, and every opportunity is being sought to encourage a pattern of healthy lifestyles.

Such lifestyles will carry them into adulthood with physical activity and social interaction at its core. It has been shown that children will play outdoors until the age of 11 with little encouragement needed, but after that age, it is the family involvement that will set a pattern for life.

With parents asking for more for their older children to do in the park, the new skate park would assist parents by encouraging their children to go outdoors and stay active.’

Alice Park

Alice Park.

The report concludes:

‘There was a good response to the consultation (282 recorded responses), with a clear majority in favour of the development of a skate park in Alice Park (68%: Yes; 29%: No).

There are existing concerns about parking and road safety along Gloucester Road and the commissioning of a specialist parking and traffic survey would be advisable as part of a project to build a skate park in Alice Park.

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Parking around the park can already be a real safety issue.

Those opposed to the scheme have concerns that a new Skatepark would increase the number of incidences of anti-social behaviour and these would need to be addressed through improved surveillance by a partnership of police, council officers and the community. There would also need to be a clearly publicised reporting system for those who witness incidents of this kind.

An appetite for improving other facilities in the park suggests that an investment in improving the tennis courts would be welcomed by park users’.